The Mitsubishi Group, the Japanese multinational, is setting up an innovation center in Israel, Calcalist reported Monday.
The center, in Tel Aviv, has already started scouting for Israeli startups in the automotive, smart transportation and other fields that are at heart of the conglomerate’s operations, the report said.
Until now, local operations of the Japanese giant focused mainly on trade with Israel. The opening of the innovation center is an indication that the firm is seeking to deepen its operations in Israel, Calcalist said, joining three other Japanese giants that have set up innovation centers locally: Maribeni Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsui & Co,
The Japanese conglomerate, founded in 1870, operates in a wide variety of industries, including shipbuilding, telecommunications, electronics, automotive, oil and gas. and real estate.
The number of Japanese companies investing and operating in Israel has increased in recent years, with Japanese investments totaling $3.5 billion over the past five years, the Israeli Economy Ministry said in January, as a delegation of Japanese firms, including Mitsubishi, visited Israel to strengthen business ties.
In July 2017, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma said it acquired Israeli pharmaceutical firm Neuroderm for $1.17 billion. In 2016, Sony bought Altair, a maker of chips, for more than $200 million, while Japan’s Softbank has made investments of some $200 million in Israeli companies Inuitive and Cybereason, the ministry statement said.
In addition, the number of Japanese companies opening offices in Israel has grown to more than 70, the ministry statement said.
Japanese investments in Israel have surged over the past 20 years, with total investments reaching some $6.35 billion from 2001 to the end of 2018 in 180 deals, a report by a consultancy that focuses on Japanese-Israeli business relations showed in April.