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Interviews with foreign-affiliated companies in Kansai (InterCall Japan)

Last update:November 18 ,2014

【United Status】 InterCall Japan K.K.

Founded in Osaka: March 2010
Address: 20F Hankyu Grand Bldg. 8-47 Kakudacho, Kita-Ku, Osaka-city, OSAKA, 530-0017
Line of business: Conference service provider
Website: InterCall

Interview

 

InterCall Japan K.K. entered into the Japanese market in 2003. InterCall is a company that supports customers to make their business between remote locations more efficient by providing unified communication services including audio conferencing, web conferencing, and video conferencing services.
We previously conducted an interview with the company when they opened their Osaka sales office in March 2010. This time, we interviewed Mr. Chris Christophers, Head of Sales, West Japan Osaka Branch Manager, to ask about their business since their establishment.

Industry-leading Conference Service Provider

These days, where more and more corporations have started developing their businesses globally, it is vital for them to communicate efficiently with their overseas bases. InterCall boasts more than 75,000 corporations as its customers around the world and is one of the world’s largest conference service providers, providing customers with audio conferencing, web conferencing and video conferencing services, etc. while utilizing telephone lines.
When it comes to video conferencing, in most cases, participants gather in conference rooms equipped with special conferencing equipment. However, with our conferencing systems, customers don’t have to introduce any new device or equipment and can still establish a global communication infrastructure with multiple remote locations while utilizing existing telephones, PCs, and internet connections. As no setup costs are incurred and your account can be instantly created, customers don’t have to feel any sense of hesitation either financially or psychologically when they introduce our system. Further, even though people have access to easily available systems such as Skype these days, information security is vital for companies which handle confidential information or the like. Although many companies in Japan still avoid using a cloud system due to security concerns, the security of our company’s system is highly robust and has been highly rated as a top-class cloud system in the industry. In particular, our system has been receiving strong support from pharmaceutical companies, which place great importance on the confidentiality of information.
Since our conference service is provided with an option using a telephone line, audio quality is stable. In addition, if an internet connection is also available, it is possible to conduct web conferencing in which participants can edit Excel, PowerPoint files and the like on the screen from any remote locations while conducting web conferencing. This is extremely useful for customers. There is a preconception that audio quality deteriorates in a web conference, but since our system is operated using telephone lines as described above, participants can hear clear and stable sound throughout the conference. As a result of those advantages, we have successfully gained the top market share in the global web conferencing industry, and our share currently exceeds 50%.
Further, our company does not only sell our systems to our customers, but also has been putting a lot of effort into providing training support services for our users. Since we have bases in many different countries around the world, it is our biggest advantage that we can provide our services not only for domestic customers in Japan, but also customers based overseas, while using our respective local branches. These training support services give peace of mind to customers who intend to introduce new systems from our company. Further, by simply installing an application called “Blue Jeans,” for example, customers can connect a tablet device such as an iPad, which has been typically used simply as an electronic catalogue or the like, with the H323 video conference device. In this way, we can enable customers to expand the ways in which they use the mobile devices and can contribute to improving their work efficiency.

Steady Expansion

We initially launched our Japanese subsidiary having an office only in Tokyo as a support base for foreign capital corporate clients. However, in order to expand our business into Western Japan, including Kansai, we established another office in Osaka, which has a large market, five years ago. The Osaka sales office initially started off with one desk and one employee, but we now have four employees in the office and sales have expanded twentyfold since the establishment of the Osaka office, which has exceeded our initial estimate by a long way. A number of global electrical appliance, medical and pharmaceutical companies are based in the Kansai area. Such companies, which need smooth communication with their overseas bases and which range from industry leading large corporations to small and medium-sized companies playing major roles in niche markets, have been using our services. Currently, we are supporting more than one hundred companies.
Although several global companies are competing with us in Japan, as we decided to move into Osaka earlier than the others, we have been able to improve our name recognition in Western Japan.

Future Development

Reliability of security in cloud systems is improving as cloud technologies are constantly advancing day by day. A shift from servers to cloud systems is taking place, IP telephony is adopting cloud systems, and online event services have started being more widely used, by which academic conferences and the like can be broadcast online in real time, for example. As our parent company is based overseas, we can quickly obtain the latest information from overseas markets and can promptly provide state-of-the-art communication tools for our customers ahead of others, which is highly appreciated by the corporate customers who have introduced our systems. While making the best use of those advantages, we will further strengthen our direct sales activities for our own products and also will further develop partnership businesses with network system and device development companies and so on.
The Kansai market is not as large as that of Tokyo, but because of that, there are fewer competitors in the area, so our business opportunities in the Kansai area are still expanding. Based in Osaka where we have good access to transportation and from which we can cover a wide area efficiently, we are striving to increase the number of our employees and connect as many companies as possible in Kansai and Western Japan with the world, while utilizing the world’s largest global network and know-how our company can offer.

Interview Conducted when Osaka Sales Office was Established

While the business model for "remote networking" has been developed and widely adopted in the US and Europe for many years, the concept of audio and video collaboration is still relatively new in the Asia-Pacific region, especially among Japanese companies. In 2005, InterCall established its Japanese arm in Tokyo, as part of its efforts to expand support customers in Japan. Three years later, it embarked on a full-fledged expansion of its customer bases targeting Japanese companies. Consequently, sales in Japan showed the largest growth in Asia. Driven by the success of its business in Japan, InterCall's new sales office was established in Osaka in March 2010.

At present, InterCall rents office space from Regus Japan K.K. for its Osaka Office. Chris Christophers, Business Development Manager for InterCall Japan, reflects back on INVEST Kansai Desk's support for the establishment of the company's arm in Kansai, remarking "a rent-free temporary office space was the most effective support provided to us before opening our present office. Other great support we have received includes the provision of information on the Kansai market, the holding of networking events for companies that have set up businesses in Kansai, and support for authorization procedures to open an office."

After opening their Osaka Office, they set on an aggressive approach toward companies located in Kansai while taking over support services for the existing customers. Demand for tools that create more effective business communications, such as audio conferencing with people abroad, is very strong here in Kansai, where a growing number of companies, from industry leaders to SMEs that have a strong presence in niche markets, have expanded their business activities on a global scale. Capitalizing on such strong demand, InterCall has proactively been expanding its business with companies located in Kansai, regardless of the scale and type of business, by taking full advantage of its network--the largest in the world--prominent services, competitive prices and extensive knowhow.

Contact Information

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Kansai Bureau
International Investment Promotion Division
Address: 1-5-44 Otemae, Chuo-ku, Osaka, 540-8535
Phone:+81-6-6966-6033
E-Mail:invest-japan-kansai@meti.go.jpMail (mail client will launch)