A learning opportunity

Ami Appelbaum, chairman of Israel’s Innovation Authority and chief scientist of the Economy and Industry Ministry, believes China and the Jewish state have much to gain from joint cooperation.

AMI APPLEBAUM praises China’s ability to think outside of the box (photo credit: COURTESY EDUCATION MINISTRY)
AMI APPLEBAUM praises China’s ability to think outside of the box
As Israel continues to enter the ever-lucrative Chinese market, it has much to gain from this blossoming friendship, Ami Appelbaum, chairman of the Israel Innovation Authority and chief scientist of the Economy and Industry Ministry said.
Appelbaum, prior to his appointment in late 2017, headed KLA-Tencor Israel, a global semiconductor manufacturer. He explained that despite the disparities in size and scale, the two countries have more in common than one might think.
“Both Israel and China are countries that have an ancient culture that goes back thousands of years,” he said. “They both share strong family values, the importance of education and the value of a work ethic.”
Today, modern-day Israel and China are active partners in business, technology and trade. Diplomatic relations between Israel and China were initiated in 1992, and since then China has become Israel’s largest Asian trading partner, and Israel’s third-largest trading partner worldwide.
In 2013, China announced its Belt and Road Initiative, a 21st-century version of the Silk Road that will connect 65% of the world’s population. According to Appelbaum, “The Belt and Road plan is a good initiative that could contribute to the stability and economic development of the countries of the region.”
Trade between the two countries, which was estimated at $50 million in 1992, reached more than $13 billion in 2017. Chinese investors have flocked to Israel, and numerous leading Chinese companies – including Alibaba, Lenovo, Huawei and Xiaomi, among others – have active research and development centers in Israel. Chinese strategic investments in Israeli start-ups have risen steadily, reaching $600 million in 2017. Appelbaum explained that the Chinese recognize that Israeli hi-tech has “a track record of success, a wide range of different technologies, an evolving and proven ecosystem, and the ability to ‘think outside the box.’”
Appelbaum cited several large Israeli companies that are conducting extensive commerce in China today, including Natali Healthcare Solutions, whose Predictive eMonitoring and eHealth apps keep a significant number of Chinese patients from unnecessary hospitalization; ironSource, the world’s leading digital distribution company, which helps its Chinese partners to distribute 100,000 apps, games and software products daily; and Orbotech, a provider of process innovation technologies, which offers solutions used in the manufacturing of LCD panels in China. Overall, more than 1,000 Israeli start-ups have opened offices in China.
Appelbaum said that while no one specific area of development dominates joint cooperative efforts between Israel and China, medical devices, green energy, agriculture and financial technology are the leading areas.
What will the next 10 years yield in joint economic development between China and Israel? Appelbaum said it is difficult to forecast that far ahead, but added optimistically, “We must continue to work together to preserve and even increase the trend of successes and economic ties that have emerged over the last decade.”
China and Israel – one large country and one small nation, but both working together to increase joint economic opportunity and business growth around the world.
Here’s a look at some other Israeli companies that made a big splash in the Chinese market:
A 'Bright' future with Tnuva
On March 31, 2015, the largest acquisition in the history of Israel’s food industry, and the biggest dairy deal by a Chinese company, was completed. Bright Food acquired 56.7% of Tnuva shares from Apax Partners and another 21% from Mivtach Shamir Holdings Ltd. for a total of 77.7%, putting Tnuva’s market value at NIS 8.6 billion.
This acquisition capitalizes on Israeli strength in the dairy industry, the proverbial Israeli “super cow” that ranks first globally in milk production, and on the benefits of Tnuva’s products for Bright Food’s portfolio. The deal to purchase Israeli food and dairy cooperative Tnuva Group by Chinese conglomerate Bright Food (Group) Co. epitomizes the trends of the growing Chinese economy and serve as a portent of future developments in the Israel-China economic relationship.
For both parties, a guiding principle in the post-acquisition period is to “respect, tolerate and trust” each other. Bright Food executives promised to maintain Tnuva as an Israeli company and will continue to partner with all its stakeholders, including employees, clients, farmers and the Cattle Breeders Association to best serve the Israeli consumer.
The deal creates synergies in areas such as research and development, marketing and sales, and Bright Food would like to learn from Tnuva’ agricultural know-how to improve its industry chain.
The Chinese media highlighted Israel’s agricultural prowess and its high-safety food industry standards as appealing to Bright Food.
“Tnuva is famed for cheese, and the market potential for cheese in China is huge. If Bright Food can purchase Tnuva, it becomes the number one cheese brand in China,” Global Times quoted an executive from Bright Food saying.
-Jerusalem Post Staff
Alpha Omega expands operation in China after receiving CFDA for NeuroOmega
Obtaining the CFDA certificate for NeuroOmega is another significant milestone for Alpha Omega. The Israeli company, which fosters innovation and development in neuroscience research and functional neurosurgery, has already entered the Chinese market with NeuroNav (compact MER solution) and established a genuine connection with neurosurgeons and neuroscientific communities. This is a colossal step toward Alpha Omega’s growth in the China market.
In 2016, President Reuven Rivlin recognized their work. Every year, the Economy and Industry Ministry, in cooperation with the Manufacturers Association and the Israel Export Institute, holds a ceremony at the President’s Residence to present awards to industrialists based on their achievements in the previous year.
Nazareth-born Technion graduates Reem and Imad Younis, co-founders of Alpha Omega, were among the honorees.
Rivlin said that new immigrants, native Israelis, Jews and Arabs imbued with blessed Israeli audacity and “chutzpah” have turned tiny Israel into an industrial, technological and innovative powerhouse.
Rivlin commended their ability to create places of employment that integrate people from all sectors of society for generations to come. “Industry builds a nation,” he said, “not only through profitable companies and innovative products, but first and foremost through people.”
-Jerusalem Post Staff