China’s Yunnan province (not to be confused with Yunan) may be 18 times larger and ten times more populous than Israel, but the mismatch in size has not prevented the far southwest region of the People’s Republic looking to the Jewish state as a key source of innovation.Hot on the heels of Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan's innovation-oriented visit to Israel last week, a high-level business delegation from Yunnan is set to touch down in Tel Aviv Wednesday to broaden commercial ties.The fourth meeting of the China (Yunnan)-Israel Innovation Cooperation Forum taking place on Thursday in the presence of Vice Governor of Yunnan Province Zong Guoying and Economy Minister Eli Cohen will see new bilateral agreements signed by parties from both countries.“Israeli innovation is one of the most knowledgeable and successful in the whole of the world,” Sun Yun, the chairman of Yunnan Investment Holdings Group (YIG), told The Jerusalem Post.“China is one of the world’s biggest markets. We need modern agriculture. We need information technology to develop the Chinese market.”China is Israel’s second largest trade partner worldwide today, with bilateral trade reaching more than $10 billion in 2017. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed last week that he is pushing to finalize a free trade agreement between the countries.YIG, which has assets worth approximately $40 billion, now plans to partner with leading Israeli technology company Aman Group to utilize blockchain technology to build a new transaction platform in fields including finance, health and agriculture.“In the future, the YIG will focus on big data, fintech, and ‘big health’ industry to strength and enhance Sino-Israeli cooperation,” said Sun. “YIG and Israeli parties shall join together to reach a win-win situation.”In recent years, there has been a significant increase in ties between Yunnan and Israel, including collaboration between mining and chemicals company Yunnan Yuntianhua (YTH) and Israel Chemicals (ICL) which has seen the Tel Aviv-headquarted company invest $500m. in its Chinese partner since 2008.In 2015, YIG worked with Israeli partners to establish the 1,619-hectare Yunnan Sino-Israel Highland Agriculture Demonstration Park, utilizing advanced Israeli agriculture technology including drip irrigation to cultivate vegetables including tomatoes.In the same year, YIG established the China (Yunnan)-Israel Innovation Center, which aims to strengthen ties between Yunnan and Israeli governmental bureaus and enterprises, promoting cooperation and innovation.In a further boost to bilateral business ties, the Yunnan Department of Commerce established its Overseas Representation Office in Tel Aviv in 2016 to increase Yunnan-Israel projects.With Yunnan’s total gross domestic product soaring by 9.5% last year to approximately $244 billion, boosting ties with the province’s fast-developing commercial scene is set to offer lucrative opportunities for Israeli companies offering innovative solutions to the unparalleled Chinese market.