Skip to Content
The Big Picture San Diego Blog


San Diego Tourism Authority

May 22, 2015

This past week, EDC traveled across the Pacific - by way of our direct JAL flight -  to release the National Geographic documentary in one of San Diego’s largest international trade and investment cities: Tokyo.

Tokyo based companies employ more than 6,300 people in San Diego, ranking as the largest source of foreign employment. When looking at advanced industries, these companies primarily invest in audio and video equipment manufacturing, semiconductor manufacturing, and medical equipment and supplies manufacturing. According to the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), companies that fall into these industries reported they will record a surplus in business profit in 2014 – a positive sign for San Diegans employed by these very same companies and our economy.

As part of the trade missions, EDC met with Japanese companies and organizations which have San Diego ties in order to strengthen relationships and learn more about specific challenges they face.

Day 1

EDC, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, San Diego Tourism Authority, and Supervisor Ron Roberts met with Japan Airlines. The Airport gave an impressive update to JAL, stating that the flight has been very successful since the launch. The Airport, along with the other delegates, impressed upon JAL that the direct flight between San Diego – Tokyo is among the most important for the region, continuing to strengthen the business ties and drive investment into the respective regions.

JAL team along with the Airport, Supervisor Ron Roberts, EDC, and SDTA

EDC met with the U.S.-Japan Embassy following the JAL meeting. This meeting served as an important connection for San Diego, as many of the Embassy staff in Japan focus on industries important to the region – aerospace, life sciences, cybersecurity and defense. Having Embassy staff understand the strengths and assets of San Diego help to build a bigger and better portfolio for staff, especially when they are meeting with companies important to the region.

Day 1 concluded with a dinner at the American Club in Tokyo. JPMorgan Chase sent their commercial industry representative, Mr. Satoshi Yamamoto, who gave an overview of the Tokyo economy and companies that are and will be important to San Diego.

Day 2
Day 2 began with a 2 hour ride to Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Kanagawa. As one of the largest pharmaceuticals companies in the world, and the largest in Japan with more than 3 million employees worldwide, Takeda is one of San Diego’s most important companies. After consolidating the San Francisco office into San Diego, more than half of all research and development now occurs in San Diego.

Following the morning’s meeting with Takeda, EDC participated in a lunch with Al Pisano, Dean of UC San Diego’s Jacobs Schools of Engineering, and UC San Diego alumni located in Tokyo. The lunch proved to showcase the many interesting and important people UC San Diego brings through its campus – with alumni working on robotics to running their own business in Tokyo.

After lunch it was off to San Diego’s iconic example of how an acquisition can be extremely beneficial to the success and profitability of a company; Ajinomoto. Ajinomoto acquired Althea Technologies in 2013. Since then, Althea has proved a successful venture for Ajinomoto – forging a strong pathway for the company’s expansion into the healthcare sector.


Ajinomoto’s Dr. Osamu Kurahashi and Masahiko Oshimura with EDC’s Mark Cafferty and Lauree Sahba

Good thing regenerative medicine is becoming a focus in Japan, because San Diego has plenty of resources to go around. Whiz Partners, a private equity firm located in Tokyo, helped bring insight into what funds in Japan are focusing on and what companies in the near future will look for.

Mark Cafferty presenting on San Diego’s economy to Tokyo business leaders
Mark Cafferty presenting on San Diego’s economy to Tokyo business leaders

The evening’s activities began with the Jacobs School of Engineering seminar. Dean Pisano gave a presentation about some of the incredible research being undertaken at the university – from microchip processors that are small enough to be a patch to monitor a premature baby’s vitals to technology around a smart grid, analyzing data to improve and streamline energy use on campus.

The premiere hosted more than 140 Japanese business leaders – including executives from Toray to Toshiba to JAL to Panasonic.

UCSD alumni attending the premiere


Overflow room for Nat Geo Premiere

Day 3
The final day of the trip EDC met with the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). JETRO acts as the commercial service office for the country of Japan. They annually dispatch companies to the west coast from the gaming, tech, and life science industry. JETRO has an amazing incubator for foreign businesses. Any foreign business who wishes to do business in Japan, JETRO has a one-stop shop where business can lease space in an office which houses a representative from every branch of government in order to expedite the formation of their business.

Special thanks to all of the support from the delegates who traveled to Japan to strengthen San Diego’s connections to Tokyo and Japan – SeaWorld, Qualcomm, San Diego Tourism Authority, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, Port of San Diego, County Supervisor Ron Roberts, and UC San Diego. We look forward to hosting more missions to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Lastly, what would a trade mission to Japan be without a trip to a ballgame?


 

 

May 1, 2015


In an effort to further the region’s global competitiveness, a delegation of San Diego business leaders will be heading to London next week to increase existing synergies between one of San Diego’s most important international partners.  Building on existing relationships, the delegation will host the London premiere of National Geographic’s “World’s Smart Cities: San Diego” documentary, meet with key companies with San Diego ties, and promote opportunities in industries that matter most to San Diego’s competitiveness such as life sciences and connected health.

The San Diego – London ties run deep. Findings from the Go Global San Diego Initiative, released in March 2015, confirmed just how intertwined the two regions' economies are.  Collectively, the U.K. accounts form 25 percent of all foreign employment, or 12,340 jobs in San Diego. Some of these major London-based companies with San Diego ties include BAE Systems, Cobham, GlaxoSmithKline and Mirum. San Diego is also home to Cubic, a transportation innovator that powers London’s OysterCard system.

Key agenda highlights from the mission include a UC Alumni Event Showcase, where UC San Diego Dean Al Pisano will lead a discussion with UC alumni working and living in London to activate stronger ties in the life sciences, telecommunications, cybersecurity and software engineering sectors. The delegation will participate on a joint panel about driving down the cost of healthcare (arranged by Biocom and its UK counterpart, OneNucleus) and visit “The Catapult,” London’s urban innovation lab that aims to strengthen quality of life, economies and the environment in cities around the globe. While overseas, the delegation will also meet with key partners and companies including the U.S. Embassy in London, British Airways, BAE and Ebsta.

The trip builds off exciting exchanges between the two regions. London is the first international city to join the Global Cities Initiative (GCI), a joint project between the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase, which works to help leaders reorient their economies towards greater engagement in world markets. San Diego has been a member of the GCI since Fall 2012. This affiliation has incubated a strong relationship with London + Partners, the economic development arm of the city of London. In February, Mayor Faulconer joined London Mayor Boris Johnson at the Brookings Institution  in D.C. to discuss how these two regions can strengthen their global connections.

The delegation includes:

  • Al Pisano, Dean, Jacobs School of Engineering, UC San Diego
  • Andrew Lee, President & CEO, ESET
  • Diane Law, Parachute Marketing
  • George Guerra, Vice President, HALE Enterprise Strategic Ventures, Northrop Grumman
  • Hampton Brown, Director, Air Service Development, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • Iris Magid, Director of Industry Engagement and University Relations, UC San Diego
  • Jennifer Landress, Senior Vice President & COO, Biocom
  • Joe Terzi, President & CEO, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Joe Timko, Director of Public Relations, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Julian Parra, Senior Vice President & Market Executive, Global Commercial Banking, Bank of America Merrill Lynch
  • Kerri Kapich, Senior Vice President of Marketing, San Diego Tourism Authority
  • Lauree Sahba, COO, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • Neva Parker, Head of Laboratory Operations, WhiteLabs
  • Phil Blair, President & CEO, Manpower San Diego & Chair, San Diego Convention Center
  • Robert Brownlie, Managing Partner, DLA Piper & Vice President, UC San Diego Alumni Board of Directors
  • Robert Gleason, Chairman of the Board, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • The Honorable Scott Peters, Congressman (CA 52)
  • Sean Barr, Vice President, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • Shelley Lyford, COO, West Health Institute & President, Gary & Mary West Foundation
  • Thella Bowens, President & CEO, San Diego County Regional Airport Authority
  • Vince Mudd, Chair, San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
  • William Burfitt, Executive Director of Development, UC San Diego

If you’re a company that wants to increase its engagement with foreign markets – such as London – apply for the MetroConnect prize. Thanks to the generosity of JPMorgan Chase, EDC is providing select San Diego-based companies with up to $10,000 in matching funds to help with each company’s next steps in going global. The deadline is Monday at noon.  

Follow the conversation at