ByteDance’s office software platform Feishu currently has 150 employees in charge of the commercialization and orders from its nearly 6,500 Japanese enterprise customers. Last year, Qi Junyuan, the founder of collaboration and project management tool Teambition, joined Feishu and now has begun to take charge of the Japanese market for the company, according to a report by Leiphone on March 8.
Qi’s career is closely related to collaborative office software. While studying at Shanghai Jiaotong University, Qi founded Teambition at the young age of 21. In the following four years, the company attracted multiple rounds of funding from investment institutions such as Gobi China, IDG Capital, Vangoo Capital, and NLVC. Eventually, the company was acquired by Alibaba for $100 million. At the end of last year, ByteDance hired Qi from Alibaba Cloud to develop products for the global market.
A former colleague of Qi commented, “He is young and energetic. For young entrepreneurs like him, if they cannot solve some difficult problems for a long time, they may lose patience and give up, because starting another business is easy for them.”
Since the second half of 2022, Feishu has been continuously expanding overseas markets and has sent personnel to regions such as Japan and Singapore. As of June last year, Feishu had approximately 145 people in its commercial team in Japan.
Over the past two years, Japan has strongly promoted the development of the information industry, resulting in an increased demand for talent and technology. An entrepreneur who has been targeting services for enterprises instead of individual consumers in Japan stated that, while Japanese people learn new things at a slower pace, the expansion of a new thing can be very fast once it is accepted.
However, Feishu’s development in Japan is currently facing challenges due to the closed corporate culture in the country. Employees of Japanese companies only focus on issues at their own level, while Feishu emphasizes transparency and document sharing.
In terms of usage habits, mail is the main office tool of Japanese enterprises, and most employees spend two hours processing their mail. This subconscious office habit is difficult to change. Affected by the epidemic, Japanese enterprises have increased the frequency of using collaborative office software, but decision-making teams still depend on offline channels.
Seal culture is also an important element hindering Feishu from expanding further into the Japanese market. Even during the epidemic, most people had to go back to the office to get their seal in order to complete the necessary stamping procedures when signing a contract. The electronic seal introduced by the Japanese government has not been fully adopted just yet.
Feishu is more like a chat tool for Japanese enterprises, and it is difficult to give full play to its advantages in improving efficiency. It is not clear which path Feishu will take to explore the Japanese market.