ITOCHU Announces Basic Agreement on Business Alliance with HANKOOK Corporation, a Leading Korean Contact Center Operator

To Support Multinational Companies in Their Entry to Both the Japanese and Korean Markets

September 7, 2017

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Masahiro Okafuji, President & CEO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that BELLSYSTEM24, Inc. (headquartered in Chuo-ku, Tokyo; Ichiro Tsuge, Representative Director, President, and CEO; hereinafter “BELLSYSTEM24”) and ITOCHU have reached a basic agreement on a business alliance with HANKOOK Corporation (headquartered in Seoul, South Korea; Kim Hyun Kyum,CEO; hereinafter, “HC”), a large Korean contact center operator, and J-SPARK NATURAL (headquartered in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea; Cho Chang Hak,CHAIRMAN; hereinafter, “JP”), a provider of business management consulting and business support services based in South Korea and Japan, for the purpose of cooperation in providing contact center operations in both Japanese and Korean.

Founded in 1991 as a company selling contact center systems, with its shares listed on KOSDAQ since 2005, HC is a leader in the Korean contact center industry. The company’s approximately 4,500 employees working in 3,000 booths in its contact centers receive contracts from more than 120 organizations consisting largely of financial service providers and government agencies.

When overseas companies from the U.S., Europe, and other regions establish a contact center while expanding their businesses in Asia, they generally sign a contract with a local operator in each country in which they operate a business. Working with different contact center operators in different countries, however, often causes problems such as delayed business development and difficulty maintaining consistent service quality after operation commences. This business alliance, meanwhile, allows a single outsourcing contract for Japanese and Korean language services and helps companies resolve some of the typical issues associated with new expansion into Asia.

By sharing management expertise and manuals for operations currently performed by their existing clients, BELLSYSTEM24 and HC will facilitate the early business start-up and early stabilization of contact center operation. In addition, BELLSYSTEM24 and HC will share their contact center networks, mutually transfer new clients, share their systems, and cooperate in joint development as part of their wide-ranging collaboration.
They are also planning to develop an alliance in Vietnam, in which BELLSYSTEM24-Hoa Sao, an affiliate of BELLSYSTEM24, and HC will work together to meet demand for Korean language services in the Korean residents’ market in Vietnam, which purportedly comprises more than 100,000 people. Further, the companies aim to increase the languages in which their services are provided and will examine the feasibility of alliances in other countries.

In this business alliance, ITOCHU plays the role of creating Group synergy using its networks in Japan and overseas and operating client referrals, and JP plays the role of carrying out client referrals primarily using its network in Korea and supplementing the differences in business practices between Japan and Korea.

ITOCHU has been consistently improving its activities in the non-resource sector operated in large part by consumer-related businesses, and plans to promote its BPO business that is highly compatible with IT as one of its new core businesses.

ITOCHU and BELLSYSTEM24 will continue to develop strong alliances and implement timely operations, essentially in Asia, to serve the needs of multinational companies for contact centers in the region.

About HC

Company name HANKOOK Corporation
Establishment July 1991
Head office Seoul, South Korea
CEO Mr. Kim, Hyun Kyum
Business locations Six locations in and around Seoul
Number of employees 4,500
Number of booths 3,000
Business Call center operation, infrastructure development service, and sale of system equipment

About JP

Company name J-SPARK NATURAL
Head office Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
CHAIRMAN Mr. Cho Chang Hak
Business Business management advisory and consulting services and business support services in South Korea and Japan

The names of companies and products included in this article are trademarks or registered trademarks of the respective companies.