Name : Mr. Nobuhiko Kono
Nationality : Japanese
Position : Managing Director of Chiyoda & Public Woks Co,.ltd.
MI: When did you first visit Myanmar and what was your impression like then?
It was at the end of 2011. This was my very first visit to Myanmar. My first impression of Myanmar was the bright eyes and smiles of children. They look like they are aiming for the future.
MI: What do you think of Myanmar now?
From my point of view, Myanmar is rapidly growing after reforming in various sectors. Myanmar should keep this stance and standardize the current growth for better & brighter future since Myanmar’s human resource has very high potential and it is very rare to see all over the world according to demographic data that about 60% of total population is between 25 and 45.
MI: How did you become as Managing Director of Chiyoda & Public Works Co., Ltd?
As a member of Chiyoda Corporation in Japan, previously, I worked for Guangdong project in Southern part of China.
Thereafter I worked as Managing Director in Thailand particularly for petrochemical project in Thailand. Now, it’s very lucky and challenging for me to have a great opportunity to serve as a Managing Director of Chiyoda & Public Works Co., Ltd., here in Myanmar.
MI: What is the origin and business outline of Chiyoda & Public Works Co., Ltd? Is there any partner you are working with in Myanmar?
We have established since 1997 as a Joint Venture Company between Ministry of Construction-Myanmar and Chiyoda Corporation-Japan. Since then, we keep on actively participating in various projects including capacity building. Please let me explain a bit more, prior to the establishment, we involved in feasibility studies for SEZ Developments for Thilawa, Dawei and Kyaukphyu, and drafting of City Master Plan for Mandalay and Kalewa Coal Mine development, etc. Here, I’d like to promise on behalf of Chiyoda Corporation, being as a world-leading engineering
company in the fields of energy and social infrastructure projects, Chiyoda will do our best to participate in upcoming project opportunities with our abundant experience & expertise to meet the needs of Myanmar’s energy and social developments.
MI: Would you briefly explain how Prime Hill Business Square has emerged?
I would love to. We developed ideas to expand our business lines further to major business lines. Then we reached to an idea to invest and operate the office rental business by effectively utilizing the old building of Ministry and its best location in prime area of Yangon. As you all may see here, we decorated the old building without changing the shape and design of the structure. Only additionally we installed new steel corridor for easy access to each and every units and to have wider inner space for offices. This remarkable achievement would not have been realized without the outstanding leadership and hard work of the management of Public Works, project support team from Chiyoda Japan, all CPW members, and all the contractors and suppliers of this country who dedicated their utmost efforts to the achievement of today. Another important point that I would like to mention is that there was no accident occurred during the construction. Safety is always what Chiyoda values as a top priority issue.
MI: If you are inquired about Prime Hill Business Square, how will you introduce your building to customers?
One of the good questions I am willing to answer. I will introduce this environment starting from location which is extremely close to the downtown of Yangon, where important facilities are located. Moreover, facilities provided here are different from others such as, but not limited to, individual air-conditioning system so that our tenant can work out of standard office hours; sufficient car parking spaces for in- house tenants and visitors; information and telecommunication system for utmost convenience of tenants providing pre- installed IP phones facility to each room. For the convenience of newly established companies in Myanmar, they do not need to worry much about their office set up. May we just invite them to come and visit Prime Hill Business Square. Have a look around. They will notice all requirements of a standard office are completely facilitated to start an office immediately. Once they satisfy our building, they could run their operation with no hesitation.
MI: Who are your competitors and what are your competitive strategies?
Well, nowadays, there are quite a number of contemporary businesses. What a booming market! We cannot help enjoying competing today’s Prime Hill Business Square against tomorrow’s Prime Hill Business Square. If we are asked our competitive strategies, it would definitely be the satisfaction of our customers, and we would like our customers feel relaxed and comfortable as if they are staying at their home. The office is not only the place to work. We would like our customers to concentrate on their business in the heart-warming and stress-easing environment. Besides, as an affiliate of global engineering company, safety is at most concern. We provide 24 hours security system and visitor’s car monitoring and gate control. Therefore, our in-house tenants and visitors do not need to worry about their safety and security of the premises where they are in. ‘Home is where the heart is.’ We are trying our best the word is true to our customers.
MI: What is your current occupancy ratio of Prime Hill Business Square like?
Currently 75% and we target more than 80% by end of this fiscal year.
MI: What are your future expansion plans for Myanmar?
We intend to expand our major business line of EPC in hydrocarbon industry in Myanmar. Moreover, as part of Chiyoda’s global business expansion, recently Chiyoda merged with EMAS offshore engineering company in Singapore especially aiming for Offshore Upstream Development provider. Additionally, we will keep upgrading Prime
Hill Business Square to meet requirements of customers by providing as much services as possible we could offer them. Meanwhile, we will also listen to what customers say, and explore what current demands look like. Following this, necessary development to Prime Hill Business Square will be materialized.
MI: In which ways working in Myanmar different from working in any other countries?
To me, localization is very important and most practical way to work in Myanmar.
MI: How do you think Myanmar should prepare for the increase of foreign investments?
By providing systematic stable political situations in terms of firm and concrete laws and regulations such as taxation, banking system and so forth.
MI: Please give your comment on the market potential of the country’s serviced office market?
There are many new developers in this field and we really appreciate and welcome since Myanmar will need more office spaces for existing and new investors.
MI: From a business standpoint, what do you feel are the biggest challenge facing you and your team in Myanmar in next 1-3 years?
Human resource is the biggest challenge for us. Therefore, we emphasize more on capacity building by upgrading our employee through dispatching to headquarter and/or sister companies.
MI: What effect do you think that the sudden influx of foreign companies/ nationals will have?
Here in Myanmar, demand and supply of labor market becomes very significant gap. Such market spoil is one of the typical negative factors for stability of a business.
MI: Please give some advice to someone who is looking up to investment in Myanmar?
Personally, salary investigation would definitely be necessary. Challenging of setting up business is not very much different from one country to another. Customary of government administration systems, national rules & regulation should also be aware.
MI: If you could make one major change to any government policy, what would it be?
To reduce the protectionism.
MI: How are you enjoying your days in Myanmar?
I enjoy my days working in Prime Hill Business Square.Other than that I would like to spend my leisure time visiting to historical places in Myanmar. Especially I have keen interest in visiting Lashio and Shan State.