Expats help promote Wuhan to welcome Japanese businesses
Okitsu Kazuo, a Japanese expatriate in Wuhan, hopes more Japanese businesses come to the city that is little known among his compatriots, to tap the many opportunities in the fast-developing inland city in China.
“Wuhan is little known to Japanese people,” he said. “But it has inexpensive but highly qualified talents. The costs here are much lower than coastal areas in China.”
Kazuo used to travel between Wuhan and Osaka doing technological outsourcing business. Japanese BPO, the company he worked for was formerly based in Shanghai, where they trained local computer talents and deployed them to Japan.
However, the company needed to cut costs in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Then it moved its Chinese base to Wuhan.
“Wuhan is in the center of China, where it is convenient to go to a lot of places throughout the country,” Kazuo said. “The city is also rich in talent, who are not as expensive as professionals in Shanghai.”
The Wuhan government has appointed Kazuo as a representative for the city’s investment promotion bureau. He travels to Japan from time to time with a government delegation to promote Wuhan’s business opportunities.
Kazuo has now founded his own company — Syspro — to offer services to Japanese expatriates in Wuhan, such as office leasing and renovation, visas, talent scouting, training and translation. Of the more than 80 people he employs, most are young Chinese.
“I’m impressed by the young people here who are very smart, clear-minded and straightforward,” Kazuo said.
Mori Motoo, another Japanese expatriate who has a business in Wuhan, has witnessed the rapid changes taking place in the city and the Optics Valley.
“When I first came to the city in 2003, it was like a rural area. The view outside the window was completely nothing,” said Motoo. “Now it is filled with high-rises and busy streets.”
Motoo worked in the automobile parts industry for 36 years. After retiring, he founded Wuhan Grow Woods Consultation to provide consultancy services to the Chinese auto industry.
“The most important thing in manufacturing is to stay long enough in one position and gather as much experience as possible,” Motoo said. “Such wisdom is captured in the Chinese character of enterprise, which is composed of two parts: the upper part means ‘human,’ and the lower part means ‘stay.’ It means that to create a successful enterprise, employees need to stay in a place long enough to master the technique to the fullest.”
Motoo said that in Japan, people who have retired at the age of 65 are still willing to work and pass on their experience.
“Enterprises in Wuhan need sophisticated management methods to help them catch up in the fast development of the city, which is where the Japanese management experiences fall in place.”
Okitsu Kazuo, president of Syspro