Coca-Cola Japan and Kirin Plan Partnership

December 29, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. iron out / ˈaɪ ərn aʊt / (phrasal v.) – to fix something by resolving difficulties and finalizing details
Example: Let me iron out the details of our trip.

2. procure / proʊˈkyʊər / (v.) – to obtain or get something
Example: We will start procuring the materials next week.

3. operational /ˌɒp əˈreɪ ʃə nl / (adj.) – related to the operations of a business or machine
Example: The company’s energy-saving technology reduced operational costs.

4. rivalry / ˈraɪ vəl ri / (n.) – the state of being in competition or opposition with another
Example: The two companies’ strong rivalry ended through a business partnership.

5. discipline ˈdɪs ə plɪn / (v.) – to train oneself to do something by regulating his or her own behavior
ExampleThe employee disciplines himself by not using social media during work.


Read the text below.
The Coca-Cola group in Japan and beverage company Kirin Holdings are planning to enter into a partnership.

If successful, the partnership will be the first of its kind for Coca-Cola and a Japanese competitor. Details about the joint venture could be ironed out soon, and the contract may be signed before the year ends.

Coca-Cola Japan is looking into having cross-holding shares with Kirin Beverage, a unit of Kirin Holdings. Cross-holding happens when two companies listed on the same stock exchange buy stocks from one another.

Under the partnership, the two companies will jointly deliver and distribute their products in stores and vending machines. The companies will also procure raw materials such as juices and coffee beans together. The tie-up is predicted to increase the profits of both companies because it is expected to save both companies billions of yen.

But while participating in an operational partnership, the two companies are still expected to maintain their competition in product development and marketing.

The Coca-Cola and Kirin partnership is just one of nearly 2,000 partnerships made between companies in Japan recently. Like Coca-Cola and Kirin, other companies that have a long history of rivalry have teamed up. One example involves the country’s biggest shipping companies Mitsui OSK, Nippon Yusen Kaisha, and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha. The competition between the three companies was so fierce that executives reportedly disciplined themselves not to say the names of the other companies. However, due to problems that rocked the industry, such as low demand for cargo services, the companies put their rivalry aside and decided to merge in order to survive.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Aside from reducing expenses, what do you think are other advantages of the Coca-Cola and Kirin partnership? Enumerate.
·         What do you think is the advantage of tight competitions among companies?

Discussion B

·         If you were a business owner, would you also consider tying up with a rival company? Why or why not?
·         What are the advantages and disadvantages of business partnerships? Discuss.

December 29, 2016