100 Next-Era Leaders in Asia 2016-2017 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

10to1, Ltd.

President Akihiko Tsukahara

Wakayama Prefecture
Message to young people
I want them to take on the challenges of whatever they are interested in; thoroughly and with a lot of time spent. Time has limits and it is the only thing equally allocated to every human being in this world. Those who don’t take action under the usual “too-busy” or “have-no-time” excuses are just ordinary people. Only those who can create their own time are capable of rising above the ordinary to see a new landscape.

I was born and raised in the city of Wakayama. I was a member of my junior high and high school soccer teams. I was not a very good player, but I did my best. Through the activity, I learned the joy of achieving personal goals, and moreover, it was good to make friends there. We still keep in touch and they are very special to me.

I was not very good at English, but I was very much interested in things overseas. I used to travel overseas and browsed eBay in my spare time. I was not trying to make a profit out of it, but I enjoyed communicating with international people. It was around 2002 when the internet was really becoming popular in Japan, and it was around that time when I thought I could work on something using the internet and conduct business with only a personal computer. It was then that I created my first website. I remembered having a new type of excitement about the experience. One day, I received an order on that website. I was thrilled, and my instinct told me: “This is it. This will be a good business.” Of course, the business had yet to generate a profit, but I liked it because I could work on my own schedule. I started the business in 2007.

First, I started with an internet business covering the domestic market, but I couldn’t make a living with it. My wife was a housewife, but she had to get a part-time job, and I had to work delivering newspapers. Before doing this business, I was working as a salesperson and I had a monthly sales quota. It was tough to meet my goals month after month. But those days were nothing compared with the pressure I felt after starting the internet business, as I had two young sons to raise. I was in my late 30s back then and I knew I didn’t have a second chance if I failed. I didn’t have much money, even for a can of coffee. In summers, after finishing delivering papers, I used to go to a park every day to drink tap water. I saw no prospects for a bright future back then.

One such day, I was advised by an acquaintance that I might have to focus on internet trading on eBay. I always made small profit out of it, but never thought about it as a business, because I was doing it only as a hobby. Then, the days of trial-and-error started as I repeatedly tested and analyzed my trading. Then, I started running a website for online shoppers overseas and it was a success. That was my turning point. Soon after, business picked up and I could live on the online export business alone. Even so, I continued working delivering newspapers until 2010, so as not to forget the hard days.

Today, I sell products on eBay and Amazon, and I’m running more than 250 cross-border e-commerce (EC) websites. I want more people to know about the online export business and I want introduce people overseas to a lot of good-quality Japanese products and services. I will keep working to support cross-border EC activities, by either individuals or companies, and will work as a bridge between Japanese companies and overseas shoppers.

Company Profile

10to1, Ltd.
Osaka Prefecture
Consulting services for cross-border e-commerce businesses