The following are highlights of the results of this survey:
(1) Ratio of overseas production and business prospects
Overseas production and sales ratios continued to be in an upward trend, and were 35.6% and 39.6%, respectively. As for business prospects, 76.6% of companies responded "Strengthen/expand" regarding overseas operations, and while this had declined slightly from 80.5% last year, it continued to be at a high level. As for domestic operations, "Strengthen/expand" recovered to 34.0%, topping 30% for the first time in six years.
(2) Promising countries over the medium term
India was in the first place for the third straight year, and its percentage share rose again to just below 50%. As for reasons for India being promising, "Future growth potential of local market" was the top response. China stayed in the second place, and its percentage share rose to just over 40%. Indonesia, which was tied for the second place with China in the previous year, moved to the third place.
(3) Status of supply chain
1. As for supply chain issues, "Easily affected by foreign exchange risk" was the most frequent response at close to 60%. Over 20% of companies gave the responses "The supply chain is not being managed sufficiently by headquarters because of an increase in suppliers and in cross-border transactions," and "Unable to sufficiently understand the risk of supply disruptions", respectively.
2. Over half of the companies that named "Shipping cost (including customs duty)" and "Shipping time (including time required for customs clearance)" as judgment criteria related to increasing procurement rate, responded that they took into consideration the existence of FTAs and EPAs including TPP. As for managing supply disruption risks, companies answered that they "diversify materials suppliers," "try to identify upstream suppliers," "hold sufficient inventories," etc.
(4) Roles of production bases and R&D bases
1. While over 60% of the companies responded that Japan's production bases have the roles to "train human resources/transfer skills" and to "improve/propagate production processes," there were high expectations regarding production bases in other regions to have the role to "produce products that meet local needs."
2. As for the medium-term budgets of R&D, "this will be increased in Japan" was the most frequent response, but in regard to automobiles, an increasing trend in "Europe" and "the United Sates" was stronger than "Japan." As for ways that companies want to strengthen R&D, over 70% of the companies gave the response of "Focusing on innovative products" in Japan, while in other regions, many companies gave the response of "Focusing on development products that meet local market needs."
(5) Status of competition in the global market
As for competitors in sales markets, Japanese companies are top competitors in the markets of ASEAN5, European/American companies are the top in the markets of India, North America, EU15, and Brazil, Chinese companies are the top in the Chinese market.
As for points that companies focused on in the medium term in order to beat competitors, a lot of companies gave the responses to "strengthen price competitiveness," "develop/produce products that meet local customer needs," "enhance quality of local human resources," and "strengthen brand".This shows the future direction of companies' efforts for expanding market share.