Birth of a Hidden Champion Issue 4: Keyence & Nitori 

Dear Clients and Valued Partners,

Birth of a Hidden Champion (Issue 4): Keyence & Takemitsu Takizaki, Nitori & Akio Nitori
Welcome to the fourth issue of the “Birth of a Hidden Champion” tribute series, where we highlight inspirational stories on the listing birth of Hidden Champions creating and compounding value in the Asian capital markets.

On the 6th of January 1992, two Hidden Champions were born in the Japanese capital market. Keyence (TSE:6861), led by the quiet and low-profile founder Takemitsu Takizaki, went on to compound nearly 2100% to a market value of over US$70 billion today; and Nitori, led by the farsighted and passionate Akio Nitori, to go on and compound over 5,000% to a market value of over US$16 billion today.

These extraordinary Hidden Champions have pushed us to delve deeper into the inner workings of what make Hidden Champions stood the test of times. We had mapped out a selected group of Asian entrepreneurs whom we monitored over the decade plus and have admire and respect them, including Keyence. Since we wrote about the learning insights of Keyence’s innovative business model in the TODAY newspaper article back in April 2013, it had quadrupled in market value. In the inaugural Intervarsity Stock Research Challenge held during the annual Value Investing Summit 2017 in January 2017, the eventual champions from NTU impressed the judges and audience with their research on Keyence, which went on to nearly double a year later. You can read more about their research here: Intervarsity Stock Challenge Booklet 2017.

By investigating deeper into understanding the owner-operators’ higher Purpose to add value to society by solving high-value problems and serving underserved customers with their unique products and services, you would be able to invest with a higher conviction and be rooted in investment resilience even and especially in fragile and weak market conditions. We dug deep to craft up-close-and-personal insights to why Akio Nitori started his business, whose Purpose has carried on till today with the mission of improving the quality of life Japanese are able to enjoy with affordable yet stylish furniture. You can find our series on the owner-operators building our Hidden Champions called “Inside the Leaders Mind” here: Inside the Leader’s Mind: Akio Nitori.

Please check out our website which includes a section of “Business Builders of Asian Hidden Champions – Invisible Heroes in our Lives” and let us know ( who else do you admire in Asia and would like us to include in the “Heroes in our Lives”, as well as share with us which Asian entrepreneurs do you like most.

Warm regards,
KEE Koon Boon
Chief Investment Officer & CEO
Hidden Champions Capital Management
Hidden Champions Fund


About bambooinnovator
KB Kee is the Managing Editor of the Moat Report Asia (, a research service focused exclusively on highlighting undervalued wide-moat businesses in Asia; subscribers from North America, Europe, the Oceania and Asia include professional value investors with over $20 billion in asset under management in equities, some of the world’s biggest secretive global hedge fund giants, and savvy private individual investors who are lifelong learners in the art of value investing. KB has been rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as an analyst in Asian capital markets. He was head of research and fund manager at a Singapore-based value investment firm. As a member of the investment committee, he helped the firm’s Asia-focused equity funds significantly outperform the benchmark index. He was previously the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. KB has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy, value investing, macroeconomic and industry trends, and detecting accounting frauds in Singapore, HK and China. KB was a faculty (accounting) at SMU teaching accounting courses. KB is currently the Chief Investment Officer at an ASX-listed investment holdings company since September 2015, helping to manage the listed Asian equities investments in the Hidden Champions Fund. Disclaimer: This article is for discussion purposes only and does not constitute an offer, recommendation or solicitation to buy or sell any investments, securities, futures or options. All articles in the website reflect the personal opinions of the writer.

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