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

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

Next month, Indian startups will participate in the "1st Well Aging Society Summit Asia-Japan" in Tokyo, an international conference where large companies, startups, investors and government officials will discuss global healthcare issues.

In February next year, a Japanese Internet of Things mission will visit the southern Indian city of Bengaluru, known as India's technology capital, to explore possible collaboration.

"Two Indian startups are invited to attend the 1st Well Aging Society Summit Asia-Japan to be held on Oct. 9," said Yutaka Endo, director of the Bengaluru office of the Japan External Trade Organization, during a networking seminar on the Japan-India Startup Hub this week. "Also in early February next year, an IoT mission from Japan will visit Bengaluru."

The Japan-India Startup Hub was established in Bengaluru in May to serve as a platform for promoting information exchange, business collaboration and investment between the two countries, a result of last year's joint declaration by the Japanese and Indian prime ministers.

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, JETRO 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 lend confidence to Japanese companies that wish to work with Indian firms, Gagan Sabharwal, senior director of global trade development at Nasscom, a leading lobby group for India's IT industry, told NNA.

"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 Japanese venture capital funds, including Incubate Fund, Beenext, Rebright Partners, Anew Holdings, GREE Ventures and Mistletoe, are increasing their investment portfolios in India," JETRO said. (NNA/Kyodo)