Xenlon International Co.

CEO Masahiro Nakata

Message to young people
Today, Japanese culture, not to mention Japanese cuisine, is getting international attention. Let’s learn more from our own history and tradition and disseminate the splendors of Japanese culture to the rest of the world, especially to China and other Asian countries.

The Chinese restaurant business world was and still is very conservative. We must adhere to the traditional recipes created by master chefs.

It had been out of the question for professionals of Chinese cuisine to serve wine with Chinese dishes. Very few Japanese drink wine in Chinese restaurants. Therefore, I faced strong opposition more than 10 years ago from elders, including my father, when I proposed the launch of new Chinese cuisine to be served with wine. My father was operating a chain of top-class authentic Chinese restaurants and I was just an employee in his company.

But I could not abandon my earlier inspiration. I sought cooperation from an experienced Chinese chef and a leading Japanese wine producer and I finally managed to open a New York-style Chinese restaurant with commanding views from the 19th floor of the Hotel Century Southern Tower near Shinjuku Station in Tokyo. Named Xenlon Tokyo, it turned out to be a success by gaining much support from young Japanese women in particular. Thanks to the customers, I am now operating four restaurants in the Tokyo area with the Xenlon brand and expanding our activities to other food-related businesses.

I am sure that the success of any new business ultimately depends on whether customers’ satisfaction can be achieved. Everybody knows that. But the question is how to realize it. To find the solution, I have been spending a lot of my time visiting many countries all over the world, especially China, since more than 20 years ago.

But why China? Today, everybody is impressed by Chinese economic development while experiencing business difficulties in dealing with Chinese people. But there was a sign of the advent of prosperity in China. I had noticed this 20 years ago, while in Tokyo, that the Chinese economy would develop and the Japanese one would shrink. So it was quite natural for me to be interested in China. I just followed my interests and inspiration.

Now, the average income level of Chinese people still remains low, but an amazing number of Chinese are joining the middle-class ranks. These so-called new-rich Chinese people have a strong appetite for a sophisticated lifestyle and comfort, with higher quality products and services that are not really available in China today. Their interests in health and beauty are also strongly increasing.

On the other hand, the world economic recession accelerated the heavy expectations for the Chinese market. But unfortunately, there is a “Great Wall” for foreigners to penetrate into the market. Many friends of mine from all over the world told me they had problems. I am convinced that the time is ripe now. First-come, first served is an often heard phrase, but 15 years have already passed since my first business trip to China.

I am now tackling new challenges: the expansion of restaurants and other new lifestyle businesses in fast-growing China. To tap this super-promising market, the company named Xenlon International, which I set up six years ago, is now operating a chain of Japanese restaurants in China by the name Wasabi, one in Dalian and five in Shanghai. The success of these restaurants helps us improve our clients for our consultancy. Other ongoing projects in China include the import and distribution of foreign wines and liquors, the fostering of professional sommeliers, and operating a health and beauty business.

All of our businesses create a synergic effect that includes our original activities in Japan. But none of these businesses can be successful without my personal relationship with people concerned in China and the rest of the world.

I would like to take this opportunity to deeply thank all of my colleagues and friends for their kind collaborations.

Company Profile

Xenlon International Co.
Management of restaurants, sales of food products, management consultancy
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