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Morito targets becoming 100-billion-yen company as it looks to expand international presence

Article - May 29, 2023

Morito combines expertise in trading of apparel accessories with manufacturing capabilities to offer solutions for various industries, including clothing, furniture, automotive and medical.

“We want to provide a comprehensive service that caters to global companies.”

Takaki Ichitsubo, Representative Director & CEO, Morito Co., Ltd.

Japan’s trading companies have played a particularly important role as the bridge between the nation’s SME manufacturers and global customers, particularly in the B2B sphere. But in today’s business environment, these traders have had to evolve in order to survive. No longer do they merely provide financing and logistics, they also add value in new ways, whether through co-creation, consultation, R&D, or even taking on the role of manufacturer themselves.

Established in 1908, Morito is one such trader that has evolved with the times in order to build a thriving international company engaged in the supply and manufacture of apparel accessories.

Today, the products that Morito supplies are found not only in clothing, they are also used in cars, furniture and in Japan’s Shinkansen trains, with the company also setting its sights on expanding into the medical industry.

“All our products are based on the concept of our founder which is to create products that connect, fix or decorate,” states Takaki Ichitsubo, Representative Director and CEO of Morito. “Snap fasteners are especially used in apparel, but they are also utilized in the automotive field. Car floor mats use eyelets and snap fasteners to hold them in place. Sofas have eyelets or small holes for ventilation. Moreover, our snap fasteners are used in the curtains in airplanes, and our cords and laces are utilized in hooded outfits. We also provide the mesh net that employs our weaving technology used behind cars and Shinkansen seats.”

Acting as a bridge between manufacturer and customer, Morito focuses on the trading of products manufactured in Japan by SMEs who often do not have enough capability to do the sales. As it is able to provide information on what kind of market requires specific products, it can give new ideas and hints to manufacturers to drive innovation. Meanwhile, the company is driving its own innovation as a manufacturer of several products, particularly metal-processed parts. Twenty percent of its revenue now comes from its manufacturing arm.

With its sights set on becoming a “100-billion-yen company” and “number one niche company globally”, Morito has outlined several pillars in its long-term strategy, namely: expanding its manufacturing capacity while also targeting B2C markets; growing its international business through M&As and other alliance opportunities; strengthening its presence in markets with high growth potential, such as China and Southeast; and moving into new areas such as the medical industry

“We are trying to provide and supply to various industries, but we envision growth in the medical field. We are not planning to provide any life-critical components. Rather, we want to focus on the products and other devices that we already have,” says Mr. Ichitsubo. “Our product lineup is so diversified, but our philosophy is to grasp current demands and provide something that is a little bit ahead of time to satisfy the needs of society.”

The president also stresses the importance of M&As in order for Morito to reach its goals, with the company aiming to complete three to four M&A agreements per year. “Of course, we are not only doing M&As. Our company's philosophy is not only to actively seek growth but also to steadily grow. The current worth of our company is JPY 50 billion (approx. $368 million). In order to double that in the near future, each company within the group must strive to pursue and excel in its individual market with its own uniqueness and innovation. At the same time, we have to fully utilize our network to serve our global customers. We want to provide a comprehensive service that caters to global companies.”