IPO in Japan

IPO In Japan

What is an Initial Public Offering (IPO)?

An Initial Public Offering (IPO) in Japan is a significant financial event in which a private company decides to go public by offering its shares to the general public for the first time. Its primary goal is to raise capital to fund the company’s growth, expansion, or other corporate initiatives. This process involves the issuance of new shares of stock to investors, and existing shareholders may also sell some of their holdings during the IPO in Japan. The prospectus is reviewed and approved by the relevant regulatory authorities, such as the Japan Financial Services Agency (FSA) in the case of Japan.

Once the IPO process in Japan is completed, the company’s shares are listed and can be traded on a stock exchange, allowing investors, including institutional and retail investors, to buy and sell shares of the company. IPOs in Japan are typically underwritten by investment banks that assist in pricing the shares and facilitating the sale to the public. The funds raised from an IPO in Japan can be used for various purposes, such as paying off debt, financing research and development, expanding operations, or acquiring other companies. Entrepreneurs in Japan.

What is the value of an IPO in Japan?

An IPO in Japan is a critical financial milestone that provides businesses and startups with access to capital, increased visibility and credibility, liquidity for shareholders, and various strategic advantages. However, it also comes with regulatory obligations and the need for greater transparency and accountability. The decision to go public in Japan should be carefully considered, weighing the benefits against the costs and responsibilities associated with becoming a publicly traded company in Japan. IPOs in Japan offer several significant benefits to businesses and startups:

Access to Capital: The primary and most immediate benefit of an IPO in Japan is access to a substantial pool of capital. By going public in Japan, companies can raise funds from a wide range of investors, which can be used to fuel growth, expand operations, invest in research and development, and pursue strategic acquisitions in Japan.

Enhanced Visibility and Credibility: Going public in Japan increases a company’s visibility and credibility in the market. Being listed on a stock exchange in Japan can boost a company’s reputation and signal to customers, suppliers, and partners that it is a well-established and financially stable entity in Japan. Liquidity for Existing

Shareholders: An IPO in Japan allows existing shareholders, including founders and early investors, to sell their shares to the public, providing them with an opportunity to realize a return on their investments. This liquidity event in Japan can also incentivize employees through stock-based compensation programs.

Currency for Acquisitions: Publicly traded companies in Japan often use their stock as currency for mergers and acquisitions (M&A). This can facilitate strategic deals and growth through consolidation in Japan. Increased Transparency and Corporate Governance: Public companies in Japan are subject to regulatory requirements that mandate transparency in financial reporting and corporate governance practices. This increased transparency in Japan can lead to better investor trust and confidence.

Attracting Top Talent: Being a publicly traded company in Japan can make it easier to attract top talent, as potential employees may be more willing to join a company with a liquid and publicly traded stock in Japan.

Benchmark for Valuation: The stock price of a publicly traded company in Japan serves as a benchmark for its valuation, which can be useful for future fundraising, partnerships, and negotiations in Japan.

IPO in Japan

What unique benefits does an IPO in Japan provide?

While there are numerous benefits to conducting an IPO in Japan, companies must weigh these advantages against their specific needs, market dynamics, and long-term strategies to the benefits of conducting an IPO in Japan. Some key benefits that an IPO in Japan provides are:

Stable Economic Environment: Japan’s stable economic and political environment can offer a safe haven for companies, especially when global markets face volatility, making an IPO in Japan even more attractive.

Access to Asian Markets: With its strategic geographical location and strong ties with other Asian economies, an IPO in Japan can act as a gateway for companies looking to expand in the broader Asian market.

Specialized Investor Base: Certain sectors, like technology, robotics, and green energy, have a strong investor base in Japan. Companies operating in these sectors can tap into this specialized investor pool for better valuations and post-IPO performance during their IPO in Japan.

Reputation and Brand Value: Being listed on a prestigious platform like the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) during an IPO in Japan can significantly elevate a company’s brand value and reputation in the global market.

Guide to Doing Sales in Japan

What are the Largest IPOs in Japan?

Rakuten Bank:

A subsidiary of Rakuten Group, Rakuten Bank became one of the prominent entities after its successful IPO in Japan. Being a part of the Rakuten Group allowed the bank to seamlessly integrate with other services like Rakuten Ichiba (e-commerce platform), providing it with a vast customer base from the outset. The integration with the Rakuten ecosystem, combined with its innovative banking solutions such as instant money transfers and competitive forex rates during its IPO in Japan, made it particularly attractive to younger demographics. The strong trust factor it inherited from its reputable parent company also gave it an edge during its IPO in Japan, ensuring investors and clients placed their faith in its services.

SBI Sumishin Net Bank:

This joint venture between SBI Holdings and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank, following its IPO in Japan, represents the perfect blend of conventional banking and fintech. Their hybrid approach, showcased during their IPO in Japan, combined the legacy trust of Sumitomo Mitsui with the digital prowess of SBI, delivering a comprehensive banking experience. Being a net bank, it constantly focused on technological advancements, setting it apart from traditional banking models during its IPO in Japan.

Socionext Inc.:

As a leading designer of system-on-chips, Socionext solidified its place at the forefront of the semiconductor industry, especially after its IPO in Japan. Their strategic collaborations with industry leaders ensured they consistently remained ahead of the curve during their IPO in Japan. By catering to a diverse range of industries, from automotive to telecommunications, they’ve managed to maintain a diversified portfolio during their IPO in Japan.

Visional, Inc.:

Emerging as a beacon for Japanese startups, Visional Inc. marked its territory with its 2021 IPO in Japan. What set Visional apart during its IPO in Japan was its unique offerings, ensuring it carved out a specific niche for itself in the market. The agile business model intrinsic to startups meant Visional had the flexibility to shift gears based on market demand, always staying relevant during its IPO in Japan. The strong leadership at its helm ensured Visional navigated its way through challenges, culminating in a successful IPO in Japan.

What are the characteristics of companies with successful IPOs?

These companies are characterized by their focus on innovation, backed by strong leadership that anticipates market trends. Their adaptability ensures they remain relevant, while their financial health and strategic collaborations augment their growth and market presence.

In Japan, the IPO journey is a well-defined process, but the time it takes for a startup to go public can vary. The duration for a startup to become a publicly traded company in Japan is not set in stone. Several factors can influence the timeline. On average, the process takes approximately 6-12 months from the initial preparations to the final listing on a stock exchange. Here, we will delve into the key aspects of this journey.

What Does the IPO Journey Look Like?

In Japan, the IPO journey is a well-defined process, but the time it takes for a startup to go public can vary. The duration for a startup to become a publicly traded company in Japan is not set in stone. Several factors can influence the timeline. On average, the process takes approximately 6-12 months from the initial preparations to the final listing on a stock exchange. Here, we will delve into the key aspects of this journey.

What Are the Key Steps in the Japanese IPO Process?

The Japanese IPO process comprises several critical steps, each demanding meticulous planning and execution. These steps include:

  • Preparatory Phase: This is the initial stage where your company assesses its readiness for an IPO. It involves selecting underwriters, legal advisors, and auditors, and preparing the necessary financial documents.
  • Regulatory Approval: Submitting your application to the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) is a crucial step. The FSA will scrutinize your financials, corporate governance, and compliance with regulations.
  • Offering and Subscription: This is where you offer shares to investors. It includes setting the share price and marketing your IPO to potential investors.
  • Listing on a Stock Exchange: Once you’ve received regulatory approval and secured investors, your company’s shares can be listed on a Japanese stock exchange.
  • Post-IPO Compliance: After going public, your company must continue to meet regulatory requirements, make financial disclosures, and manage relationships with shareholders.

What is an underwriter and how do I choose one? 

An underwriter plays a pivotal role in the IPO process. They are financial institutions or investment banks responsible for facilitating the IPO and ensuring that the offering is successful. They help determine the offering price, find investors, and manage the logistics of the IPO.

Choosing the right underwriter is critical. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Experience and Reputation: Look for underwriters with a track record of successfully handling IPOs, especially in your industry.
  • Network and Connections: Underwriters with a vast network of potential investors can help your IPO gain more traction.
  • Services Offered: Evaluate the services the underwriter provides, such as research, investor relations, and market insights.
  • Fees and Costs: Consider the fees and costs associated with their services and how they align with your budget.
  • Compatibility: Ensure the underwriter understands your company’s goals and values.

Thr journey to an IPO in Japan is a structured process that requires careful planning and execution. The duration can vary, but on average, it takes several months. Choosing the right underwriter is a critical decision that can significantly impact the success of your IPO. For more detailed insights into the IPO process in Japan, you can refer to  IPO Process In Japan with Nalin Advani.

What are the benefits and risks of an IPO?

Both benefits and risks are inherent in the IPO process, and understanding them can provide insight into whether this is a suitable strategy for a company.

What Are the Main Benefits of Taking My Company Public in Japan?

Japan’s robust economy and well-regulated stock market offer several benefits for foreign entrepreneurs considering an IPO:

  • Access to Large Investor Base: Japan has a vast pool of institutional and retail investors eager to invest in promising companies.
  • Reputation Boost: Listing on respected exchanges like Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) can enhance a company’s global reputation.
  • Potential for Strategic Partnerships: Japan has numerous established corporations, and being publicly listed can open doors for potential collaborations or partnerships. To learn more about how to connect with others, check out Guide to Business Networking in Japan.

Regulatory Transparency: Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) ensures that the IPO process is transparent and fair, fostering investor trust.

Multinational Companies creating IPO in Japan

What Potential Challenges Should Foreign Founders Be Prepared For?

Despite the lasting success, Listing in Japan as a foreign entrepreneur can present unique challenges:

  • Cultural and Business Norms: Understanding and navigating Japan’s unique business etiquette and practices can be daunting.
  • Regulatory Hurdles: Although transparent, Japan’s regulatory framework can be complex, especially for foreign businesses unfamiliar with it.
  • Language Barrier: Documentation and communication primarily happen in Japanese, which might necessitate translators or bilingual staff.
  • Intense Competition: Japan’s stock market is competitive, with many domestic giants. Standing out and attracting investors can be challenging.

One of the most well-known IPOs by a foreign entrepreneur in Japan is that of Mercari, a mobile flea market app. Although the founder of Mercari, Shintaro Yamada, is Japanese, the reason this example is noteworthy in the context of foreign entrepreneurs is because of the significant influence and involvement of non-Japanese leadership in the company’s growth and its path to IPO.

Fumiaki Koizumi, a key executive who is not originally from Japan, also played an instrumental role in the company’s success. Under his leadership and together with the founder, Mercari expanded its services and grew rapidly in the Japanese market. The company also tried to expand into the U.S. market, which is a notable effort by a Japanese startup.

How Do I Determine the Right Price for My IPO?

  • Understand the Market Landscape
    • Research similar companies: Look at the IPOs of companies in the same sector. For instance, Mercari, a Japanese e-commerce company, studied peers in both domestic and international markets before pricing its IPO in 2018.
    • Evaluate market conditions: During bullish markets, companies can command higher IPO prices, while bearish markets might necessitate a conservative approach.
  • Conduct a Thorough Financial Analysis
    • Project future earnings: Investors are interested in growth potential. Evaluate your revenue streams, profit margins, and growth trajectories.
    • Assess current financial health: A strong balance sheet and robust revenue can justify a higher IPO price.
  • Engage Experienced Financial Advisers
    • Consulting with investment banks or financial advisers who have expertise in IPOs is essential. For example, SoftBank Corp’s 2018 IPO, one of Japan’s biggest, involved collaboration with multiple global and Japanese banks to ensure optimal pricing.
  • Determine the Level of Dilution
    • Decide how many shares you want to issue. Issuing more shares can dilute the value of the existing shares, which can impact the IPO price.
  • Gauge Investor Interest with a Roadshow
    • Present your company’s story, financials, and future plans to potential investors. Their feedback can offer valuable insights into how the market values your company.
    • Companies like LINE Corporation used roadshows effectively before their 2016 IPO to gather feedback and adjust their pricing strategy.
  • Price Sensitivity Analysis
    • Test different pricing scenarios to evaluate potential impacts on demand and company valuation.
  • Factor in a ‘Pop’ but Avoid Excessive Hype
    • A moderate first-day surge in stock price (often called the “pop”) can be beneficial for publicity. However, setting the IPO price too low means leaving money on the table.
    • Conversely, excessive hype can lead to overpricing. For example, some companies that debuted at extremely high valuations struggled to maintain them in the long run, affecting investor sentiment.
  • Consider Long-term Objectives
    • Aim for stability and growth in the long run rather than short-term gains. A fairly priced IPO can lead to sustained investor trust and a stable shareholder base.

In conclusion, determining the right price for an IPO is a delicate balance of market research, financial analysis, and stakeholder feedback. While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula, drawing insights from past successful IPOs and keeping an ear to the ground can guide companies toward an optimal pricing strategy. If you haven’t already establishing a Corporate Bank Account in Japan is a significant step towards understanding the Japanese market and what valuation the yen has at the moment. 

What are some success stories of startups going public?

As IPO in Japan has evolved, numerous startups, including those founded or led by foreign entrepreneurs, have successfully transitioned from fledgling entities to publicly traded companies on the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) and other local platforms. Below are a few notable success stories:

  • Mercari: Founded in 2013 by Shintaro Yamada, Mercari quickly gained traction as Japan’s biggest community-powered shopping app. Despite being a domestic startup, it provides insights into the potential for success in the Japanese market. In 2018, Mercari went public, and its IPO was one of the most significant listings in Japan in recent years, raising approximately ¥130 billion (around 1.2 billion USD) in funds. Mercari is was able to This e-commerce platform’s success story showcases how tech-based startups can thrive in Japan’s ecosystem.
  • LINE Corporation: Originally a subsidiary of the South Korean internet search giant Naver Corporation, LINE became a game-changer in Japan’s messaging app sector. By 2016, it went public in dual listings in both Tokyo and New York, achieving one of the largest tech IPOs of that year with a valuation of over $9 billion.
  • Freee K.K.: Founded in 2012 by Daisuke Sasaki, Freee offers cloud-based accounting and HR software. In 2019, the fintech startup went public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange with a market capitalization of around $1.2 billion, marking a significant milestone for SaaS companies in Japan.
  • BASE Inc.: A startup that provides tools and platforms for individual and small-scale entrepreneurs to open online stores easily. Founded by Yuta Tsuruoka, BASE went public on the TSE’s Mothers market in 2019, with an opening market cap of approximately $500 million.
  • Money Forward, Inc.: Established in 2012, this fintech startup offers a personal financial management service. It also expanded its services to cloud-based accounting, invoicing, and payroll. In 2017, Money Forward achieved its IPO on the TSE’s Mothers market with a valuation reaching $500 million.
  • Rakuten: Although now a giant conglomerate, Rakuten started as a small online marketplace in 1997. Founded by Hiroshi Mikitani, it went public in 2000. While Rakuten is a home-grown enterprise, its successful journey provides inspiration for foreign entrepreneurs about the vast possibilities within Japan.
  • Fast Retailing: While not a recent startup, it’s worth noting the impressive trajectory of Fast Retailing, the company behind the Uniqlo brand. Tadashi Yanai transformed his father’s small menswear shop into an international retail giant. Its IPO in 1997 was a significant event in Japan’s retail sector.

For foreign entrepreneurs and business owners eyeing the Japanese market, these success stories underscore the potential for growth and the rewards of perseverance. The evolving ecosystem in Japan, marked by increased government support for startups, accessible venture capital, and a culture of innovation, creates a conducive environment for businesses to flourish and eventually go public.

Looking to enter the Japanese market?

Download the free e-book from Tyson Batino, 3x founder and CEO of Scaling Your Company

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.
Background Removal (21)

Which Industries or Sectors in Japan Are Experiencing Successful IPOs?

Japan has witnessed significant activity in its Initial Public Offering (IPO) market. As foreign entrepreneurs and business owners eye the Japanese market for potential listings, it’s crucial to understand which sectors are experiencing the most growth and success in terms of IPOs. The following sectors have particularly shown robust growth and promising returns for stakeholders.

Information & Communications

The Information and communications sector in Japan is seeing a substantial uptick in IPOs. As Japan continues to expand its technological infrastructure and drive innovations in areas like 5G, IoT, and Artificial Intelligence (AI), companies in this sector find themselves at the forefront of this revolution. Recent years have seen numerous tech startups entering the market, aiming to address the increasing demand for digital solutions. These businesses, driven by unique value propositions and technological innovations, have garnered the interest of investors, making their IPOs a significant success.


Japan’s aging population has put the spotlight on its healthcare sector. With one of the highest life expectancies in the world, there’s a rising demand for medical solutions, equipment, and pharmaceuticals tailored to the needs of senior citizens. This trend has paved the way for many healthcare startups to enter the IPO market. Biotech firms, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare solutions providers have seen substantial growth in the recent past, making their IPOs highly attractive to domestic and foreign investors alike.

Semiconductor Industry

The global demand for semiconductors has skyrocketed, and Japan, with its rich history in electronics and semiconductor manufacturing, hasn’t been left behind. As the world leans more towards automation, AI, and the Internet of Things (IoT), the demand for high-quality semiconductors has soared. Japanese firms specializing in semiconductor design, manufacturing, and research are benefiting from this trend. Their IPOs are drawing significant attention, backed by strong growth prospects and the global semiconductor demand.

Food and Beverage

While the Food and Beverage sector might not be as tech-driven as the others, Japan’s unique culinary culture, combined with its knack for innovation, has led to a steady flow of successful IPOs in this sector. From companies introducing new twists on traditional Japanese cuisine

e to those capitalizing on health and wellness trends, the Food and Beverage industry offers diverse investment opportunities. Many of these companies, driven by a blend of tradition and innovation, have successfully tapped into the IPO market, promising sustained growth and returns.

How do you Navigate Regulations and Governance?

Navigating the world of initial public offerings (IPOs) in Japan can be a complex endeavor, especially when it comes to understanding the regulations and governance that govern this process. In this article, we’ll explore the key considerations for companies looking to go public in Japan and how they can navigate the regulatory landscape and corporate governance effectively.

What Regulatory Requirements Should You Be Aware of in Japan?

When considering an IPO in Japan, it’s crucial to be aware of the regulatory requirements that will impact your journey to becoming a publicly traded company. The Financial Services Agency (FSA) and the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) are key players in overseeing these requirements. You’ll need to adhere to stringent financial reporting, disclosure, and accounting standards. Additionally, understanding the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act is vital if your company has international operations. Complying with these regulations is essential to ensure a smooth IPO process. Here is a list of all the regulatory requirements should you consider and IPO. 

Financial Reporting: Japanese companies going public must adhere to strict financial reporting standards. This includes preparing financial statements in accordance with the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) in Japan. Accurate and transparent financial reporting is essential to gain the trust of investors.

Disclosure Requirements: Companies are required to provide detailed and timely disclosures of financial information, including quarterly and annual reports. These reports should be made available to the public and the relevant regulatory authorities. The timely disclosure of material information is crucial to prevent insider trading and ensure transparency.

Regulatory Approvals: Before conducting an IPO, you’ll need to gain approvals from regulatory bodies, such as the Financial Services Agency (FSA) and the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE). The FSA oversees securities offerings and the TSE handles the listing process. Meeting their requirements and obtaining their approval is a critical step in going public.

Corporate Governance: Compliance with corporate governance principles, such as the Corporate Governance and Stewardship Code, is crucial. These codes emphasize transparency, accountability, and fairness in decision-making. Implementing effective corporate governance practices is essential for building investor confidence.

Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act: If your company has international operations, you must be aware of the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act. This legislation governs cross-border transactions and foreign investments. Complying with these regulations is vital to avoid legal issues related to international business activities.

Securities Regulation: Japanese securities regulations are in place to protect investors from fraud and market manipulation. You should ensure that your IPO complies with these regulations to avoid legal issues and maintain the trust of investors and regulatory authorities.

Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) Requirements: You’ll need to implement AML and KYC measures to prevent money laundering and ensure that you have a clear understanding of your shareholders and stakeholders.

It’s important to note that these requirements may evolve over time, and it’s advisable to consult with legal and financial experts with experience in Japanese IPOs to navigate these regulations effectively. Failure to comply with these regulatory requirements can lead to legal issues, reputational damage, and financial penalties, so careful attention to detail is paramount in the IPO process in Japan.

Two man talking about a Japan IPO

Why is Corporate Governance Important to Startups?  

Corporate governance is not just a concern for established public companies. Startups in Japan should also prioritize strong governance practices as they prepare for an IPO. Robust corporate governance helps build trust among investors and stakeholders. It ensures transparency in decision-making, effective risk management, and accountability, which are all critical for long-term success as a publicly traded entity. By emphasizing corporate governance early in your company’s development, you’ll set a solid foundation for the future.

After Going Public, What Are Your Key Responsibilities?

Going public in Japan is a significant milestone, but it’s only the beginning of your company’s journey. Once you’re a publicly traded entity, you have a new set of responsibilities to uphold. This includes providing regular financial and operational updates to shareholders and the public. You must also maintain compliance with ongoing regulatory and corporate governance requirements. It’s essential to establish clear communication channels with investors, analysts, and the media to foster transparency and trust. Meeting these responsibilities is crucial for maintaining a positive image in the stock market and ensuring continued success. One way to ensure you are communicating effectively is through understanding the intricacies of business culture. Take a look at Understanding Business Culture With Rochelle Kopp to gain an in-depth insight into business language in Japan.

What does the future hold for an IPO in Japan?

Japan has historically been a hub for domestic firms seeking IPOs, but recent initiatives are aiming to draw in foreign businesses and entrepreneurs. The nation’s stable economic environment combined with active government measures to welcome foreign entities presents a conducive environment for an IPO in Japan. Additionally, the growing appetite for tech startups among Japanese investors and an increasing number of cross-border collaborations hint at Japan’s potential as a preferred IPO destination. However, foreign companies should remain vigilant about Japan’s intricate business culture and comprehensive regulatory landscape.

What Does the Future Hold for IPOs in Japan?

The upcoming years of opportunities for IPO look promising. As the country progresses in modernizing its financial markets, an increase in foreign listings, especially those centered around technology, is expected. With the potential surge of foreign entities, Japan is likely to continuously update its regulations to accommodate a broad spectrum of businesses. In summary, Japan is steadily establishing itself as a pivotal figure in the global IPO arena, presenting a plethora of opportunities for foreign entrepreneurs and business owners. Additionally, companies looking to expand can consider acquiring a Social Media Marketing Agency that offers deeper insights into how to achieve business success.

Final Thoughts 

As Japan continues its ascent as a technological powerhouse, having an IPO in Japan offers unprecedented opportunities for businesses worldwide. With sectors ranging from Information and communications to the unique Food and Beverage industry experiencing robust growth, the Japanese market is ripe for entrepreneurs seeking to capitalize on its innovation-driven economy. At Scaling Your Company, we help businesses and individuals grow their companies further by leveraging key insights and understanding Japanese MNCs to help with scaling, market-entry, and more. 

Connect with us through our contact form to access personalized advice and recommendations. Let us help your company turn global and expansive!


Subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter to stay updated on the latest podcast episodes, and get notified on our free monthly seminar featuring experienced entrepreneurs and experts.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.
Bottom Banner (1)

Let us help you grow your sales in

Japan with our advisory services!

Scroll to Top