How would you describe the relationship between Hungary and Japan?
The close relationship shared between Hungary and Japan is founded on a friendship which has been cultivated for over 150 years. This close affinity has enabled both countries to lay a solid foundation which supports the strong economic relations between our two countries.
Magyar Suzuki was the earliest to invest among foreign firms and many Japanese companies followed suit and started to build highly reliable supply chains in Hungary.
Today, there are more than 170 Japanese corporations operating in Hungary; the most extensive representation from any Asian country.
Six Japanese companies have signed strategic partnerships with the Hungarian government – Alpine, Bridgestone, Denso, Ibiden, Suzuki and Zoltek.
In terms of export profit by foreign-owned companies, Japan ranks third among investing countries into Hungary and Japanese companies continue to play a valuable role in Hungary’s robust export-driven economy.
Hungarian sweet corn, goose liver, acacia honey, variety of wine and quality feather products are exported to Japan and are well-known in the Japanese market. Pharmaceutical products, such as medicine and plasters are also gaining market share in Japan.
Recently, the Hungarian government began focusing on research and development in the area of ‘automated driving’ by building a test course. Alongside the Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia, Hungary is also involved in the planned ‘V4’ high speed railway and more technical collaborations between the V4 group countries is expected in the future.
What are some of the most notable Japanese contributions to Hungary?
Soon after the change of regime in Hungary in 1989, Japan began supporting Hungary with reformation of the new economy through the Official Development Assistance until Hungary’s accession to European Union (EU) in 2004. Japanese financial and technical support to Hungary includes:
- The building of a sewage and heating system in Várpalota City though a Japanese Yen loan – the environmental projects amounted to US$ 44.5 million
- Aid projects through the Japan International Cooperation Agency amounting to US$ 5.45 million
- Technical cooperation to improve the water quality of Lake Balaton – US$70 million. 800 Hungarian trainees studied in Japan and over 100 Japanese experts were dispatched to Hungary.
Exchange rate: 1 USD = 115 JPY (as of Nov 24 2021)
What makes Hungary a leading European investment destination?
The Rubik’s Cube, ball-point pen and base technology for computers were all invented by Hungarians and demonstrate Hungary’s rich potential in the field of science and technology.
With its robust labor force (in comparison to other EU countries), high-quality craftsmanship, low business costs and its location within easy reach of neighboring European markets, Hungary will remain a key investment destination for Japanese companies.
Business Insights on the Hungary – Japan relationship
Strong support from the Hungarian government has attracted many Japanese companies to Hungary. Japanese investment in the country has, in turn contributed to a robust economy.
Japanese companies chose Hungary as their preferred European destination due to the country’s dynamic economy located in the heart of Europe and the Hungarian government’s efforts to support investors.
JETRO offers business-matching services and connects Japanese companies with Hungarian producers and buyers.
Recently, we have been doing more online business meetings to introduce Japanese products such as sake and craft works.
Learn more about JETRO programs here:
- Takumi Next 2021 (Craftsmanship and Culture)
- Japan Linkage (Online Exhibit)
- Japan Street Program (B2B matching)
Toru Suehiro, General Director, JETRO Budapest
We have almost doubled the size of our company since we established our Kecskemet plant in 2017.
Hungary plays a key role in the global operations of Nissin Foods. We export 90 percent of our products to over 20, mainly European markets.
Amidst the challenges this year, we managed to expand our production capacity to meet demand for our products across Europe.
The financial aid and strong support of the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency was instrumental in making this possible.
Aya Kurata, Director, Nissin Foods Kft.
The ZalaZone project is something exciting to look forward to. Among its features is a 5G race track and testing ground for self-driven cars and electric vehicles.
Hungary is running a large procurement and development program and buying state-of-the-art equipment from all over the world to upgrade its military and expand its defence capability.
The structural reorganization of universities in Hungary aims to make the Hungarian education system even more competitive. Short-term capital injections help Hungarian universities strengthen international cooperations, such as research and development projects with other Japanese universities and private organisations.
David Szabo, Political Analyst and Co-founder of Trimarium Geostrategic Institute
The science behind our product is of utmost importance and we are focused on developing products which can be scaled with partners, implemented by local governments, and applied by multinational companies — especially those that use or create a lot of plastic.
We are in discussion with a few Japanese companies mostly from the chemical sector.
Liz Madaras, CEO, Poliloop
The Hungary-Japan Friendship Society organized monthly online lectures during the pandemic. There was an ikebana presentation, Japanese gastronomy, and a presentation of Japanese New Year customs. We taught our members to make sushi.
Japanese programs were organized not only in Budapest, but also in other cities such as Szombathely, Keszthely and Sepsiszentgyörgy in Romania.
Hungarians like the fact that Japanese people like to do everything perfectly.
Dr. Judit Vihar, President of the Hungarian-Japan Friendship Society