FILE PHOTO: Women in traditional costume 'Kimono' make their way at a shopping district in Tokyo, Japan August 21, 2017. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo                  GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD.    SEARCH GLOBAL BUSINESS 27 NOV FOR ALL IMAGES
Retailers in Japan are increasingly targeting female workers. Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters

Japanese working women a new target for retailers

Many companies in Japan are increasingly promoting products towards working women.

The Tokyo-based major snack food maker Calbee's granola is a case in point. In 2011, the company, best known as a potato chip maker, decided to try to triple sales of its Frugra (a contraction of fruits and granola) brand to US$100 million. It did so and the firm then doubled that target two years later.

But its promotions team, headed by Yumiko Aboshi, a working mother, had their work cut out for them. As opposed to North America and Europe, where granola is considered a health food, it was seen by Japanese consumers as a sweet snack.

The team decided to market Frugra towards married working women, as they are the food-buying decision-makers in the household, their numbers are increasing, and they need to prepare breakfasts fast, Ms Aboshi tells The National.

For its sales promotion, the team adopted the strategy of making Frugra "the friend of yoghurt," as yoghurt is very popular in Japan, with annual sales of about ¥300 billion. In-store promoters offered Frugra with yoghurt tastings to supermarket shoppers. The slogan was, "A good thing in the morning: Frugra", Ms Aboshi says.

"This tells people that Frugra is superior to other breakfasts in terms of preparation time, nutrition [dietary fibre, reduced salt] and good taste," she says.

The promotional effort certainly bore fruit. Frugra sales jumped seven-fold over five years to the equivalent of about $266m in fiscal year 2016. In the past year, Calbee announced almost $100m of investments in two new granola factories, partly to supply shipments to China, where it is also becoming popular.

Other products are riding the marketing towards working mothers trend. Japan's biggest convenience store operator, Seven & i Holdings, is starting a food delivery service offering meal kits that take less than 10 minutes to prepare. The kits are primarily aimed at working women, women raising children as well as elderly people, the company's public relations officer Sandor Timar tells The National.

"As women's social advancement is accelerating in Japan, they have less time for cooking," Mr Timar says.



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The Japan branch of the US company iRobot, meanwhile, markets its self-operating vacuum cleaner Roomba towards working parents and those raising children. "People who do not have time for cleaning because they are working or raising children can use Roomba at any time, without needing to devote time or effort," says the iRobot Japan marketing group senior manager Yojiro Mochizuki.

Akira Kawaguchi, a professor at the Faculty of Policy Studies of Doshisha University in Japan's ancient capital of Kyoto, tells The National that he thinks that as the proportion of working women increases, the consumption of commodities and services that replace domestic duties will increase. A good example is the "chushoku" industry, says Mr Kawaguchi, who counts labour relations and gender studies among his fields of interest.

"'Chushoku’ is a new word that means prepared food such as daily dishes, lunch boxes and sandwiches, which are available at convenience stores and supermarkets," he says.

Ms Aboshi says that if her company's granola division, where women make up half of the staff including Ms Aboshi's boss, had been dominated by men, its success in raising Frugra sales might not have been achieved. "Opinions of multiple perspectives cannot spring up from meetings of only senior-aged men in Japanese companies," she says.

Japan Women's University's department of studies on contemporary society professor Machiko Osawa concurs. Also the director of her university's Research Institute for Women and Careers, Ms Osawa tells The National that as women are the main household purchasing consumers in Japan, they have a better grasp of consumers' mindsets when they undertake marketing activities.

"We are now at a time when experiences such as child rearing become a plus even when doing business, so I think that women's success is to be expected" in business, she says.


Director: Stephen Gaghan

Stars: Robert Downey Jr, Michael Sheen

One-and-a-half out of five stars


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Power: 630hp
Torque: 850Nm
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$1,000 award for 1,000 days on madrasa portal

Daily cash awards of $1,000 dollars will sweeten the Madrasa e-learning project by tempting more pupils to an education portal to deepen their understanding of math and sciences.

School children are required to watch an educational video each day and answer a question related to it. They then enter into a raffle draw for the $1,000 prize.

“We are targeting everyone who wants to learn. This will be $1,000 for 1,000 days so there will be a winner every day for 1,000 days,” said Sara Al Nuaimi, project manager of the Madrasa e-learning platform that was launched on Tuesday by the Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, to reach Arab pupils from kindergarten to grade 12 with educational videos.  

“The objective of the Madrasa is to become the number one reference for all Arab students in the world. The 5,000 videos we have online is just the beginning, we have big ambitions. Today in the Arab world there are 50 million students. We want to reach everyone who is willing to learn.”


Director: Sofia Coppola

Starring: Cailee Spaeny, Jacob Elordi

Rating: 3/5


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Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
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The specs

Engine: 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: seven-speed

Power: 720hp

Torque: 770Nm

Price: Dh1,100,000

On sale: now

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1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed


Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends


July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

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Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000


Main card

Robert Whittaker defeated Ikram Aliskerov via knockout (Round 1)
Alexander Volkov def Sergei Pavlovich via unanimous decision
Kelvin Gastelum def Daniel Rodriguez via unanimous decision
Shara Magomedov def Antonio Trocoli via knockout (Round 3)
Light heavyweight:
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Preliminary Card

Nasrat Haqparast def Jared Gordon via split decision
Felipe Lima def Muhammad Naimov via submission (Round 3)
Rinat Fakhretdinov defeats Nicolas Dalby via split decision
Muin Gafurov def Kang Kyung-ho via unanimous decision
Light heavyweight:
Magomed Gadzhiyasulov def Brendson Ribeiro via majority decision
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Processor: 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, 64-bit octa-core

Memory: 12GB RAM

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Platform: Android 14, One UI 6.1

Main camera: quad 200MP wide f/1.7 + 50MP periscope telephoto f/3.4 with 5x optical/10x optical quality zoom + 10MP telephoto 2.4 with 3x optical zoom + 12MP ultra-wide f/2.2; 100x Space Zoom; auto HDR, expert RAW

Video: 8K@24/30fps, 4K@30/60/120fps, full-HD@30/60/240fps, full-HD super slo-mo@960fps

Front camera: 12MP f/2.2

Battery: 5000mAh, fast wireless charging 2.0, Wireless PowerShare

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SIM: Nano + nano / nano + eSIM / dual eSIM (varies in different markets)

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In the box: Galaxy S24 Ultra, USB-C-to-C cable

Price: Dh5,099 for 256GB, Dh5,599 for 512GB, Dh6,599 for 1TB

THE BIO: Martin Van Almsick

Hometown: Cologne, Germany

Family: Wife Hanan Ahmed and their three children, Marrah (23), Tibijan (19), Amon (13)

Favourite dessert: Umm Ali with dark camel milk chocolate flakes

Favourite hobby: Football

Breakfast routine: a tall glass of camel milk

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1: Commit to countering all types of terrorism and extremism in all their manifestations

2: Denounce violence and the rhetoric of hatred

3: Adhere to the full compliance with the Riyadh accord of 2014 and the subsequent meeting and executive procedures approved in 2014 by the GCC

4: Comply with all recommendations of the Summit between the US and Muslim countries held in May 2017 in Saudi Arabia.

5: Refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of countries and of supporting rogue entities.

6: Carry out the responsibility of all the countries with the international community to counter all manifestations of extremism and terrorism that threaten international peace and security

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Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8

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