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Marubeni eyes office in Israel to keep pace with technology

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Major trading house Marubeni Corp. is planning to establish an office in Israel, where cutting-edge technologies and information technology companies have gathered, the company’s president, Fumiya Kokubu, has said.

Through the move, Marubeni aims to respond to the rapid advances of digital technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data and the internet of things.

“We’d like to establish a base from the perspective of new technology and new business model,” Kokubu, 65, said in a recent interview with Jiji Press.

The trading house has yet to decide on details, including when to open the office.

In Silicon Valley and China, the company plans to consider strengthening the functions of its existing offices and taking other measures in order to cope with changes in the business environment.

Marubeni is emphasizing digital transformation, which utilizes digital technologies in management.

In the spring of 2017, the company set up a cross-section strategy department on IoT and big data.

Kokubu said that a single division or department alone cannot handle digital technologies in the retail or automobile industry.

“The future rests on how far the company can get the interdivisional structure to function,” he said.

In Israel, the so-called Silicon Valley of the Middle East, high-tech startups are actively launching businesses.

Among Japanese general trading companies, Sumitomo Corp. is considering setting up an office in Israel to invest in startups and for other purposes.Speech

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