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Third Annual China Israel Innovation Forum held in Shenzen

An elite group of Israeli and Chinese researchers, business leaders and policy makers discussed cooperation and unveiled a new center

Tel Aviv University, in partnership with Tsinghua University and Morningside from Hong Kong, held the third annual China Israel Innovation Forum (CIIF) in Shenzhen on November 30-December 1, 2018. The invitation-only gathering welcomed 120 influential individuals from academia, government, and industry from China and Israel to explore the latest in technological developments and university-driven innovations.

“The CIIF is about taking our ideas and research beyond academia to impact people across the globe,” said Prof. Joseph Klafter, President of TAU, who co-chaired the event along with Prof. Qiu Yong, President of Tsinghua University and TAU Honorary Doctor, and Mr. Ronnie C. Chan, Co-founder of Morningside, Chairman of Hang Lung Properties and TAU Honorary Doctor. “The academy-industry collaboration that CIIF celebrates allows us to harness the power of ideas and turn them into life-enhancing and life-saving innovations,” Klafter continued.

Prof. Qiu Yong echoed this sentiment: “Tsinghua and TAU share in the mission to be global forces for higher education and technological advancement. Innovation in the areas on the CIIF agenda – such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and digital health – hold the key to a better future.”

During the Forum meeting, TAU and the Tsinghua Berkeley Shenzhen Institute (TBSI) launched a new center in Shenzhen for collaborative research, startup acceleration and incubation, and business relations. Bridging Tel Aviv and Shenzhen, the center will advance Israeli projects entering the Chinese market, and vice versa. It will serve as a gateway for startups coming out of Ramot, TAU’s technology transfer company, as well as startups funded by TAU Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund focusing on TAU students and alumni.

“Our new center with TBSI, which spans the globe from Tel Aviv to Shenzhen to California, is a direct outgrowth of the ties we have forged and nurtured through this Forum,” said Prof. Klafter. “We are excited about this new opportunity.”

For the first time, the China Israel Innovation Forum was held in Shenzhen at the Four Seasons Hotel. In recent years, Shenzhen has led the growth of an innovation-driven economy in the greater bay area of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau. The city has become a hotbed of information technology, biotechnology, industrial and fashion design, and fintech.

His Excellency Zvi Heifetz, Ambassador of the State of Israel to China, delivered opening remarks. “I’m delighted to be part of this important initiative which enhances the bilateral relationship between Israel and China” said Heifetz. “The Forum provides a unique platform to strengthen academic, economic and diplomatic ties.”

CIIF continues the close cooperation between TAU and Tsinghua University as well as TAU’s extensive activities throughout China which include joint academic programs, faculty exchange, cooperative research with more than 30 of the country’s most prominent universities, training programs, study tours, tech transfer, and more.

“As the relationship between two of the world’s oldest civilizations comes of age, I have no doubt that China will be more than happy to join hands with Israel in pursuit of innovative solutions to meet today’s pressing global challenges,” said Forum co-chair Ronnie Chan, one of China’s most influential businessmen and a longtime friend of Israel and TAU.

Orly Fromer, CIIF Executive Director and Director of Academic Relations and Business Development in Asia for TAU, added: “What sets CIIF apart is the powerful academia-industry-government alliance which, ultimately, translates into better research, stronger business partnerships, and game-changing innovations.”

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