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Case Study Analysis The success of marketing a product or service in other countries is affected by the product itself and consumer demand. According to Weber (2002), when marketers are looking to export their products or services to other countries they need to understand the consumer’s demands, expectations, and tastes in the region. Not all consumers feel and think the same way. For example, consumers in Hong Kong have different historical and cultural views than Mainland China, although they may have similar cultural values (Weber, 2002). Consumers within these two regions may have different preferences and environmental standards. The same could be said for Japan. Therefore, when marketers are trying to enter other regions they must understand the region’s culture and behavior toward a product or service. Marketers must also understand demand factors of that region, such as economic and social.
Case one: Japan to Apple’s iPhone: “No Thanks!” Although technology is used all over the world, different countries can provide many challenges when trying to introduce new technologies to them. Apple found this out when trying to introduce the iPhone in Japan. According to Frommer (2010), reasons the iPhone was not successful in Japan was because Apple failed to understand what the Japanese consumer expected of an iPhone and the competitive marketplace. Although the iPhone is successful in the United States, many consumers in Japan believe the phone’s technology is old and inadequate. Some Japanese consumers also believed that the iPhone did not look good and the network subscriptions were too expensive (Chen, 2010). Japanese consumers believe that the technology and many of the iPhone’s features are inadequate because Japan has already had the technology and features for more than two years (Chen, 2010). According to Frommer (2010), many Japanese consumers also believe they produce a better product than America does, therefore many Japanese consumers would buy Japanese brands over American brands. In the case of the iPhone, competing Japanese brands possess higher standards than the United States (Chen, 2010). Japan takes pride in advancing technology and it shows it this case. Another issue that Japanese consumers did not like about the iPhone was its platform. It was completely different than the platform consumers in Japan use. Many Japanese prefer phones that are android-based. According to Chen (2010), many Japanese do not own a computer; they prefer to use their mobile phones to conduct their everyday tasks, such as pay taxis, subway fares, bills, and buy food. The iPhone does not offer these features. Chen (2010) also believes that the need for a computer to update the iPhone was another factor that discouraged consumers in Japan to purchase the phone. Apple learned the hard way that the iPhone was not technologically advanced enough to compete in the Japanese market. The expectations of the Japanese was not completely researched or understood by Apple, and therefore failed in Japan. Apple failed to appeal to the Japanese culture and what the Japanese consumer expects of technology.
Case Two: Would Mickey Mouse Eat Shark’s Fin Soup? Considering the success Walt Disney has had with Tokyo Disney in Japan, Disney is looking to expand to China. According to Holson (2005), the prospect of adding about two billion more customers in China, Disney decided to build Hong Kong Disneyland in Hong Kong. Although Tokyo Disney is very successful, launching Hong Kong Disneyland adds many new obstacles for Walt Disney to deal with because of the different cultures between the Chinese and Japanese. One problem Disney is faced with is that many Asian countries do not appeal to Mickey Mouse as he does to Americans. Because of cultural differences between China and Japan, Walt Disney cannot use the same marketing and advertising strategies used in Japan. Walt Disney has to research and understand the Chinese culture and beliefs to be successful. Understanding the foods consumed by the Chinese is important for part of Walt Disney’s success in China. Some successful American companies like McDonald’s offer foods preferred by the locals in other countries. Walt Disney knows that shark-fin soup is a favorite dish in China and decided to offer it during the banquets held at Hong Kong Disneyland weddings. This caused an environmental issue for Walt Disney. Environmentalists all over the world are concerned about the welfare and survival of many animal species, and they also are that China’s increasing wealth may to a greater appetite for rare species (Schiffman, 2010). Some environmentalists are appalled by offering shark soup on the menu because they believe many of these sharks are killed inhumanely and treated as a species. The environmental pressures have forced Walt Disney to stop serving shark-fin soup for a while; only serving it if requested for wedding banquets. Disney had to learn and understand Chinese culture and beliefs if Hong Kong Disney was to appeal to the Chinese consumer. For example, the word death is pronounced the same as the word number “four”, therefore buildings in China are without a fourth floor. The Chinese also believe the placement of cash registers could attract prosperity (Holson, 2005). These beliefs may seem small to an Americans, but they are important to know and respect if one is to be successful in marketing consumers in China. Walt Disney understands the cultural differences between American and China and knows that its American theme parks have to be formed differently for China. Both of these case studies show it is imperative to understand what foreign consumer’s interests are, their demands, and their expectations before trying to launch a product or service in their country. If a company fails to realize this, it ultimately will fail to gain a foothold in another country. This is the case of Apple’s iPhone in Japan. Japan is proud of its technological advancements and the iPhone just did not stand up to the technology and appeal of Japanese phones, therefore it had no chance for success in Japan. It is important to research and understand cultural differences, values, demands, tastes, and expectations before trying to market a product or service in another country. Both Apple and Walt Disney are large companies and should have done a better job with their research before entering their respected markets.

References
Chen, B. (2010). Why Japanese Hate the iPhone. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2009/02/why-the-iphone/
Frommer, D. (2010). The Crazy Phones in Japan the iPhone is Competing with. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/japan-mobile-phones-2010-4
Holson, L. (2005). Disney Bows to Feng Shui. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/24/business/worldbusiness/24iht-disney.html?pagewanted=all
Schiffman, L. G., & Kanuk, L. L. (2010). Consumer behavior (10th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall
Weber, J. (2002). The Ever-Expanding, Profit-Maximizing, Cultural-Imperialist, Wonderful World of Disney. Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.02/disney.html

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