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DateLine Sunday, 8 June 2008

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Metatechno’s investment in Lanka pays dividends

Every year Metatechno Incorporated, an embedded software development company based in Japan, a subsidiary of the Canon Group with branches in the Asian region including Sri Lanka recruits freshly graduated engineers from Sri Lanka for a three-year on the job training while the Sri Lankan branch exports embedded software to the value of US$ 5 million annually.


Koga Michio (right) and Kithsiri Rathnapriya (left).
Picture by Chinthaka Kumarasinghe.

President and CEO Metatechno Incorporated Koga Michio said that they invested Yen 20 mln in 2001 set up Metatechno Lanka (MTL), a BOI approved venture and are very happy that they invested in Sri Lanka as the people are stable and well educated. All the people we took to Japan are doing extremely well.

He said that the engineers are exposed to cutting edge technology as they get training in some of the world’s best companies based in Japan.

We will send two Engineers from Japan to Boston to set up operations and one of them will be a Sri Lankan. The investment in the Boston operation is US$ 1.5 million and it is a joint venture with Boston Marketing Corporation. They specialise in Manufacturing, marketing and sales.

Michio said that Japanese are poor in English. Therefore, Sri Lankans help in Marketing and sales too and they are an asset as they don’t do job hopping like some of the other nationals.

This year we are sending two batches. Already a batch of eight engineers has left while the second batch of eight engineers will leave in October. Before they leave they are given a one-year training in the Japanese language as well as technical training. They always obtain high scores in the TOIEC, an examination which evaluates the business English knowledge.

This entitles them to an additional allowance when working in Japan. The high scorers at the Japanese proficiency test are also from MTL. He said that Metatechno designs and develops and gives it to another manufacturer who has the capability to manufacture the items be it digital cameras or the TVs.

Michio said, “once the engineers get the training they want to plough back something to Sri Lanka and I am happy that I am able to support them to achieve their goals.”

“We will be providing training and education to Sri Lankan engineers as they are very stable and don’t hop jobs which are qualities liked by the Japanese as everybody’s contribution is needed to achieve targets.”

General Manager MTL Kithsiri Ratnapriya said that MTL earns around US$ 5 mln on foreign exchange annually in addition to transferring cutting edge technology from Japan. At present we have 61 engineers working with MTL while we are planning to move into the development of 3D animation software.

As we already have the human resources and the technical capabilities through the direct link in Japan MTL is hoping that they can earn a large amount of foreign exchange from this project.

The software will be used to develop children’s cartoons, mega movies, mobile phone games, computer games as well as various other entertainment software.

The Sri Lanka Japan Friendship Marathon, considered a symbol of peace by the Japanese is organised by MTL endorsed by the Sri Lankan Government, Athletic Association of Sri Lanka, Ministry of Education, University of Moratuwa, Embassy of Japan, Japanese Solidarity Association and the Japanese Industrial and Commerce Association in Sri Lanka will be held on July 6 at the University of Moratuwa.

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