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May 16, 2017 11:19 am

Chinese Investment Pours Into Israel as US Tightens Regulations

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) with Chinese internet entrepreneur Robin Li (left) in Beijing, March 21, 2017. Photo: Haim Zach / GPO. – Chinese firms are failing to close business deals in the US due to tightening American commercial regulations, prompting the Asian companies to seek out new cutting-edge markets — such as Israel — for investing large amounts of Chinese capital.

In 2016, Chinese investment in Israel increased tenfold to a record $16.5 billion as capital from China poured into start-ups in the Jewish state’s high-tech, cybersecurity and medical technology sectors. A notable increase in these investments began towards the end of 2016, around the time new US regulations and protectionist policies started coming into effect.

Juxtaposing the significant increase in Chinese investment in Israel, data indicates Chinese investments in the US decreased a record $26.3 billion in 2016.

“I’m flying to Israel in May where we’ve selected more than 10 potential targets,” Li Dongsheng, chairman of the TCL Corporation electronics company, told Reuters in a report published last week.

Chen Shuang, CEO of China Everbright Limited, a Hong Kong-based investment branch of the state-owned China Everbright Group, is also seeking to invest in Israel’s “start-up nation.”

“Our Israel-focused fund has already invested in four local firms there, and we plan to invest in another three to four within this year,” Shuang told Reuters.

Israeli companies have expressed similar enthusiasm regarding the increased Chinese interest. “We are not worried to take Chinese money over US money. If you can deliver, there are endless opportunities,” said Tomer Bar-Zeev of Israel’s ironSource, which builds various tools for app developers.

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