Acting Locally, Thinking Globally: The Story of eBay Japan

April 9, 2001
past event image
Corporate Program past event

Evening Lecture
6:30 – 8 pm

Merle Aiko Okawara, President & CEO, eBay Japan K.K.;
Chairman, JC Foods Co. Ltd.

Bruno Grandsard,
Managing Director, Japan Internet Ventures LLC

Merle Aiko Okawara has been described by Forbes Magazine as someone who climbs mountains just because they are there. One “mountain” she faced after becoming President & CEO of eBay Japan was how to run an online auction business in a country where people seldom use credit cards or give out personal information over the Internet. Ms. Okawara talks about overcoming these and other hurdles, and how eBay has effectively adapted to the local market, including making itself available to mobile phone users in Japan.

Followed by a cocktail reception.

A third generation Japanese born in Hawaii to a successful businessman, Ms. Okawara was asked to head eBay Japan in February 2000 because of her bicultural, entrepreneurial background. Prior to that, she expanded JC Foods into Japan’s top supplier of frozen ethnic foods, serving as its president from 1966 until 2000. An American educated in the U.S. and Europe, she is proud of being a citizen of the world. Ms. Okawara is also a strong believer in supporting women in their efforts to balance family life and work. Her book, When Women Create Companies (Toyo Keizai Inc., 1995), became a bestseller.

Tickets: $15, Japan Society members $10.

  • Monday, April 9, 2001
  • 6:30 pm