Japan’s ‘Zuckerberg’ leading generation of entrepreneurs

One of Asia’s youngest self-made billionaires, 35-year-old Yoshikazu Tanaka looks the part of a young internet tycoon.

The Japanese founder and CEO of mobile social gaming business Gree arrived for his CNN interview wearing a hooded sweatshirt, ripped jeans and a pair bight red shoes. His personal wealth is valued at $2.2 billion so he can afford to wear whatever he wants to the office.

Gree has grown from Tanaka’s self-financed project into a company with a market value of around $7 billion. The share price is more than sevenfold what it was at its 2008 IPO.

The company is now partnered with Tencent, one of the largest social networks in China, and in April 2011 it acquired OpenFeint, a large U.S.-based gaming network.

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Japan Loves Innovation, but Entrepreneurship? – These start-ups may surprise you

Japan is mad about innovation. From tech gadgets to inventively designed products, it is a place hungry for cutting-edge. Why then are there so few entrepreneurs? Culture, many say, is to blame. With an aversion to standout much less fail, the Japanese spurn start-ups. But what culture doesn’t hate losing?

The better answer is Japan’s complicated bureaucracy and regulation that makes it difficult to launch and raise capital for an enterprise. According to the World Bank’s Doing Business index, Japan ranks 107 out of 183 countries for ease of starting a business. Venture capital is scarce.

Both are inadequate responses for true entrepreneurs. That’s at least what I witnessed tonight when all of Tokyo’s start-up stars came out for an awards fete hosted by U.S. Ambassador to Japan John Roos. Ambassador Roos has promoted, more than any other American chief of mission, entrepreneurship, encouraging Japanese innovators to “aim global.”

Read the rest of the story: Japan is mad about innovation. Can it get crazy about entrepreneurship?.

Pictured is Real-F 3D, a start-up in Japan that makes 3D models of your face.

Japan To Startups: No Tax In Quake-Hit Areas

New companies that set up shop in parts of Japan devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March will be exempt from paying corporate taxes for five years, the government said on Tuesday, as it looks to combat snowballing unemployment in the region.

Startups in special industrial zones in the country’s northeast will be immune from corporate taxes as the country looks to stem an exodus from areas that were already suffering from rapidly shrinking populations prior to the March 11 disaster, Vice Finance Minister Fumihiko Igarashi told reporters after a meeting of the government’s tax panel.

Even though the devastated region accounts for only about 5 percent of Japan’s GDP, economists say it could serve as a testing ground for policies that, if successful, could be tried nationwide to reinvigorate the economy following the disaster that caused material damage worth 17 trillion yen ($221 trillion).

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