Japanese firms more optimistic

By Louella D. Desiderio, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 08 2013 08:16 AM | Updated as of Jan 08 2013 07:24 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Many Japanese-affiliated firms in Asia and Oceania including the Philippines expect improved operating profits this year on expectations of higher local sales, according to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

The JETRO’s 2012 Survey on Business Conditions of Japanese-affiliated firms in Asia and Oceania showed that 46.8 percent of the 3,819 firms that provided responses to the survey, forecast improved operating profits for 2013.

“The most common reason for the increase was sales increase in local markets,” the JETRO said.

The JETRO noted that Japanese firms are putting priority on local market development rather than developing exports.

The survey also showed that among the immediate issues firms want to address is product differentiation through quality or high added-value.

Another issue firms want to address is securing and training human resources.

The JETRO survey likewise noted that many Japanese-affiliated firms in the Philippines plan to expand their businesses this year.

The survey showed that 48.2 percent of 115 firms that provided responses to the survey are planning to expand this year.

Half of the respondents, said they would stick with the status quo for this year, while 1.8 percent said they would reduce their operations.

The JETRO survey noted that none of the firms have plans of transferring their operations to other countries.

The responses came from 115 Japanese-affiliated enterprises operating in the country, with 71 engaged in manufacturing and 44 involved in non-manufacturing operations.

Of the 115 Japanese-affiliated enterprises, 73 were large firms, while 42 were small and medium enterprises.

The survey was conducted between October and November 2012.

Apart from the Philippines, the survey covered Japanese-affiliated firms in countries in northeast Asia (mainland China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and Macau, ASEAN (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos), southwest Asia (Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) and Oceania (Australia and New Zealand).