NEXT BIG Discusses Japan Market Entry at Meet Taipei

Following the debut of NEXT BIG at the Award Ceremony hosted by the national startup brand Startup Island TAIWAN, supported by the National Development Council (NDC), President Tsai Ing-wen gave a speech in the form of a video at the largest startup festival in Taiwan — Meet Taipei. President Tsai mentioned that, in addition to increasing loans for youth entrepreneurs and improving the investment environment, the government also launched the NEXT BIG project and formed the first batch of “startup national team” so that Taiwan’s innovation can be seen on the international stage, demonstrating the government’s expectation and support of Taiwan’s startup scene.

In recent years, Taiwanese startups have achieved excellent performance in the global market. Taiwan and Japan have similar cultures and good relations, and Japan has become Taiwan startups’ top choice when it comes to market expansion, of making initial presence overseas. Therefore this year, Startup Island TAIWAN teamed up with #AsiaRocks and held two Japan market entry panels. In the first session, startup support organizations from four cities in Japan were invited to share the soft landing resources they provide to foreign startups. In the second session, three of the NEXT BIG: CoolBitX, iKala, and Pinkoi were invited to share their experiences and thoughts, actual problems encountered and advice, and the do’s and don’ts on expanding into Japan.

“Japan Market Entry” Panel; (Left to right) Moderator Head of Management Office at Startup Island TAIWAN Amanda Liu, Global Brand Communications Manager of Pinkoi Abby Chiu, Co-founder and COO of iKala Keynes Cheng, COO of CoolBitX Yi-Ling Yeh

COO of CoolBitX Yi-Ling Yeh came from an investment background. She shared from her dual role and identity that CoolBitX first observed blockchain regulations to be the most complete in Japan, then successfully secured SBI’s Investment with their technology and further seized the opportunity for SBI to cooperate with their stock exchange. They got off to a good start in Japan because the investment from a major Japanese venture capital firm backed their credibility in the local market. Yeh suggests that the most important part to establishing connections with Japanese is to be able to speak Japanese. Keynes Cheng, Co-founder and COO of iKala shared that when they first headed to Japan, they hired consultants to do business development in Japan from time to time, but found that it was inefficient. Japanese value partner commitments the most and it is recommended to have an office in Japan first before approaching any opportunities. Having a local office can build trust relatively quickly. Pinkoi’s Global Brand Communications Manager Abby Chiu used “company websites” as an example. Many Taiwanese companies think that they can expand to the Japanese market by simply translating their Chinese website into Japanese, but the grammar and context might not be the most accurate, leading to a lack of trust by Japanese.

Amanda Liu, the Head of Management Office at Startup Island TAIWAN said that the three NEXT BIG at different stages are using different strategies to face the international market, and that Startup Island TAIWAN hopes to make Taiwan startups’ exploration of the international market easier, and to accelerate market expansions by learning from those with extensive experiences. For replay, please refer to Startup Island TAIWAN’s YouTube channel and follow the brand’s social media to get the latest updates!




Taiwan Startup Stadium aims to share key insights and useful knowledge regarding startup ecosystem, while showing the world why #TaiwanRocks, one startup at a time!

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PR & Mentor Relations Manager at Everiii Consulting. A TCK that’s now based in Taipei — on a mission to explore the global startup world.

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