Over the past five years, Jed Ng has worked in seven countries: Singapore, France, Canada, Malaysia, Sweden, the US and now Japan. But the move to join Tokyo-based e-commerce and technology giant Rakuten has marked a turning point in his career. “I wanted to be in the tech industry; what I’m doing now is the culmination of the past few years of work,” he says.
Ng’s role straddles two disciplines: innovation and business strategy for new hi-tech services, and strategic media and communications business projects. “We are looking at wireless power transmission, which is really cool technology,” he says. He has no trouble communicating with colleagues given the company’s adoption of English as its official working language. And his commute? “It’s a 15-minute walk – and I love it. I’m terribly spoilt.”
Tokyo is one of the world’s best walkable cities and has an extensive, on-time railway system.“Once you get used to the trains and subways it’s easy to get around,” says Ng. “Japan is a great place to live and the social consciousness of people is unmatched.”
LIFE IN JAPAN
In the months since Ng arrived he has spent weekends at a nearby rock-climbing gym and exploring Tokyo with his wife. “It feels like every neighbourhood has its own character,” he says. Despite Japan’s reputation as one of the world’s dining capitals, Ng has the occasional hankering for food from the other side of the Pacific. “I do miss big American-sized burgers.”
GETTING A VISA
Ng’s work experience and MBA from Insead in France played in his favour. He was in Singapore, on holiday, when he submitted his paperwork to the Japanese embassy. Two weeks later he had a five-year visa for highly skilled workers with business-management expertise, plus a permit for his wife to work.