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Uncut Gem: Tokyo gets ready to enter a new era for business

Written by Unleash Tokyo Published on   4 mins read

Tokyo gets ready to become the next hotspot for business.

Explore Tokyo from a whole new angle — Tokyo Metropolitan Government is calling for startups to join them in an upcoming event, showcasing Tokyo as an innovation hub. Running 9-11 March 2021, this will be an unmissable event for startups looking to expand into one of the world’s most famous cities. Stay tuned for more updates coming soon.

There have been many cities that have risen over the decades to become established centers of culture and society, but none have become as iconic as Tokyo. People from all around the world have either visited or plan to visit Tokyo to experience the unique metropolis first-hand. From the endless shopping, world-class customer service, outrageously good food and sprawling rail system, Tokyo has become a hotspot of activity for many. However, what else lies behind this layer of uniqueness?

Tokyo has always had a prominent place in the history of Japan since it began capital functions in 1603 (then known as Edo. The post-World War II rebuild era in the 1950’s saw Japan achieve high economic results with industries and technologies bringing a significant change in living standards throughout the country. The 1964 Olympics introduced the world to the new modern Tokyo that had risen from the effects of WWII, showcasing its advancements in technology and society. The city continued to grow at a rapid pace into the roaring 1980s which saw high-rising asset prices all over the country. The bubble finally burst at the beginning of the 90s ushering in a “Lost Decade” which saw growth plummet across the nation. From the 2000’s onwards, the Japanese economy is improving steadily, despite the global financial crisis, after which Tokyo was taking a leading role in the recovery.

Shibya crossing. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Since the heady days of high growth between 1955-1973, Tokyo is now establishing itself as the next hub for business, locally and internationally. It has a highly developed infrastructure, large market size (14 million), societal stability, access to R&D partners, development of intellectual property and a large pool of highly-skilled workers. The largest industries in Tokyo include IT, communications, insurance, and finance. The fastest growing areas for startups based on investment totals include IT software, IT services, consumer goods, and healthcare. There has also been an increase in Venture Capital funds providing aspiring entrepreneurs more opportunities to prosper. Investments have increased 28% between 2017 and 2020 indicating a continued interest and growth rate for startups within Tokyo.

In most recent events, the measures to contain COVID managed to avoid a mass outbreak and reduced the economic impact throughout the country. This has seen industries recover over the last few months with GDP has also growing 23% in the last quarter and the Nikkei rebounding to a 29 year high, leading to business optimism increasing throughout Tokyo and the country.

Senso-ji Temple. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Many companies are now focusing its attention on entering the Japanese market due to the advantages and the many available channels of support. Organizations and their initiatives help drive and aid this push for companies to setup in Tokyo:

  • “The Long-Term Vision for Tokyo” aims to establish the city as the easiest place in the world to create new businesses and innovations by 2030. It will also promote collaboration between organizations while pushing cutting-edge technology such as 5G, robotics, AI and IoT.
  • “Smart Tokyo” will utilize innovative companies based in Tokyo to create its own version of Society 5.0 and increase the quality of life for its citizens.
  • “Global Financial City Tokyo” will see the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, in collaboration with the national government, private sector, and others, is advancing initiatives to revitalize the financial sector in order to win back Tokyo’s position as the top global financial city in Asia.
  • “Japan External Trade Organization 5th Medium-Term Target” (2019-2023): Created by the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) to help develop and support foreign companies to bring cutting-edge technology to Japan. They will work on attracting entrepreneurs and businesses to contribute to the revitalization of the local economy. In addition, it promotes open innovation through collaboration between foreign companies and their Japanese counterparts.

In order to further promote Tokyo as the next hotspot for business, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government plans to run a large scale event in March 2021. This event aims to promote the fantastic elements of life in Tokyo, the key advantages for setting up a business in Tokyo, as well as the resources available, and will break down any misconceptions that people may have. It is part of the drive to attract 2400 foreign companies by March 2031. It’s an event that cannot be missed and a great gateway to the next big startup hub in Asia.

To learn more about Tokyo please watch this video:

This article is in partnership with Unleash Tokyo.


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