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Member Introduction: Asia Pacific Consulting Group - Streamlining Business Across Continents Through Knowhow & Network
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Member Introduction: Asia Pacific Consulting Group - Streamlining Business Across Continents Through Knowhow & Network

06 April 2019 | Written by administrator


Swedes have been cross-continental venturers for many centuries. Here in the Asia Pacific, trade deals made by Swedish businesspersons can be traced as far back as the 18th century. This adventurism lives on in much the same vein well into the 21st century. Asia Pacific Consulting Group, skippered by its President & Founder Urban Dahlen, is one such example. Established in 2005, the company has three offices in three different Asia cities. SCCJ sat down with Mr. Dahlen and his close confident - Director of Japan Tomoko Thompson - to learn about the company's past, present and future.


Mr. Dahlen has been living and working in the Asia Pacific region for more than 15 years. At the outset of his journey abroad, he headed to Beijing to study Mandarin Chinese. It was during these initial years that he developed his fluency in China's lingua franca - a language used by well over one billion Chinese nationals on a day-to-day basis. Before moving to China, Mr. Dahlen had already worked as a business consultant back home in Sweden. Hence, launching a startup where he could capitalize on not only his homegrown business skills but also his newly acquired language skills was perhaps a perfectly natural progression businesswise. Ever since then, for the past 12 to 13 years, Mr. Dahlen has toiled hard in promoting various products and services between China (including regions of Hong Kong and Taiwan), Europe, and North America. Today, he has a large network of contacts in all three areas.


Although Mr. Dahlen had set his eyes on Japan before first moving to the Asia Pacific region (in fact his original plan was to move from Sweden to Japan and not to China), China's eastern neighbor did not transpire any lucrative business opportunities until quite recently. Mr. Dahlen explains that the breakthrough moment came only after meeting Ms. Thompson at a business transaction in Hong Kong around five years ago. "She deals with the Japanese side of the business. She had a great business network, both in Japan and internationally, and of course is an expert in Japanese business culture" said Mr. Dahlen.


Since then, in close collaboration with Ms. Thompson, a PR and marketing professional with more than two decades of experience and an owner of her own marketing company, Mr. Dahlen has been actively incubating a diverse range of transactions here in Japan.


"I rebranded my company in January of this year. So I would like to focus a lot more on Japan from now. China wull continue to be an important part of my business, though" explained Mr. Dahlen.


When asked about their company's current portfolio, both Mr. Dahlen and Ms. Thompson provided a couple of interesting examples.

First, Ms. Thompson kicked off her pitch by describing their company's music promotion business. Asia Pacific Consulting is the overseas promoter of Japanese jazz/fusion musicians Kiyomi Otaka (organist), Koichi Yabori (guitarist), and duo band KIYO*SEN. KIYO*SEN's members are Kiyomi Otaka and Senri Kawaguchi (drummer).


Ms. Thompson believes that, although many Japanese musicians are very talented, sometimes "they don't know how to promote themselves" to a global audience. Ms. Thompson wants to change this reality by lending homegrown maestros a friendly helping hand through her expertise in language, PR, and marketing.


Next, perhaps done in order to showcase the diversity of their portfolio, Mr. Dahlen carried on the pitch by talking about a Finnish fire retardant called HR-PROF. According to Mr. Dahlen, when this colorless liquid is applied to wood, after five to seven days, the wood turns fire-proof. The product has been awarded the highest rating in the EU SBI test and is more environmentally-friendly than other comparable products. Mr. Dahlen believes that, as long as the regulatory hurdles for selling this product in Japan are cleared, HR-PROF has tremendous potential for growth. "The company in Finland doesn't really know how to market this product to other parts of the world. We are currently talking with a few Japanese wholesalers. You know, Sweden and Japan are quite similar. People here love wodden houses, too" explained Mr. Dahlen enthusiastically.

Their pipeline does not end with these. Other products Mr. Dahlen and Ms. Thompson described include Japanese cosmetics goods made in Nara Prefecture and Japanese kitchen knives made in Niigata Prefecture. During the summer months of June and July, Mr. Dahlen always goes back to Sweden to see friends and relatives. Ms. Thompson also joins for a few weeks to promote these and other products directly to the company's network of Swedish acquaintances, friends, and customers (albeit considering the timing, strictly speaking, perhaps not in a formal business setting).


Another product category both Mr. Dahlen and Ms. Thompson are passionate about is food and beverage. Asia Pacific Consulting Group has been organizing workshop events that promote Sweden's fika culture at the Mitsukoshi department store in Nihombashi on a monthly basis. Ms. Thompson explained that these workshop events are organized in close collaboration with Reiko Mise-Klingstedt who lived in Stockholm for 13 years. "It's not really a business yet. But I think it's a great way for ordinary Japanese people to get to know fika" explained Ms. Thompson. She is confident that this is a worthwhile investment for both the company and the Swedish business community at large.


Mr. Dahlen is looking forward to meeting SCCJ members when he comes back to Japan again in late April. Ms. Thompson, who used to work in the golf industry, is looking forward to playing golf alongside other SCCJ members at the next Stora Enso Cup. Mr. Dahlen is secretly conspiring to make Ms. Thompson play for the Finnish team. "That way, victory for the Swedish team is guaranteed" jokingly smiled Mr. Dahlen.


We would like to extend a warm welcome to Asia Pacific Consulting Group as a new member of SCCJ. You can find out more about Asia Pacific Consulting Group here.


スウェーデン人は何世紀にもわたって、大陸をまたいだ冒険家でありつづけている。このアジア地域でも、スウェーデン人の実業家によって行われた取引の起源は18世紀気にまでさかのぼる。この冒険主義はこの21世紀でも同じように強く残っている。創業者であり代表のウルバン・ダリアンが率いているアジアパシフィック コンサルティンググループはその一例である。2005年に設立され、3つの異なるアジア圏都市にオフィスを持つ。SCCJはこの度ダリアン氏と彼の側近である日本支社のディレクター、トンプソン智子氏に、この会社の過去、現在、そして将来の展望について話を聞いた。










まず始めに、トンプソン氏が音楽のプロモーション事業について語り始めた。アジアパシフィック コンサルティングは日本のジャズやフュージョンのミュージシャンを海外に宣伝する事業を手掛けている。例えばオルガニストの大高清美氏やギタリストの矢堀幸一氏、デュオバンドのKIYO*SEN(大高清美氏とドラマーの川口千里氏のユニット)と協力しているそうだ。日本の音楽家はとても才能にあふれているけれど、時々世界中の観客に”どのように自分たちを売り込んだらいいか分からない”とトンプソン氏は感じている。彼女の専門である言語や広報、マーケティングのスキルを活かして、日本の音楽家を手助けすることでこの現実を変えたい、と彼女は語る。






ダリアン氏及びトンプソン氏が力を入れているもう一つは食文化である。アジアパシフィック コンサルティンググループでは、日本橋の三越で毎月スウェーデンのフィーカ文化を紹介するワークショップイベントを開催している(現在は開催場所を変更)。トンプソン氏によると、このイベントを見瀬理恵子氏とコラボレーションして開催しているそうだ。「これは本格的なビジネスではありません。でも、このイベントは、普通の日本人の皆さんがフィーカについて知る良い機会になるのではないでしょうか」。スウェーデン企業やビジネスコミュニティ全体にとってもこのイベントはとても意味のある投資であるとトンプソン氏は確信している。




アジアパシフィック コンサルティンググループをSCCJの新メンバーとして心より歓迎いたします。アジアパシフィック コンサルティンググループについて、詳しくは公式サイトでご覧いただけます。