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Japan to bring its SMEs, startups to India in a bid to ramp up number of Japanese companies

Japan is planning to bring its small and mid-sized companies and startups to India with an intent to increase the number of Japanese companies here, said a report by Asian Community News Network on Tuesday. The country is looking to invest in new opportunities in non-conventional areas such as processed foods, agro-tech, e-commerce, fresh fruits, retail, healthcare, electronics, space, co-research and R&D.

According to the report, the number of Japanese companies in India has been stagnant. In 2021, the count in fact dropped from the previous year. Compared to a total of 1,441 registered Japanese companies in India in 2018, the number stood at 1,454 in 2019, 1,455 in 2020 before it dipped to 1,439 last year.

Takashi Suzuki, the new Chief Director General of Japan’s trade promotion arm Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) told Asian Community News Network, “In India 80 per cent of the Japanese companies are big or listed ones and the rest 20 per cent are small medium enterprises. However, our investment strategy in countries like China and ASEAN is just the reverse, and hardly 20 per cent of the Japanese companies are large segment and 80 per cent are SMEs.”

“This should change in India as we plan to attract more SMEs and start-ups especially in the non-automotive and service sector from Japan (to India),” he said.

Suzuki, who was previously deployed as Director General, JETRO, Bengaluru for four years, said that most of the Japanese companies in India are largely into automotive sector instead of service sectors or electronics unlike China where its the opposite.

Talking about the new opportunities in focus for Japanese companies, Suzuki, according to the report, said, “We are now looking at importing Japanese food items, and creating selling platform such as e-commerce and retail business.”

“The new potential sectors include electronics, food, fresh fruits, agro-tech, healthcare, R&D, Co-research, and space. We want Indian institute and Japanese corporates to work together. We want many Japanese startups to come to India and support Indian counterparts,” he noted.

He cited Covid and check on overseas travel among reasons for slow growth in the number of Japanese companies in India even as investments by the existing ones have been active during the pandemic with expansion of operations and setting up their second and third plants.

Moreover, situation further improved in 2022 with many Japanese companies entering India and the momentum is expected to continue this year as well, said Suzuki. JETRO along with Japan embassy will be hosting multiple business promotional events in India for instance an event to promote Japanese tea by September end and another on processed food in October end in Delhi, he added. Financial Express

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