Cambridge’s legion of world-class quantum computing companies has been alerted to an inside track opportunity to access a lucrative market in Japan, tipped to be worth up to £1.74 billion by 2032.

The prospects for new business in Japan come in a new report prepared by international business development consultancy Intralink as part of the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme which it is delivering for the UK government.

Japan is investing to accelerate the development of commercial applications for Quantum Computing in fields including chemistry, financial services and logistics optimisation.

While Japan was at the forefront of quantum computing in the late 1990s, it has fallen behind in recent years and the Japanese government is now investing heavily to catch up.

This is creating significant opportunities for UK firms specialising in quantum computing hardware, software and services to work with Japanese companies to bridge the gap between where quantum computing is today and real-world commercial applications.

Newly-created Japanese ‘Quantum Innovation Hubs’ are promoting global partnerships – for instance, in technology licensing, joint product development or other collaborative initiatives.

Japan’s tech sector, led by companies including Fujitsu, NEC, Toshiba and Hitachi, has prioritised quantum annealing and simulation approaches, creating a particular opportunity for UK companies offering gate-based alternatives.

The report also identifies three application areas that represent the greatest immediate opportunities for UK tech firms:-

1. Quantum finance: Quantum technology can solve complex calculations quickly and accurately, providing the potential to revolutionise Japanese banks’ ability to undertake financial tasks including portfolio optimisation, risk assessment algorithmic trading, option pricing and fraud detection.

2. Quantum chemistry: Quantum computing has the transformative potential to enable Japanese corporations to undertake accurate simulations of molecular structures and chemical reactions to advance drug discovery and material design.

3. Quantum optimisation: Quantum computing also offers the opportunity to transform Japanese industries including transport, logistics and manufacturing by providing rapid, efficient solutions to complex problems such as route optimisation and cargo allocation.

William Jasprizza, Managing Director of Intralink Japan and a co-author of the report, said: “The transformative potential of quantum computing in Japan is clear.

“And our report confirms the huge opportunities awaiting UK firms with the expertise to help Japanese companies develop practical, commercial solutions in a range of sectors.

“Japan’s government and tech sector face fundamental challenges, including a lack of quantum tech education and a scarcity of skilled researchers, and this is fuelling their appetite to collaborate with companies from overseas.

“To succeed in Japan, UK quantum computing firms need to understand the nuances of the market and Japanese business culture and make the right industry connections. This is where the UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme comes in.

”The UK-APAC Tech Growth Programme – backed jointly by the Department for Business & Trade and Department for Science, Innovation Technology initiative – is aimed at scale-ups throughout the UK with significant international growth potential.”

Cambridge has a world-class Quantum computing cluster that includes Quantinuum, Riverlane and Nu Quantum.