Israel’s Bank Leumi and Ping An, China’s largest insurance group, signed a strategic cooperation agreement earlier this week to promote the entry and integration of Israeli high-tech companies into the Chinese market. The agreement was signed as part of the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to China, marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries. 

As part of the agreement, Leumi-Tech, Leumi Group’s high-tech banking arm, will constitute a bridge between Leumi Group customers and the Ping An Group. Israeli technology companies with potential and interest in entering the Chinese market, will be introduced to Ping An, which will assist these companies either through establishing relationships with Ping An subsidiaries, integrating suitable companies in high-tech complexes built by Ping An’s real estate company, or by introducing them to relevant Chinese entities. Ping An will also aid in the process of obtaining financial and tax benefits allocated by the Chinese government for the benefit of technology companies in general, and start-ups in particular.

The cooperation agreement was spearheaded by Leumi-Tech, led by Ms. Yifat Oron, and Leumi’s representative office in China, Mr. Eyal Shimoni. The representative office was established in Shanghai in 2013, with the aim of assisting Israeli companies operating or wishing to operate in China, as well as helping Chinese companies operating or planning to operate in Israel. Leumi is currently the only Israeli bank operating in China, employing a team who is deeply familiar with the business and financial sectors in China. The office has, since its foundation, been establishing close working relationships with leading Chinese organisations, including banks, investment houses, leading commercial entities in China, government officials and others.

Leumi Chairman, Mr.David Brodet, who participated in the economic delegation that accompanied the Israeli Prime Minister’s visit to China, signed the cooperation agreement with Ping An on behalf of Leumi. Mr. Brodet, who was among those who promoted the establishment of a Leumi representative office in China, said at the signing ceremony: “Our precedent strategic alliance with Ping An is the result of the maturing of two strategic processes led by Leumi Group: Assistance to Israeli companies facing the enormous Chinese market, through our representative office in China, and, fostering and promoting Israeli high-tech, through Leumi-Tech. This cooperation will open a broad gateway for Israeli high-tech companies to the world’s largest market, and will also help the State of Israel’s economic image and activity vis-à-vis China”.

Ping An President, Mr. Andrew Zhou, commented: “We attach great importance to the strategic agreement with Bank Leumi, and I hope and believe that many Israeli high-tech companies will join the program and will be able to reap the fruits of this important cooperation.” 

Leumi-Tech CEO, Ms. Yifat Oron, who will be responsible for the agreement’s implementation, sees the considerable potential benefits for the Israeli high-tech sector presented by the cooperation. “Leumi-Tech has, in a very short period of time, become the financial home for the Israeli high-tech industry, thanks to the tailored services and products we offer to this unique industry, alongside the opportunity we provide to Israeli high-tech companies in order to develop in Israel and worldwide. The cooperation agreement with Ping An is an important new milestone in the service we provide to our customers, and will assist many Israeli start-ups to enter one of the biggest and most significant markets in the world, with the potential for virtually unlimited growth. It is well known that the cultural gap and differences in language are major barriers for Israeli companies on their way to penetrating the Chinese market. This strategic alliance ensures assistance with both of these barriers and other obstacles, considerably easing the process of opening the door to dozens of Israeli high-tech companies,” said Ms. Oron.

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