Introduction to Companies in Osaka
Coface Japan Osaka Branch Office
Interviews with foreign investors in Osaka
QIt will soon be four years since your company began doing business in Osaka in early 2003 as the Coface Group. What do you think of the business situation in Osaka?
There still are improvements to be made in terms of our transmission of information to the market; and compared to Tokyo, the scale of business in Osaka is still small. So our challenge, first and foremost, is to make the name of Coface better known. On the other hand, our clients and contracts have been growing in number, and we feel that our prospects for doing business in Osaka and Kansai are looking somewhat brighter. In response to these improvements, we relocated and expanded our business office in December 2006, and have taken on more staff. We will work to meet our clients’ expectations; at the same time, we hope to contribute to reinvigorating Osaka’s business and economy.
QYou were inaugurated as Osaka Branch Manager close to six months ago. What is your impression of Osaka? Also, are there any trade practices, etc., that you find are unique to Osaka?
People in Osaka tend to place strong emphasis on interpersonal relationships. In Tokyo, there are many cases in which a company changes business providers for each project, or agrees to listen to salespersons, even those who visit you without introduction. But in Osaka, you must first build a relationship of trust with your clients. Once you have established a connection, it often leads to a long-term relationship. Also, Osaka-based corporations are very strict when it comes to costs; however, the market in Osaka has a large latent potential.
QHow do you now intend to develop your business in Osaka?
In May 2005, we obtained a sales license in Japan for export credit insurance (commonly known as “Boeki hoken”), which is already common worldwide. This has enabled us to introduce this insurance to Japan, for use in the same way as in other countries. I am convinced that we can help to enhance the export competitiveness of traders in the Kansai region. At the current stage, however, we have yet to provide sufficient information to our customers, and export trade credit insurance itself is not very well known. We therefore hope to hold seminars and other events on overseas credit management as needed. As for credit insurance for domestic sales, we intend to make optimal proposals that capitalize on Coface’s unique strengths and characteristics.
Corporate governance has increasingly been emphasized in Japan recently. As legislation of the J-SOX (Financial Instruments and Exchange Law), we live in times in which management accountability is being demanded, more than ever before, for shareholders and clients. We have also seen more and more instances in which the inadequacies of credit management systems are being pointed out by auditing corporations. However, it is quite a challenge for a company to internally monitor all its credit management activities unassisted.
Coface provides not merely compensation in the event that account receivables become unpaid, but also provides credit management itself—we supply credit information on the business partner, and issue a warning if its credit standing deteriorates. These are made possible by our database of 50 million companies worldwide, which Coface has constructed, as well as our local and global networks. We hope as many corporations as possible in Osaka and the Kansai region will make use of them.
To provide products that best satisfy our customers in the best possible manner, we have set up a branch office in Osaka and refined our organizational setup. By doing this, we hope to provide even more community-oriented services.
QWhat do you expect from the Osaka Business and Investment Center, or O-BIC, and the municipalities?
We believe that many companies are interested in our products, particularly export trade credit insurance. We would appreciate it if the Center and municipalities were to provide more opportunities for us to introduce these products to the market. It would be wonderful if we could contribute to stimulating economy in Osaka as a whole through providing our products to Osaka-based corporations.
QLastly, could you give a message to foreign corporations that are thinking about setting up businesses in Osaka?
Osaka benefits from an extensive infrastructure for conducting business activities, which includes human resources and distribution networks. But most of all, it is Japan’s second greatest business city. If Osaka is energized, Japan will be, too. We therefore hope to help raise the city’s business profile together with foreign corporations that wish to venture into Osaka.
|Coface Japan Osaka Branch Office|
|Branch Manager||Junya Ueda|