18 June 2019 - 15 Sivan 5779 - ט"ו סיון ה' אלפים תשע"ט
Israel and the Philippines eyeing joint financial protocols E-mail

According to local media reports in the Philippines, the government of Israel is proposing to establish a financial protocol with the Philippines to streamline the exchange of information on trade and investments between the two countries.

In a statement last month, the Department of Finance (DOF) in the Philippines said that during a meeting with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Israel’s Ambassador to the Philippines Rafael Harpaz proposed the establishment of a financial protocol with Manila to promote bilateral trade and investments.

Harpaz underscored the need for a financial protocol as at least 10 Israeli companies have expressed interest in investing in New Clark City in Pampanga, which is being showcased by the Duterte administration as the country’s first smart and green metropolis, according to the DOF.

“It is something we can look into,” the Israeli envoy was quoted by the DOF as saying. The envoy also pointed out that Israel has already concluded and signed financial protocols with some other countries in the region.

Dominguez welcomed Harpaz’s proposal and tasked Finance Undersecretary Mark Dennis Joven, who heads the International Finance Group of the DOF, to co-ordinate with the Israeli Embassy on the matter.

The Finance chief also said that the Philippines and Israel can explore possible partnerships in the technology and construction sectors.

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Mobileye making more inroads into China’s autonomous car market E-mail

Israel-based Mobileye, which makes technology for autonomous driving, is expanding its business in China with two new partnerships, paving the way for smaller Israeli competitors that could benefit from Sino-US trade tensions.

Mobileye, bought by Intel in 2017 for US$15 billion, has been making inroads in China, the world’s biggest auto market, where self-driving projects are being rolled out at a rapid pace.

Mobileye has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Great Wall Motors to integrate advanced driver-assistance systems in a range of vehicles over the next three to five years and to develop more advanced autonomous systems for China. A second partnership with Beijing Public Transport Corp. and Beijing Beytai aims to bring autonomous driving to public transport. Mobileye did not disclose financial details of the deals.

“There is a strong pull for Israeli technology in China,” said Erez Dagan, the company’s vice president of product and strategy. Mobileye signed 16 deals in China in 2018, when half of the company’s design wins were Chinese, he said.

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Lohia Group acquires component company Light & Strong Ltd. E-mail

India’s Lohia Group entered the aerospace and defence sector on 11 February by acquiring Israeli composite company Light & Strong Ltd. No financial details were disclosed.

Based in the Kannot Industrial Park near Gedera, south of Tel Aviv, Light & Strong specialises in the production of aerospace and military carbon fibre and glass fibre composite components.

Lohia Group said that the Israeli firm’s military technology manufacturing capabilities will provide a synergistic fit for its expertise in large-scale manufacturing across sectors. Lohia Group added that it would leverage Light & Strong’s client base, which includes Israel’s Ministry of Defense. The Israeli facility is a well-established aero-structure manufacturer for platforms such as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and passenger and cargo aircraft. These customers will now be supported by Lohia Group via its facilities in Israel and India.

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New scholarship fund launched for Indian startups in Israel E-mail

A non-profit organisation, along with a trade association of Indian IT and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) industry, has announced a US$50,000 scholarship fund for Indian startups accelerating in Israel.

The fund, created by MassChallenge Israel, along with the Deshpande Foundation and the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM), would also provide a unique opportunity to win up to half a million Israeli shekels (US$135,000) in cash prizes.

“A US$50,000 scholarship fund has been created to support up to 10 Indian startups qualified for MassChallenge Israel’ 2019 accelerator cycle,” explained Ido Atiya, spokesperson for MassChallenge Israel.

MassChallenge was founded by John Harthorne and Akhil Nigam in 2010 with the aim of making it easy for entrepreneurs to launch and grow new ventures.
Headquartered in the US, it has offices in Boston, Israel, Mexico, Switzerland, Texas and the UK.

The selected Indian startups will join the other 2019 MassChallenge Israel finalists for a four-month equity-free accelerator programme in Jerusalem, in which they will have an opportunity to win a cash prize.

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Japan’s Recruit invests in Israeli cryptocurrency startup Beam E-mail

Tokyo-based Japanese internet giant Recruit Co Ltd has made an investment in Israeli cryptocurrency startup Beam, which has developed a cryptocurrency focused on protecting users’ privacy.

Sources say that a total of US$5 million was invested in Beam. Among the other investors was Israeli crypto investor Ofer Rotem, who heads the Collider Ventures investment fund.

The Japanese company invested in Beam on 18 February through a blockchain investment fund called RSP Blockchain Fund Pte Ltd., which it set up in November last year.

A pioneer of Japan’s internet industry, Recruit focused in its early stages on employee placement, resembling LinkedIn, but has grown into Japan’s largest internet company, providing a host of online services.

Beam was founded in March 2018 and issued its cryptocurrency on 3 January. It is headed by CEO Alexander Zaidelson, while a well-known name on the team is senior advisor Guy Corem, who founded and heads DAGlabs Blockchain Company, oneofthefirstIsraelicompanies to enter the bitcoin mining field.

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