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On May 12, ASICS CEO Motoi Oyama spoke before a gathering of American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) members and their guests at the Tokyo American Club.

The topic was the ASICS global strategy, which has doubled the company’s revenue growth under Oyama’s leadership. Founded on the philosophy of “a sound mind in a sound body,” ASICS has seen a doubling of revenue growth over the past five years. The company continues to expand its market presence globally by applying its vision: “Creating Quality Lifestyle through Intelligent Sport Technology.”

Oyama began with an overview of the company’s history, explaining how, in a depressed post-war Japan, founder Kihachiro Onitsuka realized that to prevent apathy among the nation’s youth, hope and optimism must be instilled. This led to the birth of ASICS in 1949, and the company’s first product—basketball shoes—in 1950.

Today ASICS finds itself ranked 17th on consultancy firm Interbrand’s list of Japan’s best global brands. It’s an achievement that Oyama is very proud of, but his eyes are set on a greater prize: the Interbrand Global Top 100.

The increased global nature of ASICS has put this within reach. The company’s domestic and overseas sales are worth ¥428.4 billion, with 75% of that coming from overseas. He explained the restructuring of subsidiaries that has created a solid global foundation, placing specific areas of operation management and production in Japan, the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Oceania/Southeast Asia, and East Asia.

Presenting the core strategies of the ASICS Growth Plan 2020, Oyama described how a direct-to-consumer (DTC) approach is key to their future. The DTC mindset is a consumer-centric way of thinking that creates the best touch-points and enables direct communication between consumers and ASICS. The information gleaned from this interaction becomes the basis for the entire business process.

Oyama explained some of the challenges of doing business in the United States, where they must account for the tendency of big box retailers to price-match online stores such as Amazon. Because there is a shift from in-store purchases to online purchases among younger consumers, who shop from their mobile devices, ASICS has had to develop a strategy that smartly combines brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce.

He also touched on the business impact of global sporting events, including the Tokyo Marathon—which has seen a rise in the number of non-Japanese runners from 8% in 2013 to 18% in 2016—and the Olympics, which the Mizuho Research Institute estimates will deliver ¥30 trillion in economic effects.

Looking ever farther ahead, Oyama shed light on troubling trends in physical inactivity. Projections are that by 2030 nearly 50% of people in the United States and China will not take part in physical activity, resulting in $47 trillion in added healthcare costs for the global economy according to the UK medical journal The Lancet. ASICS, he says, is in a race to slow this trend.

To close out the event, ACCJ President Chris LaFleur presented Oyama with a certificate of appreciation.

ACCJ President Christopher J. LaFleur, ACCJ Executive Director Laura Younger, and ASICS CEO Motoi Oyama at the ASICS Global Strategy event at Tokyo American Club.

ACCJ President Christopher J. LaFleur, ACCJ Executive Director Laura Younger, and
ASICS CEO Motoi Oyama at the ASICS Global Strategy event at Tokyo American Club.

Christopher Bryan Jones is Editor-in-chief of The Journal. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, he has lived in Japan since 1997.
ASICS has seen a doubling of revenue growth over the past five years.