Jewish Times Asia March 2015
Second Israel Investment Forum held in Hong Kong Representatives of 22 venture capital funds from Israel joined with potential investors at the second Israel Investment Forum in Hong Kong on 26 January. The delegation of Israeli Venture Capitalists (VC) was the largest gathering to Asia in a single trip.
Israel boasts the highest VC investment per capita in the world. These VC funds invest in more than 300 Israeli startups in various fields, such as Internet, mobile, healthcare and green-technology. There was a unique opportunity for around 100 Hong Kong based investors to meet them and learn about the world’s strongest innovation hub outside the Silicon Valley. Elad Goz, Consul and Head of Economic & Trade Mission at Consulate General of Israel in Hong Kong, kicked off the event with a presentation showing how the Israeli start-up ecosystem did just the week before raising US$ 910 million in startup funding and acquisitions. In the last quarter of 2014, funds raised by Israeli start-ups had totaled US$1,105 billion.
While in the region the Israeli VC delegation also embarked on a tour to Mainland China aiming to raise funds from Chinese businesses and to scout for strategic partners for joint investments in Israel. Consul General Sagi Karni, Ms. Salina Yan and Dr. Jonathan Choi
appropriate as this event is for the largest ever VC delegation from Israel to visit Hong Kong, and they are the blood line to our start-up scene.”
Other speakers included Salina Yan, Under Secretary for Financial Services of the Government of HKSAR, and Jonathan Choi, Chairman of Sunwah Group and Permanent Honorary President of Hong Kong Chinese General Chamber of Commerce. Keynote speaker of the event was Saul Singer, co-writer of “Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle”, a best seller which investigates Israel’s innovative eco-system.
Sagi Karni, Consul General of Israel in Hong Kong, said in his opening remarks, “It is very
Singer, a US-Israeli journalist and author, has given numerous keynote speeches relating to Israel and innovation around the world. He gave the audience insights on how Israel, Hong Kong and China can comple-
Elad Goz making a presentation
World Bank publishes its country business ratings
Figures recently published by the World Bank has placed Israel in 40th place on the list of the best countries for doing business, two places lower than Israel’s 38th place rating last year. Israel has relatively good ratings in protection of minority shareholders (11th place), transportation of goods at border crossings (12th place), protection against bankruptcy (24th place), and obtaining credit (36th place) – although the rating for credit is significantly lower than last year’s 30th place. The World Bank’s rating, designed to provide a comparative look at the ease of doing business in countries, is being published for the 12th straight year. The 189 countries are rated according to measures of the business regulations enforced in
the country, including the difficulty of setting up a business, obtaining building permits, registering land rights, the level of taxation, cross-border trading, and contract enforcement.
The list is led by smaller countries considered well-run: Singapore and New Zealand. The report states that Singapore, which kept its place at the top of the list from last year, continues to have the most businessfriendly regulation. China, on the other hand, the world’s second largest economy, is rated only in 90th place, a slight improvement on its 93rd place rating from two years ago. Hong Kong, Denmark and South Korea fill out the top five, followed by Norway, US, UK, Finland and Australia. At the bottom of the list are Chad, South Sudan, the Central African Republic and Eritrea.
ment each other in technology and business development. Another highlight was the panel discussion on Investment climate in Hong Kong and China. The panelists were Nisa Leung, Qiming Venture Partners, Fang Fang, Former China Manager of JP Morgan and Member of the Chief Executive’s Commission for Strategic Development in Hong Kong, and Denis Tse, Head of Asia, Private Investments of Lockheed Martin Investment Management Company.
The delegation held meetings in Shanghai and Beijing with the assistance of the Israel trade missions. A networking event also took place at the new Israeli Business Center in Shanghai. Ziva Eger, Director of the Division for Foreign Investment and Industrial Cooperation at the Israeli Ministry of Economy headed the delegation. “We have placed much emphasis on widening the sources and areas of investment in the Israeli market and we have seen that Asian markets in general and China specifically have become key destinations for identifying investors. Lately, we have seen a significant increase in the number of foreign investments in Israel coming from China as well as a rise in the level
of interest Israel holds for Chinese investors. This delegation is part of an overall strategy by the Israeli Ministry of Economy to leverage foreign investments as an engine of growth and as a strategic tool for advancing diplomacy and strengthening the Israeli economy. This visit will be the first in a series of events we are planning to hold in China in 2015 to help foster investments,” Eger stated. Director-General of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Israeli Ministry of Economy, Ohad Cohen stated: “This is a strategic step. Until a few years ago, the US was the predominant investor in Israeli hi-tech, after which Israeli funds sought to raise capital mainly in European countries or in Asian countries like Singapore or Korea. This delegation is another milestone in the Foreign Trade Administration’s policy of diversifying the geographical scope of exports and investment, epitomized by our allocation of significant resources to expanding activity in developing markets.”
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