China and Israel - the Next Phase
"Israeli technology, Israeli technology, and Israeli technology" - the three things in which China is interested, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after his visit to China in 2013. The relationship has long since expanded to cover trade, investment, construction, educational partnerships, scientific cooperation, tourism and more, and this November, negotiating teams will meet for a further round of talks on finalizing a free trade agreement between Israel and China.
And the two countries share more in common than one might think. "The modern Chinese economy and the Israeli innovative economy are today, more than ever, complimentary and synergetic," adds Ilan Maor, Vice Chairman, Israel - China and Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce . According to the data released by China's Ministry of Commerce, the volume of trade between the countries stood at USD13.9 billion in 2018, a 6.1% increase from 2017.
At the heart of the relationship has been China's unquenchable hunger for innovation and interest in advanced technology. For Israel, China, its second largest export market after the U.S., is a vast source of potential funding and appeals to many Israeli companies, especially those interested in software, semiconductors, IT, biotech, and agriculture.
Since 2013, the two countries have signed bilateral and business agreements valued at over USD 25 billion; there are annual meetings of the Israel-China Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation (JCIC), the last one attended by China's Vice President Wang Qishan in October 2018; and many senior executives from China are also visiting Israel. "This is true of leading Chinese business groups, including Alibaba, Fosun, DJI, and many others, but also for other mid-scale and large-scale companies, while more Israeli SME's executives are invited and traveling to various activities and events in China," adds Maor.
"China is hosting some of the largest, most prominent and popular events worldwide. Semicon China and CMEF are based in Shanghai, while others, such as World IOT are based in less well-known cities like Wuxi, in Jiangsu province," Maor points out. In Shandong province, the 3rd largest by GDP (USD 1.1 trillion), over 100 Israeli start-ups attended this year's GoforIsrael conference, spotlighting greentech, water technology, renewable energy, life sciences, AI and many other sectors. China also looks to Israeli technology in defense, security, and...