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Central Japan Startup Ecosystem Holds “Diversifying the Value of Mobility: From Land to Sky” Media Event Highlighting How the Region of Central Japan is Active in the Homeland of Mobility 5.0




NAGOYA, Japan, Dec. 20, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The Central Japan Startup Ecosystem held a media event under the theme, “Diversifying the Value of Mobility: From Land to Sky” at Nagoya Innovator’s Garage, a dynamic facility where entrepreneurs and enterprises come together to create new ideas, businesses and industries.

The event targeted overseas media and effectively introduced what the region of Central Japan is doing in the rapidly evolving field of mobility. The event not only highlighted Japanese startups, but also foreign/inbound startups that are seeking to expand into the Japanese market. This media event was an excellent opportunity for the foreign media to meet and conduct individual interviews with some of the most innovative entrepreneurs and startups in the region and to discuss the future of mobility.

Event Highlights
Shuichi Hirano from Jetro Nagoya (Director-General for Chubu, Chief Director) offered some opening remarks. This was followed by an overview of initiatives from the Central Japan Startup Ecosystem Consortium by Toshio Sumi (Director, Economic Affairs Bureau Startup Support Office, Innovation Department, Nagoya City Economic Affairs Bureau). He talked about Central Japan’s mission to bring the future of mobility to our doorsteps. The ecosystem provides an excellent environment for startups to achieve unicorn status. Central Japan is also focused on developing outstanding human resources for the next generation of students through ‘Tongali’, an entrepreneurial platform for Central Japan’s academic communities and serving 23 participating universities. As of 2022, 5,000 students have participated.

This was followed by a presentation by Masaaki Shibayama from the Aichi Prefectural Bureau of Economy, Trade and Industry (Economic Industry Promotion Supervisor). He spoke about the Aichi Mobility Innovation Project, “Aichi Model 2030 Connecting Sky and Road” that aims to build a world-first mobility society where the sky, roads, people and things such as drones, flying cars, and autonomous vehicles intersect and are controlled simultaneously, with no boundaries in the movement of people and goods. 

As an example of a successful foreign startup expanding into the Japanese market, Vitaly Pentegov, CEO at UrbanChain Group, talked about why Central Japan is the ideal choice for inbound startups. Originating in Hong Kong, launched in the U.S, and recently expandeAd in Japan, UrbanChain specifically chose Central Japan because Nagoya is the center of the automobile industry. He said, “The right size and a deeply rooted culture surrounding mobility makes Central Japan the best place and the right market size to test our product.”

Finally, the presentation session concluded with an overview of entrepreneurship education from elementary, junior high, and high school students by Manabu Sahashi and Takahiro Yano from the Startup Promotion Office, Academic Research & Industry Academia-Government, Collaboration, Nagoya University.

This event was an excellent opportunity for the foreign media to meet Aichi-based and inbound startups that are looking to expand in Central Japan, as well as learn about the innovative programs that Central Japan is engaged in. All the participating startups used this occasion to introduce their companies, their support from Central Japan, and why this region is the ideal place for their business.

Background on Participating Startups

Fabio SOUZA, CEO, Crystal CO., LTD

Crystal is a platform for mobility sharing. Its e-scooter sharing service “Su__i” was launched in Nagoya and makes short distance transfers easier and enjoyable. Its integrated platform for sharing mobility will start operations in October 2025 and after that, Crystal will offer mobility beyond e-scooters, according to regional characteristics.

Crystal is supported by Central Japan for their app., Su__i × my route and a 2023 trial project for MaaS social implementation in Aichi Prefecture. In April 2023, Crystal moved into PRE-STATION Ai in Nagoya, which offers various programs depending on a startup’s business stage.

Kiho KAMIYA, CEO & Founder, FACTORY X Inc.

Female-founded FACTORY X develops and deploys an “Inventory Strategy Model” to improve productivity and profitability by strategically holding inventory in the manufacturing process. The company aims for a new type of inventory optimization by rethinking the way inventory has been regarded as a ‘negative’ in the manufacturing industry. It was founded at the end of September 2022 and raised 40 million yen in a pre-seed round of funding in April 2023. The company was selected as one of the seven companies for fiscal year 2023 in the “Weekly Toyo Keizai 100 Amazing Venture Companies”. 

FACTORY X is supported by Central Japan through their hosted entrepreneur-first fundraisers, organized events that include local manufacturing companies, and sharing information and networking that can serve as the basis for overseas expansion. 

Shuji OGAWA, President and Representative Director, PD AeroSpace, LTD.

PD AeroSpace built an engine that can change jet and rocket combustion modes mid-air, creating a way for a new type of reusable spaceplanes which are able to horizontally take off and land at airports. With the mission of “making space more accessible,” the company aims to realize space travel by 2030. 

With the support of Central Japan, PD Aerospace has been selected for the New Aichi Creative Development Grant Program for FY2023, and established Team D with detonation laboratories from five universities including Nagoya University. 

Shunsuke TOYA, CEO, Prodrone Co., Ltd.

PRODRONE is one of the few companies in the world with a high level of technical expertise in both hardware (airframe) and software, and has introduced a number of innovative industrial drones since its establishment in 2015. At the Japan Mobility Show 2023, it unveiled a concept model of its new “SORA-MICHI,” a “flying light truck,” a cargo drone capable of flying 50 km with a 50 kg payload, aiming to solve local issues in mountainous areas and remote islands by delivering medical supplies in times of peace and disaster, and mitigation by transporting relief supplies to isolated villages.

PRODRONE received support from Central Japan through the Aichi Prefecture’s “Innovative Business Creation Proposal Platform (A-idea),” which adopted the “Aichi Mobility Innovation Project, Aichi Model 2030 Connecting Skies and Roads.” The project was also adopted as the first A-idea project, and PRODRONE was a co-sponsor of ‘DRONE EXPO 2022 in Aichi.’ 

Vitaly PENTEGOV, CEO, UrbanChain Group

UrbanChain Group provides AIoT systems that integrate vehicle identification systems, EV charging control, car sharing, and data-driven SaaS platforms to enhance the efficient use of urban resources, with the main objective of connecting people, vehicles, and destinations.

UrbanChain received support from the Greater Nagoya Initiative by receiving a grant for company incorporation, introduced to Proof of Concept (PoC) opportunities, as well as PR opportunities and legal support. UrbanChain also joined PRE-STATION Ai which helped UrbanChain connect with Japanese companies and government organizations, provided mentoring, and opportunities to attend hosted events for Japanese and overseas audiences. 

Background on Central Japan

Located in the Chubu region, also known as Central Japan – right in the middle of Japan’s main island, Honshu, this region is proud of playing a vital role in the history of Japan’s manufacturing craftsmanship. It was where Toyota first began, and as a tech pioneer, it is now the home to a wide range of sectors such as automobiles, photonics, and aerospace, using advanced, cutting-edge technologies.

Central Japan continues to invite entrepreneurs and capitalists from all corners of the world to facilitate state‐of‐the‐art open innovation by infusing new ideas with local craftsmanship. And as a result, take part in playing a crucial role in paving the path towards the Homeland of Mobility 5.0 –the future of mobility.

Central Japan Startup Ecosystem provides everything a startup needs – from highly trained workers in many specialized fields to opportunities to conduct feasibility studies with leading companies in various industries including the mobility sector. There are also accelerator programs, financial support systems, innovative university seeds, and collaborative partnerships with ecosystems outside of Japan and also attract a wide range of entrepreneurs to this region.   

About the Central Japan Startup Ecosystem  

In July 2020, Aichi prefecture, Nagoya City and Hamamatsu City in Shizuoka-prefecture became one of the four regional Startup Ecosystem Global Base Cities groups designated nationwide by the Japanese Cabinet Office.  

There are 371 startups in Central Japan, of which 150 are university-launched. An estimated 18,615 billion yen (as of July 2022) of funds have been raised, in addition to accelerator programs, financial support systems, and innovative university seeds.  

Collaborative partnerships with Station F, INSEAD, BLOCK71, Paris &Co, Bpifrance, Venture Café, Plug and Play, Israel Innovation Authority, Tsinghua University, China Medical University, National University of Singapore, the University of Texas at Austin, Stanford University, North Carolina State University, University of Nebraska and the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad attract a diverse range of entrepreneurs to the region.  

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Velo Is Enhancing Its Own Ecosystem Through Interoperability




Interoperability in Velo: To Infinity and Beyond

BANGKOK, March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — As new blockchains and blockchain-based platforms emerge, it’s crucial for these ecosystems to be interconnected, enabling users to seamlessly transfer their assets without complications. Velo is enhancing its own ecosystem through interoperability, aspiring to become a pivotal connection point for various blockchains.

A significant update within Universe is its support for multiple wallet addresses on a single platform, catering to users who possess multiple wallets across different platforms. This feature is essential for managing diverse assets conveniently.

Furthermore, Universe is integrating multi-chain login and registration support for networks such as Solana and Tron, thereby improving Velo’s accessibility and usability. Efforts are in place to refactor the user database and management code, ensuring a smooth and secure experience.

Velo is advancing its blockchain integration by incorporating the Solana and Tron networks, aiming to offer enhanced deposit and withdrawal functionalities to enrich its ecosystem. This initiative involves deploying Solana and Tron chain-node and full-node functionalities, thereby broadening the network’s diversity and user options. Additionally, Universe is introducing a dedicated user interface (UI) for Solana transactions, encompassing deposit-withdrawal and account management across Webplus and mobile platforms, ensuring a seamless user experience.

This streamlined approach guarantees that Velo’s users have comprehensive and intuitive access to a broader range of transaction options, significantly boosting the platform’s utility and user engagement.

The integration with the Lightning Network marks a significant advancement in improving Bitcoin transactions. By implementing Lightning chain-node and deploying a BTC full-node, Orbit aims to streamline Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals, making them faster and more cost-efficient.

Velo’s dedication to ensuring inclusivity and connectivity with other blockchains is evident through the concrete steps it has taken. With aggressive strides towards unlocking the full potential of the Velo Protocol, Velo is poised for significant growth and innovation.

About Velo Labs

Velo Labs is a global pioneer in Web3-based financial solutions, offering a cutting-edge liquidity and settlement network for secure, efficient value transfers. Backed by Stellar Network and CP Group, our reach has expanded beyond Southeast Asia and the Pacific, now serving partners worldwide. We connect and complement the gap between traditional banking infrastructure and Web3, leading the way in blockchain mass adoption. Our extensive Web3-based payment network and Lightnet, our licensed settlement partner, position us as a global heavyweight. Velo Labs offers a diverse range of Web3-based products, notably Orbit, tailored for individuals, merchants, corporations, and enterprises worldwide — dedicated to empowering global financial connectivity and expanding accessibility globally.

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CGTN: China vows to develop new quality productive forces in modernization drive




BEIJING, March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — China saw the number of contracted technology transactions grow by 28.6 percent in 2023, an achievement that speaks volumes of the country’s enhanced capacity for innovation-driven development.

China will leverage the leading role of innovation, spur industrial innovation through advancements in science and technology, and press ahead with new industrialization, according to a government work report submitted on Tuesday to the national legislature for deliberation.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang delivered the report at the opening meeting of the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The report says that the country will strive to modernize the industrial system and develop new quality productive forces at a faster pace.

Developing new quality productive forces

With innovation leading the way, new quality productive forces mean going beyond the traditional models of economic growth. This path features high technology, high efficiency and high quality, and aligns with China’s new development philosophy.

In order to develop these new quality productive forces, the government work report lists a series of tasks.

It calls for improving and upgrading industrial and supply chains besides cultivating emerging and future-oriented industries, such as hydrogen power, new materials, biomanufacturing, commercial spaceflight, quantum technology and life sciences.

The report also says that innovative development of the digital economy will be promoted, an Artificial Intelligence Plus initiative will be launched, and the country will consolidate and enhance its leading position in industries such as intelligent connected new-energy vehicles.

Moreover, China has set an economic growth target of around 5 percent for 2024 and vowed to promote high-quality development. It will issue ultra-long special treasury bonds annually over the next several years for implementing major national strategies and building up security capacity in key areas, starting with 1 trillion yuan of such bonds this year, according to the report.

The report also stresses efforts for invigorating China through science and education and consolidating the foundations for high-quality development.

China will speed up efforts to build a contingent of personnel with expertise of strategic importance and cultivate more first-class scientists and innovation teams.

The country will develop platforms for identifying basic research talent, train high-performing engineers and highly-skilled workers, and enhance support for young scientists and engineers, according to the report.

Acting on people-centered development philosophy

China will make efforts to ensure and improve the people’s welling and promote better and new ways of conducting social governance, the report says.

It highlights that China will deliver real benefits to the people to their satisfaction by acting on the people-centered development philosophy.

In 2023, China’s per capita disposable income of residents increased by 6.1 percent, and over 66 million taxpayers benefited from an increase in the special additional deductions for individual income tax, which cover children nursing expenses, children’s education and elderly care expenses, according to the report.

In 2024, the country expects to create over 12 million jobs in urban areas and keep the surveyed urban unemployment rate at around 5.5 percent.

China will also enhance ecological conservation and promote green and low-carbon development, including taking comprehensive steps to improve the environment and boosting the green and low-carbon economy, according to the report.

In 2023, China’s installed renewable energy capacity surpassed its thermal power capacity for the first time in history and it accounted for over half of newly installed renewable energy capacity worldwide, according to data released by the National Energy Administration.

The country will advance the energy revolution and actively and prudently work toward peaking carbon dioxide emissions and achieving carbon neutrality, according to the report.

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SK chemicals, Hyosung Advanced Materials, and Hankook Tire Commercialize South Korea’s First Chemically Recycled PET Tire



  • Establishing a circular economy that extends from recycled PET to high-strength tire cords and electric vehicle-exclusive tires
  • Leading the global tire industry’s sustainable management by commercializing products with 45% eco-friendly certified materials

SEONGNAM, South Korea, March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — To reduce carbon emissions, the South Korean industrial sector has developed and commercialized the country’s first tire using chemically recycled PET.

SK chemicals (CEO Ahn Jae-hyun), Hyosung Advanced Materials Co., Ltd. (CEO Cho Yong-soo), and Hankook Tire & Technology Co., Ltd. (CEO Lee Soo-il, hereafter Hankook Tire) announced on the 5th that they have successfully developed the electric vehicle-exclusive tire “iON” applying “circular recycled PET (polyester) fiber tire cords.” Circular recycling is an exclusive chemical recycling technology of SK chemicals that breaks down discarded plastics through chemical reactions into molecular units and then uses these raw materials to produce recycled plastics.

Before the commercialization phase, there were instances where chemical recycling technology was applied to concept tires or prototypes, but the release of a tire product to the market using chemically recycled PET-based tire cords through to commercialization is a first in South Korea.

SK chemicals, Hyosung Advanced Materials, and Hankook Tire have collaboratively developed this tire over a period of about two years. SK chemicals has reliably supplied the circular recycled PET “SKYPET CR”, and Hyosung Advanced Materials developed the high-strength recycled PET-based tire cords using this as a raw material. The developed tire cords were applied to Hankook Tire’s premium electric vehicle tire brand, iON. The iON tire, with a 45% sustainable material content, has recently passed the stringent reliability verification by a European automotive manufacturer, securing final approval for use and being mounted as tires for new vehicles.

Tire cords are fiber reinforcement materials that help maintain the shape of the tire and withstand the load and impact applied during driving, enhancing the tire’s durability, driving performance, and ride comfort.

SK chemicals’ “SKYPET CR” has the advantage of maintaining high-quality properties and safety even after infinite recycling, compared to the physical recycling method of washing discarded plastics or cutting them into flakes for reuse, and it can achieve properties equivalent to petrochemical-based materials.

The iON model developed by Hankook Tire incorporates 45% sustainable materials, including bio-based, circular, and bio-circular polymers, bio-based silica along with Hyosung Advanced Materials’ tire cords, and the model is the first tire to bear the ISCC PLUS certification logo.


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