Chinese construction companies in search of new technologies in Israel

Chinese infrastructure companies have arrived in Israel in search of "made in Israel" smart building technologies.

CONSTRUCTION SITE, Carlebach Street, Tel Aviv. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
CONSTRUCTION SITE, Carlebach Street, Tel Aviv.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
China is known for its massive construction projects. Huge conglomerates, most of them government owned, perform giant projects in both China and the rest of the world. In 2017, China alone was responsible for 16% of building projects in the world, most of them in Asia.
Like other industries, the construction industry is now looking to integrate new technologies in various fields: management, planning, energy saving, environmentally friendly building, smart houses and more. Most of these companies are already working in Israel.
Yair Albin, the economic correspondent of the Ministry of Economy and Industry in Beijing, said that, “The Chinese are well aware of Israeli innovation. They’re expressing interest in learning about these Israeli technologies in various fields and the technological and economic ties [between Israel and China] are solidifying.
“The Construction-tech field is rather young in Israel, and we can see the great importance of the Chinese market being exposed to the Israeli innovation even in this field, as the Chinese are a significant and global figure in the fields of construction and engineering," he said. "I am hopeful that the current delegation will be the first of many Chinese-Israeli alliances in those fields, and that following it will be many more successful ones for Israeli companies.”
Ohad Cohen, head of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Economy and Industry Ministry, said that, “Our correspondents in China are always looking for business opportunities for Israeli industry. We have people in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, which allows us to stay in touch with many Chinese corporations, among them the construction, engineering and infrastructure corporations. While it is a new technological field in Israel, we can recognize that there’s increasing demand for Israeli solutions in China and across the world. I call out to all companies who are interested in helping the Chinese market to reach out to our correspondents."
Israel already has a working relationship with China in the construction field beyond this new cooperation between the two countries, as many construction workers in Israel come from China. This means they are often involved in a problem currently plaguing Israeli industry: the ever increasing number of work accidents.
This has been a recurring problem for quite some time, taking the lives of many. Causes of death including falling, electrocution from exposed cables and being hit by falling objects.
In 2018, Israel ranked third among OECD countries in the number of construction site fatalities, after only Cyprus and Portugal, with more than double the average.

The reason that is often cited as to why these problems have not yet been fixed, is that there are not enough personnel to monitor every, let alone most construction sites across the country, so they cannot be addressed in an efficient manner.
These safety concerns have often led to some tensions between the two countries, causing Chinese workers to refuse to work on certain sites. 
Lior Konitzki, deputy CEO of the Israel Export Institute said: “In Israel, there are dozens of construction technology companies working in various fields. The Export Institute is always glad to assist these companies on their way to new markets overseas. This visit, as mentioned, [included] 22 representatives from various construction and management companies from both China and the rest of the world.
"We consider this delegation visit very important," he said. "Israeli technology companies have a lot to offer in terms of increasing production, efficiency and safety – starting with the planning stages, through the construction itself and ending with the managing of the finished structured. Among technologies presented one could find a certain piece of tech that uses ARVR as a base for a long distance communication platform to bridge the gap between the planning office and the construction team." 
Konitzki said that: "We also have a company which developed a robotic arm for field work such as painting and rendering, and another one which developed an autonomous crane. I’m certain that in the near future we will see the results of the meetings and the exposure we managed to create during this visit.”