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The Japanese Machinery Industry

The Japanese Machinery Industry


The industrial machinery market is constantly growing. Between 2000 and 2014, global production value of machine tools more than doubled from under $40 billion to over $80 billion. And the market is becoming more and more international. As in other industries, Asia has become one of the most important markets worldwide.
With China, Japan and South Korea beside Germany and the U.S., three of the five largest machine consumers and producers in 2015 hailed from Asia. Other countries like Taiwan or Vietnam are becoming important manufacturers and buyers, too.

For detailed statistics refer to the 2015 World Machine-Tool Output & Consumption Survey by Gardner Research

With Japan, Asia is also home to one of the most established and developed markets: The Japanese machinery industry is of global renown for its high quality brands.

Industry Overview

There are around 200 manufacturers of machine tools in Japan. Some of the most famous brands include DMG Mori Seiki, Yamazaki Mazak, Okuma and Fanuc. In 2014, six out of 11 largest machine tools manufacturers in terms of revenue came from Japan: Amada Co. Ltd., Komatsu Ltd., DMG Mori Co. Ltd., Makino Milling Machine Co. Ltd., Jtekt Corp., and Okuma Corp.

Their machines are very popular, especially in Europe. The U.S. is becoming a large buyer of machine tools, too: Imports have been increasing from $8 billion in 2013 to $10 billion in 2015, while production of machine tools has been decreasing.

The global rise of machine tool consumption presents a clear opportunity for Japan’s manufacturers.
In order to grow in the European market, Mori Seiki has merged with German manufacturer Gildemeister to create DMG Mori. In 2015, 20 percent of sales revenues came from Europe and this amount is expected to grow in 2016.

Yamazaki Mazak Corp. is also actively working the European market. The Japanese company has opened four research centers in the past six years: Katowice in Poland, Prague in the Czech Republic, and Duesseldorf and Leipzig in Germany. In May 2016, Mazak has announced the opening of its technology center in Hungary, the 14th in Europe. Overall, the European market represents 30 percent of Mazak’s turnover.

Fanuc Corp. controls 65 percent of the global market share in CNC controls worldwide. The company has been included in the Top 100 Global Innovator list by Thomson Reuters in 2011 and 2012. It is represented in more than 14 countries in Europe and is currently developing the Chinese and South Korean market. The company’s largest market is America with 2015 sales of $1.034 billion, closely followed by Japan with $1.030 billion.
A considerable strength of many companies in the Japanese machinery industry is that they have deep market knowledge due to their long history. Japan Steel Works Ltd. for example was founded in 1907, Yamazaki Mazak in 1919, Mori Seiki tracks back its history to 1948, and Fanuc does to 1958.


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