Why Japan?

At the forefront of an advanced society

Osaka, and Kansai is based in the heart of Japan, centrally located, enabling great access to the whole country. The Kansai region consists of six prefectures and prospers as pillars of Japan’s politics, economy and culture. During Japan’s rich history, the capital had been based in Osaka, Kyoto and Nara during various periods. In addition to the over 20 million population in the 100km radius of central Kansai, the area is one of the world’s leading metropolitan areas with a GDP comparable to the Netherlands.

With such a rich history, and strong GDP, Osaka is an ideal stage for companies from all around the world to approach and engage in the thriving market in Japan. With the G20, Rugby World Cup, 2020 Olympics and 2025 World Fair, Japan, Kansai and Osaka have enabled many large-scale projects aimed at creating the next generation of cities to come to fruition.

"There has never been a better time for entrepreneurs to enter the Japan market. The country has the largest SaaS technology market in Asia and last year alone, Japan registered over US$191 billion in M&A deals. This growth puts Osaka, and the surrounding Kansai region, on the global innovation map."
Joshua Flannery
Managing Director of Startupbootcamp Scale Osaka
"Japan certainly needs more foreign entrepreneurs and the Startupbootcamp Osaka program has done a great job in bringing in diverse, entrepreneurial companies to support their scale up efforts. It has been very exciting to hear about the progress of so many of the selected startups in developing their products for the Japanese market throughout the duration of the program, and these innovative companies will no doubt make important contributions to Osaka and the Japan economy in the near future."

A Word from our Sponsor

Osaka is taking large strides in becoming more innovative & startup-friendly, how do you fit within this bigger picture, and could you explain what sort of impact you have on the ecosystem?

Osaka has produced a large number of great entrepreneurs. Its “Entrepreneur spirit” reflects the culture that Osaka is very proud of and has been fostered by the locals of the area. This is the reason why Osaka Startup Ecosystem Consortium was established by Osaka Prefecture, Osaka City and Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry. O-BIC, as the center of business information and network, will continue to actively promote the Osaka ecosystem in our daily activities in Japan and overseas.

O-BIC plays a key role within Osaka and helping companies in a variety of ways, can you expand a little on the opportunities you offer for both startups and corporations?

O-BIC’s services focus on foreign startups and corporations who are thinking to invest in Osaka. Our wide range of services cover all the necessary information and networks to start a business, including government incentives, real estate, legal, accounting, recruiting services, finding business partners, etc.

What do you tell foreign business owners are the advantages of Osaka when they are considering where to start a business in Japan?

Osaka is the heart of the historic Kansai region, and also the 2nd biggest economy in Japan. With the strongest network to Asian countries, Osaka is playing a key role as the gateway to Asia. Winning the 2025 World Expo has pushed Osaka’s development to a higher level. Leading up to and beyond the 2025 Expo, Osaka will become a huge showcase of innovation for our future society and future life. Under the concept of “People’s Living Lab (PLL)”, all talents and technologies are welcomed to Osaka.

A larger part of O-BIC’s work involves foreign investors, and international business, do you consider this to be a key driving force in the ecosystem within Osaka, and why?

Yes, of course. Since the world economy has been growing more and more globally. Osaka, itself wouldn’t achieve real innovation without the cooperation of foreign forces. That’s why we have put some foreign factors in the Osaka Startup Ecosystem Consortium and have planned a lot of events and projects connecting international businesses with local companies to bring Japanese innovation to greater heights on the global stage.

Osaka Business and Investment Center (O-BIC) was established in April 2001 by the Osaka Prefectural Government, the Osaka City Government, and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry in a joint initiative.

As your one-stop service center for business investing, O-BIC provides prospective foreign investors with a comprehensive yet detailed support system. International companies, foreign government offices and economic organizations as well as foreign-capitalized companies located in Japan are invited to use the center to obtain accurate information and essential advice for entering the Osaka market.

The Metropolis Osaka

GDP Comparison

Why Japan?

Driven by Abenomics, policy changes in Japan have spurred eight consecutive quarters of GDP expansion – the longest run of growth in the world’s third largest economy in 28 years – and sent share prices to their highest levels since the early 1990s.

$237.7 billion Inward FDI stock

FDI stock inflows into Japan more than doubled in a decade to reach a record high of 237.7 billion in 2016.

+109% in net corporate profits

Net corporate profits in Japan more than doubled between 2012 and 2016 to reach an all time high.

1st for innovation

Japan was ranked first in Asia for innovation in 2017.

3rd largest R&D investor

Japan was the world's third highest investor in research & development globally in 2015, spending the equivalent of 3.3% of its annual GDP on R&D.

17% of global patents

Japan patent office accounted for 17% of patents in force globally in 2016, making Japan the world's second highest patent holder.

3rd for business sophistication

Japan ranked third globally for its business sophistication in the Global Competitiveness Index 2017.

Highest offshore M&A in Asia

In 2018, Japan announced more than 1,000 offshore acquisitions totaling a record $191 billion. And with companies in possession of more than $890 billion in cash, the spending spree is likely to continue.

Largest SaaS & Cloud Market in Asia

Japan is the largest SaaS & Cloud Market in Asia, and is expected to remain that way in terms of both absolute size and growth rate.

Engaged & loyal market

Japanese are engaged and loyal, with many foreign companies successfully penetrating the market. Slack: Most daily active users outside of US, 12.5% of global DAU. Amazon: #1 E-commerce platform, 20.2% market share. Salesforce: 2nd largest Salesforce economy, 20% of global CRM revenue…

Government focus towards Smart Cities

“We aim at creating a society where we can resolve various social challenges by incorporating the innovations of the fourth industrial revolution (e.g. IoT, big data, artificial intelligence (AI), robots, and the sharing economy) into every industry and social life. This is Society 5.0, a super-smart society. Japan will take the lead to realize this ahead of the rest of the world.” - Japan government’s Science & Technology Plan from Abenomics Realising Society 5.0

Why Osaka?

Osaka is often overlooked, with people placing priority on Tokyo. However, Osaka is the home to half of Japan’s treasures and UNESCO sites, as well as a booming economy and strong innovation. Not only is Osaka a vibrant city, but is also the host to many big projects including the World Expo fair in 2025, and holds a rapidly growing startup scene that is drawing more attention from entrepreneurs and investors.

Osaka’s strong GDP leads it to rank at the same level as the Netherlands, enabling the region to become a startup hotspot, with the assistance of government support programs. Osaka is the home to both long-established Japanese brands, such as Panasonic, Sharp, Suntory and Nisshin Food Products, but has also recently founded high-tech firms including Sakura Internet and Capcom. Being a home to achievement, Osaka is a hub to an estimated 1,000 early-stage seed startups, creating the ideal environment for startups to thrive.

Our Scale Osaka program aims to demonstrate Osaka (& Kansai) as a key entry point into the Japanese market. Centrally located with excellent access to the rest of Japan, the Kansai region with it’s 20+ million population is one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas, with a GDP comparable to the Netherlands. Osaka, with its rich history, high (and relatively low-cost) quality of life, strong GDP, the largest tourism boom in history, and the upcoming 2025 World Expo (focused on Smart Cities/Society 5.0 technologies), is an ideal stage for foreign startups to test & demonstrate their technologies in a region of the Japanese market with relatively low-competition, make key partnerships to assist their expansion, and gain domestic & international attention.

Rainmaking Innovation Japan (RMIJ) is an entity owned and operated by the Rainmaking Innovation group in Japan. Currently RMIJ operates the Startupbootcamp Scale Osaka program with corporate partners Hankyu Corporation, JR West Innovations, Dentsu, The Yomiuri Shimbun, SMBC, JT Group and Sakura Internet.

Rainmaking’s purpose is to help individuals, companies and societies solve big challenges by unleashing the power of entrepreneurship. We utilise our team of experts, global network and local team on the ground to bring value to Japanese corporations.

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