Sunday, January 10, 2016

China, Israel innovation cooperation

From, BEIJING, Jan. 6, 2016 (Xinhua):

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 9, 2013.
(Xinhua/Li Xueren)

...However different [China and Israel] are geographically and culturally, innovation is bringing the two countries together at an unprecedented pace.
At the first China Israel Technology Innovation and Investment Summit on Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 [2016] in Beijing, entrepreneurs lined extra chairs along the back wall of the packed conference hall. Outside the hall, Israeli businessmen were busy exchanging business cards with Chinese counterparts, hoping to find potential partners.
The enthusiasm from both sides doesn't come out of nowhere. Chinese investors have began parking their money in world-renowned Israeli high-tech industries at a stunning pace.
About 40 percent of all venture capital flowing into Israel came from China in 2015, according to Ziva Eger, chief executive of the foreign investments and industrial cooperation division at the Ministry of Economy of Israel.
"2016 will be much much bigger than that, (the investment from China) will probably double," Eger told Xinhua.
But it's not merely money that the fund-thirsty Israeli companies are looking for. Seeing the tremendous market in China, Israel is trying to form a long-term strategic relationship with China through academic exchanges, research and development (R&D) cooperation and incubator programs.

About 4,000 miles away from each other, China, with a population of 1.3 billion and Israel, with 8 million, have hardly anything in common.
While China is a giant economy with significant manufacturing power, Israel is widely regarded as the innovation hub of the world, with little interest in manufacturing.
But it's the anomalies that have made Israel and China the perfect match, said Raz Gal-Or, co-founder of weWOWwe, a startup that tries to connect football fans around the world.
"They say opposites attract," the Israel-born, China-educated entrepreneur told Xinhua.
Indeed, Israel excels in fields where Chinese technology eagerly looks for breakthroughs. Modern agriculture, medical devices, and cyber security are sectors that brew the most innovation from partnership.
Alibaba, for example, made its way into the Israeli startup scene by investing in QR code company Visualead in 2015. It then became an investor of the Israel-based venture fund Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP), a venture capital firm known for its investment in cyber security.
Fosun International, one of China's biggest private conglomerates, acquired Israeli medical device firm Alma Lasers for 222 million U.S. dollars in 2013.
China's major food manufacturer Bright Food closed a deal in 2015 to purchase a majority stake in Israeli dairy giant Tnuva, a deal the Bright Food executive said would creates synergy in R&D.
The increase in cooperation between China and Israel is not surprising. Partnerships between the two countries can be traced back to the ancient Silk Road, according to Philippe Metoudi, co-author of the book "Israel and China: From Silk Road to Innovation Highway.
While differences exist, the Israelis and the Chinese still have many in common, Metoudi said. Their views on education, family values and appreciation for history, for example, are all shared philosophies that will help further boost long-term cooperation between the two nations.
"We don't speak the same language, but we speak the same 'language' -- we have the same ideas, the same values," Metoudi said.

As China transforms into a more innovation-driven economy, it's speeding up efforts to partner with Israel to strengthen its own technological might.
For Israeli officials, helping create a better startup ecosystem in China also benefits local firms.
"It's not only about money," said Ophir Gore, head of the trade mission at the Embassy of Israel in Beijing. "It's getting access to the Chinese market."
In the past few years, China and Israel stepped up academic exchanges and R&D collaboration.
The recent establishment of Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, a partnership between China's Shantou University and the Israel's Technion, is a prime example of the attempt by the two countries to cooperate in higher education.
Platforms such as the Changzhou Innovation Park in southern China provide physical proximity for Israeli firms to get funds and collaborate with Chinese companies in industrial R&D.
Israeli officials are further calling for Chinese companies to build R&D centers and set up production lines in Israel, pledging the best platform and grants from the government.
With growing academic cooperation, collaborative programs, and shared vision from both governments, "the golden age for Israel-China innovation cooperation has come," said Yin Hejun, China's Vice Minister of Science and Technology.