GE joins Japan's new tech and innovation accelerator

RP news wires, Noria Corporation

On July 27, GE announced that it’s become one of the founding members of a new Japanese-government-led initiative designed to accelerate the development of new clean energy, environmental and healthcare technologies. GE will be one of 16 corporations — and the only U.S.-based company — to each invest $5.3 million in equity in the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), while the Japanese government will invest $872 million. The Japanese government is also providing $8.5 billion in loan guarantees, bringing the total available for investment to approximately $9.5 billion. The move underscores GE’s continued belief that Japan can be a key source of technology for GE’s businesses globally — and it’s part of GE’s ongoing strategy to continue investing in research and development during the economic downturn.

Yoshiaki Fujimori, president and CEO of GE Japan, explains the new initiative, which is essentially a giant investment company, in the video clip at left.

The new venture is based on “open innovation” — a concept in which companies use both external and internal ideas to advance their technology. The private-public funds for the INCJ will be used to promote advanced technology across companies, universities and research institutes with the goal to rapidly develop and commercialize them.

As Jeff Immelt, GE’s chairman and CEO, said during his recent visit to Japan, “The power of Japan, the strength of Japan, is in the brains of the people and the innovation of the companies. ... So whenever I come to Japan, I think the biggest challenge is to try and figure out how to pull ideas from here. ... How can we pull great ideas from Japan through partnership and take those ideas every place in the world. So the goal for a multinational like GE or a business leader like me is to really try to figure out how to link up with the small and medium enterprises, how to have great ventures with the big companies and how to work together to make sure these great technologies and these great innovations get sold, marketed, and supported on a global basis.”

Read the July 27 announcement.

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