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February 26, 2014 11:16 am

Israeli Economy Minister Bennett Hails ‘Turning Point’ in China’s Economic Relations With Israel

avatar by Joshua Levitt

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. Photo: WikiCommons.

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett. Photo: WikiCommons.

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett on Wednesday hailed a “turning point” in China’s economic relations with Israel.

On Facebook, Bennett wrote, “The effort is paying off: a turning point in China’s economic relations with Israel. The Chinese will invest millions in Israeli high-tech.”

He linked to an article from Israeli daily Ha’aretz on Wednesday that described the “slow but significant change” that “has been coming to the Israeli high-tech sector over the past year,” as “Chinese investors have started pouring money into Israeli firms.”

The newspaper described the Chinese modus operandi as different than that of U.S. or European investors, saying that the “Chinese do not always invest in companies directly, but they still may offer a major source of capital for Israeli firms.”

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It noted that $40 million of the $270 million raised by VC investor Pitango for its latest fund came from China, while Horizon Ventures, the fund of Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing, was the most active VC investor in Israel last year, according to a ranking by IVC Online that monitors Israel’s high-tech industry.

It quoted IVC Online as saying that WBP Venture Partners will announce a $50 million initial fund raising round from American private investors and the Chinese government, at a presentation at an IVC conference.

The Catalyst CEL fund, a joint venture between the Israeli private equity Catalyst fund, headed by Edouard Cukierman, and state-owned China Everbright, will soon announce the closing of its first $100 million for the new fund, with $75 million from China Everbright.

Last year, China’s Fosun bought Israel’s Alma Lasers for $240 million.

Among the many approving comments responding to Bennett’s Facebook post, one read, “Yes China copies, but Israel innovates — it’s a perfect partnership.”

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