Innovation vital to Chinese economy amid global slowdown: Israeli fund

Updated: 2013-11-30 15:11


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JERUSALEM -- China's continued efforts to promote innovation in technology, finance and other fields are key to sustaining robust economic growth amid a global slowdown, Avishai Silvershatz, managing partner of Israel's investment giant Infinity private equity fund, tells Xinhua in a recent interview.

"Many people in China believe that China needs to become a more and more innovative country," says Silvershatz. "This will give China the full greatness of a world leader and compensate for the slowdown of the world economy."

Innovation has become a hot topic in China as it's key for China to advance from "Made in China" to "Designed in China" and " Invented in China", says Silvershatz, whose fund has been operating in China for 10 years. "There is a great desire from the central government, local governments and business sectors to move toward innovation."

Innovation is really a combination of many things, including innovation in technologies, fund-raising in financial markets and acquisition of companies in other countries, says Silvershatz, also a cofounder of Infinity equity fund.

"Through innovation, China will become an even stronger economy. Importantly, this was clearly manifested earlier this month in the resolutions of Chinese authorities, which call for setting up a system that encourages technological innovation and improving the venture capital system," he says.

"China is looking for partners who can help it improve its innovative ecosystems. This is a good news for us dealing with innovation," he notes.

Infinity Group, founded in 1993, entered the Chinese market in 2003. It is now managing close to $900 million worth of funds, including a US dollar fund and 17 local renminbi funds. It also runs an IP (intellectual property) Bank and a number of incubators in China, such as the one in Harbin, northeast China.

Israel is a major source of innovation in the world and there is a strong desire from China's authorities and its business sector to see Israel's technology innovation coming to Beijing, Silvershatz says, adding that there is a huge demand in China for Israel's technology in the fields of environment, water, agriculture, clean energy and IT.

"IP Bank helps Israeli technology companies establish cooperation with Chinese companies, license their technology to Chinese companies," he says while elaborating on Infinity Group's involvement in China's innovation drive.

"We take some advanced Israeli technologies, license them to Chinese partners, and perform knowledge transfer processes so that Chinese partners can not only use the existing technology but further develop it," he says of the group's unique IP Bank, a joint venture between Infinity Group and Chinese partners.

"The basic idea is to bring Israeli technology innovation to China and create a win-win result," he explains.

Besides IP Bank, Silvershatz says his company also sets up incubators in some Chinese cities to help with the growth of innovation companies. "We have a lot of experience in running technology incubators in Israel for many, many years," he says.

Silvershatz adds one of the priorities for his company in the future is to employ its global networks to help Chinese companies sell products in developed countries and acquire companies in Israel, the United States and other countries.

Noting that many multinational companies established research and development centers in Israel, he predicts that over time " definitely" more and more Chinese companies will come to Israel to buy local startup firms and then turn them into their innovation centers.