Self storage in Asia

Feb 02 | 2023

Andrew Work, Executive Director, Self Storage Association Asia (SSAA), reflects on two major self storage events in Asia.

Attendees at the Self Storage Expo Asia in Singapore

The Asian self storage events scene is back with its two flagship events returning to ‘in person’ status in the space of a raucous fortnight in November. First came the Rental Storage Association’s (RSA) Biz Forum in Tokyo (Nov 9-10) followed a week later by the Self Storage Expo Asia in Singapore (Nov 14-16).

It was high time to gather the communities. The novelty of online communications had long worn away and people were ready to meet and greet. Operators, investors and suppliers came together to learn and network on the biggest continent with the most growth potential in the world.

Tokyo kicked it off
Japan is the biggest self storage market in Asia and their leadership was on display as they celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Association. Japanese and international speakers took to the stage to educate operators before hitting the Tokyo nightlife. 

Japanese operators are often early adopters of new technologies whether developed in Japan or abroad. AI-driven dynamic pricing companies such as Prorize have got their beachhead in Japan from which to approach the entire Asian market. As the largest and most mature national market in Asia, Japanese operators are known for operating many ‘contactless’ sites that are totally automated. High-trust, low-crime countries are perfect for high tech operations like those often found in Japan.

A special tribute was paid to founder and current Representative Director (and former Secretary General) Tokuo Yoshida. RSA Chairman Michinobu Tada and the RSA Board, the visiting SSAA Board members and countless members of the Japanese self storage community lined up to shake hands and take a photo with the man who has dedicated a large part of his life to supporting the growth of the industry and presenting its face to the government and Japanese society as a whole. The titles change, but what doesn’t change is the heart and soul he has poured into moving the industry forward.

The RSA started in response to government interest in the then-new industry and the need to establish standards and explain their industry to officials. It grew to provide training, education and networking, connecting industry players to each other in Japan and around the world. Today, it is a vital partner to the Self Storage Association Asia.

The Merlion roars
In Singapore, the Self Storage Expo  Asia saw the industry’s heavyweights out in force, with CEOs, founders,  and CXOs mixing it up with investors. Day 3 of three days featured the first ever live Investor Forum, benefitting from Singapore’s role as the regional capital of REITs, its massive real estate investment community and its central role to self storage in Asia. Investors new to the sector were impressed when there was an announcement of the world’s biggest ever dedicated self storage fund that came out during the event ...

Photo: Attendees at the Self Storage Expo Asia in Singapore.

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