France based Tejix is a design and consulting company specializing in the design and implementation of technical systems for theme park attractions. They cover areas such as sound, video, lighting, special effects and attraction automation. Tejix combines the experience of seasoned designers to obsessive attention to detail. The largest attractions theme parks in the world rely on their systems for video and sound.
With successful business operations in Europe and the United States, Tejix eyes expansion into the Asian market. Henry Corrado, Managing Director of Tejix, answers a few questions for us about his Japan experiences thus far.
1. After establishing successful businesses in Europe and America, what drew you to Japan?
We are a detail-oriented, industrious company dealing with hi-profile customers. With its mature domestic market and safe environment, Japan was a natural choice for our Asian expansion.
2. What were some of the challenges you encountered when setting up your business here? Language? Cultural?
Language is certainly an issue. We learned quite quickly that live translation cannot be improvised. The help of professional translators is needed to make the most of your meetings. Culturally, the cultural gap is smaller than we thought. We are receiving a lot of help and support from locals, despite the fact we have not much to give in return yet.
3. Has it been a challenge to hire staff for your company?
It’s still a challenge. A foreign startup is not the most sought employer. We had limited luck with conventional channels, so we’re using our burgeoning network and search in unlikely places.
4. What are some things that have surprised you about living in Japan?
How easy it is to get used to it! Most Japanese might not realize it, but life in Japan is very smooth. It’s the perfect combination of work efficiency and great lifestyle, with a vibrant cultural and dining scene. My initial intention was to alternate between Europe and Japan every six weeks. I ended up staying in Tokyo most of the time!
5. What advice would you offer other expats who are thinking about starting a business in Japan?
I’ve read here and there that the administrative tasks of setting up a business are quite easy and can be accomplished without external help. While this may be technically true, I doubt that penny-pinching is the right mindset to get started in Japan. Not only professional support will save a great amount of time and energy, but things will be done efficiently in the right sequence in order to avoid catch-22 situations. It is better to concentrate on difficulties that might arise in other areas, such as hiring, renting property, banking and so forth. Besides the purely technical aspect, being surrounded by professionals accustomed with the local scene is essential, especially in a conservative country like Japan.
Company incorporation registrations in Japan are typically performed by a shihoshoshi, a type of licensed legal professional that specializes in corporate and real estate registration. The Tokyo-based shihoshoshi firm Shinonome Group has assisted Mr. Corrado and many other non-Japanese companies and individuals with company incorporation and branch registration. First time free consultation with no obligations is available of course in English.