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"Lingua Franca" creates a "common language" for Japanese companies and South East Asian companies to overcome cultural barriers for business and collaboration

By Lim Shi Hui, Undergraduate, NUS School of Business



After graduating from the Department of Economics at Kyushu University, Fujiyama-san worked for the Industrial Bank of Japan. He then moved on to graduate school, and in 2001, he started working at Japan Bank for International Cooperation. A few years later, he moved to Japan Asia Investment Company, where he acted as a director in both the Malaysia and Singapore branch. In May 2013, he founded Lingua Franca Holdings Pte.Ltd. He is now supporting Japanese companies entering the South-east Asia market by providing M&A consulting.


            Fujiyama san has a well-developed global mindset. He invested in more than 30 companies in Southeast Asia, and has rich working experience in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia. Real interactions with foreigners have further developed his global mindset. 


When he was working in Malaysia, he encountered some conflicts with the local partners. He said “I sometimes scold Malaysian people for not being punctual compared to Japanese people.” This conflict was caused by the different ways of thinking and behavior regarding time, as the Malaysians and Japanese were not well-aware of each other's culture, values, or customs. However, Fujiyama san does not see these cultural differences as obstacles in doing business. Instead, he mentioned “I am glad when I and a person with different background come to understand each other.” He enjoys the process of building mutual understanding with those who come from different cultures or countries. He is trying to develop a relationship which goes beyond the frame of culture, nationality, or race. 

This globalized attitude is well-reflected in the philosophies of Lingua Franca Pte.Ltd.. For examples, Lingua Franca espouses a concept called "Chowa (harmony)" saying that "we act as a catalyst to help companies with different cultural background be assimilated and harmonized." When people from different cultures try to communicate, they may need a "common language." Thus, Linga Franca Pte Ltd. is trying become this "common language" among Japanese companies and Southeast Asian companies, and help them overcome the cultural differences and collaborate smoothly.


Regarding his company’s future, Fujiyama san commented “we built a business model in the first year, and this was followed by good results in the second year. In this third year, we would like to work on reinforcement of our business base for the future success.” He also said that he wants to make his company something truly valuable for the realization of society without cultural or racial barriers.  

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