By Wantedly Hong Kong
Living in a multicultural city, one can rarely see a truly diverse company like Chrono24, a global marketplace for luxury watches, headquartered in Germany while facing the global market. To dig deeper into what Chrono24 looks like, we had the chance to talk to their APAC team based in Hong Kong, sharing with us how COVID-19 has made a positive impact on their business, as well as their expansion plan.
▲ Yuki Tashiro – Head of Asia Pacific at Chrono24 (Photo credit: Chrono24)
Born in Germany, raised in Japan, finishing his bachelor’s degree in Nürnberg and now leading Chrono24 in Hong Kong, Yuki himself already is the person embracing multiculturism, “I studied at the Polytechnic University for a year and I was already in love with Hong Kong. Coincidentally, I met my wife, who is a Hongkonger, when I was studying in Nürnberg and after discussion, we simply decided to get married in Hong Kong.”
After leaving his job at a renowned international automobile company (and getting married of course), Yuki wanted something completely new, and that’s when he encountered Chrono24, “When I first joined as the Sales Manager, there were only 4 employees in the Hong Kong office, and it was a very fresh and exciting experience to me. Especially when Chrono24 is based in Germany, the difference between the company culture of Chrono24 and BMW is huge.”
Having spent just over 4 years in Chrono24, Yuki is now the Head of Asia Pacific and the Hong Kong team has already grown to around 20 people. Yet, building and structuring the APAC team have never been easy, “Of course we have inherited a lot from the headquarter, like the flat company structure, but we’ve also brought something new to the table,” Yuki smiled and continued, “I hate OT, who doesn’t? That’s why in Chrono24, as long as you get your job done, no one cares about how late you stay in the office. If you had a date, or simply feeling unwell, just let me know then you’re good to go. Unlike some traditional companies in Hong Kong, where leaving early or even on time is never welcome.”
▲ Speaking of culture, why don’t we get some verdict from the team? (from left) Coco, Nicole
To Coco and Nicole, the most significant difference between the companies they’ve worked for and Chrono24, is the non-hierarchical communication, as Coco said, “I worked in the luxury watch retail industry for around 10 years and Chrono24 is the company where you can go straight to the boss and talk about your opinions and ideas.”
Having worked at Chrono24 for 5 years, Nicole finds it rare to have learnt new skills and knowledge continuously being in the customer service team, “When I first joined, Chrono24 was still a small team, where I have to do basically everything from administrative tasks to customer servicing. As we gradually grow in Hong Kong, I’ve picked up new knowledge year by year, from first level support to transactional servicing, and now leading the CS team, training up new joiners.”
▲ Chrono24 Hong Kong on a corkboard (photo credit: Chrono24)
Since Chrono24 is rapidly expanding their APAC headquarters in Hong Kong, we wondered what they are actually looking for from the newcomers. Being managers at Chrono24, what Coco and Nicole care about most are personalities and attitudes, as Nicole elaborated, “Despite the required hard skills, such as being able to handle Cantonese, Mandarin and English, which are the basic languages for customer servicing in Hong Kong, I very much prefer candidates who are trainable and proactive, even without the job experience required.”
Coco added, “For my team, examples of being proactive would be continuously thinking about new strategies, instead of doing what we have been doing already. Say, when we are looking for new dealers, some of them might be rather traditional and don’t even have email addresses. So perhaps we would come up with a more traditional way of approaching them like sending snail mails. That’s why even if one doesn’t have the desired job experience, s/he will definitely be considered as long as we can see their ambition and passion.”
On top of these qualities, Yuki mentioned a very specific value, “We try our best to make sure every newcomer fits well in our energetic team, that’s why everyone is always involved in the hiring process, reducing the chance of having *‘old-seafood’ coming in.” We were very surprised how Yuki demonstrated his deep understanding of Hong Kong culture with his colloquial Cantonese level.
note: “old-seafood”(noun), [colloquial] a person not contributing to a company, making it difficult for other colleagues to perform.
▲ It’s time for the newcomers to shine! (from left) Yan, Chris, Damon
Ranging from slightly over 2 years to only 4 months, Yan, Chris and Damon have enjoyed working at Chrono24 but there’s one thing that Chris hates most, “I love watches and sometimes when you have to see all the watches you love without being able to buy them, it’s quite painful.” They all laughed as Damon added, “But this is also a good thing at work, you can take your time screening all those watches and sometimes you’re actually browsing the watches you want to buy, and everyone will think that I’m simply doing my job.”
Putting the funny notes aside, Yan, who worked as an admin staff at a university, said, “I love the company culture here. It’s quite ridiculous when I have to go through 10 departments just to buy a pen at my previous job. Yet, here at Chrono24, all the decisions are swiftly made. You can simply reach out to your manager when you have any idea, then you can test it out to see if it works.”
Because of the flat structure and freedom given to the team, there’s a lot to play around with working here. Chris complemented, “As long as our ideas sound legit, the management will listen and new initiatives will be carried out within a day or two. We’ll then evaluate the outcome while the management will guide us to improve how things should be done. This feels so great to me.” Perhaps this is what Damon said about wanting to work at a “humane” company:
“I still remember when I was having the interview with Yuki, he asked me what kind of company I wanted to join and I replied a ‘humane’ company. He laughed and asked me to elaborate on it, and I said I would like the company to be respectful instead of asking me to do whatever whenever wherever. After the interview, I was like ‘oh no… I’m losing another job opportunity again’ but somehow he might have appreciated me being honest and I got in.”
▲ Yuki’s “motto”: “No Beef, No Life.”
Nowadays, when honesty may not be treasured as a virtue, especially in most job interviews, Chrono24 somehow holds on to what they value most: great personalities and attitudes. If you are by any chance looking for a new job, or simply looking for a company that treasures you being who you are, Chrono24 is the place for you.
p.s. you don’t have to be a watch-lover to join Chrono24 because you will gradually fall in love with watches, just like Yuki.
Go check out the job postings below!
Chrono24 Asia Pacific Limited's job postings