written by Tsuruaki Yukawa
Bloger in Chief of TechWave
On June 8, Gree Corporation got listed in the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Before that day, the company which operates one of the three biggest social networking services in Japan had been listed in the Mothers Section of the Exchange, which is a market of the high-growth and emerging stocks. The company also plans to move to a much bigger office in Roppongi Hills, a luxurious high rise in the heart of downtown Tokyo. Asked why the company decieded to be listed in the First Section of the Exchange, Yoshikazu Tanaka comments, “Whatever happens in the future, we want to be able to raise capital easily.” On the reason for the move of its headquarters, “To the company to grow from 500 to 1000 employees” says Tanaka. In other words, he aims to grow his company from the 100 or so employees to several times its current size in one stroke.
When asked for the reason for raising more capital and increasing the scale of their operations, Tanaka replied “It’s a secret.” Naoki Aoyanagi, CFO at Gree said, “The key point here is ‘global'”. In the fields of mobile technology and gaming, Japan leads the world in providing content and distribution platform. From listening to Tanaka and Aoyanagi, it seems that a specific strategic plan already exists. Gree seems poised to take a large gamble in the near future.
Although the details of their global strategy has been declared a “secret” by Tanaka, Gree has already established offices in China and the United States in an effort to “find more partners to share our push for global expansion”.
Which leads one to wonder what sort of operations they are undertaking in order to become a global company? Tanaka says, “We don’t necessarily aim to become a gaming company but it is difficult to break into the global market as a pure SNS. So we are trying to leverage mobile games to break into the global market. There have been other gaming companies that been successful going global so we are thinking that games may be the key to breaking in. I don’t think it’s impossible for a mobile platform from Japan to become global platform in the future.”
Apple has released its own social game platform called GameCenter which is offered on the iPhone. Was it released to distinguish itself prior to Gree’s break into the global market? Aoyanagi says, “In the past, KDDI, one of Japane’s mobile operators, partnered with Gree and both grew together. As long as we take each country’s market conditions into consideration, there should be a way to make it happen.” He implies that if Gree is able to make good partnerships like it did with KDDI, it should be able to compete in the global space also.
So my dear readers, now that you have seen the video, what are your thoughts? I believe that Gree already has a clear plan in the works. The way Tanaka said “It’s a secret” so directly and succinctly shows that Gree does not show a lack of confidence from lack of direction.
Against a background of raising capital and expanding their offices, Gree definitely seems to be preparing for something big.