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The Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Japan Service provided: Web Hosting Package/Business plan

Reliable service and business support in English are our specialties.

Research and text by: Mikihiko Nomoto

Executive Director for the Finnish Chamber of Commerce

Executive Director for the Finnish Chamber of Commerce,
Clas-G. Bystedt

English support and dependability are big reasons why people use us.

The Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Japan (FCCJ) is a non-profit organization recognized by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and was established in Japan in 1999. Its main purpose is to promote trade and economic relations between Finland and Japan, but also involves itself with public relations via publications and periodicals.

Executive Director for the FCCJ, Clas-G. Bystedt is a long time Japan resident, and has extensive experience creating websites for clients such as foreign businesses, embassies, and national tourist boards. "About half of my time is spent at the FCCJ, the other half is spent consulting," says Bystedt, whose sites are all hosted on Rakuten Broadband Premium's Web Hosting Package.

"Prior to FCCJ's establishment, I was in Japan working on several websites related to Finland and a variety of other company sites as well. I am currently managing 15 different websites. Initially I was using another company's web hosting, but in 1995 I heard about GOL (now Rakuten Broadband Premium) and made the switch. One big reason I changed was the solid English support they provided. There were no other companies that could provide both English support services and support for foreign businesses. The company I used before was small and their management was always changing, but I could trust Rakuten Broadband Premium — that was another big reason I switched. Rakuten Broadband Premium's technology was reliable as well. When the FCCJ was created in 1999, I chose Rakuten Broadband Premium to host their website and I continue to use them for all my other websites, too."

Local service is more reliable than overseas outsourcing

While many outsource their important English communications overseas, why do some stay close to home to get the job done?

"From our experience, services provided in America always seem to have slower transfer rates than those provided here in Japan. And due to stricter routing policies, Europe's transfer rates are even slower than America's. Also, it's more difficult to pay for services based overseas. Many American companies prefer payment by check, and I know of one embassy whose website was temporarily unavailable because their check was delayed in the mail and their service was suspended. While the Internet is truly international, your hosting service should be close to home — it's safer and more reliable."

Bystedt also doesn't recommend choosing a hosting service based solely on cost. "You may save a few thousand yen a month on hosting, but it costs much more to create and maintain your website, so hosting fees shouldn't really be an issue. If you consider how much it used to cost to physically design, print, and mail your company's materials, what you pay for internet service and hosting pales in comparison. I use a mailing list and can quickly E-mail 1,100 people at the same time. Some hosting plans may all provide competitive pricing, but the customer is always better off using a good service, even if it costs a little more."

Building better relationships with less complaints about service and support

Bystedt is not only satisfied with fact that English support is offered, but also the quality of the support and service he receives. "In the seven years I've been using [Rakuten Broadband Premium], I've only experienced two or three very short server outages. I've had no particular problems, and have also never had a problem with security. There was one problem with a database module, but I was able to talk to a support representative and resolve the issue quickly. I can get a hold of sales associates and technical support representatives quickly by mail as well, so I always have peace of mind. Unfortunately, if you experience server trouble, the customers look to blame you, and that weakens your credibility! It is of the utmost importance to have a reliable server."

Bystedt also explained to us how his long experience with Rakuten Broadband Premium has helped build a better relationship. Once a year the European Business Council and the American Chamber of Commerce organize a golf tournament called the Daimler Chrysler Cup between the members of the European chambers on one side and the North American Chambers on the other side. Rakuten Broadband Premium is one of the sponsors on that Web site [http://www.dccgolf.japan.com/] and also provides the server."

Has he ever considered using another server? "Three years ago I was contracted to open an on-line shop, and I used another service to do so. But now I understand that Rakuten Broadband Premium has recently added on-line shop capabilities. I have used their service for seven years, and the truth is there is no other service that provides all the information and manuals I need in English. While I do understand some Japanese from living here as long as I have, for most foreigners I would say it's impossible to do business with a hosting service that provides support only in Japanese."

The standard "Urchin" Analysis Tool can be used to create reports

At Rakuten Broadband Premium, the Urchin access log analysis tool is provided with all hosting services. Bystedt says that they use access analysis results in the FCCJ's monthly reports for the board of trustees. In addition, the FCCJ utilizes the results in order to optimize their site's meta-tags for search engines.

Lastly we asked Bystedt, who has been working with computers since 1978 and has participated in the field of creating web designs since as early as 1995, a few questions about the progress of web technology.

"Now that I'm older, it's harder for me to learn new technologies! But two years ago I created a website for foreigners living in Japan that compiled all the Japanese golf courses [http://www.golf-in-japan.com/], half for fun and half for my own study. Naturally I did this only on my days off," he jokes. "There are over 2,400 courses, so it turned out to be a real study on PHP programming and database design. I avoided the use of Flash, because I think can be slow, difficult to navigate, and is overused in Japan. When I do use Flash, I try to limit it and keep it effective.

"FCCJ's site is really more business oriented than anything, and I don't believe it holds much interest for the average person. If you're interested in Finland, please visit another site that I've put together for the Finnish Tourist Board at http://www.moimoifinland.com/."

*Reprint from "Web Manager's Forum Vol.2", "Rental Server Complete Guide Vol.7"