Finally, here it is, the Expert Audio Interview series, "The Japan Business Trilogy with Ken Charles".
90 minutes of jam-packed facts, insights, observations and commentary on the Japan Business Environment like you've never heard before.
By Martin Fackler
Published: December 25, 2013
TOKYO — The 20-somethings in jeans sipping espresso and tapping on laptops at this Tokyo business incubator would look more at home in Silicon Valley than in Japan, where for years the surest signs of success were the gray suits of its corporate salarymen. But for those hoping the nation’s latest economic plan will drag Japan from its long malaise, the young men and women here at Samurai Startup Island represent a crucial component: a revival of entrepreneurship.
The signs of that comeback are still new, and tentative enough that the statistics on start-ups and initial public offerings have not caught up. But analysts and investors report that hundreds of new Internet and technology-related companies have sprung up in the last two to three years, creating an ecosystem of incubators like Samurai Startup Island and so-called accelerator new venture investment funds, which invest in early-state start-ups in hopes of cashing in.
For years, sagging entrepreneurial spirit has been cited as a major reason for Japan’s inability to save itself from a devastating deflationary spiral. The nation that produced Sony, Toyota and Honda has created few successors.
Although Japan has a long tradition of entrepreneurship in blue-collar trades like manufacturing, it has had only limited success in extending that to more knowledge-based industries like software or computing, at the forefront of the digital age and where competitors like South Korea have sped ahead.
Korea’s New Culture of Business Creativity: The Best Time Ever To Start Your Company In Korea (VentureBeat)
Published December 24, 2013 4:00 PM
By Mario Gamper, VentureVillage
It may be time to say goodbye to a well-trodden cliche. Young entrepreneurs are proving that Korea can do more than copy. The number of tech startups has surged by 80 per cent since 2011. The number of accelerators went from one to more than 50. Here marketing consultant Mario Gamper, who has worked for Platoon Kunsthalle in Berlin and Seoul, gives us a glimpse of how Korea is building a new culture of business creativity – that apparently rivals Silicon Valley.
There’s no need to look for suburban garages — the next generation of Korean businesses is born downtown. Many startups are home in the now-famous Gangnam district, a landscape of 400 ft glass towers, expensive suits, and women with fashionable noses. Some of the startups, like online deal siteCoupang, have already succeeded in sticking their own logo on an office tower. But even young hopefuls who are still demoing enjoy prime real estate. In brand new coworking space Dreamcamp, teams polishing PowerPoints look out over a beautifully landscaped park.
In 2012 the 10 biggest conglomerates were responsible for more than 80 per cent of Korea’s GDP, more than ever before. For decades the Chaebol – a form of business conglomerate in South Korea – throttled local entrepreneurship. In its quest to create new jobs, the Korean government is finally taking the side of SMEs. And it’s telling them to take bigger risks in hopes this will lead them to bigger markets.
“Korea used to be a Galagapos of business creativity,” said Kim. An ecosystem so specific, that ideas and solutions could be successful here, but wouldn’t make it anywhere else. “This has changed.”
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