Seven Japanese enterprises are pleased to announce that they have agreed to jointly invest in TradeWaltz Inc. (TradeWaltz), the company that manages the trade data sharing platform that operated by the same name. Partaking in the investment are NTT DATA Corporation (NTT DATA), Mitsubishi Corporation (MC), Toyota Tsusho Corporation (Toyota Tsusho), Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. (Tokio Marine Nichido), MUFG Bank, Ltd. (MUFG), Kanematsu Corporation (Kanematsu), and Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. (Sompo Japan). TradeWaltz is headquartered in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward. Its President & CEO is Mr. Hirohisa Kojima.
Trading operations cover a wide range of products and involve numerous procedures, including documentation, consistency confirmations, and other work that can be costly to perform manually. Furthermore, considering multiple parties engaged in a single transaction, developing a system accurately and safely to share information has been a challenge faced by all industries.
A cross-industrial consortium was established in August 2017 to address this challenge. With NTT DATA acting as its secretariat, the consortium worked with various trading companies, banks, insurance companies, shipping companies, and other industry players to examine how digitalize technologies might be used to make trading operations safer and more efficient. After tax reforms prompted a revision of Japan’s law on the preservation of electronic tax records and other changes in 2020, the Japanese government also began to actively encourage businesses to make the switch from paper to digital.
Based on the results of its discussions among consortium members, NTT DATA began developing the TradeWaltz® platform, which uses blockchain technology to connect trade-related information. Provided that this proves to be a practical system, it should make it possible to digitalize and centrally manage all trading operations, cutting workloads by as much as 50%.
Administration, development, and management of the platform is handled by its namesake company TradeWaltz, which was founded in April of this year. The seven aforementioned enterprises that recently agreed to invest in TradeWaltz will be working closely with one another to further develop the platform into a practical and commercially viable business. The first step will be a sequential rollout, whereby it is adopted gradually for different processes with new functions added and other improvements made where necessary. In the future, the TradeWaltz platform can connect government agencies, service providers, and other players both in Japan and abroad who are considering digitalization of documents. All seven investors are confident that its successful rollout can help to promote the digitalization of trading operations, first in the ASEAN region and eventually throughout the world.
Dynamic solutions are needed if we hope to eradicate the inefficiencies that have long plagued trading operations. Having made this joint commitment to TradeWaltz, our enterprises shall continue to encourage cross-industry collaborations that are dedicated to finding those solutions
Fig. 1. Conventional communications framework before rollout of TradeWaltz
Fig. 2. Centralized, cross-Industry management of trading operations following rollout of TradeWaltz
[Overview of Joint Investment]
Company Name: TradeWaltz Inc.
Representative: Hirohisa Kojima, President & CEO
Headquarters: 2F, Marunouchi Nijubashi Building, 2-2 Marunouchi 3-Chome, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
Date of Establishment: April 2020
Business Description: Delivery of the TradeWaltz SaaS1, a trade data sharing platform using blockchain technology.
Capital: 2.1 billion yen (including capital surplus)
[Comments from company officials]
Hisashi Matsunaga, Executive Vice President and Director, NTT DATA Corporation:
“Trade is one of the most important areas of the transition to digitalization. TradeWaltz is a revolutionary platform that incorporates blockchain technology, and I am delighted that we have been able to gather cross-industry expertise to deliver it to the world. NTT DATA will continue to support this business’s development both in Japan and around the world, and we will make our best effort to stimulate the growth of new social infrastructure in the digital age.”
Akira Murakoshi, Member of the Board and Executive Vice President, Mitsubishi Corporation:
“In its aim to boost productivity throughout Japanese industry, MC has devised an “Industrial DX” strategy, which focuses on reforming the structure of industry through digitalization. By effectively using digital technologies, the TradeWaltz platform aims for radical improvement in trading operations, and seamless cooperation with trading platforms in overseas countries. As a shipper in charge of trade-related practices, MC looks forward to working with all who have an interest in this platform to further its growth and development.”
Hideki Yanase, Member of the Board, Executive Vice President, Toyota Tsusho Corporation:
“COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated our transformation from our conventional paper-oriented practice. When it comes to the trade operation, in particular, we have come to a stage where we urge ourselves to weave the new normal with digitalized trade information, taking full advantage of the cutting-edge digital technologies. Aligned with those who share the same vision, Toyota Tsusho commits to realizing the new normal.”
Makoto Okada, Vice President Executive Officer, Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co., Ltd. :
“TradeWaltz is the world’s first initiative in blockchain technology to digitize the cargo-insurance policies that are bought, sold and transferred between traders. Tokio Marine Nichido is proud to be a part of this business and pledges to work hand in hand with its other investors. Our shared goal is to create new trade practices in Japan that can be demonstrated to and ultimately adopted by traders all over the globe.”
Yoshitake Manabe, Chief Executive, Transaction Banking, MUFG Bank, Ltd. :
“By accelerating trade digitalization on TradeWaltz, MUFG will promote safe and secure trade finance and settlement services and contribute to streamlining our clients’ operations, improving settlement terms and expanding their trade business worldwide.”
Yoshiya Miyabe, Director, Senior Managing Executive Officer, Kanematsu Corporation:
“Digitizing operations holds tremendous promise for trade which is the lifeblood of Japan's trading companies. Not only will it help us improve efficiency, but it will also give us data that can be used to create businesses and build the foundations to connect them. We at Kanematsu, will work to combine our 130-years of trading know-how with advanced blockchain technology to provide our customers with an ideal platform they can trust.”
Shigeki Nakamura, Director, Managing Executive Officer, Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. :
“TradeWaltz can be looked at as a new kind of social infrastructure, and by growing it, we should be able to strengthen the connections between its investors and others involved in trade. This platform promises to make trading activities more precise and sophisticated. Sompo Japan is looking forward to helping it grow by optimizing expertise accumulated over our company’s many years as an underwriter of marine insurance.”
Hirohisa Kojima, President and Chief Executive Officer, TradeWaltz Inc. :
“Together with our partners, I am pleased to report the launch of our TradeWaltz business. TradeWaltz will endeavor to improve operational efficiency by digitizing all trade-related documents and provide new value through the use of trade data. Our mission is to make safe, secure and smooth trade a reality for all of our platform’s users.”
1. SaaS stands for Software as a Service. It is a model that makes software available for use over the Internet.
*TradeWaltz is a registered trademark of NTT DATA in Japan.
*Other product, company, and entity names are trademarks or registered trademarks of each company.
Blockchain Team, Digital Strategy Section, Financial Segment NTT DATA Corporation