Japanese Bus Empire Caters To Taiwanese Tourists

Posted: Jan 17 2017, 5:22am CST | by , in News | Latest Business News


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Japanese bus empire caters to Taiwanese tourists

Company has grown from a single bus in 1992 to 400 busses today

A Japanese man called Kimi Takura dropped out of high school and at 22 years old he was in the hospital for a month suffering from exhaustion. His job was as a delivery man and when he got out of the hospital with no job he sold his car and bought a used bus to start a business catering to Taiwanese tourists. Takura spent the next year transporting people between Tokyo and Osaka and to Kyoto and other places where tourists like to sightsee.

Eventually a travel agent offered Takura a loan to buy three more busses and the business really boomed. Takura dropped out of highschool when his father's business went bankrupt and worked to earn the money to buy a car. He said, "I loved driving." Eventually he found that he could carry some passengers and drive and earn money at the same time.

Takura eventually set up that bus company in 1992 and now owns a fleet of 400 busses used for sightseeing, overnight services across Japan and his busses take kids to school daily. The bus company gets about 60% of its bookings online and has posted a profit for the last 20 years and has 800 employees. Takura plans to list his company, called Heisei, on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in an IPO worth $87 million.

“Usually bus companies don’t do IPOs,” he said. But “we’re seen as an IT bus company because we get so much of our money through the internet.”

One key to the success of the company is catering to people on a budget. Tourists can book a trip between tokyo and Osaka or Tokyo and Kyoto for ¥3,000 one way, which is about a quarter of the cost on other bus lines. The company is now buying guest houses for its bus travelers to stay in when they get to their destinations. It plans to own 50 properties within three years.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/3" rel="author">Shane McGlaun</a>
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