Erel Margalit with Chinese 370.
(photo credit: Henry Rome)
A Chinese Communist Party leader toured a top Jerusalem technology venture
capital firm on Wednesday and discussed the role of the Israeli government in
encouraging the development of tech startups.
The visit by Liu Qibao, a
member of the Communist Party’s political bureau and central committee, was part
of a three-day tour of Israel that included trips to Tel Aviv University and the
Knesset, according to Chinese state media. Liu runs the Communist Party’s
Publicity Department – previously known as the Propaganda
Flanked by a throng of reporters from Chinese news outlets,
he and Chinese Ambassador Gao Yanping toured Jerusalem Venture Partners, an
incubator for technology startup companies. They received briefings from JVP
executives, including one of the company’s general partners, Kobi Rozengarten,
and its founder, MK Erel Margalit (Labor).
Liu’s questions focused on the
partnership between public and private funding. For instance, as the Israeli
government provides essentially short-term loans to JVP’s startups, he inquired
whether the government could exchange the loans for equity in a newly launched
“Is this kind of operating system allowed by law?” he asked
through a translator.
Margalit answered “yes” in English, and Liu
immediately smiled and raised his arms to signal the end of the
The visit came on the heels of a flurry of recent news about
Chinese investment in Israel.
Two startups that American companies
recently purchased – navigation company Waze and cellphone data company Onavo –
were funded in part by a venture capital company run by Chinese billionaire Li
Kashing, according to Jonathan Medved, a top Israeli venture
“What we see [is] a major focus of more and more Chinese
companies and [the] government looking to be involved in this ecosystem that we
have here in Israel,” Rozengarten said after the event.