Japan’s largest corporations are planning a massive investment in digital technology, to ensure the country stays ahead of the curve amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 765 companies’ $4.45 billion funding represents an increase of 15.8% on last year’s tech investment, cementing the commitment of Japan’s private sector to technological advancement. It follows state pledges to pour millions of dollars into leading-edge IT sectors like robotics.
The list is topped by Seven & i Holdings, the owner of over 68,000 Seven-11 stores worldwide. It is ploughing $1.14bn—a near-20% increase—into dynamic pricing and delivery solutions, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.
Other major investors include heavy machinery firm Kubota, and multi-industry giant Taisei. Both are setting aside cash to streamline workforce and sales pipelines.
The move comes amid a downturn in Japanese capital investment that is rattling markets. A 1.2% drop is the first since 2016, when Britain voted to leave the European Union. Despite a surprising growth of 1.8% last year, the novel coronavirus pandemic is set to squeeze Japan’s economy.
The nation has recorded 47,000 cases and a little over a thousand deaths since the pandemic began – a surprisingly low amount for a densely-populated island state of 127m people.
Nonetheless, the world’s third-largest economy will need to “adapt to the coronavirus, and they now realize the importance of digital transformation…IT investment could grow even more in the future,” said the Mizuho Research Institute’s Saisuke Sakai.