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Business trends

Corporate Japan opening venture capital wallet wider

Investment skyrockets by a factor of 27 in five years

Toyota has invested in an Israeli conversation robot developer.

TOKYO -- In a trend that may help give birth to more innovative young enterprises, such Japanese blue chips as Toyota Motor and Panasonic are increasing investment in startups, pouring 27 times as much money in 2017 as five years before.

Venture capital investments by major Japanese corporations through in-house funds and other channels totaled 172 last year, 19% more cases than the year before and marking their highest level ever, according to mergers and acquisitions consultancy Recof. Such investments began to rise sharply in number in 2011 and amounted to 68.1 billion yen ($611 million) in 2017, also a record.

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