Fairfax County's Economic Development Authority is closing its office in Tokyo seven years after opening it as the county's first international outpost.
"The market isn't coming back" in Japan, said Gerald L. Gordon, the business development agency's chief executive. "To the extent it is coming back, they're looking toward China instead of the U.S."
The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the Washington area sniper attacks of 2002 also left lingering doubts among Japanese businesses about locating in the region, he said. The county plans to continue marketing in Japan through visits and from its offices here.
For its next outpost, the county plans to open an office in Seoul by mid-2005. Gordon said South Korean companies are showing strong interest in the Washington area, bolstered in part by the region's growing population of Korean Americans.
Fairfax is one of the few counties nationally that maintains an overseas office, separate from state and regional operations. It also has outposts in London, Frankfurt, Tel Aviv and Bangalore, India.
In another action, the development authority said Jerini Peptide Technologies, GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Berlin-based Jerini AG, a venture-backed German pharmaceutical company, moved into the Fairfax County BioAccelerator business incubator after winning a contest with other German companies. JPT plans to expand into the North American market from its new Fairfax County location.
Another German company originally won the contest but had a management shake-up and did not come to the United States.
Acquiring a Taste
The audience at TiE, a networking organization formed by entrepreneurs of Indian heritage, might have expected their guest, Joseph M. Kampf, to extol the virtues of growth through acquisitions.
Kampf, chief executive of Anteon International Corp. of Fairfax, said at a dinner at the Avenel Country Club in Potomac last week that even though the fast-growing defense contractor has made eight acquisitions in eight years, internal growth is far more efficient and effective.
Still, he acknowledged that for a well-capitalized company, the temptation is great to shop for acquisitions .
"We had hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars from day one -- and let me tell you, my investors called three times a day to ask, 'Why didn't you buy something today,' " he said.
* The Washington, DC Marketing Center will sponsor a retail summit Friday to lure stores into the District. From seven to 10 retailers are expected to attend, said Michael G. Stevens, chief executive of the group, which promotes economic development in the District. Retail executives will take a bus tour of potential sites and meet with Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D). The marketing center would not name the retailers.
* Hecht's plans to ceremonially reopen its Metro Center department store, at the corner of 12th and G streets NW in downtown Washington, with a week of events that begins tomorrow at noon. The chain has given the store, built in 1985, a $15 million makeover. There are bigger cosmetics and handbag departments and new designers, such as Michael Kors and Marc Ecko. The grand reopening, which runs through Saturday, includes food, fashion shows and appearances by designers. From noon to 2 p.m. tomorrow and Friday, a "brooch coach" is to teach shoppers how best to wear the accessory. Designer Kors is to be at the store from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday.
* Labor negotiations between the 14 major D.C. hotels and Unite Here Local 25, the union representing employees, are scheduled to resume Wednesday. The 3,800 unionized workers have been without a contract since Sept. 15, and the negotiations will be the first in nearly two weeks. Talk of a strike has died down, but the hotels' health insurance premiums rise Nov. 1, and hotel executives say they will pass along the higher costs to workers if there is no deal by that point.
* FLAVORx of Bethesda, which makes a medicine flavoring system used by pharmacists to improve the taste of liquid medications, said it has formed a partnership for use of its products in Canada by the Jean Coutu Group of drugstores.