Friday, September 27, 2002

Kamakura Corp.
wins state Exporter
of the Year award

The tech firm gets 97 percent of
revenue from outside the U.S.

Star-Bulletin staff

Manoa high-tech company Kamakura Corp. was recognized yesterday as the 2002 Governor's Exporter of the Year.

Kamakura, which relocated to Hawaii from Tokyo in 1997, provides risk management software, information processing and consulting services to financial and securities companies. Despite a local office environment favoring aloha shirts and slippers, the company counts some of the world's biggest financial companies among its clients, including Samsung Capital, Shinsei Bank and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

Kamakura, which was also recognized as high-tech Exporter of the Year, derives 97 percent of its income from outside the United States, mainly from Asia, Europe and Australia. It employs about a dozen people in its Manoa Innovation Center headquarters and another 10 around the world.

The Hawaii headquarters provides lifestyle and time-zone advantages, Managing Director Kenji Imai said.

"This is a very nice place in terms of working conditions," Imai said. "We are right between New York and Malaysia."

Other companies recognized yesterday:

>> Hawaii Tropical Fruit Cooperative Inc., as Exporter of Fresh Commodities. The decade-old cooperative comprises growers of exotic tropical fruits, such as rambutan, lychee and star fruit. The cooperative exports fruit to mainland ethnic markets, upscale groceries and mail-order catalogs.

>> Aquatic Farms Ltd., as Exporter of Professional Services. The company, founded in 1976, specializes in fisheries and aquaculture research and development.

>> Big Island Abalone Corp., as New Exporter. The 5-year-old company raises abalone on 10 acres at the Hawaii Ocean Sciences and Technology Park at Keahole Point on the Big Island, mainly for export to Japan. By next year, Big Island Abalone hopes to produce 100 tons of the gastropod, which is shipped live to Japan and sold in omiyage gift packs to tourists.

>> Hawaii Agriculture Research Center, as Outstanding Contributor to Exporting. The center is a nonprofit organization that helps Hawaii's agriculture industry by working to transfer the latest technology to farmers.

>> Hong Kong Business Association of Hawaii, as Outstanding Contributor to Exporting. The nonprofit association works to facilitate business connections between Hawaii and Hong Kong, China and Asia.

The Exporter of the Year awards are sponsored by the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism, and the state Department of Agriculture.

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