As part of Asia pivot, Netanyahu pushes Israeli hi-tech in China

Posted In: News Date:Mar 20th, 2017

China's economy may be 35 times larger than Israel's, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping to use that to advantage during a three-day visit to Beijing as he looks to reorient Israel's economy toward Asia over Europe and the United States. 

A week after US chip giant Intel agreed to buy Israeli technology firm Mobileye for $15.3 billion, Netanyahu wants to enlarge Israel's high-tech presence in China while encouraging further Chinese investment in Israel, where infrastructure and construction projects are growing apace.

More than 100 technology executives have joined Netanyahu on the visit, with meetings planned with Chinese business leaders.

Bilateral trade has been hovering at around $8bn for the last few years, but over the past decade, Israel's exports to China have tripled to $3.3bn in 2016, with technology - from cybersecurity to agri-tech - leading the way.

Half the investments in Israeli funds in 2015 involved at least one Chinese investor, and 40pc of funds raised by Israeli venture capital firms came from Chinese backers, according to the Economy Ministry.

"Israel is pivoting towards Asia in a very clear and purposeful way," Netanyahu said last month in Singapore, which he visited along with Australia. Indian President Narenda Modi will visit Israel in the summer, underpinning the Asia trend.