Docomo & Laox

DOCOMO and Laox to Offer Special Benefits to Chinese and Korean visitors in Japan

Hitoshi Sato

Hitoshi Sato

NTT DOCOMO, INC. and Laox Co., Ltd., a Japan-based tax-free retailer, announced on 14th July 2015 that they have reached a basic agreement to jointly offer benefits tailored to overseas visitors shopping at Laox stores throughout Japan.
Laox is a pioneer of tax-free retail sales in Japan and one of the most extensive networks of general tax-free stores. Through sales of original Japanese products and meticulous service, Laox aims to achieve maximum customer satisfaction and increased global awareness of the high quality represented by “Made in Japan.”.And Laox has already entered in Chinese market and famous as “蘇寧(SUNING)” and”楽購仕(Laox)” brand and familiar with Chinese.

The first initiative, scheduled to launch in October 2015, will be discounts offered at Laox stores to customers of China Mobile Communications Corporation and KT Corporation of South Korea who use DOCOMO’s international roaming services while travelling in Japan.

Customers who roam on the DOCOMO mobile network in Japan will be validated for the discounts when they shop at any Laox shop nationwide.

DOCOMO, China Mobile and KT have concluded their Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement since January 2011, aiming initially to expand usage of their respective international roaming services. The partnership with Laox is based on a joint decision to target overlapping customers, in this case overseas mobile users who visit tax-free shops in Japan. This is the first time for the three mobile companies to collaborate with a third-party company. In that sense, this Laox’s service is offered to the customers coming from China and Korea, and limited of whose customers using China Mobile or KT.

DOCOMO could attract any foreign tourists to use their network in Japan and boost inbound revenue of roaming fee. DOCOMO provided a service “docomo Wi-Fi for visitor” for foreigners in August 2014 as a pilot and they offered “Jspeak” face-to-face mobile translation service for smartphones and tablets, targeting travelers from abroad. However both Wi-Fi and translation app from DOCOMO are not free, and then there are so many competitive service without charge. Inbound service for visitors DOCOMO provides does not make any sufficient revenue. For DOCOMO, network charge, or roaming fee in the sense of inbound is good revenue for telecommunication company DOCOMO. This time the partnership with Laox does not pay any cost. No parties pay for this tie-up. For three carriers, they can earn network charge (roaming) and Laox can get customers to purchase something in Japan.

DOCOMO and Laox will continue to strengthen their support for foreign shoppers through possible tie-ups with additional partners, such as foreign mobile carriers and companies offering products or services to foreign visitors in Japan. Also, both companies will offer specialized information useful to foreigners during their stays in Japan, language support by leveraging mobile-translation technologies, marketing initiatives supported with big data, and more.

Recently there are so many foreigners, especially Chinese visit Japan, and they love shopping in Japan. There are so many department stores, electric shops for duty free. There is a good opportunity for any parties to succeed this kind or tie-up.