ITOCHU Announces Business Partnership with AKQA

March 5, 2020

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it has agreed on a partnership with AKQA Corp (headquartered in California, the United States; Ajaz Ahmed, Global CEO; hereinafter “AKQA”), a world’s leading digital transformation *1 agency to accelerate the digital transformation of Japanese companies.

Investments in digital transformation are expected to grow globally, reaching approximately 1.25 trillion dollars (approximately 137 trillion yen) by the end of 2020*2. Looking at Japan, where investments are forecast to reach approximately 1.2 trillion yen in 2020, before rising to approximately 2.4 trillion in 2030*3, digital transformation has become a critical issue for companies in a range of industries to address.

Digital transformation, generally associated with the challenges and problems that companies face in their businesses and operations in the digital era, is often insufficiently enacted, only introducing and implementing technology products from solution providers. It is necessary for companies to develop a customer-centric business strategy to remain competitive, with an approach that focuses on creating a positive experience for customers by building relationships and maximizing service and product offerings.

As a leading digital transformation agency, AKQA has been inspiring leading global companies and assisting in their digital transformation initiatives in a wide range of industries, including the airline, communications, automobile, distribution and retail industries. AKQA provides these global clients with comprehensive services including business strategies, services and product development, and skill improvements in organizations and team operations through its 29 studios worldwide. AKQA has a proven track record of digital transformation with leading companies and is highly recognized as a market leader by major research companies*4.

Through this partnership with AKQA, ITOCHU will bring its domestic and overseas business networks and AKQA’s strong business design capabilities together to accelerate digital transformation and work with Japanese companies to solve their business challenges through a customer-centric approach. In addition, it will provide comprehensive services to its clients to assist in their digital transformation initiatives in cooperation with AKQA and ITOCHU group companies.

Under its Brand New Deal 2020 medium-term management plan, in an effort to raise businesses to the next level, ITOCHU has been working on enhancing value in life and consumption-related value chains and the evolution of business models leveraging new technologies.

In relation to digital transformation, in December 2018, ITOCHU entered into a capital alliance with Freakout Holdings, Inc., a company engaged in digital marketing. In December 2019, it undertook a strategic business investment in WingArc1st Inc., which conduct digital management business. Through the collaboration established with AKQA, a company that has demonstrated its strength in the digital consulting business, ITOCHU seeks to further accelerate the promotion of DX initiatives for companies both in Japan and abroad.

Overview of AKQA

AKQA was founded in London in 1995. As a member of the WPP Group, AKQA is a digital transformation agency that employs 2,200 professionals in 29 studios across five continents. It helps companies and organizations solve management and business challenges through an integrated approach utilizing its unique business design methodologies and technological capabilities. For the last few years, AKQA has been recognized as a leader by major research companies such as Forrester and Gartner.

Some projects in which AKQA participated.

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