Singapore’s SMEs can look forward to more tie-ups with their counterparts in Japan, with a new agreement inked between Mizuho Corporate Bank, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and SPRING Singapore.
Singapore’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can look forward to more tie-ups with their counterparts in Japan, with a new agreement inked on Monday between Mizuho Corporate Bank, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and SPRING Singapore.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by Kazuo Yuhara, managing executive officer and global head of the Industry Finance Group at JBIC; Hiroshi Suehiro, managing executive officer and head of Asia and Oceania at Mizuho Corporate Bank; and Choy Sauw Kook, assistant chief executive of SPRING Singapore.
Mizuho said that almost 200 of its new Japanese clients sought to expand into Singapore last year.
Homegrown retailer 77th Street formed a strategic alliance with Japanese joint venture firm AWCG late last year to bring leading Japanese fashion labels to Singapore.
Mizuho Corporate Bank, which facilitated the joint venture, hopes to see more of such tie-ups.
This March, it started a US$150 million ASEAN-focused private equity fund to help identify companies its Japanese clients can invest in or partner with.
Kota Igarashi, CEO of Mizuho Asia Partners, said: “There are many SMEs which have very good technology, operational know-how (and) branding. Although the Japanese economy was large enough so far (for them) to work inside Japan… things are changing, so they now have to go out of Japan, and tap into this part of the world to grow.”
The Japanese government hopes the fund will help make overseas expansion easier for its SMEs.
Mr Yuhara said: “JBIC is aiming to take advantage of the fund to support the business deployment of Japanese SMEs into ASEAN countries. Japanese SMEs often have difficulties in finding out excellent local partners.”
The fund is just one way Singapore SMEs can be identified and partnered with Japanese SMEs.
Singapore said it would also like to see its SMEs benefit through the co-development of technologies and products.
Edwin Chow, executive director of SPRING Investments, said: “There is pretty strong interest in a few areas, a few sectors. (An example is) medical technology, where Japan has a strong tradition, especially in elderly care, ageing population. Then there is of course our traditional engineering sector… and food, fashion – there is a very strong interest in Japanese culture.”
In 2011, there were 722 Japanese companies in Singapore, according to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
To service its Japanese clients abroad, Mizuho said it is looking to increase headcount in Singapore.
“Accordingly, our Mizuho Corporate Bank Singapore itself is expanding (its) size, including the headcount. Our office is now located in Capital Tower, and now office space is one of the problems we need to solve,” said Toshiya Wakaume, the general manager for the bank’s Singapore corporate banking division.
Mr Suehiro added: “We have regarded Asia as the most strategically-important region for our customers as well as for Mizuho Financial Group. Therefore, we have set up a regional headquarters here in Singapore since April 2011, and increasingly allocated our resources to this region in order to expand our service capabilities and network throughout the region.”
Source : Channel News Asia | 28 May 2013