A small city in southern China is looking to Israel to help transform into innovation hub
Jul 20, 2018 (China Knowledge) - Amid the escalating trade conflict between the US and China, Israel has been very receptive to these investments given its lack of a significant domestic market and its view of Chinese companies as potential partners.
Recognizing the potential, Chinese municipalities are opening trade offices in Israel to tap directly into business and trade opportunities. The city of Dongguan in Guangdong Province in southern China is one of a handful of municipalities to do so, launching operations this past January to promote business ties in the private sector and seek opportunities in the public sphere.
The inception of the Dongguan Economic and Trade Office in Israel is a part of the city's municipal plan to adjust its economy to become more international and innovation-based, according to the office's deputy director Eric (Qian) Wang, a Chinese government official.
In a June interview with Israeli media, Mr. Wang said Dongguan hopes to achieve this feat by attracting international companies to partner with the city to develop an ecosystem for tech development. Dongguan also opted to establish a trade office in San Francisco and send trade representatives to Dubai, Johannesburg, Tokyo, and Vancouver.
Wang describes Dongguan, with a population of 8.2 million, as "an industrial manufacturing hub seeking to transform into an innovation economy," marking a shift from "made in China to ‘innovated' in China."
According to the Dongguan trade office, due to its strategic location on the South China Sea, Dongguan and its neighboring cities, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong – referred to as the Greater Bay area – will play a significant role in developing, manufacturing and distributing Chinese technology. As part of the Belt and Road initiative, China is looking to transform the region into the world's largest commercial zone. And as the country's largest southern port center, it will serve as an important link to sea ports across Asia and Europe.
Wang says Dongguan is "in Tel Aviv looking for opportunities and partnerships with Israeli entrepreneurs," hailing the country's reputation as an innovation hub. Israel's leadership in life sciences, IoT (internet of things), smart logistics and advanced manufacturing aligns with Dongguan's interest to develop these sectors, he adds.
In particular, he indicates that the office will be responsible for educating Israelis on Dongguan's business environment, serving as a potential entry point for Israeli companies into South China, introducing business contacts of Chinese providers, arranging visit programs, and advising on logistical and cultural adjustments to the city.
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