Public, private-owned Cool Japan Fund invests US$50M in gojek
Cool Japan Fund, a Japanese entertainment-dedicated fund, announced an investment of JPY5.5 billion (US$50 million) into gojek, as gojek’s eventual foray into entertainment sector with the launch of its video streaming service goplay.
According to an article from Variety, Cool Japan says it will work with Gojek to spread Japanese culture in Indonesia through both the platform’s food delivery and video streaming services.
“[This investment in gojek] was decided under very strict screening,” said Naoki Kitagawa, a former representative director of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), who became president and CEO of Cool Japan in June last year.
Cool Japan Fund (CJF) Inc. was launched in November, 2013. Funded by both the public and private sectors, the company aims to promote Japanese exports, such as anime and food.
However, the company is not without trouble. The initiative has been reporting losses, with the fiscal year ending in March showed a US$160 million loss. The year before, the fund lost US$90 million.
Critics blame the public-private arrangement as a sign of a lack of accountability regarding performance.
“[The Cool Japan Fund] is allowing projects to move forward unchecked without releasing to the public its profits and losses for current projects,” Takayuki Shimizu, a member of the House of Councillors from the Japan Innovation Party, said.
Among the known failures was an investment of US$9 million in a department store in Kuala Lumpur in 2016, resulting in CJF selling its shares in the venture two years later at a presumed loss. No amount of loss was disclosed.
In April this year, it announced that it was co-investing alongside talent agency Yoshimoto Kogyo and telecoms giant NTT into Laugh & Peace_Mother, a business for distribution of educational content.
Previously, Cool Japan was a backer of the Daisuke animation website, which became wholly owned by games company Bandai Namco in 2017, following a buyout.
In August 2018, Cool Japan announced that it would put up to US$47 million into another fund, Japan Contents Factory Investment Business, to support the creation of Japanese visual content aimed at international distribution. Other partners are NTT Plala, YD Creation, Bungeishunju, and supermarkets to multiplex giant Aeon Entertainment.
The Japan Contents Fund seeks to help companies bankroll pre-sales contracts to provide capital until payment of license fees. It also plans on supporting production companies for visual content within a contract that promises payment after completion with Video On Demand (VOD) media services.
Cool Japan has also announced investments in a fashion brand for working women, and a direct to consumer winery promoting the consumption of sake by U.S. consumers.