Cosmopolitan Consulting Co., Ltd is a company that engages in exporting Okinawan foods to Southeast Asian countries, consults for foreign companies planning to do the businesses in Okinawa, as well as provides those companies with interpretation/translation services.
Mr. Zheng Xuan（Daniel Cheng）, the representative director from Taiwan, immigrated to Okinawa 15 years ago. After gaining work experience in Okinawa, starting in 2017, he has been actively buying Okinawan products at the request of China and Taiwan. As a result, in April of 2020, he established a company to serve as a bridge between Okinawa and the rest of the world, in addition to contributing to the development of Okinawan industries.
An interview was conducted with Mr. Zheng to discuss topics regarding the company’s business, challenges, and future opportunities of Okinawa. （September,2020）
Okinawa captivates the safety and reassurance of a Japanese society which ultimately creates a setting that brings together the people and cultures of Southeast Asia. Moving forward, the goal is to develop a new industry that incorporates Okinawa into the global market with products known as “Made in Japan.”
We export Okinawan food products such as Mozuku, Turmeric, and Brown Sugar which are widely known as healthy foods to countries like Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong. Many Okinawan products are deliberately made and have garnered a lot of attention as healthy foods.
When a foreign company first establishes its business in Okinawa, it would need to overcome a language barrier. From there, it will also face the challenge of obtaining necessary information and resources.
In our consulting business, we support the entire startup and business development process of a company all the way to its establishment. So far, we have supported eight companies and a total of approximately 30 people. However, starting a business requires procedures such as obtaining a management visa and there is a lack of judicial and administrative scriveners who can speak foreign languages. Furthermore, once the company is established and you move to Okinawa, you would need arrangements for office space, housing, and education for your children.
Through my experiences of living in Okinawa, language skills are absolutely necessary for international trade and consulting since businesses are in one way or another mutually related.
For a long time, Taiwanese people have liked Japan and Okinawa because of their historical background. In addition, the physical advantages of easy access to Southeast Asia, the lush natural environment, pleasant people, and relaxed lifestyle are what attracts foreign people to Okinawa.
Moreover, Okinawa shares many cultural similarities with Southeast Asia, and the people empathize with Southeast Asians. In addition, Okinawa has the attractive aspect of social order and a secure image of Japan, which is why I believe there will be room for new industries in Okinawa.
It all began in 2017 when I became a buyer of Okinawan products. I have received countless requests from mainland China and Taiwan, but research on the market trend is crucial for these transactions to occur. After building up personal experiences for three years, I have gained confidence to appeal Okinawan products to countries overseas. Thus, Cosmopolitan Consulting Co., Ltd was established in 2020.
The first aspect of establishing the company that I thought difficult was searching for a guarantor and opening a corporate Bank account. Even after I opened an account, there were minimal results, so transferring money overseas required attention to detail. When securing a well-developed office environment and banking transactions, the only thing I can do is to build a relationship on trust.
From the initial stages of starting the company, I was introduced to judicial and administrative scriveners, as well as an accountant who could provide support with foreign languages. After the establishment of the company, we were able to build relationships with makers through the connections with the companies on island.
Additionally, we were introduced to rental offices and international schools for conducting the consulting business, and we are currently collaborating with a real estate agent. When establishing a company in Okinawa, support for not only business is necessary, but also for immigration into Okinawa. Henceforth, we would like to increase the number of business partnerships such as this one.
It is extremely helpful for Okinawa Industry Promotion Public Corporation to have staff members who can aid with English or Chinese. We are extremely grateful for all the help we received up until now, and it would be nice to continue working with them.
Due to the current situation, foreign buyers are unable to come to Okinawa. I play the role of strengthening the connections between overseas buyers who are seeking products made in Okinawa to on-island companies who wish to expand overseas.
In the consulting business, the number of individuals who wish to emigrate from Hong Kong to Okinawa are increasing. However, because they cannot travel, we consult them on applying for residence in Okinawa and discuss with the administrative scrivener to adjust the application accordingly. We are currently thinking of ways in which business opportunities can be expanded when they do immigrate to Okinawa.
As industries that handle Okinawan food products, I believe the manufacturing industry still has room to grow. For example, if manufacturers for a specific product were to increase, there would be more healthy competition between companies, leading to an increase in contracts from overseas buyers.
On the contrary, there are also inquiries from overseas manufacturers who hope to expand their business to Okinawa. Even if a company did have sufficient funds, there would be high risks in expanding the company to Okinawa. I am wondering if it would be possible for the conditions when establishing a local company to be relaxed or for Okinawa Government to strengthen its acceptance program for foreign companies.
Another aspect is the increase in foreign language support for foreigners that want to live in Okinawa. Although Okinawa has the highest number of personnel that are able to speak English in Japan, it would be ideal if this resource could be developed in areas such as the bank, the city hall, schools, and hospitals.
COVID-19 has had a negative impact on the entire planet. What I am currently working on are ways in which the Okinawan economy can progress without relying heavily on the tourism industry.
I have clients that emigrate from Hong Kong who have various skills: artists, educators, and scientists among them. They invest their time and effort to live in Okinawa, contributing to the development of the economy.
Such contributions may include an artwork produced by a foreign artist inspired by the Okinawan culture or providing local Okinawan products and services to meet the needs of foreign countries. The ability to create a new industry to appeal the characteristics of Okinawa to the rest of the world will be fantastic.
For the manufacturing industry to produce to the global market, a mere “Made in Okinawa” is considered insignificant. To overcome this barrier, products can safely and reassuringly be named “Made in Japan.”
The recognition that Japanese products made in Okinawa gets from foreign countries may also positively affect the local employment. When foreigners think of Japan, many will think “Tokyo” or “Osaka”, but it will be incredible if we can get the world to understand the “Okinawa inside of Japan”.
Attaining information related to establishing a business is very important. In order for a foreign company or an individual to establish a company, or to obtain a management visa, they would need to invest in advance. I would also recommend from my experiences to receive support from trustworthy experts such as Okinawa Industry Promotion Public Corporation.
As a bridge between Okinawa and the rest of the world, we strive to provide support such as information on preferred treatment, company or factory establishment, or attaining a management visa for our overseas clients. We also provide various information on trade, taxes, real estate, international schools, foreign language translations, life in Okinawa, and more so please do not hesitate to ask us about any concerns.
|Cosmopolitan Consulting Co., Ltd|
|Head office : Room 2-10 RJ building Kokusai-dori, 2-4-3 Asato, Naha city, Okinawa|
|TEL : 090-6864-9866|
|Established : April,2020|
|Representative : Daniel Cheng|
|Number of employees : 2 people|
|Description of business : Company Details: Trade of Japanese products ・Management Consulting・Translating and Interpreting Foreign languages|
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Overseas and Business Support Division, Okinawa Industry Promotion Public Corporation
Business Hours : Monday - Friday 9:00-17:00 （Closed on Saturday, Sunday and Holidays）