Leading Chinese firms eye Israeli technology investments

Wed Jan 2, 2013 7:32am EST
 

By Tova Cohen

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Leading Chinese companies are looking for investments in Israeli technology to help boost their growth and development, similar to what U.S. companies have done in the past two decades.

A delegation of senior Chinese business leaders visited Israel last month in search of opportunities, pressing ahead with the trip despite rockets that fell in the commercial centre of the country during fighting with Gaza militants.

The delegation, led by Ronnie Chan, chairman of investment holding company Hang Lung Group, included the heads of Lenovo Group, China's top grains trader COFCO, investment banking and private equity firm Hina Group, China Merchants Bank and JP Morgan Chase in China.

Chan noted that many technologies in applications and products from companies such as Google and Intel originated in Israel, and Chinese companies would like to explore similar ventures.

"The sky is the limit," Chan told Reuters. "Some companies can set up research and development centers here, some can bring Israeli companies to China, some can open up the Chinese market for Israeli companies. I have no idea where this will lead."

Chan, a property magnate, said his family business owns technology companies around the world but has no investments in Israel.

Lenovo's operations in Israel had been limited to sales and support, but the company recently made its first technology investment, for an undisclosed amount, in venture capital firm Vertex.

"Definitely we are interested in Israel's technology, to grow our company, to grow our business," Chief Executive Yang Yuanqing said, adding that the investment in Vertex was just a first step.   Continued...