Special Feature: Accelerating Growth in Overseas Businesses through Glocalization

We will maintain quantitative growth while accelerating the shift to qualitative growth.

Hitoshi Suzuki
Executive Officer
Executive General Manager of International Division

Basic Strategy and Framework

One of the basic strategies in the new medium-term management plan (The LIVE Plan) is “Accelerate Growth in Overseas Businesses through Glocalization.” To meet diversifying consumer needs and rise above the competition, Lion needs to work with its local partners to utilize its respective resources, and create a new collaborative structure as “The Lion Group.” We are changing from the country-specific strategy we have used up to now to an area-specific strategy, accelerating the shift to becoming a healthcare company, and through greater efficiency and expansion, pursuing profitable growth, quantitative growth, and qualitative growth. As a company with business centered on Asia, we seek to generate an advantage with a business model fusing globally standard aspects with area groupings that take into consideration the peoples, economy, income, living environments, and competitive setting of each area or country.

Overseas Business Structure

Growth Strategies

1. Measures to secure a position as the leading oral care company

Estimated Ratio of Over-65 Population in Asia

Source: UN, World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision
Figures for Japan up to 2015 are from the national census conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, and from 2020 are estimated from birth and death medians in Population Projection for Japan (2017) from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research (IPSS).

Oral care awareness program in Singapore

The market forecasts for Asia, which are the basis for Lion’s growth strategies, project a growing population in the overall region, comprising Japan, Northeast Asia, and Southeast Asia. Also, since 2015, the populations of such countries as South Korea, Singapore, China, and Thailand have been aging rapidly, following the pattern in Japan. Amid such market changes, interest in health is likely to rise in Asia, with a broadening of health care needs.

Lion offers a broad range of products in Japan to address the risk factors in oral care for each age-group, from tooth decay and bad breath that can occur at a comparatively young age, to periodontal disease and other conditions affecting people of all ages. Utilizing our strengths of a deep understanding of customers and accumulated data, Lion has conveyed a message of dental and oral health for all generations.

Lion considers the growing populations and aging societies of Asia as an opportunity for business expansion. We will broadly apply our accumulated experience in Japan to provide not just highly functional products, but information and services at the same time, in order to support the development of Asian societies free of tooth decay and periodontal disease, aiming to become the leading oral care company in Asia. We will offer customers highly conscious of oral care a lineup of products for every life stage, while also deepening our understanding of the characteristics and needs of each Asian region, and through region-specific programs will offer new value in health care. Along with products, we consider building trust in brands and the Company to be an important point. We will also focus on inbound demand to pursue a new brand development style.

2. Health care for mind and body

The health care products Lion provides are not limited to oral care supporting full-body care. Our aim is health care for the mind and body. Lion has not only applied the unique concepts and technologies of its OTC products to the household field and the medical skin care field, but also has built a highly popular lineup of products in oral care and other fields, including the KODOMO brand of children’s products sold in Asia. By providing new value to support more-effective and proper health care at each life stage, Lion will enhance its brand image in Asia, and, by being a company that people consider necessary, achieve profitable growth.

Improving Profitability

Shifting the business portfolio to personal care and health care (medicines, functional foods)

Number of Asian Households by Income Level

(11 Asian countries/territories: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines)

Lion’s overseas business is currently focused on laundry detergents, and we believe that to enhance profitability, business portfolio reform is necessary. While the Asian region is facing declining birthrates and aging populations, in developing nations new demand is increasing, driving greater interest in personal care and health care. Amid this market environment, Lion is aiming to increase its sales ratio for oral care products that contribute to health maintenance, beauty and other personal care products, and health care products such as medicines and functional foods. By targeting middle-income households, we will offer high-value-added and higher unit price products, improving earnings capacity.

Distribution Channel Reform

Creating a competitive advantage through e-commerce

In February 2017, Qingdao Lion in China received the “T-mall Beauty Award” in the Oral Category from T-mall, a major e-commerce platform in China, and concluded a large-volume customer contract with them. Under the new medium-term management plan, Lion is pursuing strategic alliances with e-commerce channels and utilizing the Big Data it possesses to conduct effective promotions aimed at its target demographics, in order to increase contact points with customers, attract loyal users, and use individual purchases to extend sales to families.

E-commerce allows consumers to instantly obtain the relevant information they want, and, based on this data, select the appropriate health care for themselves. This sales channel is developing rapidly in Asia, particularly China. It allows us to approach more-diverse consumers with product lineups and consumer value in a way not possible with over-the-counter sales. E-commerce is truly the best sales channel for the glocalization model Lion seeks to achieve. We will provide various and different necessary information and solutions to various different consumers, and build a one-to-one marketing structure to support the best health care for all, achieving full-body health through oral care, the best skin and hair care for each age-group, and health care for the mind and body.