Israel's total industrial exports to destination markets in Asia grew 3.5 percent in the first quarter, reaching $934 million, excluding diamonds, despite declines in exports to both China and India, the Israel Export Institute said Tuesday. Growing Asian demand, alongside projects helping Israeli manufacturers penetrate the Chinese market, is expected to expand exports by 10% to some $4.4 billion by the end of the year, predicted institute president Yehiel Asia. About 8,105 Israeli manufacturers and diamond exporters are currently active in Asia, as 600 new companies entered their ranks in 2005. Exports to Japan totalled $167m., 35.7% above the first quarter of 2005, while exports were 27% higher to South Korea, reaching $108m.; up 37% to Singapore ($98m.); up 17% to Hong Kong ($70.5m.); 4% higher to the Philippines ($31.8m.); and 12.5% higher to Thailand (at $31m.). Growth in sales to the Asian market was tempered by drops in exports to China (down 3.7% to $151m.); Taiwan (down 14% to $130m.); India (down 28% to $87.5m.); and Malaysia (down 44% to $25m.) Israeli exports to Asian countries consist primarily of electrical components; telecommunications equipment; surgical, measuring, detection and navigation equipment; and other types of machinery. The Export Institute is planning to participate in a total of 12 trade exhibits in Asia this year, involving 100 Israeli manufacturers in the fields of jewelry, cosmetics, telecommunications, electronics, medical equipment, safety and security and aviation. Additionally, 14 delegations including 120 exporters are planned to focus on agriculture, environmental technology, cinema, telecommunications, food, electronics and medical equipment. Separately, the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry said a delegation of 12 Korean biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies was set to arrive to participate in the Biomed 2006 trade show to take place in Jerusalem from May 29 to 31.