―What about the many developing countries in Asia with restrictions on foreign investment?
Each country naturally has its own restrictions on foreign investment, and the nature of these restrictions change depending on the period. So, it depends. However, I have the impression that restrictions on foreign investment in each country have been loosening in recent years.
Malaysia’s economic development especially has been almost the same as with developed countries, so we have already been able to establish a subsidiary with 100% foreign capital, and its restrictions on foreign investment have really loosened. But for Thailand, while it depends on the industry there are restrictions on foreign investment, such as foreign companies not holding the majority of stock. In China too, although you can establish a company, you need a permit to conduct business. Our Indonesia company held 95% of our stock, but it still took several months to get a business license.
Restrictions on foreign investment depend on the industry and timing, so you should really ask a professional for more information.
Doing Business in Asia
―You’ve actually tried doing business in Asia, so what are the differences with doing business in Japan?
It’s totally different! (Laughs.) Totally different. If you try to work with a Japanese mindset then you won’t get work done. Doing business in Asia, I felt that Japanese are polite. Many people in Asia are pretty easy-going when doing their work. (Laughs.)
Maybe it’s because, to some extent, everyone in Japan works with the same mindset, but people in Asia do not dance to the same beat. The culture and religion that form the base of everyone are different, so there is no tacit understanding. You have to be clear in expressing your intentions.
As for V-CUBE’s services, developing Asian countries are still in an “enlightenment phase.” We have to start by explaining why they need web conference service and get their approval. In Japan, an understanding of web conference service, and their use, made progress with the economic downturn of 2008. Japanese companies had to cut down on their business trip costs, so they proactively began using web conference service. I think web conference service will slowly spread in developing Asian countries as well.
―You’re not in Japan much right now, are you?
I’m in Japan once a month for about a week, so about one quarter of my time overall. I focus only on all the things that I have to do in Japan while I’m here, such as having long talks with my employees, visiting banks, and so on. Everything else I handle through web conference service from Singapore or wherever else I am, which is enough.
THE KEY: EARNEST SUPPORT FROM JAPANESE HEADQUARTERS
―Do you have any advice for Japanese companies that are considering expanding into Asia?
I think Japanese companies with fairly solid business foundation should have its top management moved to Asia. In establishing a business overseas, you need the ability to start up a business from scratch. The level of difficulty is extremely high. You won’t succeed unless the top management themselves ride in and tackle the issues firmly head on.
What’s important is dedicated support from your headquarters when doing this. Your headquarters needs a thorough back-up system. Japanese companies face difficulties every day just in Japan, but even so Japanese headquarters needs to be earnest, and they need to be involved. And only top management can do this.
―In closing, what is your vision for V-CUBE’s future?
Our vision is to create Asia’s No.1 visual communication platform. While developing Asian countries are still at the “enlightenment phase” when it comes to web conference service and visual communication, I want to create a culture where web conference service are a natural part of corporate communication.
As I mentioned, this is an area where the North American players has a large share of the overall global market, but if Asia’s economy grows and Asia becomes a leader in the global economy instead of Europe and America, then I think the day will come when V-CUBE will be the global leader in this field. V-CUBE currently has the number one share in Japan, but we want a solid No.1 share in Asia as well, and one day the world.
Born in Tokyo in 1977. Graduated from Keio University Faculty of Science and Technology in March 2000, and fi nished the Keio University Graduate School of Science for Open and Environmental Systems in March 2002. Established V-cube Internet, Inc. in October 1998 and worked as CEO while studying at Keio University. In 2002 he used Keio University and TLO (Technology Licensing Organization) and formed a tie-up. In April 2006 he changed the name of the company to V-CUBE, where he works as CEO. In December 2013 V-CUBE was listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Mother’s market. He is executive secretary of the Keizai Doyukai (Japan Association of Corporate Executives).
|capital||JPY 1.85 billion (as of January 2015)|
|number||310 (group total)|
|business||Development, sales, operation, maintenance and management of visual communication services|