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10th Asia Smart City Conference Panel Discussion: How Connecting with Startups Will Advance Your Smart Cities and Sustainability

by | Oct 4, 2021

View Recording Here

This year marks the 10th year of the annual Asia Smart City Conference (ASCC), and one of the main sessions this year will be an online panel discussion titled “How Connecting with Startups Will Advance Your Smart Cities and Sustainability.” featuring global startup support experts who work with startups, companies, and governments. The discussion will center on how companies and cities can collaborate with startups, what barriers and problems these collaborations can face, and how we can overcome them.


This free session will be held on October 27th (*see timezone information below), and is targeted towards startups in the smart-city and sustainability fields targeting Asian markets, large companies considering collaboration with start-ups, and government officials working on smart city development and sustainable city development. Attendees such as these, as well as all interested parties, are sure to find the discussion enlightening and insightful.


The Asia Smart City Conference (ASCC), sponsored by Yokohama City and co-operated by the Asian Development Bank Research Institute and World Bank Tokyo Development Learning Center, is an international conference where representatives of Asian cities, government agencies, international organizations, academic institutions and private companies gather together (about 1,250 people from 43 countries and regions participated last year) to share knowledge globally, including visions for growth and innovative solutions for urban issues.


In recent years, ASCC has also evolved as a place to discover business opportunities. In this era of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA), startups are emerging to offer new technologies and solutions, and their presence is increasing in the areas of smart cities and sustainability.


Session Information:


*Date and Time:
JST: October 28th, 2021 10:40am-11:40am
PDT: October 27th, 2021 6:40pm-7:40pm
EDT: October 27th, 2021 9:40pm-10:40pm
Organizer: City of Yokohama Overseas Offices (New York, Frankfurt, Mumbai)
Format: Online
Registration: Free


Schedule (1 hour):

  1. Introduction: Toshikazu Yazawa, Office of the City of Yokohama Rep. to the Americas, Director
  2. Keynote Address: Passakorn Chairat, Department of Industrial Promotion, Deputy Director General (Thailand)
  3. Panelists:
    • TAKAHASHI Masami, President, Scrum Studio Co., Ltd.
    • Christian Schmitz, PDIE Group, Founder
    • HIKITA Akihiro, Global DX Inc., Managing Director
  4. Moderator: Nikolai Muth, Office of the City of Yokohama Rep. to the Americas, Project Coordinator


For the full Asia Smart City Conference schedule of events, see the ASCC website:





10th ASCC Panel Discussion Keynote Speaker Passakorn Chairat ThailandKeynote Speaker:

Passakorn Chairat
Department of Industrial Promotion, Ministry of Industry, Thailand, Deputy Director General

2019-Present: Deputy Director General, Department of Industrial Promotion, Ministry of Industry
2018: Director, Division of Strategy and Planning, Department of Industrial Promotion, Ministry of Industry
2017: Director, Industrial Promotion Center Region 1 (Chiangmai), Department of Industrial Promotion, Ministry of Industry
2015: Director, Industrial Promotion Center Region 8 (Suphanburi), Department of Industrial Promotion, Ministry of Industry
2008: Director of Business Opportunity Center, Bureau of Strategy and Planning, Department of Industrial Promotion, Ministry of Industry
2002: Industrial Technical Officer, Bureau of Industrial Business and Entrepreneur Development Department of Industrial Promotion, Ministry of Industry
2001: Industrial Technical Officer, Machinery and Metal work Industry Group, Bureau of Supporting Industries Development, Department of Industrial Promotion, Ministry of Industry
1997: Industrial Technical Officer, Petrochemical Industry, Division of Oil and Gas Industry, Office of Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry




10th ASCC Panel Discussion Panelist Christian Schmitz PDIE GroupChristian Shmitz
PDIE Group, Founder


After a corporate career with large multinationals such as Bayer, BASF and Henkel, Christian started his boutique consulting firm Aventa back in 2009 and offered strategic consulting to numerous international and domestic Japanese clients. He has built and run several startups and invested as early stage angel investor. In 2019, he founded the PDIE = Purpose Driven Innovation Ecosystem to connect innovators, change makers and entrepreneurs on a global scale and foster sustainable innovation. He currently acts as CMO and Head of Asia for the global rice trading platform Rice Exchange. His passion is co-creating a better tomorrow through innovation.


TAKAHASHI Masami Scrum Studio Uber WeWork JapanMasami Takahashi
Scrum Studio Inc., President


Masami Takahashi joined Scrum Studio Inc. in 2021 as President to lead its growth as a business incubation platform. He also serves as the CEO of Miles Japan. Previously, Masami served as General Manager and later as Chief Strategy Officer at WeWork Japan from 2017, where he spearheaded its business launch and expansion, opening over 30 locations in 6 cities in the first 2 years. Prior to WeWork, he led Uber’s business in Japan as President and launched Uber Eats in Tokyo. He started his career as a marketer at Sony in Tokyo and Paris, and later worked in the San Francisco Bay Area, sourcing opportunities for investment and acquisition. Masami earned a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Chicago and an MBA from INSEAD.


10th ASCC Panel Discussion Panelist HIKITA Akihiro Global DXAkihiro Hikita

Global DX Inc., Managing Director


Worked for Fuji Bank (currently Mizuho Bank) after graduating from Sophia University with a degree in Economics. He went to Shanghai to study Chinese abroad, then left Shanghai for Tibet, India, Nepal, and Thai with 6 companions of different nationalities for 4 months as a backpacker. In Nepal, he broke the Annapurna Circuit, which was the starting point for his engaging in international business. In 2003, he became a country manager of Datastream Systems, a Nasdaq-listed company acquired by Infor Global, implementing EAM (= Enterprise Asset Management System) in 3 refineries of Showa Shell and other multiple sites in the process industry. In 2019, he joined a StartupBootCamp Osaka program held by Rainmaking Innovation as an Innovation Partner. There, he facilitated 20 POCs between 13 startups from 11 countries and 7 Japanese large corporations. In March 2021, he became CEO of Global DX Inc., and is supporting the establishment of a global ecosystem and venture building through it.



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