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Bong Youl (Brian) Cho

Head of Radio Product Management for Asia Pacific and Japan
Mobile Networks, Nokia Japan

Date of birth: Feb. 6, 1975

Hometown: Seoul

Number of years in Japan (cumulative): 3 (as of October 2018)

Bong Youl (Brian) Cho
Q1: What was your first encounter with Japan?

There are a lot of commonalities between Korea and Japan in culture, food, language, etc., but Japan looks more structured. I noticed that Tokyo is much greener, with more parks and trees, than Seoul. I also noticed that Japanese people enjoy lots of festivals (matsuri) while working hard.

Q2: Please state your motto in life and why you have chosen it.

Do not (easily) give up. Being persistent and optimistic is important in achieving what you really want. I find it fascinating how things can be eventually worked out even though it looks so challenging at the beginning. You sometimes (or many times) get the answer “No.” Then, you may see that “No” turn into a “Yes” if you continue to try.

Q3 : Over your career, what achievement are you the proudest of?

Maybe two things. First, when I was a wireless modem engineer about 16 years ago, I could listen to real music through the modem I designed. I felt very proud as an engineer since 1s and 0s can make the real thing. Secondly, when I worked for Nokia Korea, we increased our market share from nothing to 30 percent by winning LTE deals with all three Korean operators. It was a classic example of teamwork.

Q4 : What are your goals during your time in Japan, your current position or in life?

Very simple. I want to see Nokia’s 5G network up-and-running by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. I want to contribute to Nokia’s successful 5G business in Japan and to Japan’s successful 5G launch for the Olympics. Not to mention a happy family life in Japan.

Q5 : What wisdom, advice or tips can you give to people living and working in Japan?

Be proactive rather than reactive. Be proud of your ideas and achievements, but at the same time be humble. In Asian cultures, humility is still an important virtue. However, humility does not include keeping quiet even though you actually disagree with your colleagues. Express your opinion, propose your idea, have candor, do productive confrontation if needed, but while doing so we can still be humble.

Last updated: Oct 15, 2018