In its continued charm offensive toward the Israeli start-up scene, Changzhou, China, a city outside Shanghai, inked a deal Tuesday night with the Israeli translation- software firm Lexifone to open a development center.
Lexifone’s software provides the computer equivalent of having a live translator automatically listening to, translating and speaking conversation in real time, a boon for businesses trying to cross international lines.
Though the software already includes Chinese, the new center will hire a slew of linguists to sharpen the translation to help provide more fluent translation.
“China has in recent years become a great economic power, and the language barrier is still a difficulty in international business,” Lexifone CEO Ike Sagie said.
The development center will work under the supervision the company’s Haifa research and development center.
The agreement was signed during a visit by a Changzhou economic delegation to Israel headed by Deputy Mayor Fang Guoqiang.
He praised the thriving business relationship in telecommunications, medical equipment, pharmaceuticals, software and alternative energy.
“Within the next three years, I also foresee significant growth in cooperation in areas such as IT, biotechnology, biopharma, agricultural technology and more, all with strong encouragement from the local government in Changzhou,” Fang said.
The city, which is hoping to become the “silicon valley” of China, has dedicated a fund with a $150 million annual budget toward furthering investment, economic cooperation and business ties with Israel and other international tech leaders. In 2011, the city signed an agreement with the PTL Group, an international management company, which facilitated the Lexifone deal, to create an incubator for Israeli companies there.
Fang said he is working toward building an Israel- China technology park in Changzhou.