Asia Relocation has been featured in The Portal Magazine, March/April 2019.
The French connection
French by birth, Philibert Challan Belval was drawn into the moving business soon after completing his university studies, when AGS Four Winds offered him an internship in Thailand. After this successful
experience, the company moved him to the Philippines, where he has now lived for almost 10 years.
A year and a half later, and with some logistics and moving experience under his belt, says Challan Belval, “I saw the opportunities available in the moving industry. I felt I would be more efficient and happier working for myself and decided to give it a try setting up Asia Relocation in the Philippines. I worked by myself for a year, and my name started to become known. I got some good clients and pushed it further.”
His Makati City-based company, Asia Relocation, got off to a good start. He hired his first employee, a salesperson. Six months later, Challan Belval added an import/export manager and a packer/team leader. Things continued to happen quickly.
“After three years,” he says, “I leased a warehouse and hired a full-time accountant and another packer/team leader. In 2017, we bought our first truck and moved into a larger, 600-square-meter warehouse.”
For Challan Belval, it’s been satisfying to watch his company grow as a result of the effort he has put into it. “I’m very happy,” he says. “I’ve been able to expand internationally without external
investment by putting all the profits back into the company.”
Today, Asia Relocation has six full time employees. During busy seasons Challan Belval adds five more packers. When interviewed at IAM’s 56th Annual Meeting last October, he was planning to hire another full-time packer. “I have a team of 10 to 15 available when I need them,” he says.
All the packers Challan Belval hires are experienced. “Our warehouse is close to a village where our employees’ relatives and friends are also packers,” he explains. “On the office side, older staffers train new employees.”
As in other countries in the region, the way business is scheduled and done in the Philippines is often dependent on the climate. “Mold is a problem,” Challan Belval says. “We have 60 to 80 percent humidity, with a rainy season and a typhoon season. In the middle of typhoons, we can’t work.”
Companies in that country also must navigate what Challan Belval calls a “very messy, complicated bureaucracy. But we haven’t really had to deal with corruption in processing household goods. If you know and follow the procedures, you won’t have any problems.”
Challan Belval has now lived in the Philippine Islands for nearly a decade, and he feels quite at home there. “The people I work with are warm and friendly,” he says. “It’s because of the way I manage them. I treat them like family.”
Asia Relocation is a young company, but it’s already beginning to see repeat business. One reason for this is likely the broad range of moving and relocation services it offers: local,
international and office moves, car shipments, pet transport, residential settling-in services, cross-cultural training, visa and immigration assistance, and language training, among other amenities.
“What I like best about this business is that all clients are different,” says Challan Belval, “and come from many kinds of backgrounds. I like to see my company growing, and the effects of everything I do on that growth. I want to continue growing in the Philippines and expand in Southeast Asia.” He added that he has been pursuing his plan for 2019 to open Asia Relocation in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where his brother has been living for 15 years.
Meanwhile, IAM—of which Challan Belval has been a member for four years—continues to contribute to the growth and name recognition he needs, as does his participation in IAMYP. “What I get from my membership and participation at IAM conventions is more than business, which is important,” he explains. “In Asia, I am confident on issues related to Moving in the Philippines. But I learn from the experience of other members. Through IAM, I get more business, more connections, more learning and new friends.”