Smart Cities & Innovation in Japan
Tokyo is one of the megacities of the world, and innovation in Japan has also become ubiquitous with the latest trends in this massive city. With the metropolitan area encompassing over 37 million residents and nearly 10 million within the city itself. And it’s no understatement to say that the city is always on and moving, with a culture of its own and many different facets.
That ‘always on’ nature of the metropolis is reflected in the innovations that Japanese corporations embrace, and the constant investigation of these new possibilities have become an steadfast theme in the last 5-10 years.
Tokyo is already known for innovative property developments such as Mori Hills, Omotesando Hills and Akasaka Sacas. Never mind the ubiquitous lifestyle that can be found in Tokyo (and more widely throughout Japan): 24/7 convenience stores, bullet trains and department stores with fashionable food halls.
The Japanese corporations that curate these offerings are constantly on the lookout for more options, more developments and ways to increase innovation in Japan in their zones. For example, one of our clients is re-inventing an entire neighbourhood in west Tokyo, and another is building what will be the tallest skyscraper in Japan.
Since the advent of the smart city and innovation trend amongst our Japanese clients, Tokyoesque has been working closely with corporates (many of them large property companies in Tokyo) to provide information and up-to-date research on the latest trends and innovations within the smart city sector outside of Japan. This includes analysis of coworking spaces and work-life flexibility across Europe; PPP trends in London; ways to embrace green trends, sustainability and health and wellness in architecture; and much more along this line. The goal is always to promote innovation in Japan.
How can companies from outside Japan get involved in these trends? We have seen it happening in a number of ways. Outside of property, almost every single Japanese corporate is currently seeking to build its portfolio and invest in non-Japanese technologies (at every stage). The goal is to promote their own innovation in Japan and to be able to compete globally as Japan’s own population size stagnates. This means that Japanese corporates represent a sizable opportunity for tech companies seeking funding and M&A activity. SoftBank’s Vision Fund is well known – and virtually all other Japanese corporates have similar goals.
Additionally, the Japanese government has placed more and more emphasis on establishing its own startup ecosystem (for example, fintech in Tokyo and the startup visa), offering accelerators and market expansion support for companies seeking to penetrate the Japanese market.
Curious about the Japan market?
Tech companies with innovative solutions can find many opportunities amongst Japanese clients, partners and investors. Want to get involved?
Take a look at our latest projects and research in this industry below.