Keller Williams is set to launch its first market center in Japan, giving the U.S.’s largest franchisor a significant presence in Asia. With the new franchise, Keller Williams now has more than 50 market centers and 2,164 agents across 10 countries and regions in Asia.

“The team in Japan understands that our model is highly disruptive and unique for their local agents,” William Soteroff, president of Keller Williams Worldwide, the international division of Keller Williams, said in a statement. “We are excited to have a remarkable new leader in Asia who understands this massive opportunity and has a clear vision for the future.”

Japanese entrepreneur Mark Yamamoto — who founded Toho Cinemas — will lead the franchise as operating principals. Toho Cinemas, formerly called Virgin Cinemas Japan, was founded alongside Richard Branson, the founder of the UK-based Virgin Group. Yamamoto has founded a number of other businesses across Japan, the U.S. and Germany.

“We’ll be delivering an agent-driven consumer experience built upon the high expectations that surround the KW brand,” Yamamoto said in a statement. “To that end, our team is using the systems, tools and models, along with all of KW’s regional resources, to customize an offering to what consumers need in Japan.”

“The reliance of local management’s knowledge of the market and industry is something we did not find with other brands; that flexibility of thinking at Keller Williams is how we knew this move was best to position our company for strong growth,” Yamamoto added. 

Japan marks the 10th country in Asia for Keller Williams, which has previously expanded to Cambodia, United Arab Emirates, China, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, the Philippines, Turkey and Vietnam. The Japan franchise is expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2019.

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