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Chinese firms eye Israeli technology

Posting in Technology

Following the United States' lead, major Chinese firms are looking for investment opportunities in Israel.

The U.S. has invested in businesses located in the region for years, and now the Chinese are taking advantage of Israel's commercial technology and research, according to Reuters. Last month, a troupe of Chinese business officials visited the region -- still affected by the battle in Gaza -- in order to further explore potential ventures.

Led by chairman of investment holding firm Hang Lung Group, Ronnie Chan, and including delegates from Lenovo, COFCO and the Chinese branch of JP Morgan Chase, the group is considering the option of investing further in Israel, which has seen Chinese funding reaching approximately $3 billion to date.

Chan told the news agency:

"The sky is the limit. 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."

According to Israel's Foreign Ministry, bilateral trade between the two countries reached $8 billion in 2011. The largest singular Chinese investment within an Israeli venture to date was the 60 percent acquisition of crop production chemical maker MA Industries by ChemChina for $1.4 billion.

Edouard Cukierman, organiser of the trip and managing partner of private equity funds Catalyst Investments, said that the visit could lead to more acquisitions and potential funding for projects in research. Cukierman noted:

"We are following up with each one of them, preparing specific action plans for each one of them. They believe they can benefit from innovation in Israel more than the Americans did."

Image credit: GDC

— By on January 1, 2013, 10:38 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure