20 June 2018 - 8 Tammuz 5778 - ח' תמוז ה' אלפים תשע"ח
Jack Ma gets the red-carpet treatment in Israel E-mail

Alibaba CEO Jack Ma made an official trip to Israel in early May, along with well over 30 senior managers from his Alibaba Group and many Chinese CEOs. Alibaba is China’s top e-commerce firm, and Jack Ma is one of the richest men in the world.

As part of the three-day visit, the group met with many Israeli startups and made landmark visits to sites such as the Western Wall. Jack Ma also met Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Ma said he was impressed with the business opportunities in Israel. “We will do more things here,” he said, calling the country “inspirational”.

Ma, often described as China’s most successful CEO, referred to similarities between the journey his company has made over the past 19 years and the journey the State of Israel has made.

Netanyahu greeted Ma by saying, “It’s wonderful to welcome you to Israel... you are a very successful leader in a very competitive business, and in a very competitive world. The world belongs to those who innovate, and Israel is the nation of innovation.” This was the third time that Netanyahu and Ma had met. They met previously during the prime minister’s visit to Davos in January 2016 and during Netanyahu’s visit to China in March 2017. During these meetings, Netanyahu invited Ma to visit Israel.

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Hyundai’s “Ioniq” top-selling car E-mail

The eco-friendly “Ioniq” hybrid car by South Korea’s top automaker, Hyundai Motor Company, emerged as the best-selling car in Israel in the first quarter of this year, achieving that milestone for the first time since the start of its exports two years ago, industry sources said in May.

Hyundai Motor sold 4,149 Ioniq hybrids in Israel in the January-March period, up a whopping 121% from the same period a year earlier. It also marked the first time for the Ioniq hybrid to clinch the best-selling title in any foreign market since its overseas shipments started in 2016.

The car comes in hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electricvehicle versions, and market-watchers said it is very unusual for a green car to become a top seller in markets outside Northern Europe, often dubbed the paradise for electric vehicles. The vehicle’s performance in Israel came on the back of the country’s policy to promote the EV market. Israel imposes an 83% purchase tax on conventional cars, while the tax rate for hybrid cars is a mere 20%.

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Israel and Taiwan sign MOU on closer business ties E-mail

A delegation of business representatives led by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) visited Israel last month to explore possibilities for co-operative projects with Israeli firms.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the President and CEO of TAITRA, James Huang, and the Director General of the Israel Export and International Cooperation Institute, Gadi Arieli. The agreement aims to encourage closer co-operation between Israel and Taiwan in private and public sectors.

The signing of the MoU follows the successful “Computex and Taiwan Innovation Conference” held in Tel Aviv on 30 April, at which Israeli businessmen and industry representatives were introduced to some of the cutting-edge technologies being developed in Taiwan, such as projects related to AI and the Internet of Things.

It is hoped that new partnerships, especially in high-technology industries, will boost trade and economic development in the both countries.

The head of the Israeli division of Nuvoton, one of Taiwan’s large semi-conductor manufacturers, said: “Taiwan has not made use of all of the innovative resources Israel has to offer, and should strengthen co-operation by establishing a technology research and development centre in Israel.”

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IDI appoints Aviel Elia as new Managing Director E-mail

The Board of Directors of the Israel Diamond Institute (IDI) announced on 7 May that Aviel Elia has been appointed as its new Managing Director. He replaces Eli Avidar, who joined IDI in 2007 and successfully served in the position, with a brief hiatus, until recently. Before his appointment at IDI, Mr Avidar was the Consul General of Israel in Hong Kong.

Elia, an attorney, served as Legal Adviser and Company Secretary of IDI from 2013. As a key member of IDI’s management team, Elia has been involved in developing company strategy and negotiating all critical company transactions. He has been responsible for many aspects of corporate and operational management, including budgets, regulatory processes and implementation, and has represented the institute in dealings with government and official bodies.

IDI Chairman Boaz Moldawsky said: “Aviel is very well versed in IDI’s mission and activities. He has shown leadership, initiative and commitment. We are all very pleased that he will now be leading the organisation.”

Aviel Elia said: “I am very excited to assume my new role with IDI and to lead its talented and devoted staff. I was fortunate to have worked under Eli Avidar and I learned a great deal from him. IDI is in a unique position to work together with all parts of the industry to strengthen the Israeli diamond sector, by initiating new projects and by providing important assistance and tools to diamantaires, as we have in the past.”

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HSBC sets up a China Desk in Israel E-mail

The Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd (HSBC) disclosed in May that it has set up a China Desk in Israel to encourage trade and investment flows between China and Israel.

HSBC’s China Desk in Israel will help China and Israel co-operate across a number of sectors, including Internet, cleantech and healthcare. “China is shifting its economy from heavy industry and traditional manufacturing to one that is driven by services, technology and advanced manufacturing. This transition is complemented by Israel’s internationally recognised strength in innovation,” an HSBC spokesperson said.

Launched in 2012, HSBC’s China Desks have been established on six continents, including 11 in markets in Asia-Pacific, five in Europe, five in the Middle East and Africa and four in the Americas.

These desks cover more than 40 markets around the world, with some providing support to Chinese clients in multiple countries or territories. They provide HSBC’s Chinese clients with solutions in overseas markets that include strategic advisory, financing, hedging solutions and cash and liquidity management.

The new office will bolster HSBC’s existing presence in Israel, where the bank has been operating with a full banking licence since 2001.

The expansion of HSBC’s China Desks to Israel and other countries comes as the Chinese government works to refashion the flow of global commerce with its “One Belt One Road” initiative, a development plan to connect China with Europe, the Middle East and Africa through massive spending on infrastructure.

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