This is a guest post authored by Bangkok-based Japanese entrepreneur Kazuki Kamiya. This article was first appeared in Japanese on Bsearch News but translated and edited by The Bridge for republication.
Since 2014, he has been running a startup called HubAsia in Thailand for offering crowdsourced translation and interpretation services. In June of 2016 he released Thai-focused Japanese-language business portal site BSearch.
Additionally, all photos in this article were taken by photographer Fumi Tanaka aka Bunshow.
On Friday, a group of Japanese and Thai startups responsible for generating new industries, along with their respective governments, established the Japan-Thailand Innovation Support Network (hereafter referred to as JTIS) in order to promote cooperation between startups and larger companies. 10 startups from each country participated along with more than twenty big names including Toyota Motor Thailand and Thailand’s largest supplier of raw materials, Siam Cement Group (SCG).
The government of Thailand has been supporting startups as an essential means of economic growth by hosting events throughout the country and creating a fund of several billion baht (tens of millions US dollars). In order to reach the objectives for both countries, the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the Japanese Embassy in Thailand also recently held (August 31st) Embassy Pitch, a separate event that helps connect Thai startups with Japanese and Thai large corporations.
After attending Embassy Pitch, the Thai Minister of Science and Industry, Dr. Pichet Durongkaveroj shared his impressions on social media.
I’m with (Japanese) Ambassador Sadoshima in thinking that ‘innovation’ is what will drive the economic development of our country. We believe by connecting startups and big business Thailand will be able to continue its economic growth.
Dr. Durongkaveroj described the event as, “an event that should be admired” and reportedly rushed to be a part of the inaugural JTIS event on Friday.
JTIS is served by Omise’s CEO and founder Jun Hasegawa, who took the position of President, working on fostering an environment to aid the growth of Thai startups, and will continue to play a role in recommending the relaxation of regulations and the development of laws to the government.
On the same day, the Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Hiroshige Seko, Thailand’s Minister of Science and Industry Dr. Durongkaveroj, and Japanese Ambassador Sadoshima oversaw the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Thailand Tech Startup Association (TTSA), as well as entered into cooperation.
In addition, prior to the signing ceremony Minister Seko had an opportunity to exchange opinions with Japanese entrepreneurs working in Thailand, with the entrepreneurs explaining the current state of the Thai startup scene to the minister. Participants were also able to make demands for deregulation and support measures.
The minister himself actively questioned the entrepreneurs, and conveyed that he recognizes it is in the national interest for the government to boost Japanese big business and startups abroad, encouraging them.
JTIS intends to prepare for the next Embassy Pitch event by strengthening their call for large companies and startups from both countries and recruiting broadly for interested parties.
- President: Jun Hasegawa (Omise)
- Administration officers: Shinsuke Wakai (BuzzCommerce), Hiroyuki Okamoto (Withfluence)
- Secretaries: Secretary-General Yojiro Koshi (TalentEx), Kazuki Kamiya (HubAsia)
- Secretary-General: Yojiro Koshi (TalentEx)
- Deputy secretary: Kazuki Kamiya (HubAsia)
- Japanese startups: Omise, BuzzCommerce, Withfluence, TalnetEx, HubAsia, etc.
- Thai startups: Drivebot, Anywhere 2 Go, Siamsquared Technologies, etc.
Supporting companies and organizations:
- Japanese companies: Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi Electric, Sharp, dmLab (Dentsu Media Laboratory), Panasonic, NTT Communications, Fuji Film, Mitsui & Co., Itochu, Sumitomo Corporation, Nomura Research Institute, ABeam Consulting, etc.
- Thai companies: Siam Cement Group (SCG), ThaiBev, Saha Group, AIS, True, Singha Group, Amata Group, Charoen Pokphand Group, etc.
Translated by Amanda Imasaka
Edited by Masaru Ikeda