TOKYO -- Japan's Mizuho Bank will become the first foreign bank to partner with Chinese state-owned investment fund Zhongguancun Development Group, which backs startups in such fields as artificial intelligence.
Mizuho Bank CEO Koji Fujiwara will sign a memorandum of understanding Friday in China. The Mizuho Financial Group banking unit aims to support Chinese startups in developing distribution and sales channels in Japan and may invest in related funds.
Named after an area of Beijing sometimes called China's Silicon Valley, Zhongguancun has a total of 80 billion yuan ($11.7 billion) in investments and 300 billion yuan in lending to startups. It is entirely funded by the Beijing municipal government.
The fund operates 26 high-tech industrial parks and rents office space as well.
The Zhongguancun area, in northwestern Beijing, hosts such renowned academic institutions as Tsinghua University and Peking University. The area has roughly 20,000 companies, including Chinese ride-hailing leader Didi Chuxing and AI-related startups, and is a hub of industry-academia collaboration.
Mizuho Bank joined hands with Hong Kong-based government companies and the Research Institute of Tsinghua University in Shenzhen last year on startup support. The Japanese megabank set up a dedicated team in Beijing last fall to explore partnerships there.