Rohto × Overseas

The World can be Changed by the Aspiration of Only One Person

Two and half years have passed since Fumiko Akojima registered Rohto-Mentholatum Kenia and took office as the representative.

Fumiko, who once aimed at the road to international cooperation has chosen the path of launching a business in Africa, and in Kenya of all places.

The reason behind her decision is the desire to meet the needs of the local community, provide employment and stimulate the economy.

This is a social environment that can only be realized through business and not through volunteer work.

She believed that such dynamism would benefit Africa in the true sense.

Health and beauty are two values Rohto Pharmaceutical can offer.

Fumiko says that such values can give the people of Africa hope.

Health and beauty turn into smiles and confidence, and the faces of the people of Africa will light up even further.

The world is already changing.

Slowly but steadily.


Facing the World by Settling in the Local Community

Spreading beauty and health overseas

After The Mentholatum Company (US) became a subsidiary in 1988, Rohto Pharmaceutical strengthened overseas advancement. Rohto started selling products in Southeast Asia including China, Vietnam and Indonesia. Currently, Rohto has even actively opened up the markets in Africa. The characteristic of Rohto's overseas advancement is not a horizontal expansion of using the exact same products sold in Japan, but to enter the local community and develop products that suit the particular needs of that country. Rohto will spread the happiness that is generated by new habit as well as health and beauty through selling products such as skin lotions, launching colored lip cream, etc., in countries that are not accustomed to taking care of skin.

Vietnam as the critical base in Southeast Asia

Vietnam as the critical base in Southeast Asia

Vietnam is the first country where Rohto Pharmaceutical launched overseas business from scratch. Although Vietnam's economic power, such as GDP per capita, was low, the liaison office was opened in 1996. This decision was made because there were certain appeals to the country trying to grow after opening up the markets by the Doi Moi reform program. Started by Masaya Saito and three other local staff members, its competitors were giantic overseas cosmetics manufacturers and there was no market for OTC eye drops. In such tough market, they accepted to take all such difficulties as opportunities. Although the environment was such that there was no market data, customer gatherings were held to directly hear the voices of customers. The gathering is still held once a week to date. Overcoming various difficulties, the factory has grown to a scale holding more than 1,000 employees at the present. The factory will evolve into a sophisticated production facility capable of manufacturing such products as eye drops as well as a flexible, production supply base of Southeast Asia.

Spreading intraocular lenses in Indonesia

Rohto Pharmaceutical also advanced into Indonesia in 1996. Initially, the business was limited to intraocular lenses (IOL) for cataract surgery and Rohto Eye Drop. There were many challenges and difficulties as the IOL business is a new field for Rohto and the production had to start locally from scratch. Although the company name was well-recognized for eye drops, it was extremely difficult to gain understanding of the quality by local ophthalmologists and to be accepted by customers, the staff members of the company visited clinics again and again. Rohto's IOL has now grown into a brand that is trusted even among ophthalmologists. IOL is a business that leads to social contributions as the use of lenses can decrease blindness caused by cataracts.

Rohto hopes to remain a company that continues to contribute to the society and customers through business.

Entering the market in India with a local subsidiary

Entering the market in India with a local subsidiary

Rohto entered the Indian market with the strong beliefs of Shingo Kuriyama that the country is full of opportunities. After a few years of visiting and conducting market surveys, the local subsidiary was finally established in 2009. Skincare products were widely spread including OXY, a refreshing face wash, and color lip cream favored by people of India. The Indian market is strict by all means including competition with major overseas and local corporations. Rohto is starting to establish measures for the future such as building a marketing strategy for the Indian population with western-influenced lifestyle.

Opening a local subsidiary in Kenya

Rohto Mentholatum Kenya established by Fumiko Akojima in 2013 has become an important east entrance to the businesses in Africa.

Although skincare products is the main business in Kenya, the company plans to contribute to increase income by providing local work and also conduct preparatory survey for "High value skin product that uses farm surpluses", aiming at creating products that are unique to Kenya and its local agriculture. This plan has been adopted as part of the "BO business subject investigation" of JICA.

Fumiko believes that Kenya, as well as the remainder of Africa, hold great potential.

People are positive and cheerful, purchasing activities are active and awareness towards health and beauty is high. It is Rohto's mission to deliver products that meet the requirements at a reasonable price where there is demand.