Iris Ohyama opens Taiwan unit to boost home electronics sales

25, Oct. 2019

Iris Ohyama Inc. President Akihiro Oyama speaks in Taipei on Oct. 22, 2019 as his company starts a Taiwan subsidiary. “Taiwan is ideal as a test market,” says Oyama, also the new unit’s chairman. , 20191024_0011_2.jpg|Iris Ohyama's futon clearner is sold at a home appliance retail shop in Taiwan (Photo courtesy of Ohyama Taiwan Co.)
Iris Ohyama Inc. President Akihiro Oyama speaks in Taipei on Oct. 22, 2019 as his company starts a Taiwan subsidiary. “Taiwan is ideal as a test market,” says Oyama, also the new unit’s chairman. , 20191024_0011_2.jpg|Iris Ohyama's futon clearner is sold at a home appliance retail shop in Taiwan (Photo courtesy of Ohyama Taiwan Co.)

TAIPEI, NNA - Japanese household goods provider Iris Ohyama Inc. has opened a wholly owned subsidiary in Taiwan to boost home electronics sales and sell merchandise tailored to local consumers.

The new company, named Iris Ohyama Taiwan Co. and based in Taipei, started operations on Tuesday, Iris Ohyama President Akihiro Oyama told NNA. The Taiwan unit plans to build a local distribution center next year.

Ohyama Taiwan Co. was formally established in November 2018 with capital of 5 million New Taiwan dollars ($164,000), he said in an interview with NNA in Taipei Tuesday.

The parent company aims to increase annual Taiwan sales to 5 billion yen ($46 million) by 2022, five times the 2019 level, the president said. He concurrently serves as chairman of the Taiwan subsidiary.

The Sendai-based manufacturer has partnered with local sales agents in Taiwan since 2005, primarily dealing in pet-related gear and daily commodities at first, Oyama said. But demand for home appliances has grown, he said, evidenced by a surge in sales of those goods.

Iris Ohyama products are now sold in Taiwan mainly at outlets operated by a subsidiary of the major U.S. member-only warehouse supermarket chain Costco Wholesale Corp., and Tsann Kuen Enterprise Co., which retails home electronics. They also sell on e-commerce sites such as PC Home. Some of the roughly 25,000 items in Iris Ohyama’s product lineup are shipped in from mainland China.

Iris Ohyama holds a 60-percent share of the futon cleaner market

Iris Ohyama now sells 30 home electronic items in Taiwan but plans to expand to 100 by the first half of 2020, the president said. It also intends to develop products with specifications unique to Taiwan, such as powerful futon cleaning machines.

Iris Ohyama’s futon cleaners in particular have been popular in Taiwan, where many consumers buy them to fight mites that thrive in the humid weather.

About 2 million futon cleaners ship in Taiwan every year, Iris Ohyama Taiwan President Sho Yamamoto said. Of that total, Yamamoto said, Iris Ohyama claims 60 percent.

Iris Ohyama has previously marketed rice cookers suited to rice brands popular in Taiwan.

The company also aims to expand e-commerce marketing as a way to boost Taiwan sales.

“We want to spread our brand awareness by making the most of digital marketing via the internet and other media,” Yamamoto said.

Iris Ohyama’s Taiwan revenue is forecast to rise this year by double-digits percentage from the previous year to 1 billion yen ($9.2 million).

Exporting “Japanese lifestyle”

Iris Ohyama is working toward total group revenue of 1 trillion yen in 2022 by expanding its global business and establishing itself as a home electronics maker with comprehensive product lineup.

It is focusing on China, Asia’s biggest market, and South Korea for additional expansion and looking longer term at Southeast Asia. In addition, Iris Ohyama’s president considers Taiwan a “ground for test marketing.”

Taiwanese consumers have a fondness for Japanese cuisine and film, while Japan is a top travel destination among Taiwanese tourists.

“We are aiming to export ‘Japanese lifestyle,’” the president said. “Consumers and companies in Japan have built comfortable and convenient ways of living. These are expected to grow in demand from the rest of Asia.

“We have decided to establish a subsidiary in Taiwan as it is easy to break into this market, which is highly compatible with Japan’s, and we can expect sales to grow there,” he said.

Other countries in East Asia are destined to follow Japan’s footsteps in confronting impacts of low birthrates, an aging population and a decline in the number of household. “We want to test the export of Japanese lifestyle in Taiwan and spread it to our main target China and then to ever-growing Southeast Asia,” Oyama said.