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Düsseldorf and North Rhine-Westphalia focus on exchange with Japan for future technologies

NRW.INVEST, the economic development agency of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and the state capital Düsseldorf today hosted a business seminar for Japanese investors in Tokyo entitled "Digitalization – Recent Developments and Applications for Cutting Edge Technologies: Best Case Studies from Japanese and German Companies in NRW / Düsseldorf". More than 150 representatives of well-known Japanese companies in the digital economy accepted the invitation to obtain information about the digital location and investment opportunities in Germany's economically largest federal state and its state capital.

North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's industrial heartland, is focusing on networking classic structures along the entire value chain and transforming them with the digital economy. "North Rhine-Westphalia has one of the most dynamic startup scenes in Germany. Innovative business ideas are complemented here by a first-class research landscape with numerous internationally renowned research institutes. We want to make the state more visible internationally in the coming years, especially in future technologies such as artificial intelligence. Japan is a strong partner for developing important joint projects and jointly advancing technological innovations," said Christoph Dammermann, State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Innovation, Digitization and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Japanese and German industrial enterprises based in the Düsseldorf region, such as DMG Mori, Henkel and Renesas Electronics, provided information at the business seminar on their experiences with future topics such as smart manufacturing, artificial intelligence (AI) and new mobility concepts. Perspectives from the startup and research scene were provided by the Düsseldorf AI startup Conigny, Digihub Rheinland and the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT. They reported on their cooperation projects and experiences in NRW. Düsseldorf's Mayor Thomas Geisel emphasized: "In Düsseldorf we are creating the infrastructure and platforms that are needed to optimally network industry, startups and research institutions. As a leading Japanese location in Europe, we have involved Japanese companies in these initiatives right from the start. This is why Düsseldorf has just been honored by JETRO as an innovation hotspot."

With its high density of industrial and commercial enterprises, North Rhine-Westphalia offers numerous customers and cooperation partners for digital technologies. Another advantage of the location: the strong ICT sector in North Rhine-Westphalia and Düsseldorf. In particular, the interfaces between strong industrial structures and the large number of innovative ICT companies offer the prerequisites for the digitalization of services, production and logistics. Düsseldorf is home to a dense cluster of mobile communications companies, innovative startups and modern industrial production.

For the expansion of the Japanese digital economy in Europe, North Rhine-Westphalia and especially Düsseldorf offer an ideal location for research and development, production and sales. "Japanese companies not only form one of the largest international business communities in North Rhine-Westphalia, they are also the foreign business community with the longest continuity and tradition," explains Petra Wassner, CEO of NRW.INVEST. "We offer them a broad market and a research environment with competent partners for the development of innovative technologies. In addition, the companies here benefit from the availability of trained specialists, especially in the fields of information technology and electrical engineering."


Japanese in NRW

Around 14,300 Japanese people live in North Rhine-Westphalia, including 8,451 in Düsseldorf. With around 620 Japanese firms, North Rhine-Westphalia is the preferred investment location for Japanese companies in Europe. There are 405 Japanese companies based in Düsseldorf alone. Well-known firms such as Alps, Asahi Kasai, Canon, Cyberdyne Care Robotics, Denso Automotive, Fujifilm, Hitachi, Komatsu, Makita, Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Nippon Express, Shimadzu, Shiseido, Takasago, Toshiba, Toyota, Wacom, Yakult and Yamaha have already invested in North Rhine-Westphalia and Düsseldorf.

Japan Desk at Office of Economic Development Düsseldorf

In order to facilitate the special interests of Japanese firms and their employees, as well as the many Japanese institutions in Düsseldorf, the Office of Economic Development has set up a Japan desk. Japanese-speaking experts with intercultural experience and detailed knowledge of the needs of Japanese businesses are available to the firms as a one-stop agency. Close contacts with the Japanese community and its institutions guarantee the firms' fast and uncomplicated integration into the German-Japanese network in Düsseldorf.