Cybernetica AS - EE

''European companies need to gain insights into peculiarities of the Japanese business culture''

Cybernetica is an R&D company in the field of ICT, a developer and manufacturer of hardware and software systems, a system integrator and information security competence center.

Activities: Mission Critical Software Solutions for Governments and Corporations. Key products and competences: Interoperability and Secure Data Exchange (UXP and X-Road), Digital Identity (SplitKey), Confidential Data Analysis (Sharemind), Cybersecurity and radio communications solutions.
History: Founded in 1997 as an independent company, successor of the Institute of Cybernetics (Estonian Academy of Sciences) founded in 1960.
Size: ca 150 employees
Target markets: theUS, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, the EU
Interest in Japan:  Strategic Partnerships

Cybernetica is a R&D intensive ICT company that researches, develops and manufactures software solutions, maritime surveillance and radio communications systems; investigates and applies theoretical and practical security solutions. Their goal is to strengthen the position of Cybernetica as an international ICT competence centre, while offering internationally competitive products and services.


Cybernetica AS has a strong interest in establishing itself on the Japanese market. As Mr Oliver Vaartnou explained, Japan is a very advanced country with a very high IT infrastructure which could bring good market opportunities for their company. In addition, because of Japan’s interest in Estonia’s development of e-services, and numerous Japanese companies’ visits in Estonia, they already had a few contacts in mind and wanted to see what further opportunities and possibilities they had to succeed in the Japanese market.


Before participating in the EU-Japan Centre’s Human Resources Training Programme (HRTP) in 2016 (now redesigned as Get Ready for Japan), the Estonian company did not have any official partners in Japan. However, they visited Japan before and also met with quite a few Japanese companies in Estonia. Since they already had a few contacts in place, Mr Vaartnou took the opportunity to validate the existing references and contacts during the Centre’s Programme in Japan. This greatly helped in strengthening the existing contacts and developing the right strategy to enter the Japanese market. After their participation in HRTP, Cybernetica AS started discussing more serious terms of cooperation opportunities with Japanese entities.


Japanese business culture is very different to the European one. That is not to say that it is bad or good, just that it differs a lot to what we’re used to’, says Mr Vaartnou. Therefore, he suggests that European companies need to gain insights into peculiarities of the Japanese business culture first, before being able to do business in Japan. For them, the most challenging part was to find the time and to devote it to the Japanese market, as it is not an easy market, it takes time to develop, to get to know the people, to gain trust of your counterparts. Mr Vaartnou believes that European companies need to have patience if they want to enter the Japanese market, as the market is very competitive and it takes time to establish a strong position in the long-term market.


When it comes to Japan, the CEO explained that European companies have to take business step-by-step ‘you have to get to know your partner first and the partner needs to gain trust in you’. After a couple of months of negotiations and a few visits from the Japanese companies, they have now delivered two small-scale pilot projects in Japan and they’re expecting to go into a stronger and larger cooperation with both of those projects they’re developing in Japan.


In the future, they would like to have a few big projects in Japan, so their technologies would be present on the Japanese market for a long-term. Hopefully, based on these couple of successful projects, they can build a more significant and successful footprint in Japan.

Interview made with Mr Oliver Vaartnou CEO at CYBERNETICA AS 2017

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