Business

Japan's tech-hungry firms seeking help from Indian IT startups

Nna/kyodo

Technology-hungry Japanese firms are being matched with startups in India as Japan looks toward innovation to revitalize its aging population and mature industrialized economy.

Two Indian startups will participate in the first Well Aging Society Summit Asia-Japan in Tokyo on Oct. 9, an international conference where large companies, startups, investors and government officials will discuss global health care issues.

In February next year, a Japanese “internet of things” mission will visit the southern Indian city of Bengaluru, known as India’s tech capital, to explore a possible collaboration.

Bengaluru is also home to the Japan-India Startup Hub, which was established in May to serve as a platform for promoting information exchange, business collaboration and investment between the two countries following last year’s joint declaration by the their respective leaders.

Japan is trying to boost its manufacturing sector by adopting innovative and emerging technologies, but a dearth of well-trained IT professionals is making the task difficult, the Japan External Trade Organization said.

“Many Japanese companies feel the limitations to conventional in-house innovation, which is a thing of the past, and hence moving towards most-advanced IT capabilities for which India is the ideal partner to look out for,” JETRO said in a statement.

“The startup hub will act like a platform to serve and facilitate this objective of co-creation and co-innovation.”

Tokyo also plans to introduce a one-year startup visa program as part of its economic stimulus package to promote foreign direct investment.

The Japan-India Startup Hub will give confidence to Japanese companies that wish to work with Indian firms, noted Gagan Sabharwal, the senior director of global trade development at Nasscom, a leading lobby group for India’s IT industry.

“This partnership is unique and we hope it will bring quality products and solutions on the global stage built together by Japan and India,” he said.

In recent years, many large and small Japanese venture capital funds have been actively investing in Indian startups.

Led by SoftBank Group Corp., which has already announced a plan to invest $10 billion in the Indian market by 2024, several venture capital funds, including Incubate Fund, Beenext, Rebright Partners, Anew Holdings, GREE Ventures and Mistletoe, are increasing their investment portfolios in India, JETRO said.

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