Israeli tech companies eye Asia to evade potential European sanctions

( Israeli technology companies are increasingly eyeing Asian markets in order to increase the demand for their products.

The Akihabara district in Tokyo, Japan. Israeli companies, with encouragement from the country's government, are increasingly eyeing Asian nations like Japan for their exports. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

In the wake of rising anti-Semitism in Europe and possible trade sanctions against Israel resulting from advances by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement on that continent, the Israeli government is urging companies to diversify their export markets to other parts of the world.

Recently, several firms in the Netherlands and Denmark ended their business relationships with Israeli companies. But Europe remains Israel’s largest trading partner, with Asia coming in second. The Israeli Economy Ministry estimates that only 1,000 of 3,000 current Israeli exporters trade with Asia. Currently, Asia receives 25 percent of all Israeli exports, not far behind the 27 percent each for the U.S. and Europe. But the figure for Asia comes from exports by just two companies: Intel's Israel unit and potash producer Israel Chemicals.

"We definitely want to reduce our dependence on certain markets in western Europe,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in January. Additionally, Israeli Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett said, “Israel has made a strategic decision to diversify its commerce… I’m talking about China, Japan, India... and it's working, it's going very well,” Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, on Monday, the Chinese management consulting firm Shengjing joined forces with the Jerusalem Venture Partners venture capital fund in launching a competition to find global start-ups.

"In the next 10 years, Israeli high-tech will have a significant Chinese component... and China can become a significant player in the Israeli economy," said Nechemia Peres, co-founder of Pitango Venture Capital, Israel Hayom reported.

Posted on February 4, 2015 .