China Everbright Set to Invest in Israeli Tech Companies

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China Everbright, the investment arm of state-owned China Everbright Group, plans to initiate $100 million to $200 million of investment activity in Israel's technology sector.

Company CEO Shuang Chen visited Israel last week and met with the head of the National Economic Council, Eugene Kandel, and with the director general of the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, Sharon Kedmi. He also met with representatives from 25 Israeli technology companies.

Chen told TheMarker that his company is close to signing its initial investment deals with Israeli companies and also seeks to encourage joint ventures between both countries' tech sectors.

He added that while China Everbright will likely invest directly in Israeli firms it will also explore opportunities for brokering deals on behalf of outside investors.

"Most of the Chinese investments not in government bonds are in financial institutions in Hong Kong or in natural resources," said Chen.

"We need to broaden our active collaborations with Israeli companies. We want to ease the way for companies and investors in China to look abroad and not fear investing. Chinese industry needs to adapt to today's conditions and incorporate more technology. On the other hand Israeli companies can benefit from the distribution channels of Chinese companies to reach immense markets. This requires cooperation as early as the development stage: Complete buyouts aren't enough," Chen said.

China Everbright will pursue investing in two or three of the Israeli companies he saw last week, Chen said. "We are looking to invest in companies in the fields of medicine, agriculture, and clean tech that have reached an advanced stage, companies with a product and sales but still looking for rapid growth," he said.

"It is important to us to implement the initial investments in Israeli companies as fast as possible to gain experience. We aren't afraid of failure," Chen said.

Listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, China Everbright Ltd. has $10 billion under its management. It focuses on investments in finance, real estate and natural resources.

Amir Yaar, founder and CEO of the China Israel Synergy investment and consulting firm, helped pave the way for the company's interest in investing in Israel.

Although around 80 Chinese economic delegations visit Israel each year, there has been little substantial investment activity between the two countries in the technology sector.

One of the few exceptions is Clal Industries' Infinity Group, which is responsible for about $250 million in investment by Chinese firms in Israeli industry.

China Everbright CEO Shuang Chen, center, during a March 2013 visit to Israel.

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