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Companies / Industrial Research
“In Japan the future takes place earlier than elsewhere”, “Japan is a fantastic breeding ground for innovation”, and “Japan is a pioneering hotspot for technology” are remarks made by German industry representatives already on the spot. The aim of foreign businesses should be to share the expertise of their Japanese customers and to gather strategic information to determine how a product might appear two or three years from now.
Accordingly, German companies should aim to work with Japan's innovation system from the inside in order to remain globally competitive. This can be accomplished in a number of different ways. Through direct commitment, intensive exchange of knowledge, customer communications, research, awarding of contracts - the possibilities are endless!
Japanese companies often lead the way with their pioneering innovations in the automotive industry and in the field of electronics, robotics and material research to take just a few examples. Six out of the fifteen global market leaders in the electrical engineering and electronics sector, for example, are Japanese, and three out of the ten top companies in the automotive industry. In recent years Japanese companies have been actively developing and expanding research centres to boost the innovation process.
Foreign businesses, too, have (re-)discovered Japan and have opted to open their own R&D centres or collaborate with Japanese businesses and institutions through other means. From a strategic point of view, technology-oriented foreign companies need to conduct research and development in Japan too in order to gain access to key customers.
Japan’s wealth of information, experience, and technology in a very wide variety of sectors is so great that it is increasingly gaining a reputation as a centre of technological innovation for the world market. Companies with an interest in electronics, biotechnology, fuel cells, and nanotechnology, for example, are likely to find Japan an increasingly attractive proposition.
They do not necessarily need to acquire their own laboratories as the Japanese are also keen to seek opportunities for collaboration. The formation of clusters, intensified exchange programmes, and trade fairs are just some of the investment incentives provided by the Japanese government to encourage greater levels of innovative activity from foreign businesses. In the 2006 fiscal year, foreign investment accounted for more than 61 billion yen of research funding.
For more information:
German Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Japan