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Business trends

Japan entrepreneurs seek fortunes in Southeast Asia

Startups drawn to huge market with more capital and lighter regulation

Agri Holdings opened its first Singapore shop in 2014, selling onigiri rice balls made with rice from Japan. The startup's Samurice chain has since expanded to the U.S. (Photo from Agri Holdings)

TOKYO -- More Japanese-led startups are setting up shop in Southeast Asia, looking to vault onto the global stage from this fast-growing region of 600 million people rather than become mired in Japan's idiosyncratic regulations and practices.

The Japanese founders of AnyMind Group, which offers advertising and recruitment support using artificial intelligence, chose to establish their company in Singapore because "we wanted from the beginning to build a world-class business," CEO Kosuke Sogo said.

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