by Jorge Cham
Subject:   Dr. Gerhard Fasol, President & CEO, Eurotechnology Japan K.K., "New Opportunities Versus Old Mistakes: Foreign Companies in Japan's High-Tech World"
Sponsor:   US-Japan Technology Management Center
Date:   Thursday, October 28, 1999
Time:   4:15pm - 5:30pm
Location:   Skilling Engineering Auditorium [look for it in a campus map]
Event URL:   http://www.stanford.edu/~viji/
Sponsor URL:   http://fuji.stanford.edu
Part of Our Public Lecture Series: TRANSFORMATION OF R & D IN EAST ASIA & JAPAN Free Admission * Light Refreshments ABSTRACT Japan is the world's second largest national market, and 10%-20% of the world's internet, telecom (incl. mobile) and ecommerce markets are in Japan. Today, nobody seriously thinks that Japan can overtake the USA economically or technologically. Nevertheless, Japan is continuing to produce important new technologies, an example being the Gallium Nitride Blue LEDs and lasers, and more. Therefore most high-tech and dot.com companies soon discover that their most important foreign market, foreign competitor, technology licensing partner or investor is Japan or Japanese. But soon they also discover that it is one of the most difficult countries to do business in or with. It is now clear that the traditional Japanese approach of government orchestrated industrial development, dominated by large corporations, financed under government direction by banks which do not understand risk analysis and wasting capital is no longer working at all. The same is true for technology development: recent government orchestrated R&D projects, such as the fifth generation computer project failed spectacularly, and the recent Japanese invention of blue LEDs and lasers was not done in any of the large corporations' central research labs, Tokyo University, or other famous institutions but by the previously little known company Nichia far away from Tokyo. I argue that an "Old Japan" and a "New Japan" coexist at the moment. In my view, Japan has many strengths - one could argue that "New Japan" is strong despite the persisting dominance of "Old Japan". Could a pattern emerge where the "Old Japan" fades into irrelevance? Or will the "Old Official Japan" manage a transition into a "New Official Japan"? What would the consequences be for foreign high-tech companies? The talk will discuss my views and personal professional first-hand experience both with the "Old Japan" and the "New Japan", and why in many cases we recommend that foreign companies at least tune into the "New Japan" if not more. Further, the talk will outline new opportunities in Japan which have never existed before, such as acquisitions of Japanese corporations by foreign corporations on a meaningful scale, changing human resource management patterns, change in attitudes, and the emergence of "New Japan"-type corporations. Important consequences of changed accounting laws will be discussed. The talk will also give examples of typical mistakes foreign companies make in Japan. Several typical "old mistakes" will be illustrated. Foreign companies far too often fall into well known traps, and waste precious time, money, good-will, reputation and brand-value. Knowing about these frequent "old mistakes" and knowing a few Megabytes of essential but often overlooked Japan-information can save a lot of time, money and headaches. A few other issues will be discussed: the "Pro-Patent Big Bang", and that venture capital exists only in name but not in spirit. SPEAKER BIO Gerhard Fasol is the Representative Director (President) of Eurotechnology Japan K. K. Eurotechnology which plans, supports and implements international high-tech business projects bridging the US-Japan and Europe-Japan interfaces in the areas of electronics, opto-electronics, telecommunications & internet, and intellectual property rights (IPR) management. Dr. Fasol has been working professionally in or with Japan since 1984 and he has worked continuously in Japan since 1991. Previous to coming to Japan in 1991, he was Laboratory Manager and Chief Scientist of the Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory (in Cambridge, England) in its start-up phase. He was Associate Professor in the Electrical and Electronic Engineering Department of Tokyo University, and he was the first foreigner to complete a Japanese Government Sakigake-Research Project. He is the inventor or co-inventor of several Japanese patent applications. Gerhard Fasol was educated at the University of Cambridge (Ph.D.) and the Ruhr-University (Bochum) (Diplom-Physiker). He was Member of Scientific Staff at the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Festkoeperforschung in Stuttgart. Subsequently he was Lecturer in Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge, Teaching Fellow and Director of Studies at Trinity College (Cambridge), and in 1988 he was promoted to a tenured faculty position at Cambridge University.
Event history: Submitted by barrkat on 25-Oct-1999;
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