Beijing, China will host a unique conference in January. Beijing, China will host a unique conference in January. Beijing, China will host a unique conference in January. (Photo: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock)

What high-tech country is China turning to for help incubating startups?

January conference in Beijing brings tech and innovation companies together.

China is known worldwide for breakthroughs in technology, and now it's turning to another country to help foster even more innovation.

In early January, representatives of some big tech companies, and reps of some companies still looking to hit the big time, will convene in Beijing for the first China-Israel Technology, Innovation and Investment Summit. It’s a two-day event designed to bring together businesses, investors and others in what already is a growing relationship between the two countries.

Education is another area of cooperation between the two countries. Israel's Tel Aviv University and China's Tsinghua University are collaborating on a $300 million nanotechnology research center. And in mid-December, Israel’s Technion Institute of Technology broke ground on a new facility in the Chinese city of Shantou. It’s a joint venture with China’s Shantou University.

Earlier this year, a group of 50 students from Hong Kong traveled to Israel to learn about entrepreneurship. Watch highlights from their trip in the video below:

The tech summit in Beijing could spur more agreements like those. And it may well bring many smaller, startup companies together with investors who want to build businesses either in Israel or in China.

“The Israeli startup community has been very vibrant for many, many years. China, as you know, also takes a great interest in a lot of these Israeli companies,” Alvin Foo, who will serve on a panel on mobile technology at the summit, tells From The Grapevine. “The Israeli startups have been famous for developing some very good technology.”

Israel ranked No. 5 in the 2015 Bloomberg Innovation Index, ahead of the U.S. (6), the United Kingdom (10) and China (22).

Business between China and Israel continues to grow. Trade is booming, going from a mere $50 million in 1992 to more than $10 billion in 2013 by some accounts. Leaders of both countries just signed an accord that calls for millions to be spent on joint scientific studies in areas like nanotechnology, renewable energy and computer sciences.

Earlier this year, the two countries formed the Sino-Israeli Robotics Institute, which will be part of what is reported to be a $2 billion industrial park in China.

More than 50 Israeli companies will be represented at Beijing’s China World Hotel, where participants will have the opportunity to listen and speak with business leaders from both countries. The conference starts on Jan. 4 and is expected to have more than 1,000 entrepreneurs in attendance.

Getting into the Chinese market may not be easy. But, even with its challenges, many of the rules are the same as anywhere else.

“The idea is to run very fast. When you’re in China, the trick is to run like hell," Foo says. “The idea is to be consistently ahead of [the competition]. It’s the same with any industry, any category. You really have to literally run like hell."


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