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Sony Inter-American

Wowing Latin America for more than 40 years

By Philippe Le Saux
- Oct 03, 2013
Credit : GMI Post

Sony Inter-American President Takuzo Fujimoto

“Here at Sony, we focus on providing products that have an unmistakable ‘wow’ factor,” said Sony Inter-American President Takuzo Fujimoto.

Recently, the Japanese electronics giant did just that in Panama, when it launched the Sony 4K Bravia TV, the latest of its High-Definition televisions that boasts four times more individual pixels than its previous models.

Also featuring advanced picture processing, Sony’s 4K Bravia TV has further enhanced the viewing experience.

Committed to constant improvement, Sony has achieved enviable success in Panama and the rest of the world by adapting to the fast-changing demands of the market, and providing a seamless and more enjoyable experience for all its users.

“The key is to create this experience through complementary products. So, we make TVs and speakers that can communicate with each other wirelessly through the Sony Xperia mobile phone, for example. We aim to improve their lifestyle, their quality of life,” explained Fujimoto.

“Our image here has a very high profile. We are very pleased with the kind of brand recognition that we enjoy in this region. This year, we are introducing new mobile device models — the Sony Xperia and Sony Tablet,” he added.

Sony’s Xperia smartphone has proved a bestseller around the world.

That success has come because Sony was among the first Japanese companies to set up its Latin American operations in Panama. Since 1970, Sony Inter-American has expanded to oversee business in eight nearby countries in Central America and South America (Ecuador and Venezuela), and assumed a more important profile in the parent company’s global strategy.

Note: This Special Report on Panama originally appeared in The Japan Times on October 30, 2103 (Credit: Philippe Le Saux

Nippon Koei

One decade engineering a bustling region

By Philippe Le Saux
- Oct 01, 2013
Credit : GMI Post

(L-R) Nippon Koei LAC President Kevin Tynes, Chairman Takashi Hiruta, and Technical Director Masanobu Shimosaka

Having overseen several infrastructure projects outside Japan, engineer Yutaka Kubota founded Nippon Koei in 1946 to help in the colossal task of rebuilding his war-devastated country, and later exported its services around the world.

Now the largest Japanese engineering consulting firm, Nippon Koei is operating throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. In addition to its traditional focus on hydroelectric development, it also engineers water and sanitation facilities, seaports, highways, bridges, rural development, airports, and urban transport infrastructure.

Nippon Koei started working in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 1970s, and accelerated its expansion with the creation of Nippon Koei LAC in Peru in 2003. Two years later, it moved its regional headquarters to Panama to gain easier access to the rest of the vast region.

“We are looking to expand by opening fixed offices in more countries, not only on a regional basis. In eight years, we have opened seven offices throughout the region, almost an office per year, and we are aiming for more,” said President Kevin Tynes.

“The LAC region accounts for about 10 percent of Nippon Koei’s overall sales, and last year, we represented 20 percent of global profits,” Tynes also said.

With those figures, Nippon Koei LAC has proven to be one of the most important parts of the Japanese company’s overall operations, with the huge success being attributed to its presence in Panama.

Inaugurated by Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli in August 2013, the Juan Dian Wastewater Treatment Plant is the centerpiece of the Panama City and Bay Sanitation Program. Designed, built, and operated by Nippon Koei LAC, it uses activated sludge technology and has facilities to convert wastewater sludge to electrical energy.

In the country, Nippon Koei LAC completed the first phase of a wastewater treatment project, which was inaugurated by President Ricardo Martinelli, together with the Japanese ambassador and representatives of the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.

Nippon Koei LAC is also performing studies for a new line for Panama City’s metro system, the fourth bridge over the Panama Canal and another wastewater system in Colon on the Atlantic coast.

Note: This Special Report on Panama originally appeared in The Japan Times on October 30, 2103 (Credit: Philippe Le Saux

Panasonic Panama

A better life for a better world

By Philippe Le Saux
- Sep 01, 2013
Credit : GMI Post

Panasonic Latin America President Hiroki Kaji

Having selected Panama as the hub for its Latin American operations 43 years ago, Panasonic was one of the first Japanese companies to recognize the advantage of the country’s geographical location.

In charge of 10 markets, including Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and the rest of the Caribbean, Panasonic Latin America, S.A. has played a major role in expanding the Japanese company’s business in a market comprising 180 million people.

“Panama has a geographical advantage, which allows us to manage the rest of our Latin America operations from here. Its duty-free ports and financial system are also significant advantages,” said President Hiroki Kaji.

With Latin America currently representing approximately 10 percent of global sales, there is great optimism on the enormous growth potential of the region.

“Latin American countries are steadily growing, and so our company is steadily growing as well. We have gone from a $300 million business to a $500 million business in recent years,” said Kaji.

Panasonic has focused its marketing efforts on its audio-visual and digital products, which account for 70 percent of sales, from TVs and audio-visual products.

Another 15 percent comes from home appliances, like air conditioning and other white goods, while the rest is from system products, such as professional video equipment, projectors and communications products.

As competition from other Asian manufacturers of television and audio-visuals increases, Panasonic has had to adapt its marketing game plan.

“We began shifting our strategy three years ago by introducing new product lines, like home appliances such as the inverter series of air conditioners, refrigerators, washing machines. In lighting (fluorescent and LED), we have focused on providing energy-saving technology, which is our big advantage over our peers,” said Kaji.

In a solid push to promote the use of eco-friendly and energy saving solutions to its customers, Panasonic has embarked on a visionary campaign to educate both its global and Latin American markets on the merits of going green, and position itself as the industry leader in green initiatives.

“We contribute by teaching that it is not only about consuming the product. We need to think about how to propose efficiency in order to coexist with the environment. This is a very important mission for us as a manufacturer,” said Kaji.

“We are also proposing to recycle energy using the sun. In Latin America, we have a distinct geographical advantage because we have higher radiation levels here than in other parts of the world. We are creating new business and we want to expand this concept,” he added.

Panasonic has begun offering solutions for the creation of clean energy, clean electricity and energy-saving products, thus creating a new business that has been widely accepted and well received by old and new clients alike.

In Panama, Panasonic has supplied 4,000 solar panels to just one project, although its clean energy expertise goes beyond solar power technology.

“We have also moved into creating energy, not only saving it. We achieve this by offering more than just solar panels. We create solution packages and offer added-value services. We started showcasing our new line in a few countries and received an excellent response. We were recently awarded an order of 4,000 solar panels, and that was only for one project. The potential here is unlimited. We envision this new business model to grow into a $100 million business in the next three years,” said Kaji.

Time and time again, Panasonic has shown the importance and value of innovation and flexibility.

Paired with its commitment to social development through its business, that focus has also placed the company in a good position to enhance the quality of life not only in Latin America, but throughout the world.

As Panasonic continues to enjoy tremendous domestic success in Japan, it also remains steadfast in its efforts to expand its impact on the world through its innovative, eco-friendly products.

“We have a very strong performance in the Japanese market compared to our peers, and that says a lot. We have total solutions for home-related products, and we want to bring that to different markets outside Japan,” he said.

“We are building additional values, such as energy saving, energy creating and, in the future, energy management. We are transforming from a commodity sales company to a solutions provider,” he added.

Note: This Special Report on Panama originally appeared in The Japan Times on October 30, 2103 (Credit: Philippe Le Saux

Panama 2013 was prepared for and originally printed in The Japan Times Newspaper.

PDF of the printed report

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