Narrating the major milestones from over fifteen decades history of ITOCHU, could you share on how the company has placed itself on textiles front today?
The history of ITOCHU Corporation dates back to 1858 when ITOCHU’s founder Chubei Itoh commenced linen trading operations. Over 150 years, the company has been a 'sogo sosha,' engaged in domestic trading and import/exports. ITOCHU has developed significantly in the past five decades, after World War-II.
While many trading companies have distanced themselves from their ‘textile’ origins, we remain a ‘textile company’. Marubeni and ITOCHU are the last two 'sogo soshas' to have an independent textile division in the organization. The Textile Company is ranked one of the top three domestic retailers/garment /apparel companies. ITOCHU’s net income reached 17.1 billion yen, making ITOCHU one of the top leading trading company.
What keeps your company ahead of competition?
We change our business models together with the rapid changes in the consumer market. In addition, our business covers a vast range of fields; from raw materials to garments, accessories, foods, household goods and products related to our lifestyles.
How do you see Asia from your business perspective?
Asia is very important to our business for mainly two reasons. Firstly, we have many factories in Asia for manufacturing not only materials and textiles, but also products for final consumers, such as garments and accessories. We put emphasis on these factories, since we are expecting business growth in the European and US markets. Secondly, Asia has great possibilities as consumers’ market. We have expanded our business to launching stores in Asia, such as ‘Le Sport Sac’ and ‘DEAN & DELUCA’. ‘Le Sport Sac’ was launched in collaboration with Novo Concept Holding Limited in Hong Kong. ‘DEAN & DELUCA,’ which is a sophisticated grocery store with a cafe, was launched in Taipei as the first one in Asia, in January 2007.
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