Israel fintech firms head to Japan for business opportunities
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Israel fintech firms head to Japan for business opportunities

Delegation meets with Japanese companies to show them their wares in effort to boost cooperation

A main street in Shinjuko,Tokyo, one of the commercial and administrative centers of the city, October 13, 2015. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
A main street in Shinjuko,Tokyo, one of the commercial and administrative centers of the city, October 13, 2015. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

An Israeli delegation of companies developing fintech technologies has met with over 500 representatives from Japan’s largest banks and Japanese fintech companies and IT service providers.

Organized by the Israel Innovation Authority, the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the delegation aimed to display Israeli technologies to Japanese firms that over the past few years have been active in investing in advanced fintech solutions, both by cooperating with other institutions and independently.

The financial industry in Japan is composed of several major players including three large financial institutions, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), which collectively manage some $6 trillion, are active in more than 50 countries, employ some 250,000 people, and include commercial banks, securities and venture capital firms.

In August, NTT Data, a key technology provider for financial institutions in Japan, said it would set up a consortium to develop blockchain technologies, while the Fujitsu Company, which also provides comprehensive solutions in the field of information and communications technology, established a similar consortium in 2015, for the development of innovative technologies for the Japanese financial systems.

In addition, in the past few years the Japanese government has begun a process of deregulation to make it easier to integrate innovation into the country’s banking sector, while making legislative changes that will make it easier for fintech companies to enter the Japanese market, the organizers of the delegation said in a statement.

“These are far-reaching changes taking place in Japan, including integration of advanced technologies from different fields by Japanese banks, the establishment of accelerators in the field, significant deregulation by the Japanese government and more,” Noa Asher, Israel’s trade representative to Japan, said. The aim, she said, is for the Israeli Ministry of Economy to help Israeli companies penetrate the market and develop their business.

There are some 543 fintech companies operating in Israel in fields as varied as online payments, anti-fraud detection, blockchain and insurance technologies (Insurtech), according to Start-Up Nation Central, a non-profit organization that tracks the industry.

The increased activity and tightening cooperation with Japan over the next few years may lead to an increased presence of Japanese corporations in Israel, said Avi Luvton, Asia Pacific Executive Director at the Israel Innovation Authority. Cooperation in innovative technologies will boost this potential, he said. Participation in the delegation will also increase opportunities for investment as well as cooperation, the organizers said.

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