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  • Singapore companies learn from Japan’s innovative food-tech and thriving eCommerce sectors on SBF’s second Overseas Market Workshop to Japan

Singapore companies learn from Japan’s innovative food-tech and thriving eCommerce sectors on SBF’s second Overseas Market Workshop to Japan

  • Organised by SBF and supported by Enterprise Singapore, this overseas market workshop aims to prepare Singapore companies for the fast-evolving Japanese food and eCommerce industries, which offer immense potential and opportunity.
  • The itinerary included site visits to expose Singapore companies to innovative business solutions and technology across the entire value chain, from food processing and distribution to e-commerce and retail. 
  • Networking creates opportunities for Singapore companies to partner their Japanese counterparts to enter third-country markets in ASEAN. 

24 April 2019 [Singapore]From 15 to 19 April, the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) led a delegation of 21 senior business representatives from 18 companies to learn about next-generation technologies in food tech and eCommerce as well as deepen their understanding of consumer trends in the new economy. The workshop brought the delegation to visit Japanese companies across the value chain of the food business, from manufacturing, processing, to logistics, distribution and eCommerce.

As the third largest and one of the fastest growing eCommerce markets in the world, Japan’s annual growth rate in eCommerce was estimated at 9% in 2017. With internet penetration estimated at 93.3% of the population, Japan represents a significant market opportunity for Singapore businesses.

With Industry 4.0 on the horizon and e-commerce rapidly gaining foothold, the food industry in Japan is also poised to be transformed by new, cutting-edge technologies across the sector from food processing and distribution to frontline sales at shopfronts and on digital channels.

Supported by Enterprise Singapore, the OMW gave Singapore companies first-hand insight of these technological developments and explored how Singapore companies can ride on the rise of eCommerce platforms in Japan to introduce their products to the market.

Led by Mr Eugene Wong, Council Member of SBF, Vice Chairman of SBF’s China and North Asia Business Group, Vice Chairman of Japan Foods Holding Ltd and Founder of Sirius Venture Capital, the OMW was a follow-up to SBF’s inaugural OMW to Japan in April 2018, which focused on Logistics & IoT.

Over the course of the 5-day programme, the Singapore delegation, representing a wide range of sectors from logistics, building & construction and food services to professional services, IT solutions and technology, had the opportunity to visit leading technology innovators in Tokyo, including:
  • Food sector: Mitsubishi Corporation – Living Essential Resources Division; DNP; Meiji Confectionary Factory; Seiun (Japanese Sake Brewery); and KI Fresh Access Service Centre
  • e-Commerce sector: Aucfan; GMO Payment Gateway
  • Logistics sector: Yamato Transport

Homegrown online grocery concierge start-up HonestBee, which made its foray into Tokyo in 2017, also shared with the delegation the challenges the company faced when it first entered the market, the lessons learnt and the opportunities it seized. 

The delegation also visited the World Food and Beverage Great Expo 2019, one of the largest trade fairs in Japan covering the entire range of commercial foods and food products, equipment and materials, containers and packaging.

Mr Eugene Wong said, “As Singapore develops its eCommerce and food tech sectors, it is timely we visit Japan, the front runner of these sectors. This in-market workshop provides an opportunity for Singapore companies, especially our SMEs in the food, logistics and technology sectors, to learn from established players in Japan.

We hope to see our companies adopting and adapting these innovative solutions to make themselves more globally competitive. We hope to deepen business collaboration between Singapore and Japan companies. While Japanese companies are equipped with technology and business solutions, Singapore companies can value add through their knowledge of local markets, and with Singapore as a regional base, develop joint innovative food tech products to serve the ASEAN region.”

Mr Poh Kay Leong, Group Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Poh Tiong Choon Logistics Limited, who participated in the workshop said, “The Overseas Market Workshop has been a valuable experience. During this workshop, we had gained much exposure to new knowledge and latest innovation trends in Japan, especially in the food tech and ecommerce space. Aside from meeting new potential local partners, I found that there are many complementary offerings amongst our batch of Singapore participants, and we may be able to group together and explore more business opportunities locally or regionally in the future.”

Another participant Mr James Wong, Director of Phoon Huat Pte Ltd, said, “Japan is a market of interest for Phoon Huat. Visits to companies such as Yamato Chronogate and KI Fresh Access distribution centre during the workshop gave us fresh perspectives for our business. Following the workshop, there may be some opportunities for us to partner with selected local Japanese companies and bring back some new technologies to be deployed in Singapore and regionally.”

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