Content, tools, customer base make compelling relationship
Nikkei looks for new revenue stream outside Japan
LISTENING to the small talk among N2N Connect Bhd’s shareholders at its recent AGM and EGM (annual and extraordinary general meeting), it is clear that they are excited about the future of the small technology counter listed on Bursa Malaysia that managed to attract the attention of Japanese heavyweight media Nikkei Inc and Quick Corp, a subsidiary of Nikkei Inc.
Conversely, speak to Furuse Akio (pic), general manager of Business Development at Nikkei Group Asia Pte Ltd, and you hear the same sentiment from the Japanese about their business getting a boost thanks to their US$33.4-million (RM109-million) investment into N2N Connect.
“We decided in 2010 that we had to expand beyond Japan as that was where our growth, both as a content company and a technology company, would come from,” explains Akio, who runs Nikkei’s newly-expanded South-East Asia business development and sales team out of Singapore with a team of 15 executives.
Akio has been based in Singapore since April 2014 and is tasked with expanding Nikkei’s revenue from the region. “We have the content and the analytical tools [through Quick Corp, Japan’s largest financial information provider] and want to combine them into a new revenue stream for us.”
The opportunity for this came through a meeting with Andrew Tiang, N2N’s founder and chief executive officer. Through a common friend, Akio was introduced to Tiang last year. That meeting culminated in the April announcement of Nikkei and Quick investing into N2N.
The fact that it happened in less than a year, whereas Japanese investors typically take a much longer time to get comfortable with any investment target, shows how synergic the two parties are to each other’s ambitions.
This is a fact that Tiang attests to when he talks about how N2N now has a real opportunity to expand, not just into Japan, but to cover the Pan-Asian market, in introducing its integrated multi-asset class trading platform TcProTM.
At the same time, N2N will help to ‘Asia-nise’ Quick’s financial terminals which are totally Japanese in terms of both language and content. Japan’s stock exchange will be a very interested party in this as it wishes to expand its market share and open up to Asian brokers and their customers.
“It will be very hard for Quick to do this on its own,” claims Tiang (pic), adding, “That is why there is very good synergy in this deal.”
Part of the strategy to expand Quick’s technologies and analytical tools throughout Asia is by going local. “You need to offer local languages; I think that is the key to success,” he says, noting that competing services like Bloomberg only offer their terminals in English.
Aware that competitors like Bloomberg have a strong news component to the financial data that they offer, Nikkei has begun to expand its news team in the region with around 50 journalists based throughout South-East Asia, with its editorial headquarters located in Bangkok.
Pointing out that there is no pan-Asian content in South-East Asia, and Akio shares that just recently, Nikkei launched a weekly magazine called Nikkei Asian Review. Content from the magazine will be shared with N2N through the TcProTM trading platform.
The various moves by Nikkei and Quick within South-East Asia offer Tiang the confidence to declare that they “allow us to offer a truly one-stop financial platform that we have been wanting to build all these years. This partnership makes that complete.”
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