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Nikkei Buys Financial Times

By Dr. Jochen Legewie, Managing Director, CNC Communications, Japan, MSLGROUP

The deal was in the making for some time. The Nikkei, driven by its current president, gets very serious about its internationalization.

20 months ago, Nikkei embarked on its internationalization drive with the launch of the Nikkei Asian Review. I was among those who doubted its chances of success in challenging the FT and the WSJ as the world’s preeminent international business papers.

However 20 months are a long time in today’s fast changing media landscape, particularly with the shift from print to digital. The Nikkei Asian Review has actually developed faster and better than earlier thought. It has a kind of operational headquarters, and even once considered buying into the Bangkok Post.

Image source: Esther Vargas on Flickr

Image source: Esther Vargas on Flickr

But today’s announcement of its purchase of the FT demonstrates that the new Nikkei management is very serious about internationalization. And where it can be difficult to achieve this growth fast from within, an acquisition becomes the alternative. Chapeau! The current president often dares to challenge established internal rules, for example the rotation system. You can bet that overseas correspondents will no longer rotate automatically after 3-4 years but will now stay in their post if they prove to be an expert in that country or region. And for the first time there are foreigners working in Tokyo in Japanese for the Nikkei.

It won’t be an easy integration of the thoroughly international FT and the still very Japanese Nikkei. But it is an exciting attempt, and an even more interesting proof-point of Japan’s economic internationalization.

This article first appeared on the CNC Communications & Network Consulting blog.


Dr. Jochen Legewie is a 25 year communications veteran and business leader, counselling and implementing programs for a range of government and public sector organizations, as well as for leading global corporations on their Japan, APAC and global strategy. Fluent in German, English and Japanese, he is the author of numerous books on business and has been widely published in various German, English and Japanese newspapers and journals. With a PhD in economics, he is one of the few foreign members of Keizai Doyukai, the Japan Association of Corporate Executives. In addition, Dr. Legewie is the Asia Practice Leader for Reputation Management and Corporate Communications. Follow him on Twitter: @JochenLegewie