TechNation: Chinese Tech Giants Plan Israeli R&D Centers

Feinberg named head of Intel Israel; PlayTech to merge into America’s GameFly; India seeks tech transfer deals in defense.

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People ride a double bicycle past a logo of the Alibaba Group at the company's headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, China, November 10, 2014.
People ride a double bicycle past a logo of the Alibaba Group at the company's headquarters on the outskirts of Hangzhou, China, November 10, 2014. Credit: Reuters

Feinberg named head of Intel Israel

Maxine Feinberg, Intel Israel’s long-standing head of production at its Kiryat Gat and Jerusalem fabrication plants, will be responsible for all of the company’s Israel operations, including research and development, the U.S. semiconductor maker said on Wednesday. Daniel Ben-Attar, who has been head of the Kiryat Gat plant until now, will replace her as head of production. Feinberg, a former school teacher, joined Intel as a lithographic engineer in 1983 and has been managing director of Intel Israel since 2007. Ben-Attar joined the company in 1993 as en engineer and has been head of the Kiryat Gat facility for the past four years. Unlike her predecessor as Intel Israel chief, Molly Eden, Feinberg will not have the title of president. (Amitai Ziv)

Chinese tech giants plan Israeli R&D centers

China’s tech giants, including Alibaba, Baidu, Fosun  and Xiaomi, are planning to open research and development centers in Israel, the Chinese state-owned television network CCTV reported. The aim is to develop innovative new technologies in Israel rather than act as also-rans of technology leaders in the United States and Europe, CCTV said. Israel is recognized as a place where cutting-edge technology is being developed for the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, educational and finance technology, mobile and digital health devices. Chinese companies aim to exploit Israeli knowhow to bring new products to the mass market, CCTV said. Lenovo said in January it planned to set up an R&D center in Israel and named Ornit Shinar, who ran Citibank’s tech accelerator and represented Sony in Israel, as manager. (Nadan Feldman)

PlayTech to merge into America’s GameFly

Israel’s Playcast said Tuesday that it would merge with American firm GameFly in a bid to become a significant player in the gaming industry. Playcast aims to combine its specialization, streaming games over the Internet, with GameFly’s business of renting out physical games via home delivery to customers, to turn GameFly into the Netflix of gaming. Playcast will be sold to GameFly, and its shareholders will receive a 33% in the combined company plus a few-hundred thousand dollars in cash. PlayTech’s research and development center, which has 35 employees, will remain in Israel and expand. Some $25 million have been invested in PlayTech since it was founded in 2007. (Amitai Ziv)

India seeks tech transfer deals in defense

Israeli defense exports to India are in the range of $1 billion annually, but the future of cooperation is through technology transfers, Bharat Malkani, co-chairman of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry’s committee on aerospace and defense, said ahead of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s maiden visit to Israel. “Israel has many technologies that India needs and these are available for transfer,” Malkani told India’s Business Standard. “Cost competitiveness is a secondary consideration in technology transfer as the cost of development is much higher and comes without the guarantee of success.” He urged Israeli defense technology companies to invest in India, citing a new law that lets foreign companies hold up to 49% of Indian companies. The date for Modi’s visit has yet to be set. (TheMarker Staff)

Workers stage slowdown at Elisra

Workers at Elbit Systems’ Elisra unit have been engaged in a labor slowdown since the start of the week after union leaders called what they termed  an “strike without warning” on Sunday. Staff are angry over remarks allegedly made by Nir Shani, Elisra’s chief financial officer, at a management conference.  Shani is reported to have said that Elisra, which makes electronic warfare and intelligence technology, has 500 unneeded  employees who “sit and laze around all day.” Unions say Elbit plans to lay off some 200 employees, or about 22% of the payroll at Elisra when the company moves production from Bnei Brak to Holon. They say another 200 staff elsewhere in the Elbit group are also slated for job cuts. Elbit declined to comment. (Haim Bior)