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Heads of some of China’s biggest firms visit Israel
By NADAV SHEMER
12/02/2012
Leaders of China's largest companies come to Israel to increase familiarization with local technologies.
 
The leaders of some of China’s biggest companies are in Israel for the first time this week as part of a mission aimed at increasing their familiarization with local technologies.

Participants include: Yung Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo, the computer hardware and electronics multinational; Frank Ning, Chairman of COFCO Group, China’s largest food manufacturer; and Andrew Yan, Managing Partner of SAIF, one of Asia’s leading private equity firms.

Delegation head Ronnie C. Chan, chairman of Hong Kong real estate developer Hang Lung Group, and a frequent visitor to Israel for 36 years, said there were “push and pull” factors behind the delegates’ enthusiasm.

“The pull factor is that Israel is an amazing country. You have a small population but have punched far above your weight class,” Chan said.

“The push factor is that Chinese entrepreneur elites are a very, very sophisticated bunch. Most of them have gone to Ivy League universities. They have worked at top companies in the West and then have started their own businesses or joined major companies in China and risen to become chairman or CEO – every last one of these guys.

“They want to learn, and they are at that stage where their business is successful enough that they have the freedom and time to explore. They have a humongous amount of curiosity about the world, and high on the agenda is Israel.”

Cukierman & Co. Investment House, joint operator of the Catalyst V OneGate China- Israel Technology Fund, teamed up with the Foreign Ministry to organize the program – which introduced delegates to leading Israeli hi-tech companies on Sunday, and includes meetings later this week with President Shimon Peres and Bank of Israeli Governor Stanley Fischer.

Chan said that each delegate would decide individually what to take out of the visit, but added that each of them would be influenced by what Israeli technologies can do for the Chinese market.

“These guys are different to me. I am Christian, most of these guys are not; they’re Communist,” Chan, a US citizen and graduate of the University of Southern California said, laughing.

“We are very different, but we have one thing in common, and that is that we all love China. [Moreover], they are all curious about Israel, and although I’ve been coming here for 36 years, I’m still curious about Israel too.”
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