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7-Eleven Japan have announced that it will enter Okinawa by 2019, the only Japanese prefecture where the retailer's presence is missing.
7-Eleven's latest announcement boosts their domestic coverage, but has wider strategic implications. President Kazuyuki Furuya said the company plans to use this region as a 'transportation hub' for expanding sales of its private label products across Asia, where demand and recognition is growing. Japanese private labels in general are often considered quality products in emerging markets in Asia. We have seen many different convenience chain operators like Ministop in Vietnam for example, use labels to highlight Japanese exports.
The location of Okinawa, between Taiwan and Japan's mainland, will open up opportunities to improve links between Japanese operations and other major Asian cities; Taipei, Bangkok, Seoul and Singapore. Okinawa could also act as a hub to distribute 7-Eleven's most famous brand, Seven Premium, to Asian markets more efficiently and more cost effectively. 7-Eleven will need to create a local supply network; setting up a factory and distribution centre. Thus this expansion will take time to break even, but could offer longer-term benefits outlined previously. Their main competitors, Lawson and FamilyMart, already have outlets in Okinawa and will be closely tracking 7-Eleven's progress here as competition is likely to intensify.
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