A recent mission of the BOI to Singapore was an opportunity for the Board to sendacross to Japanese companies based in Singapore the message that Sri Lanka is an ideal destination for investment.
A delegation headed by Chairman of BOI Upul Jayasuriya consisting of Dilip S. Samarasinghe, Director (Media and Publicity) of BOI, Keizo Tsuchiya, JICA Advisor to BOI, and Dhammika Basnayake, Assistant Director (Promotion), held discussions with a number of Japanese companies and Japanese mega banks and also addressed the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.
BOI’s discussions with Japanese multinationals
The meetings with companies included discussions with the Canon Companywhere BOI briefed that leading Japanese enterprise on the advantages that Sri Lanka is able to offer investors such as a competitive labour force, warehousingfacilities and the possibility of having BPO type work undertaken in the country.
Sri Lanka offers the possibility of offshore business, front end services and headquarters services including finance, accountancy and quality control. Canon is a world leaderin cameras, copiers, commercial printing such as business cards, bills, telecom operations and credit card bills. The Canon Management said that it considers Sri Lanka a priority market and already has a local agent in the country.
Another meeting was held with the Toshiba Company which has had a longstanding interest in Sri Lanka. A team from Toshiba participated at the Commonwealth Business Forum held in Colombo in November 2013. One of Toshiba’s early projects in Sri Lanka was the designing of the Samanalawewa Power Station. The Toshiba management expressed interest in the supply chain system in Sri Lanka.
Currently Toshiba manufactures some of the product in its range in Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia andIndia. The company also maintains an office in Bangladesh. The BOI delegation briefed Toshiba on the status of the electronic industry in Sri Lanka. One Japanese company namely FDK is already engaged in manufacturing semi-conductors of the BOI’s Katunayake export Processing Zone.
The BOI delegation also met with the Dai Ichi Life insurance company. At this meeting discussions covered Sri Lanka’s potential for outsourcing and the possibility of establishing BPO type operations engaged in insurance by utilizing Sri Lanka’s large pool of British qualified accountants.
BOI promotes Sri Lanka through Japanese mega banks
Discussions were also held with two Japanese mega banks with whom BOI had entered into agreements in 2014.Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi and Mizuho Bank signed agreements in Colombo with the BOI before andduring the visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Colombo in 2014.
Discussion with banks centered on what steps would be necessary to create an environment that should be conductive to setting up representative offices that would take care of the banking needs of Japanese enterprises in Sri Lanka. This is also important for promoting investment from Japan.
The two banks also play an important role in promoting Sri Lanka for investment among their clientbase in Japan and overseas which include leading individuals and enterprises. Both Japanese Banks also have helped co-ordinate recent promotional missions of the BOI in Japan.
BOI addresses Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Singapore
The BOI also addressed the Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Singapore. A presentation was made in Japanese by Keizo Tsuchiya, JICA Advisor to BOI, highlighting the strategic advantages of investing in Sri Lanka for Japanese companies such as the country’s low costs, excellent location and well developed logistics.