Business Decentralization and Need for English

There is a business trend in Japan to extend their businesses to South East Asia. An increasing number of Japanese corporations are interested in countries like Vietnam, The Philippines, Myanmar, Thailand, and Indonesia to build factories, sales offices, or even retail stores. I am involved in this business trend, not as a businessperson to be sent to a South East Asian office, but as an English instructor to teach the language to those who will be stationed in their future offices.

This recent trend leads to the assumption that corporations are serious about the English training of their employees who are scheduled for a dispatch. However, there is a twist to this assumption. According to what I have learned while teaching Japanese businesspeople,  most of them will not be needing English so much in their future offices, but most likely, they will be speaking in Japanese to communicate with Japanese people from Japanese companies. And there is a reason for it.

My students work for large corporations. Their projects are also large that may exceed the local business capability of South East Asian countries. If this is the case, the companies tend to seek partner companies from Japanese corporations that are also in South East Asia and are equal in size, so they are capable to meeting required business volumes.

So, despite the current trend to open new businesses in South East Asia, the need for English training is sometimes given a secondary value.

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