Case Study Analysis Japan to Apple�s iPhone

Case Study Analysis Japan to Apple�s iPhone - 1...

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1 Introduction All marketing success depends upon the product offered, its ability to meet consumer demands and/or cultivate them. When exporting items into the Confucian tiger region, tastes, demands, acceptations and expectations also differ (Hsu, 1999; Weber, 2004 ). After all, Hong Kong consumers differ from those in Mainland China because of their historic and cultural differences (Weber, 2004; Holson, 2005 ). That is not to say the cultural values are dissimilar. Rather, each region has preferences and a unique set of environmental forces. The same is true for Japan. Therefore, products entering places must not only engage the right culture, languages and images but also consider the social and economic factors that drive demand or delimit it (Weber, 2004). Apple iPhone in Japan Even technology, though considered universal by many, can meet challenges in any and/or all of these regions. As exemplified by the iPhone in Japan, Apple was woefully unprepared for the Japanese acceptations, expectations and/or competition in the marketplace (Frommer, 2010; Chen, 2010; Katayama, 2008). Despite its innovative nature in the American place, many Japanese consumers looked at the iPhone as antiquated cell phone technology (Chen, 2010). Other viewed it as cosmetically unappealing (Katayama, 2008). Still others were put off because of the iPhone’s expensive subscriptions to networks (Chen, 2010). All of these factors have induced more challenges for the iPhone in Japan than previously imagined. In 2009, it was selling so poorly, vendors even offered it for free (Chen, 2010; Frommer, 2010). From the Japanese perspective, the features considered innovative in the U.S. were anything but. Chen (2010) explains, the iPhone’s low quality camera, paucity of features, high subscription fees, pricing and lack of multimedia capabilities commonplace in Japan for more
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2 than previous two years, made the iPhone seem antiquated. Because it was an American brand, a western one at that, this also deterred Japanese consumers who prefer Japanese brands to anything else (Frommer, 2010; Chen, 2010). Notably, the Japanese brands in this case possess even higher complex standards than their western counterparts do (Chen, 2010). Since Japan is so far advanced technologically and Japan prides itself on that, this is understandable. In fact, Katayama (2010) reveals Japanese consumers often compare white paper specification sheets side-by-side when buying a new cell phone. More importantly, perhaps, the iPhone used a dissimilar platform from the one Japan did. More than 70% of the 100 million mobile users in Japan use Android-based phones (mobiThinking, 2011). Many of them do not have computers and use their phones for everything (Chen, 2010; Kitayama, 2010). In fact, they pay their bills, subway fares, taxis and food with their cell phones (Chen, 2010). The iPhone and the U.S. cell phones do not have any of those features. Since the iPhone necessitated a computer for updates, as well, this deterred demand
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This note was uploaded on 02/16/2012 for the course AMERICAN I American I taught by Professor Americaninternationcollege during the Spring '12 term at American Internation College.

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Case Study Analysis Japan to Apple�s iPhone - 1...

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