Innovation in Tokyo: where are all the unicorns?

Despite Japan’s long history of technological innovation, the country now lags far behind other developed countries in spawning or hosting unicorns (startup companies with a valuation of USD1bn or more), which to many are a benchmark of innovation in the digital era. Join EICN Tokyo for a special panel discussion that will examine the state of innovation in Japan and how businesses can help turn Tokyo back into a vibrant hub of technological progress.

About this event

Where are all the unicorns?

In 2020 Japan spent 3.6% of its GDP ($148bn) on R&D. In the decade 2000-2010 it registered more patents on renewable energy technology than any other country. The QR code, used widely in the region for online payments and vaccination checks was invented by Denso, a Japanese auto parts manufacturer. Instant noodles, blue LED lights, mechanical pencils and car airbags are only a few examples of the inventiveness and quality of Japan’s human talent. Yet Japan stays far behind other developed countries – most noticeably its regional neighbours – in spawning or hosting unicorns (startup companies with a valuation of USD1bn or more), which to many are a benchmark of innovation in the digital era.

Seoul, Bangalore, Singapore and Beijing have not only seen their numbers of billion-dollar-plus startups soar but they’ve seen whole districts evolve into young innovation hubs, which in turn invite more ambitious technologists, and this in turn seeds more creativity and therefore further growth. For a country with such a long tradition and proven achievements in technological progress and human talent, what is Japan missing? More importantly, what can businesses do to turn Tokyo into a vibrant hub of innovation and reap the profits?

Speakers

Szilvia Kovari-Krecsmary

CMO at Paidy

Masayuki Omoto

Chief Digital Innovation Officer at Marubeni Corporation

Akemi Tsunagawa

Founder and CEO of Bespoke Inc.

Rodrigo González

Director, Tokyo of Economist Intelligence Corporate Network

Event details

Livestream access

This meeting will be streamed live via Zoom from the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Tokyo. Virtual attendees will be able to take part in the discussion and pose their questions to our panellists through Zoom’s Q&A feature.

A unique joining link will be sent to registrants via email upon successful registration.

Event contact

If you have any questions about this event or joining EICN’s Tokyo network, please reach out to us at eicn_northasia@economist.com

Register

If you would like to attend this virtual event, please fill out the below form and a member of our staff will reach out to you shortly to confirm your registration.