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May 28, 2020 8:27 am

Covid-19 Has Not Lessened Israeli Companies’ Interest in Entering the Chinese Market

avatar by CTech Staff

Supporters of medical workers hold a flash mob protest to back their strike to demand Hong Kong closing its border with China to reduce the coronavirus spreading, in Hong Kong, China, February 3, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu.

CTech – Israeli tech companies with operations in China were forced to face the Covid-19 crisis much earlier than the rest of their counterparts as the virus was prevalent in China months before it reached Europe, North America, and even Israel. However, while this may have slowed down Israeli businesses’ ability to enter the Chinese market, it has not waned their interest in expanding to the major Asian market.

“The demand for the Chinese market continues to grow. We haven’t seen companies avoid entering the market or change their plans. On the contrary, some are working to set up new operations right now. Many amongst our customers in China managed the situation successfully and have fully returned to business,” Zvi Shalgo, chairman of PTL Group, a company that provides administrative and operational support to Israeli companies in China said in a statement.

Tel Aviv-based online payments fraud prevention company Riskified is in the midst of opening its first office in China. “To date, we have been working from Tel Aviv and New York only, because when we decide to open a new office, it must be on a full scale. This is exactly what we plan for Shanghai,” Naama Ofek-Arad, Riskified’s COO, said in a statement.

“We started our marketing efforts in China three years ago,” she said. “For the past two years, we have been working with large Chinese online merchants already. Opening a local branch is a strategic statement. It signals that we are moving into a higher gear with a sharper market focus. As one of the world’s largest online markets, China offers us great potential. Local presence in China is even more critical than in other countries. Face-to-face communication, language, and connections mean a lot. You also have to employ locals who understand the ecosystem. There is no way to replace all these with remote work. To succeed you must have a physical presence and a legal local entity.”

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Riskified’s new China office will cover various functions. In the first stage, it will employ people in sales, operations, and analysts, including two key people from Israel and New York, who will relocate to Shanghai. PTL Group provides ongoing consulting to Riskified and is now in the process of recruiting its new employees.

“At no point during the COVID-19 crisis did we doubt the move, though the pandemic delayed the opening by six months,” Ofek-Arad said. “Our Operations Manager relocated to China in January, just before the lockdown was announced, so he had to leave. The opening is now planned for June. Our Chinese customers are delighted we are opening a local office.”

PTL Group is an Israeli-owned Chinese company that provides administrative and operational support to multiple international companies taking their first steps in the Chinese market, helping them get on the track for growth. PTL Group helps companies set up a stable business infrastructure, cut costs, and reduce time to market in China. Founded 20 years ago, PTL currently employs over 300 people in six cities in China.

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