Information Releases

Survey of Corporate Attitude Towards Overseas Expansion (2019)

24.7% of companies expand overseas
— Issues on overseas expansion,“securing in-house human resources (Japanese)” ranked top —


The government positions overseas expansion of small- and medium-sized companies as an important policy challenge in its strategy for growth. Under such circumstances, it is expected that not only large Japanese companies, but also small- and medium-sized companies aim to further advance overseas with the active support of the national and local governments as a tailwind. On the other hand, risks for companies when advancing overseas, such as local information gathering and relationships between Japan and other countries, manifest themselves.

Teikoku Databank has conducted a survey on corporate attitudes towards overseas expansion. This survey was conducted in conjunction with the September 2019 TDB Trends Research.

*Survey period: September 13 – September 30, 2019. Companies Surveyed: 23,696. Valid Responses: 9,901 (Response Rate: 41.8%). This is the 3rd survey on overseas expansion following those of May 2012 and September 2014.

*Details of this survey can be found on the dedicated Economic Trend Survey HP (

Primary points of survey results(summary)

  1. 1 With respect to the situation of advancing overseas, 24.7% of companies expand their business overseas directly or indirectly. By industry, the manufacturing industry showed the highest percentage (39.8%), followed by wholesale and financial industries at over 20% (29.5% and 27.6%, respectively). Conversely, over 70% of companies are not advancing overseas.
  2. 2 A “business partner” ranked top (at 38.0%) in the parties companies go to for advice when expanding their business overseas, followed by a “public support organization” (29.0%), “the main bank” (26.0%), a “local company” (16.6%), and a “local Japanese company” (15.5%). (Multiple answers allowed)
  3. 3 With respect to the countries that companies place most importance upon, China was top in terms of both production base and sales destination. The top ten countries and regions for each category were Asian countries and regions except for the United States of America.
  4. 4 As for issues on overseas expansion, “securing in-house human resources (Japanese)” ranked top at 45.2% (Multiple answers allowed). “Language difference” (37.9%), “difference in culture and business practices” (37.3%), “establishment of company structure for overseas expansion” (36.6%), and “information gathering for economic situation of the country to which the company expands its business” (33.9%) were highly ranked.
  5. 5 In terms of expected support services, “support for legal system and business practices” ranked top at 42.0%, followed by “risk management” (36.1%) and “support for human resources development” (28.6%). (Multiple answers allowed)
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