United Arab Emirates

Digitalisation will drive future growth of Japanese-UAE business and tech talent development

Jan 18, 2022


UAE x Japan Logo

By Hiroki Inagawa

We are in an era of profound opportunity, driven by digitalisation.

Businesses of all different sizes and from across a range of sectors are rapidly implementing digital strategies and utilising modern technology – from cloud solutions to artificial intelligence to big data. The rise of digital transformation is helping to develop knowledge and skills for workforces across continents and, in particular, youth, who are rapidly advancing their business skills and changing legacy systems for modern solutions.

This has been especially effective in certain markets, with the UAE and Japan being two key examples.

Both countries are home to current and new generations of digitally savvy, technology-enabled youth. Automation and data analytics have facilitated the creation of homegrown businesses that provide services for consumers from taxis to home deliveries and electronics. We have seen examples of this in the UAE with Souq.com and Careem that are today household names across the Emirates. Similarly, in Japan, for many years, technology companies have been at the epicenter of Japan’s economy, creating exciting career opportunities for youth and experienced individuals both in Japan and across the world.

Monstarlab is an example of this growing trend. We have brought our Japanese heritage and experience to many parts of the globe, and in recent years, we have established a base in the UAE, working with banks, hospitality leaders, government entities, and many other types of businesses. We are seeing the demand for cutting-edge solutions, such as slick apps for consumers to IoT solutions continue to rise. Increasing numbers of organisations based in the UAE are adopting technology-led approaches, helping them to improve services and build capabilities for their own workforce.

It is an exciting time for business relations between the UAE and Japan as we see it go from strength to strength. We were proud to have recently been awarded the winning logo for the UAE-Japanese Ministry competition that was created by Ritche Paz, Dave Martin and James Bowskill. The task was to create the official logo for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Japan and the UAE out of a total of 122 entries. The competition highlighted the strength of the relations between the two countries and the excitement for future opportunities that will bring more cooperation and trade.

The UAE and Japan have held special business relations for many years. The two countries have collaborated across multiple industries, including technology, space, aviation, healthcare, energy, electronics, and education. Trade between the UAE and Japan has remained strong over the years, with bilateral trade last year amounting to US$22.4 billion. Exports from Japan to the UAE amounted to $5.7 billion, and imports from the UAE to Japan were worth $16.7 billion. There are currently more than 340 Japanese companies with bases in the UAE, with the number expected to rise over the coming years.

The two countries are important energy partners, with the UAE providing crude oil to Japan. Thirty percent of the crude oil imported to Japan is from the UAE, which has immensely contributed to the economic development of Japan. Japan was also selected as the base for the launch of the Emirates Mars Mission, which took off from the Tanegashima Space Center.

Beyond high-level government partnerships in areas like energy and space, we are seeing particular opportunities in the technology and digital fields – with Japanese companies bringing international technology experience and working with or acquiring UAE-based start-ups and larger enterprises.

Our recent acquisition of UAE homegrown ecap, an executive search and assessment firm, is an example of the growing bonds between the two nations. Through the acquisition, we are combining the value created through technology with the development of elite management teams, which supports the creation of job opportunities in the UAE and places talent in both local and global markets. The acquisition gives us the opportunity to further advance talent development, executive search, and leadership assessment in all the core markets in which we operate.

We are seeing more and more talented Emiratis and youth take senior positions and lead digital transformation projects across many different industries. Through increased collaboration, knowledge sharing, and adoption of modern technology – this trend is only likely to grow.

We look forward to being part of the continued success between Japan and the UAE. Our goal remains to support the development of talent, youth and entrepreneurs by bringing international expertise, Japanese technology, and knowledge to the UAE – a country that has continuously broken records and made what seemed impossible a modern-day reality.

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