Infinity Group, Harbin to bring Israeli start-ups to China

A total of $10 million will be invested in 10 technology companies with plans to expand to China, with most companies receiving $1m.

China Israel Business 311 (photo credit: Morag Bitan)
China Israel Business 311
(photo credit: Morag Bitan)
Ten Israeli technology startups will receive a financial boost to assist them in their China expansion plans, under a program unveiled Monday by Israeli-Chinese investment fund Infinity Group and the City of Harbin.
Framework agreements were signed at a ceremony in Tel Aviv with the first four companies selected: ROTEC, Sonarium Medical, Innovative Implant Solutions and BotanoCap. A total of $10 million will be invested in 10 technology companies with plans to expand to China, with most companies receiving $1m.
The ceremony was attended by a high-level delegation from Harbin, led by Mayor Lin Duo. Nochi Dankner, whose IDB Group cofounded Infinity, also dropped by for a brief, informal chat with members of the delegation.
Speakers at the ceremony, including Lin and Infinity managing partner Avishai Silvershatz, noted that Harbin, a city of about 10 million people in northeastern China, has a rich Jewish history. The local Jewish population peaked at 20,000 before the outbreak of World War II and included the parents of former prime minister Ehud Olmert.
Harbin was particularly interested in bringing in Israeli hi-tech businesses that specialize in environmental protection, Lin told The Jerusalem Post and Globes through a translator after the ceremony.
“Harbin has many universities and colleges that are strong in research and development, and we are currently in negotiations with Israeli businesses in the field of water treatment,” he said.
Agriculture, pharmaceuticals and civil aviation were other areas in which Harbin would benefit from cooperation, Lin said. For example, he said, the city excels at agricultural development but lacks the experience of translating R&D results into actual industrial change, an area in which Israeli businesses can help.
Lin said Harbin has economic, trade and technology agreements with 180 countries, but he stressed that “cooperation with Israel, in particular the cooperation with IDB and Infinity, is a very important component of our foreign-exchange cooperation.”
“The Harbin-Israel capital-management incubator will help local companies, particularly the start-ups, to grow stronger, and it will also help the Israeli businesses to find the tremendous opportunities on offer in the local business community,” he said.
Infinity’s Silvershatz, who sat alongside Lin during the interview, said: “The incubator specifically is a vehicle for young Israeli technology companies to go to China, do some development work there and adapt their product and technology to the needs of the Chinese markets, with the framework of this support system.”
A separate framework agreement was also signed at the ceremony among Infinity Group, Harbin and Yissum, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s technology-transfer company. Yissum has granted more than 530 technology licenses in 47 years, including the Exelon treatment patch for Alzheimer’s disease and the cancer drug Doxil.