Israel and China: The ‘Odd Couple’ Trading Partners Tighten Their Ties

2803_4_EnglishWhen Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu paid an official visit to China this May, he brought along not just a group of senior Israeli officials but a delegation of Israeli business executives eager to expand trade and broaden ties between their country and the world’s most populous nation. The two countries hope to boost Israel’s annual trade with China from a bilateral volume of $8 billion in 2012 to $10 billion over the next half-decade; deepen cooperation in high technology sectors; jointly construct industrial parks and technology transfer centers, and boost agricultural cooperation.

Why does China, an industrial powerhouse with a population of 1.35 billion, care about tiny Israel, with its population of only eight million? What are the economic and strategic foundations of this bilateral relationship, and why is it so significant for Israel as well? What strategies are the Israeli government and private sector using to expand their presence — and their country brand — in China? And what are the challenges for achieving their goals?

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Originally published June 19th, 2013 by Knowledge@Wharton