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Startups

Tsinghua University investment unit to back Japanese high-tech startups

Xi Jinping's alma mater to pour $584m into AI, robotics and fintech

Robots developed by Japanese startup Ory Lab at work at a Tokyo cafe. China's Tsinghua University aims to back Japanese AI, robotics and fintech ventures.
Robots developed by Japanese startup Ory Lab at work at a Tokyo cafe. China's Tsinghua University aims to back Japanese AI, robotics and fintech ventures.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- China's Tsinghua University's investment unit is set to become one of Japan's biggest supporters of high-tech startups, with plans to invest 4 billion yuan ($584 million) over several years in artificial intelligence and robotics ventures.

Tus-Holdings, the leading research university's investment arm, established an office late last month with UTokyo Innovation Platform, its counterpart under the University of Tokyo. The companies have agreed to team up to advance both markets by promoting joint research and staff exchanges between Japanese and Chinese startups.

The target fields for investment also include fintech, the intersection of information technology and finance. The scale of Tsinghua's support stands out in comparison to the roughly 140 billion yen ($1.24 billion) Japanese venture capitalists poured into domestic startups in fiscal 2017.

The Beijing-based university will consider managing buildings that house cutting-edge companies down the road, as well as setting up a major investment fund.

Tsinghua counts Chinese President Xi Jinping among its prominent alumni. Tus-Holdings runs facilities in 45 countries and regions, mainly offering entrepreneurial support.

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