Wishing everyone in Asia and around the world a very Happy New Year! It is once again amazing to be at this time of the year again….. 2018 passed so quickly! With a year full of many unfortunate natural disasters, we could have done without all the man-made challenges, but it is looking like all these are going to culminate in a challenging 2019 for us all. Naturally, this is as we try to keep up with our own changing industry, all that technological change brings, and then the ever increasing pressures on price, data security, compliance and of course how to improve our value in the provision of service and the assignee experience. I am sure that 2019 will throw something else at us too!!
As always, it has been a busy year at the H&R Group. There have been some reasonably large changes in responsibility made earlier this year, as we make the transition from a Japan-only service providing organization to one that has aspirations to all of Asia. Bryce Conlan has taken over responsibility for all of our Japan businesses, including not just our mobility related functions, but our recruiting business, which caters to Japanese companies who wish to engage non-Japanese workers in their businesses. Satoshi Fujiwara has moved out of the real estate business that he built solidly for more than 10 years and is now in charge of our furniture rental and car lease business nationwide.
William Titus was handed the reigns to our real estate business in Tokyo and continues in his long-held position at Relo Japan, while also leading our newest business; Immigration Japan. All of this has allowed me to let go of my responsibilities in Japan and concentrate on the 16 countries in Asia that Relo Network Asia (also known as “Orientations”) has a presence. Like any organizational change, there have been challenges, but I am proud of the way our leaders are going about their own business, and how we are growing future leaders in our current management and team leader ranks.
Our Japan business had another very busy year. The growth of our Kobe Office to nearly 10 people is significant, but our Tokyo and Nagoya offices have continued to be very busy too. Our visa and immigration services continue to grow through Immigration Japan, and the volume of business coming through Relo Japan has been very steady. As data security and compliance become big topics in our industry, we continue to strengthen this part of our operations through our ISO 27001 certification and our Information Security Management System that has raised the level of understanding amongst all our Japan staff in terms of data security management. Staffing Japan, our recruiting business, continues to look for its niche in the market for non-Japanese workers making their way to Japan. We have a healthy population of Chinese engineers working in various Japanese companies and we are keen to help Japan with its ever-growing worker shortage issues.
Relo Network Asia (Orientations) has also been very busy. Starting with just 3 members towards the end of 2016, our Singapore Office now has a team of 7 people. Adeline Chur has been instrumental in nurturing our office to this level, and I expect that we will continue to grow in Singapore. On January 10th, we will officially open our new office in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Christina Zar, who is also my business partner in Myanmar, will be heading this office, and we have plans to open new locations in both Shanghai and Kuala Lumpur during 2019. Sharon Michnay in our US office continues to do a fantastic job with leading our sales activities and answering all those RFPs!! All the while making sure everything gets covered in the US time zone.
We have put a lot of work into our backend databases and systems in 2018, to enhance both the experience for our assignees and provide our clients and partners with much more accurate reporting. There is still a lot we need to accomplish, but I am proud of the team for the progress we have made towards becoming the number one force in destination services in Asia. Plans are also developing to integrate our Japan business with Relo Network Asia in a more meaningful way. We look forward to sharing more with you on what this looks like in the near future!!
Thank you to everyone for your on-going support in 2018. We look forward to working with you all again at a higher level in 2019!!
Warmest regards and all the very best for your success and growth in 2019.
H&R Group, Director
Relo Japan, President
Relo Network Asia, CEO