Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, the world’s largest financial group, has many businesses, including commercial banking, investment banking, and asset management. Its global network stretches over 50 countries and serves clients that include small- and medium-sized enterprises and large corporations.
One of its flagship initiatives is the MUFG Cup, which organizes soccer tournaments for sixth-grade students about to graduate from elementary schools in Tokyo Aichi and Osaka. The idea is to encourage young people to be socially active and develop a sense of responsibility towards society. The tournaments have attracted some 500,000 participants since its launch in 2009.
In the new equity round, MUFG Bank, insurer Tokio Marine&Nichhido Fire, and trading house Kanematsu will invest tens of billions of yen in Sierra Space, according to the Nikkei daily. The company, spun off from Sierra Nevada Corp in 2021, is working on developing its reusable Dream Chaser spaceship and is part of an exclusive group of firms aiming to construct a private space station. The new funding round values the unlisted company at over $5 billion, people familiar with the matter said.
MUFG Bank has also invested in local space startups, including orbital debris-removal specialist Astroscale and Kanmu Inc., which is developing a credit card linked to its Vandle cryptocurrency. The Japanese lender is also partnering with Liquidity Capital to mint stablecoins tied to foreign currencies, such as the euro and the dollar.
In another sign of MUFG’s commitment to the space industry, Nikkei said that its subsidiary MUFG Investors Funding Ltd has partnered with Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency to help support space startups in Japan. MUFG Investors Funding has a portfolio of some 200 space investments.
Competition in the space business is intensifying worldwide, especially in the United States and China, where more companies are building rockets and spaceships. Meanwhile, Japan needs to catch up in developing small rockets that can be launched at low cost and constructing spaceports.
The acquisition of the mobile payment startup Kanmu, which offers a virtual card that enables users to pay for goods and services at online stores in Japan, comes amid growing demand for digital cards in Asia. The move marks MUFG’s latest effort to expand in the region as it seeks to tap into emerging economies expected to grow faster than Japan. The bank has invested in several Asian fintech startups in recent years.