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Utilizing product appeal and proposal skills in an attempt to branch out internationally

Member: Imai Shoko
Company: WAKODO CO., LTD.
Location: Japan
Industry: Interior material
Gold Supplier member since: 2010
Gold Supplier






WAKODO CO., LTD. is involved in the reselling of internal construction material and performing renovations.

Ever since its establishment in 1980, the company has utilized its product appeal, proposal skills and response abilities, and has also been branching out into foreign markets.

However the company has also made mistakes in the foreign market, specifically 10 years ago in China when a deal fell through last minute. Although the company also joined Alibaba, things did not go to plan and thus it was forced to leave.

What allowed the revamped Alibaba to do so well internationally? We spoke to president and CEO Ms. Shoko Imai to find out more.


First China was made the focus, and proposals were made directly to Chinese companies. However although business talks were going well and it seemed as if orders would be made any day soon, copies of the product were made, and the order was replaced by the copies, causing the deal to fall through. In 2010 Alibaba was used in order to meet Chinese buyers. However in the end the number of non Chinese companies that got in touch was significantly larger than that of Chinese companies.

Although the company had hired a staff member who was fluent in Chinese, things were not going as planned and the company left Alibaba after a year. Despite everything, this experience allowed them to realize foreign markets outside of China, and the failures in China led them to strive to create business worldwide.


Since leaving Alibaba they put focus into creating an EC site for domestic customers. However although the page was aimed towards domestic customers, foreign customers were inquiring through the EC site. This led to the realization that there were business opportunities internationally, and in 2015 they decided to once again join Alibaba.

With newfound motivation to do well internationally, they looked for new company members who would help in this venture. This led to the Peruvian Ms. Lulu Gamboa joining the company in 2016. She was fluent in four languages, had amazing linguistic skills and a thirst for learning. Her joining the company was a big step in branching out internationally.

What makes the company unique is the emphasis they place on hospitality. They treat foreign customers as they would treat Japanese customers, and ensure that they provide the best product after extensive hearings to make certain they are providing the best.

Through failure and experience Wakodo has branched out into the international market.

Even though they may face difficulties in the future, there is no doubt that Wakodo can nonetheless succeed.