Israel-Chinese partnership opens unique technology incubator in Guangzhou

The Israel-Guangzhou Investment Group, led by Dr. Shuki Gleitman, on Monday launched  a unique technology incubator in Bio-Island, Guangzhou. The incubator will operate based on the Israeli incubation model, knowledge and methods.

China is still the largest “untapped” market for the Israeli business sector with enormous opportunities,” said Gleitman, chairman of the Guangzhou Innovation Office and GIBF and a former chief scientist in the Ministry of Industry and Trade. “It requires a different way for doing business comparing the traditional markets, a bit different attitude. But China is really open for doing business with Israel.”

Xian Yinsong, executive vice chair of Guangzhou’s Huangpu District, said the Sino-Israeli cooperation marked an exciting moment in bilateral relations.

“This innovation will strengthen cooperation in biotechnology and other life sciences, such as medicine and the environment,” she said. “The Guangzhou district offers wonderful opportunities for investors from abroad and together we can be world leaders.”

The Chinese traditional impressive launch ceremony was attended by high-level Guangzhou officials, Israel’s consul general, Nadav Cohen, distinguished guests and entrepreneurs.

“I’m very happy to be here today at the opening ceremony of the new Israeli incubator of the GIBF here at the Bio-tech Island,” said Cohen. “I’m delighted to see that your dreams are starting to come true. This is a very high and unique level of technological cooperation. I wish this incubator and all the Israeli and Chinese companies good luck and success.”

The establishment of the incubator is another important and unique milestone in the broadening economic and scientific collaboration between the city of Guangzhou and Israel, focusing on innovation and hi-tech technologies

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Guangzhou is the third largest city in China and the capital of Guangdong, China’s richest province. It is located on the Pearl River approximately 120 km northwest of Hong Kong and is one of China’s Five National Central Cities that serve as hubs for other international major cities with the goal of leading China’s efforts to become a global leader in the fields of technology and innovation. The estimated population for the city is over 20 million. 

The group, which consists of a strong Israeli-Chinese team, established the incubator in partnership with the Guangzhou government and the Guangzhou Bio Island. The Incubator will support both Israeli and Chinese companies and entrepreneurs, will follow a model similar to the one of the Chief Scientist’s Incubators Program in Israel. Like in Israel, the incubator will provide the companies with RD governmental grants that will be paid back only in the event of and upon the companies’ success. 

The Incubator will be managed by a team of Israeli and Chinese experts using knowledge and expertise developed in Israel which is a world leader in technology and innovation. The two first companies accepted into the incubator are a Chinese subsidiary of the Israeli company Neurotech Solutions, a leading provider of a software-based ADHD screening and diagnostic tests and the Chinese company Alagen, developing a medicine for babies’ skin tumors.

Over the last few years the group established a strong presence in Guangzhou and became a noticeable player in the technology ecosystem while advancing the Israel-Guangzhou cooperation platform and partnering with the Guangzhou government as a strategic partner and investor.

The group’s activities in China started with the establishment of the Guangzhou-Israel Sino Bio-industry Investment Fund (GIBF), a 600 million RMB fund (approximately $100M) in which the lead investor is the Guangzhou Municipal Government. The fund is managed by four Israeli partners, the Chairman, Dr. Shuki Gleitman, the CEO Avner Lushi, Prof. Avraham Karasik, Professor Shlomo Noy, and one Chinese partner, Carl Geng.

GIBF’s model is to invest in and promote the establishment of Chinese subsidiaries of Israeli companies that are active in the biomedical field. The Chinese subsidiaries have access to the IP of the Israeli parent company and total freedom of operation in China. Since January 2017 the fund already established 5 such companies with leading Israeli companies.

Last year the group was requested to establish and manage a formal economic representative office of the city of Guangzhou in Israel. The representative office which is managed by Liraz Geva, is engaged in promoting cooperation between Guangzhou and Israel in the fields of technology and innovation. The office is engaged in creating platforms in various sectors for Israeli technology companies that assist them in locating strategic and financial partners in China by using the group’s wide network of connections with both the private and public sectors in Guangzhou. The group is currently in the process of establishing an additional fund in partnership with the local government, similar in its model to GIBF. The new fund will focus on more general technology areas such as IT and advanced technologies for the car industry.

At the end of the ceremony dozens of distinguished guests and Chinese and Israeli journalists were treated to a performance of traditional lion dancing by local actors and musicians.

“The Guangzhou representative office in Israel creates business opportunities and connects Israeli companies to investors and strategic partners in China,” said Geva. “It also assists companies and other Chinese organizations to establish activities in Israel. It may be challenging for Israeli companies to find the right business channels for them in China but our unique position as the government’s representatives opens many horizons.”

The writer was a guest of the Guangzhou Innovation Office and Hainan Airlines.

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