ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Yoshihisa Suzuki, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced today that it had entered into an agreement with Eko Corporation Co. Ltd. (headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand; Korawad Chearavanont, CEO, hereinafter “Eko”) to be the sole distributor of Eko in Japan. Eko is the virtual workspace tool for remote working that ensures business continuity for corporations and teams.

The importance of communication between employees and the improvement of their engagement is increasing as diversity and efficiency in working styles are sought out by corporations. In addition to this, the demand for telework for many corporations is increasing following the recent spread of the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus, with a rapid increase in corporations looking to implement business communication tools that allow teleworking to happen, including in-house social media and chatting, video conferencing, task management and more.

In light of the outbreak of Covid-19 globally, the tool is currently being offered in Japan as a 3-month free trial to support corporations urgently engaged in telework, including working from home, due to the spread of the effects of the coronavirus. At the same time, the current rate of implementation of in-house social media, chatting, etc. in Japan is still low when compared to countries in Europe and North America, and business communication tools are needed that can be used immediately with minimal cost barriers

Eko is a startup corporation founded in 2012 by Korawad Chearavanont, an entrepreneur and member of the Charoen Pokphand Group, a large financial group in Thailand. The all-in-one tool for corporations offered by Eko is strong in its ability to contribute to the revitalization of in-house communication, improvement of staff engagement and productivity, especially between employees working in stores or at home, as this tool makes a variety of functions possible from a single smartphone, from managing chats, phone calls, and files to creating in-house applications and business reports. Since its founding, Eko has gained a wide variety of customers, including retailers, financial organizations, and telecommunications companies with a focus on Southeast Asia, North America and Europe, and they are expanding their business.

ITOCHU Corporation announced that it was entering into a capital and business alliance with the company in 2017, and it has supported Eko’s business development in Southeast Asia, etc., and on this occasion, it has entered into an agreement to be the sole distributor of Eko following its advance into the Japanese market and sales have begun in Japan. Utilizing its group network, ITOCHU Corporation will move forward with popularizing the tool within Japan.

ITOCHU Corporation will move forward with developing its business model by utilizing new technologies as a way of taking the business into the next-generation as laid out in the Brand-new Deal 2020, the company’s medium-term management plan. ITOCHU Corporation entered into a strategic capital alliance with WingArc1st Inc., a company developing its data management business, in December 2019, and entered into a business alliance with AKQA CORP, the largest agency advancing digital transformation (DX), in February 2020. Sales of Eko will further speed up the advancement of DX in Japanese corporations. 

*1 Source: “White Paper on Information and Communications in Japan”, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, 2018 https://www.soumu.go.jp/johotsusintokei/whitepaper/ja/h30/html/nd144220.html

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