John Reed in Jerusalem and Charles Clover in Beijing
When Israel held its biggest agricultural technology conference, Agrivest, last month, one in 10 of the delegates who travelled to the central city of Rehovot to attend came from China.
A few weeks before, a large delegation from Alibaba, the Chinese e-commerce giant, had been in Tel Aviv to attend Cybertech, Israel’s main conference on cyber security, an area in which the security-conscious Jewish state excels. Alibaba in January invested an undisclosed sum in Visualead, an Israeli company specialising in QR code technology.
Chinese companies are pushing deeper and further into Israel than ever before, and Israeli companies and government officials are returning the embrace. “There seems to be a kosher stamp from the government on both sides to let these trade relations blossom and bloom,” says Jon Medved, founder and chief executive of OurCrowd, the Israeli crowdfunding company.A decade ago, Chinese overseas investment was primarily focused on securing supplies of natural resources in places such as Africa and Latin America, and was driven by state-owned energy and mining companies.