Japanese Companies Continue To Increase Investment In Israel
Israeli technology has gained respect globally for the past 25 years with global tech multinationals such as Microsoft, Google and Samsung. More recently Japanese business leader have had an opportunity to join the growing number of overseas investors to Israel.
Companies such as insurer Sompo Holdings Inc. and automaker Mitsubishi Corp. are becoming routine participants in startups’ funding rounds in Israel. Toyota and e-commerce company Rakuten Inc. are just two of the Japanese companies that have recently announced their intent to scout for talent and technology in Israel.
Earlier this year, Japanese company Toshiba Corp. opened an innovation outpost in Tel-Aviv. The goal of the local office is to scout for local cybersecurity technologies to secure Toshiba’s renewable energy products, such as solar panels and wind turbines.
Japanese investors funneled more than $1.2 billion into Israeli companies in 2017, the most recent year for which such data is available, according to Gilad Cohen, the head of the Asia and Pacific division at the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Trade between Israel and Japan, not including diamonds, amounted to $3.5 billion in 2018, according to the Israeli Export Institute, a 31% increase from 2017. Import from Japan totaled around $2.35 billion, while export from Israel to Japan reached $1.16 billion, a steep increase from the past decade, which stood at an annual $700 million to $800 million.
Tomoko Inoue, the CEO of Tokyo-based venture capital firm Omron Ventures Co. Ltd., has noted that she is currently in Tel Aviv to scout for local investments. Her firm has already invested in three Israeli companies, she said.