6 August 2020

Key points

  • Japan – Frozen foods warehouse space remains tight, owing to high demands for existing products that have been impacted by supply-chain slowdowns. This may impact Australian exporters and lead to increased logistics costs if smaller shipments have to be despatched more frequently.
  • Japan – According to a Nikkei News survey conducted with 100 major Japanese restaurant chain operators, roughly 1200 restaurants are expected to close this year. The number of new stores will also remain low at 600. Restaurant chains struggled to regain customers in Jul, and this may impact large-volume food suppliers in Australia.
  • Japan – The price of imported cheese has fallen 8% to the lowest level since early 2017. The transaction price of imported cheese is negotiated semi-annually between overseas dairy producers and Japanese trading companies. Imports from Australia and New Zealand, which account for about half of the imports, have a large impact on prices in the domestic market. The pandemic has led to a significant decline in cheese demand at restaurants worldwide.

Market opportunities

  • Korea – Korean demand for edtech is growing and the Korean Government plans to invest KRW 1.3 trillion (A$1.5 billion) to digitalise Korean education delivery by 2025. So far, content quality, server issues and copyright have been bottlenecks. According to EdTechX Global, Korea’s edtech market was worth KRW 4.0 trillion (A$4.6 billion) in 2019; it is projected to grow substantially in the next three years.
  • Korea – Korean factories are seeking smart manufacturing technologies. On July 23, the Korean government announced a plan to build 1,000 5G and AI-equipped smart factories by 2025. This follows a 2018 plan to build 30,000 smart factories by 2022, in partnership with the nation’s major manufacturers and telcos. However, there have been concerns that to date, over 80% of the planned transformation related to basic automation, as opposed to technologies such as connected data, predictive and prescriptive analytics, and AI-driven automation. 
  • Korea – Korea is actively looking for investment opportunities that will help the country to diversify input sources for its three key manufacturing industries – semi-conductors, cars and ship-building. The Korean Government’s investment-promotion agency, Invest Korea, is actively helping Korean companies – especially in the field of mergers and acquisitions – to strengthen the supply security of key materials.  

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