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Invest Japan Seminar for innovative Shanghai companies

December 2018

On December 5, JETRO held an Invest Japan Seminar in Shanghai which was joined by 90 business people including from startups active in the city and the eastern region of China. Participants heard about the potential of innovation through collaboration between Chinese companies involved in the digital field, such as IoT and AI, and Japanese companies endeavoring at open innovation, as well as business opportunities lying in Japan.

Promoting two-way investment and collaboration in the digitalization field

In his opening remarks, Managing Director Michiaki Oguri of JETRO Shanghai introduced the "Memorandum on the Establishment of the Japan-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue" concluded between the two countries last October and the fact that China surpassed Japan in its digital economic scale, including areas like IoT and AI. He emphasized that JETRO will facilitate two-way investment between Chinese companies with innovative technologies and Japanese companies, and contribute to the growth of both countries. Following him, CEO Toshikazu Tanaka of Takumi Innovators, which functions as JETRO’s Global Acceleration Hub (an accelerator for startups) in Shanghai, stated that he would like to play a role in filling the cultural gap which is an obstacle for business between Chinese and Japanese companies, and help them to create innovation by developing the strengths of startups from both countries.

In the guest speech, Consul Takamoto Fukuda of the Consulate-General of Japan in Shanghai mentioned that last year was the milestone 40th anniversary of the conclusion of the Japan-China Peace and Friendship Treaty, and expressed his hope that next 40 years will be a great period of time for China and Japan to work together in creating new value. Director Chen Hong Kai of the Innovation Service Office at the Science and Technology Commission Shanghai Municipal explained that the average ages of founders of startups are 38 in Shanghai, 34 in Beijing and 32 in Shenzhen, implying that those entrepreneurs of Shanghai tend to be veterans with extensive experience working in companies. He said he would like to promote internationalization in Shanghai including through assistance for Shanghai startups in doing business in Japan.

Venue

Presentations by Japanese companies working on open innovation and Chinese startups investing into Japan

  Following that, two Chinese and two Japanese companies individually made presentations. Section Manager Yuichi Nakajima of the Cross Value Section within the Planning Division of the Manufacturing Innovation Department at Panasonic, which celebrated the company’s 100th anniversary last year, touched on the relationship between China and his company, displaying footage of a dialogue between his company's founder Konosuke Matsushita and then-Chinese President Deng Xiaoping. In addition, he introduced his company's incubation facilities in Tokyo and Osaka as well as the hackathon event as its activities for open innovation. He also announced that his company will establish an internal company which will head business in China from April 2019.

Vice Department Manager Go Iwase of the Digital Planning Department at Mitsubishi UFJ Bank presented on the fact that Japan's low interest rates, the declining birthrate and aging population, and the development of world-wide digital technologies have made major changes in existing business models. He extended his hope that his company will make connections with numerous companies active in various fields through collaboration with startups via accelerator programs and investment to startups under these circumstances.

Following that, presentations were made by two Chinese startups which were assisted by JETRO in establishing business sites in Japan. Suzhou Pangolin Robot1, a Chinese company which manufactures and sells robots for use at restaurants and hotels, began operating in Japan by establishing a business site in Tokyo in April 2017 with the aim of collaborating with Japanese universities and institutes. Elaborating Japanese companies' high demands toward quality and the importance of after-sale services, President Ding Jinsong of the company encouraged participant startups to continue working toward solving issues related to business including by responding to the requests or needs of Japanese companies.

3DNest2, which produces and sells 3D-VR cameras and provides photographing services, invested in Japan by establishing a business site in Tsukuba, Ibaraki last February. CEO Xianhe Zhang mentioned that Japanese companies have highly praised the IT technologies of Chinese companies. He also expressed appreciation to the Japanese government for providing proactive and timely support measures which led to cost reduction. Focusing on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic games which will create new business opportunities, he stressed that the Japanese market is filled with allures for Chinese startups.

Publicizing attractiveness of local regions

  Eight Japanese local authorities—Ibaraki, Kanagawa and Okinawa Prefectures; Yokohama, Kobe and Fukuoka Cities; and the Aichi-Nagoya International Business Access Center (I-BAC) and the Osaka Business and Investment Center (O-BIC)—proactively promoted their respective industrial clusters and support measures for startups. The final presenter, External Advisor Wang He, gave details of JETRO's support services and achievements and introduced the Regulatory Sandbox System3 launched by the Japanese government last June.

After the seminar, a networking reception was held with PR booths set up by the eight local authorities which presented, giving guests an opportunity to exchange information with them. In addition, guests registered for a group account of the instant messaging service WeChat, which enabled the organizer to provide materials to guests and conversely the guests to ask questions to the organizer online at the same time as the seminar, enabling a lively exchange.

Exchanging via WeChat

1 Visit JETRO's website for details on the case of investment by Suzhou Pangolin Robot.
2 Visit JETRO's website for details on the case of investment by 3DNest.
3 Visit the JETRO's website for information on the Regulatory Sandbox System.

Outline of the seminar

Date and time Wednesday, December 5, 2018, 13:30-15:40 (Networking reception: 15:40-16:30)
Venue Takumi Innovators
Organizers Japan External Trade Organization, Takumi Innovators
Visitors 90 people
Rrogram
  1. Opening remarks
    1. Michiaki Oguri, Managing Director, JETRO Shanghai
    2. Toshikazu Tanaka, CEO, Takumi Innovators
  2. Guest remarks
    1. Takamoto Fukuda, Consul, Consulate-General of Japan in Shanghai
    2. Chen Hong Kai, Director, Innovation Service Office, Science and Technology Commission Shanghai Municipal
  3. Presentations by Japanese companies
    1. Yuichi Nakajima, Section Manager, Cross Value Section of the Planning Division, Manufacturing Innovation Department, Panasonic
    2. Go Iwase, Vice Department Manager, Digital Planning Department, Mitsubishi UFJ Bank
  4. Presentations by Chinese companies
    1. Ding Jinsong, President, Suzhou Pangolin Robot
    2. Xianhe Zhang, CEO, 3DNest
  5. Presentations by local governments and authorities
    Ibaraki, Kanagawa and Okinawa Prefectures; Yokohama, Kobe and Fukuoka Cities; Aichi-Nagoya International Business Access Center (I-BAC) and Osaka Business and Investment Center (O-BIC)
  6. Presentation by JETRO
    Wang He (JETRO External Adviser), Lawyer, All Bright Law Offices
  7. Networking reception
    * Consultation corners set up by local governments, companies and JETRO