As part of his three-day visit to Beijing, Prime Minister Netanyahu met with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and also spoke at the Israel-China Business and Innovation Summit, his tour in China centered on boosting economic ties between Israel and China, mainly in the hi-tech sector.
Netanyahu reportedly met with heads of China’s largest corporations on Monday morning, the Prime Minister confirming, “I just met with 11 heads of the largest corporations in China. A large portion of them are investing in Israel and a large portion of them will invest in Israel. This means jobs, the development of businesses and a link to the major Chinese markets.”
Three major bilateral agreements were signed between Israel and China Monday, one of the deals to provide visas for over 20,000 Chinese foreign workers to Israel.
Speaking at the Israel-China Business and Innovation Summit attended by over 600 businesspeople from both China and Israel, the Prime Minister spoke of China’s rapid entrance into the hi-tech world and speaking advantage of having Israel as a trading partner.
He stated, “Israel has moved and become one of the foremost centers of global innovation, a technological global power. It is true that we also amended our economy… the combination of the innate technology that we had and the market economy that we built created a very powerful explosion of startup companies in various fields, drawing on military capabilities, especially in the field of IT, but rapidly expanding into other areas. As a result… Israel has become a hub of innovation. Not just a hub of innovation- perhaps the other hub of innovation – of cross-fertilized innovation. That’s one of the advantages of being small…”
He added “In that small country of Israel you get gigantic leaps forward in innovation, with a structure of venture capital to finance it. So people leave their military service and they very naturally move into areas of entrepreneurship in hi-tech…”
He spoke of the monumental deal made last between Intel and Israel’s Mobileye- the $15.3 billion deal the largest acquisition of an Israeli hi-tech company by foreign investors, Netanyahu highlighting Israel’s hi-tech capabilities and progress, particularly in cyber security. He stated “We have a big investment in cyber security in the military. I have encouraged very much the development of a cyber security private business, and in 2016 in Israel, we received 20% of the global private investment in cyber security. That’s 200 times our relative weight in the world population. There are 500 startups in cyber security in Israel. There are 500 startups in automotive technology in Israel.”
He then spoke of “digital health” and preventative medicine, speaking of Israel’s leading role in the field. He explained, “Because we have data, computerized data for just about every person in Israel, we can merge that data and have preventative medicine. We can also do this with fewer doctors, because it can be done by telemedicine, and we can also have targeted, personal medicine because the data is so much better. This will elongate life and reduce diseases. These are huge industries and I’ll be remiss because I’m telling you, there will be many more.”
Finishing his address, he spoke of the guarantee of investing and partnering with Israel given the promise of the future of tech. He stated, “What is happening now is that every single field of human endeavor is becoming technologized. The distinction between hi-tech and low-tech is no longer valid. Everything is becoming hi-tech. Agriculture: hi-tech. Water: hi-tech. Air purification: hi-tech. IT: of course hi-tech. Medicine: hi-tech. Transport: hi-tech… And the future now belongs to those countries who can innovate, who can upgrade their products and services for the betterment of their citizens with these new technologies.”
Specifically on Israel-China relations, Prime Minister Netanyahu finished by stating “So here’s the particular marriage that I see between Israel and China. I think that there is an extraordinary capacity for China to assume its rightful place, as it’s doing, on the world stage. It depends on the consistent ability to elevate living standards with additional added value that can be supplied only by technology, because at a certain point, once you give roads, railroads, intersections, buildings – once you… Given the basic infrastructure of initial and secondary development – airports, sewage lines, water – once you’ve done that, the way to go up and up and up is to constantly improve your products and services and utilities with technology.”
He emphasized that in all of this “We are your perfect junior partner for that effort,” stating that “there are only two such concentrations of technology in the world for the moment, and we are one of them. We are eager to work with you. We’re going to sign with the government in the coming days a series of agreements on how we can pursue this cooperation, how we can help China in its plans and how China of course can enable us to participate in its great projects. But I believe this is a marriage made in heaven.”
Israel exported over $3.3 billion to China in 2016 alone.
This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, March 20, 2017, and reposted with permission.