Chinese, Israeli Business Elites See More Cooperation Opportunities in High-Tech Sector

Chinese and Israeli business elites hold discussion on cooperation at the 23rd GoforIsrael investment conference in Tel Aviv, Israel on Dec. 2, 2019. Photo: Chen Wenxian / Xinhua
Chinese and Israeli business elites hold discussion on cooperation at the 23rd GoforIsrael investment conference in Tel Aviv, Israel on Dec. 2, 2019. Photo: Chen Wenxian / Xinhua

JERUSALEM, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) — At the 23rd GoforIsrael investment conference held in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, both Chinese and Israeli business elites believed that more cooperation opportunities between the two sides in various sectors, particularly in the hi-tech sector, would be created.

The one-day business event, which was held on Monday, attracted about 1,000 business leaders, investors and entrepreneurs from Israel, China, the United States, Europe and other countries and regions.

In order to push forward further cooperation between China and Israel, more and more platforms have been forged as bridges to facilitate the cooperation, and GoforIsrael is one of them.

“We are creating a marketplace for investors and startups and so on,” said Yair Shamir, a managing partner of Catalyst Investments, in an interview with Xinhua at the sidelines of the conference.

The Chinese are looking for technology and Israelis are looking for markets, added Shamir, who is also a former Israeli agricultural minister.

According to Shamir, Israel is an easy place to do business with open-minded people and no governmental involvement, which “means there is no limitation or restriction.”

Shamir said the Chinese and the Israelis have mutual respect and “we are happy to do business with China.”

Comprehensive cooperation between China and Israel have been seen in recent years. In 2014, China and Israel established the mechanism of the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation (JCIC). An innovative comprehensive partnership between the two countries was established when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited China in March 2017.

While Chinese companies are joining hands with Israeli partners in the hi-tech sector and other sectors, Israeli companies are also going eastward to China to seek markets and investors.

A total of 35 percent of the world’s economic growth came from China, and “Israel should look at Asia, including China”, said Ronnie Chan, chairman of the Hong Kong-based Hang Lung Properties, one of the largest real estate corporations in China.

In 1975, Chan visited Israel for the first time and in 2011 he joined the GoforIsrael event. Since then, he has begun to bring Chinese entrepreneurs to Israel to look for investment opportunities.

Chan has brought about nine groups to Israel with total investment value of about one billion U.S. dollars, 40 percent of which came from China and the rest from other Asian countries, according to Chan.

China has created a miracle over the past 40 years with its development, said Ilian Mihov, professor of economics and dean of France’s INSEAD, one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, in an interview with Xinhua.

Nowadays China is looking for high-level technological cooperation in Israel. Israel has a lot of knowledge and creativity, especially in the tech industry, and has a lot of startups, said Mihov.

Now, more and more companies, including those from China, are interested in connecting with Israeli startups and take them globally or grow with them, added the professor.

The cooperation between the two sides could be done in various sectors including the hi-tech one, said Amir Lati, director of the Northeast Asia Department of Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Lati told Xinhua that Israel possesses leading innovative technologies in sectors such as healthcare, agriculture and new energy, while China has a huge demand for innovation. Both sides are expected to create more win-win cooperation opportunities if they could work together to forge more platforms for the mutual cooperation.

About 40 Israeli hi-tech startups from fields like life science showcased their latest innovative technologies at the conference and the roadshow attracted high attention of Chinese companies.

Chinese companies, not only strategic investors, but also industrial investors, are showing interest in the Israeli tech innovation and some of them have made investment in recent years, said Shengyan Fan, managing director of the M&A department of China Everbright Limited (CEL), a Hong Kong-based financial services company.

At the same time, a lot of Chinese local governments are making efforts to attract Israeli startups to settle down in some development zones in China, said Fan in an interview with Xinhua, adding that both sides are in the process of creating more investment and cooperation opportunities.

Fan also works as the managing partner of Catalyst-CEL China Israel Fund and she said the fund will complete investment for a total of eight projects by the end of 2019, involving advanced manufacturing, life science and autonomous driving.

The GoforIsrael investment conference was organized by Cukierman & Co. Investment House Ltd. and Catalyst Investment L.P. The 22nd conference was held in Jinan, capital city of east China’s Shandong Province in May this year.

Story: Nick Kolyohin, Chen Wenxian