Living in Japan
SBD Japan

SBD Japan

Added In: Living in Japan › Business

As many may know, the Nagoya region is home to one of the biggest and most extensive automotive industry clusters in the world. While Toyota and Nippon Denso may be household names, there are an enormous number of other companies that provide both technical intelligence and physical development facilities to these big brands. In fact, from conception through to actual production of a typical Toyota car, literally hundreds of companies can be involved.

Focusing tightly on key areas of this development cycle is SBD.  With the benefit of their expertise, SBD are able to provide these companies with the knowledge, insight and understanding they need to develop leading security products, telematics systems and Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) for world markets.
SBD specializes in intelligence; for example on security, this covers the latest developments worldwide, what are the weaknesses in the market to be exploited by thieves and what legislative and insurance requirements need to be met.  SBD’s work on Telematics and ITS focuses on the evolution of technologies, what are the applications that will be most successful and what are the real market drivers and how do they differ in Europe compared to Japan.

For Japan based vehicle developers, the need to develop and customize for specific local markets, in line with local legislative requirements, consumer preferences and vehicle insurance specifications means a strong demand for this kind of information.

SBD researches and collates such specific information into reports for developers and interested parties, and then supports these with ongoing consulting services.

Prior to launching their Nagoya office, SBD had already established strong working relationships with many of the leading vehicle systems developers. Says David Bell, CEO, “Nagoya, with its proximity to many of those developers, relative low cost of living and excellent access both nationally and internationally was the obvious choice.”

It is interesting, from a change management point of view, to learn what challenges a new organisation faces in Nagoya. Jeremy Worthington, Representative Director for SBD Japan, comments, “I was greatly impressed by the level of support provided by the various government agencies. JETRO/IBSC were invaluable in terms of establishing the formal company and providing set-up facilities, while GNI have supported us with introductions to both companies and individuals in the local industry, as well as business presentation opportunities such as expos and industry fairs. I honestly don’t think you could find a better set of business support services for new foreign companies.”

Jeremy further commented, “Of course we thought language would be a key issue; my Japanese level was pretty much non-existent when I arrived. However the bilingual support of JETRO and GNI helped us get through the initial stages until we had recruited and trained our own bilingual staff. Of course, that doesn’t absolve me from trying to improve my own language skills as well!”

And where to from here? “We are established here at Aichi Venture House and have now moved from the stage of focusing on supporting existing clients through to looking at how we can expand our range of customers in Japan. Vehicle security systems are developing at a rapid rate, Telematics & ITS technologies have developed to a good level and customer awareness is starting to grow. I think we are well positioned here to provide that level of information and consulting, crossing the divide between Europe and Japan.”

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