When market appeal becomes strong enough to buck long-standing diplomatic tradition
With the high-tech sector making up about half of its total industrial exports, Israel is forging strong trade ties with the emerging economies of Asia. Leading nations of Far-East Asia — namely Japan, China and Singapore — have launched series of efforts to court Israeli technology sector.
In the age of global competition where technological edge makes all the difference, no significant players in Asia wants to miss out on the disruptive and game-changing innovation going on in Israel. The recent big ticket acquisition of Israeli start ups by Asian multi-nationals is just part of this growing cooperation. Asian players want to build long-term partnerships with Israeli businesses, entrepreneurs, start ups and universities to jointly develop the next generation of high-tech products and solutions.
Countries like India, China and Japan; which in past have been hesitant of openly engaging with Israel — to avoid offend oil-supplying Arab countries — are changing their long-held adverse stance and strengthening commercial and diplomatic ties with the Jewish State. Leading technology news website TechCrunch reports:
China and Japan are forging deeper ties with Israel’s burgeoning tech industry. While China has been active in the Israeli market for some time, Japan, too, has launched a series of efforts to court the Israeli tech scene.
The signs of warming ties between Israel and Japan can perhaps be traced to 2014 when Rakuten, the largest e-commerce platform in Japan acquired Israel-based messaging app provider Viber Media for $900 million.
On January 26, Sony announced its intention to acquire Israel-based Altair Semiconductor for $212 million and during the same week, Honda — eyeing Israel’s vehicle intelligence technologies, apps and software — flew in a group of executives and engineers from Japan and North America to attend the equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd’s annual summit in Jerusalem. (…)
Japan’s presence was also notable at Cybertech 2016 in Tel Aviv where the country was looking to forge closer ties with Israeli cybersecurity companies and technology ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
In early 1990s, the collapse of the Soviet Union led to the dismantling of the biggest pressure group shaping government policy and intellectual attitudes across Asia and Africa hostile towards Israel. Today, Israel’s advancements in technology are swaying previously adversarial countries to a greater partnership. Israel’s technological edge in field of agriculture, water treatment, renewable energies, IT, telecommunications and healthcare is of great interest to the developing nations of Asia and Africa.
Israel’s annual trade with China has crossed over $10 billion, and trade with India is pegged at just below $5 billion each year. These numbers are significant, considering Israel’s bilateral trade with China and India during early 1990s was just around $50 million and $200 million respectively. With focusing on technology-driven sectors and by negotiating bilateral trade agreements, Israel hopes to double its annual trade with both Asian giants, home to more than one-third of the world population.
While thugs of the anti-Israel boycott campaign might be busy strong-arming some lone investment banker in Scandinavia to divest his grandmother’s pension fund, Israel is forging trade and technology ties with the emerging economies of Asia.
The wildest ‘victories’ these BDS-bullies can ever dream up of, would still be just rounding errors in Israel’s weekly Asian balance sheet.
[Cover image courtesy Office of the Prime Minister of Israel, YouTube screenshot]
[Writer is an Indian Journalist based in Europe]