"Hidden Champions" are little known world market leaders. Scattered across the globe, these successful companies are known only by a handful of experts. This concealment is in stark contrast to the positions and the dominance the Hidden Champions enjoy in their markets. Many of them have global market shares of over 50 percent; some hold as much as 70 or 90 percent. On average they are more than twice the size of their strongest competitors. They are the vanguard of globalization.
Recent research has identified about 200 Hidden Champions in Japan. Regarding strategy, organization, and operations, they resemble their Western peers. However, there are also some striking differences. Western Hidden Champions can be found in almost all industries, whereas 95% of their Japanese peers are industrial manufacturers. Furthermore, the Japanese Hidden Champions are on average approximately twice as large as their Western peers. They seem to need a higher “critical mass” to conquer global markets. Finally, the Japanese Hidden Champions are generally less profitable. This lecture will analyze market strategies, organizational structures and leadership principles of Japanese Hidden Champions in comparison with their Western peers.
Dr. Stefan Lippert is a business school professor and management consultant. He has taught MBA classes at Kenichi Ohmae Graduate School of Business, Temple University Japan, Hitotsubashi University ICS in Tokyo and at other business schools in Japan and overseas. He is also a Senior Adviser to the European School of Management and Technology CS in Berlin. Dr. Lippert’s current interests include the internationalization of Japanese service firms and SMEs, especially the “Hidden Champions”. He was the Managing Partner Japan of Simon-Kucher & Partners. Prior to that, he worked with McKinsey & Company.