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Home BUSINESSOulu: Japan’s gateway to Arctic technology
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Mon, 19 Oct, 2015 12:05:02 AM
FTimes – STT Report, Oct 19

“Oulu is Japan’s port for Arctic technology in the North, as well as a pioneer in IoT applications for Europe and global markets,” said Japanese Ambassador Kenji Shinoda.

Shinoda, who has already visited Oulu twice in a short period of time, also welcomed his country’s direct investment in the city.

Semiconductor and electronics giant Rohm Group, which set up a shop in Oulu in December 2014, is already searching for new employees to strengthen its sensor-based applications, for example in the Internet of Things (IoT) environment, in its office in Kiviharjunlenkki.

This software design office is the only one in the Nordic countries, with European sales offices in Dusseldorf, Germany, in the UK, in France, Spain, Hungary, as well as Moscow, Russia. The company, ROHM Semiconductor GmbH, goes by its auxiliary trade name Kionix in Oulu, which is entirely owned by the Rohm Group and the only Kionix office in Europe. The others are in Taipei, Shanghai and in New York State Ithacai in the US.

Rohm managed to snatch for its Oulu team key individuals who had previously worked at Nokia in designing sensors for mobile phones. “Indeed, this excellent team came to us directly as a customer product developer,” said the Oulu office’s head software engineer, Koki Okada while reminiscing about the early days of Oulu’s research and development with a smile.

“Oulu has been a great city to a foreign firm that invests in product development. Oulu has the talent, the city is safe, and it has a climate of self-motivation. It’s optimal,” he added.

According to Okada, Oulu’s ICT ecosystem has taken quickly to the new beginning and reached a high degree of IoT development, which works together with many startup companies, including ARM.

Kionix is looking for new staff and partners to strengthen their team of software development and cloud technologies experts. Together with BusinessOulu, the company is seeking two software engineers and assistants. Rohm and Kionix want to bring Oulu’s high-level engineering professionals to this growing field.

The Kyoto-headquartered world-class semiconductor giant was founded in 1958, and has more than 20843 employees, with 12 offices in Japan and 36 global subsidiaries. Half of the group’s production is in the ICT sector, a third in semiconductor products, and the rest in LED luminaries, consumer goods, automotive and industrial goods.

In sensor technologies, Rohm is a key expert in motion detection, environmental measurements, secure wireless technologies, and health and medical sensor devices.

The ambassador knows Oulu

It could even be said that Ambassador Kenji Shinoda is a genuine fan of Oulu. His October visit to the northern Scandinavian capital evolved into three themes – the most important being Arctic know-how.

“I wanted to explore Rohm Kionix’s product development unit’s participation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Council meeting and to visit the nuclear power plant site in Pyhäjoki built by Fennovoima’s Hanhikivi 1,” he said. “Another place to visit near Oulu is Kajaani, which also has a lot going on.”

The ambassador delights in the positive economic developments in Japan over the last three decades ending a 20-year “lost decades” of torment. It allows for investments in the future, for example, in Oulu.

“Finland is an excellent ‘base camp’, or home base, for product development. The Finnish business climate is excellent in Oulu, and Oulu has all four aces in its hands: it’s socially stable; it’s has a safe, secure environment; it’s safe and functional in every way,” he explained.

The deepening of cooperation between Japan and Finland is reflected in a number of ways, including the doubling of members in the Finnish-Japanese Chamber of Commerce.

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