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Japan to boost IT for small businesses

06 февраля 2008

Tokyo is set to invest in infrastructure that will provide much-needed software services for Japan’s small and medium-sized enterprises, in the first such state-funded effort to raise SME productivity.

Alarmed by a widening gap in IT investments between Japan’s top companies and smaller ones, Tokyo is set to invest Y5bn ($47m) in establishing an interface that will provide a range of software services for SMEs, including accounting, HR management and supply chain management services.

Small companies will pay a nominal fee to access the services. The government will start tendering bids from the private sector for services from April, and the platform will be available for use in January 2009.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry estimates if at least 500,000 of Japan’s SMEs – one-seventh of all small and mid-sized companies – access the platform and incorporate IT systems into their businesses, it will raise their productivity by 3 per cent a year.

Smaller companies are the backbone of the Japanese economy, with seven in 10 working Japanese employed by SMEs. However, many companies still have hand-written ledgers and rely on faxes and postal services to transmit documents.

According to Meti, investment in IT systems by companies capitalised at more than Y10bn has risen above Y5bn in
2004, a 16 per cent increase since 2000. But IT investment by those capitalised at less than Y10bn has fallen or remained stagnant at a level of Y1bn or less over the same period.

Источник: Financial Times

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