1. The Daily Telegraph, March 12, 2014: “Bilateral UK-Israel trade is booming to an extent never before imagined. Last year it was estimated by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) at 5.1 billion British Pounds…. Prime Minister Cameron’s meetings in Israel are primarily about business, not the Kerry Plan. Look at who is on the plane with him: the Trade Minister, the CEO of the London Stock Exchange, the UK Chief Technology Officer, the Chief Technology Officer of Talk Talk, the Europe CEO of Balfour Beatty, the Chairman of Princess Production, the President of GSK’s Pharmaceuticals R&D, the Chairman of Arup UK Division, the ASOS’ Strategy Director, the founder of Kiwi Power, the Chairman of MyOptique, CEO of Tura, the CEO of Tech City…. [Israel expands] free trade agreements with the European Union, the US, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey. Mexico, Canada, Jordan and Egypt…. [According to the] FCO, ‘Israeli innovations give British companies a global competitive edge.’”
2. The Wall Street Journal, March 12: “A dramatic increase in the number of foreign venture capital (vc) funds initiating first investments [in Israeli startups]…. 84 foreign vc funds made at least one first investment in Israel in 2013, an 11% increase over 2012 and a 223% over 2009.”
3. Israeli companies raised over $500MN on Wall Street since the end of January, 2014 (Globes business daily, March 3). Israel’s AudioCodes raised $30MN on Wall Street (Globes, March 13). Susquenhanna Growth Equity and Greylock led a $25MN 4th round of private placement by Israel’s Payoneer (Globes, March 6). GE and OrbiMed led a $10MN round of private placement by Israel’s Oranim Medical (Globes, February 19).
4. In 2013, foreign direct investment in Israel reached a 7 year high of $12BN (Bloomberg, March 16). Deloitte, one of world’s largest accounting firms, ranks Israel as the 4th most attractive country for foreign investors.
5. Japan Times, March 4, 2014: “Inquiries into Israeli companies have tripled in the last three years…. Rakuten, the e-commerce Japanese giant, announced plans last month to buy [Israel’s] call and messaging application provider Viber Media Inc., for $900MN…. More Japanese companies are looking at the Israeli startup market in search of innovative technologies and investments to beef up their businesses…. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. and Johnson & Johnson last August together teamed up with the Israeli government and OrbiMed to build FutuRx, a collectively owned biotech incubator. …. Samurai Incubate Inc., one of the biggest business incubation hubs in Japan announced Monday it will open an incubation center in Tel Aviv in May…. ‘I am worried that Japan is lagging behind the Americans and South Koreans in discovering up-and-coming technology in Israel,’ said Kentaro Sakakibara, head of Samurai Incubate, who plans to move to Tel Aviv. Samurai aims to invest in 10 Israeli companies in the first year while setting up a new fund with local venture capitalists.”
6. China examines dozens of joint technology projects with Israel; three years ago, there were none. China’s Li Ka-Shing is the most active foreign investor in Israel. China’s Bright Food giant wants to acquire Israel’s Tnuva Food Industries (Bloomberg, February 26). China-Israel trade balance approached $10BN during January-November, 2013. A free trade agreement is currently negotiated. Fifty Israeli high-tech companies have benefitted from Chinese investors (Bloomberg, February 27). China’s EverBright vc fund invested in Israel’s Real Imaging (Globes, February 24).
7. The Economist Intelligence Unit (March 10) expects Israel’s GDP to expand by an average 4.8% during 2014-18, bolstered by a steady increase in domestic gas supplies and exports, with an average inflation rate of 2.5%.
8. Israel’s compounded annual economic growth rate leads the OECD: 22% during the last five years. Israel’s economy has grown 180% during the last 20 years, while Israel’s population increased 45% (Adam Reuter, Financial Immunities, Israel). Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics: GDP per capita surged from $15,600 in 2002 to $36,500 in 2013, trending upward.