NIA and 2 associations work with JETRO for Thai and Japanese startups expansion

Hiroki Mitsumata, president of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) notes that JETRO has signed a memorandum of understanding with three organisations —National Innovation Agency (NIA), the Thai e-Commerce Association (THECA) and the Thailand IoT Association — to exchange information to promote Japanese startups in Thailand.

At present, more than 10,000 startups in Japan are exploring new frontiers, but only a few have seen success in the global market. The Japanese government thus would like these startups to have overseas presence with a target to attract local and overseas venture capital (VC) firms to invest in Japanese startups.

The move is one of JETRO’s strategies to double VC investment in Japanese-based startups by 2023 from 0.025% of Japan’s GDP, a figure of ¥100 billion, or 29 billion baht.

Meanwhile, the Japanese government aims to have 20 Japanese startups valued at US$1 billion — also known as a unicorn — by 2023. Japan now has only two. Japan has selected 92 high-potential startups to grow into potential unicorns under its J-Startups project.

Moreover, the JETRO Innovation Program (JIP) provides mentoring, pitching and business matching overseas. The JIP has selected seven Japanese startups to conduct business matching for the CEBIT Asean Thailand festival.

JETRO is considering opening a co-working space in Bangkok and it also has a Global Acceleration Hub scheme with a ¥200-million budget to provide co-working space services, mentoring, networking with VC firms, incubators and accelerators at 12 global locations, including Singapore.

JETRO has also set up temporary service offices in Tokyo, Yokohama, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, and Fukuoka for overseas startups that plan to enter Japan.

Hiroki added that Japanese startups are in deep tech, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things, robot and other innovations, but they have constraints in marketing, while Thai startups are creative and marketing ideas, both parties should work together.

JETRO has the innovation demonstration scheme in Thailand in the fields of automation manufacturing, medical, as well as agriculture and fishing through a use of IoT technology.

Pun-arj Chiratana, executive director of NIA said during the next three years Thailand will enter the second phase of promoting startup investment.

By having more international collaboration with JETRO, Thailand can act as a landing pad to attract overseas startups, he said.

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