Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui", Head Office: Tokyo, President and CEO: Tatsuo Yasunaga) and online English language teaching service company RareJob, Inc. ("RareJob", Head Office: Tokyo, CEO: Gaku Nakamura) have entered into a capital and business alliance agreement. Mitsui will acquire a partial share from existing RareJob shareholders and will also acquire a third-party allocation of new shares that will be issued by RareJob at the same time.
With the rapid acceleration of overseas expansion by Japanese companies, more and more Japanese are expected to become internationally active. Major changes are occurring in education policies with the aim of improving English language skills, especially the ability to express oneself in English. These include deliberations concerning the introduction of the Academic Assessment Test for Prospective University Entrants (*) (provisional name) as part of the university entrance exam system, as well as curriculum changes for elementary schools, junior high schools, and high schools.
Mitsui has built extensive networks in Japan and overseas and is engaged in human resource development in many countries worldwide. In response to needs created by these current trends, Mitsui has decided to enter into an alliance with RareJob, which is contributing to English language education through its quality on-line English teaching services. Specifically, Mitsui will assign personnel to RareJob to help them expand beyond their existing B2C business model by making maximum use of Mitsui's wide-ranging networks and customer assets, by forming alliances with business corporations and academic institutions, and by building a presence in other countries. The aim is to develop human resources capable of playing an active role in Japan and overseas.
RareJob has adopted a group vision expressed in the words "Chances for everyone, everywhere" and a service mission to enable 10 million Japanese to speak English. It offers one-on-one English lessons from Filipino instructors using the free Internet communication software Skype™. RareJob has earned a solid reputation among online English education businesses in Japan thanks to the quality of its instructors, who are mostly University of the Philippines graduates, as well as its affordable prices and excellent customer service.
In recent years Mitsui has focused on the promotion of business activities that emphasize the importance of human capital. Mitsui is already engaged in the online education business in the United States and Brazil, as well as a U.S. business involving the introduction and temporary placement of highly qualified professionals. Mitsui also has an interest in an educational business in the United Kingdom. Mitsui will continue to contribute to the improvement of global productivity and sustainable economic development by engaging in educational business activities that offer excellent learning opportunities for people around the world, and by contributing to alleviate the imbalance between the supply and demand of highly specialized human resources through its human resource-related activities.
Key Provisions of the Capital and Business Alliance Agreement
1) Sharing of information regarding English language education
2) Cooperation in the area of online English teaching service development
3) Collaboration on expansion of marketing in school and corporate markets
4) Cooperation on overseas business expansion
(*) For university entrance exams from 2020 onwards
The current system of university entrance examinations run by the National Center for University Entrance Examinations will end in 2019, and it is planned to introduce the Academic Assessment Test for Prospective University Entrants (provisional name) in 2020. Under the present system, approximately 500,000 students take exams at the same time each year. Under the planned reforms, this will be replaced with a system designed to measure educational attainment through tests conducted several times each year. A key change for the English examination system will be a shift to direct assessment of the four skills of listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
Profile of RareJob
|Name of company
|Tomohisa Kato, Gaku Nakamura (representative directors)
(year ended March 2015)
|Approx. ¥2.1 billion
(as of July, 2015)
|Mitsui: 23%, directors: 50%, others: 27%
|Online English teaching services
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