TEL AVIV, Israel--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Israel's Bank Leumi and Ping An, China's largest insurance group, signed a strategic cooperation agreement earlier this week to promote the entry and integration of Israeli high-tech companies into the Chinese market. The agreement was signed as part of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to China, marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
As part of the agreement, Leumi-Tech, Leumi Group's high-tech banking arm, will constitute a bridge between Leumi Group customers and the Ping An Group. Israeli technology companies with potential and interest in the Chinese market will be introduced to Ping An, which will assist these companies either through establishing relationships with Ping An subsidiaries, integrating suitable companies in high-tech complexes built by Ping An’s real estate company, or by getting them acquainted with relevant Chinese entities. Ping An will also aid in the process of obtaining financial and tax benefits allocated by the Chinese government for the benefit of technology companies in general and startups in particular.
This international agreement stems from the Leumi Group's desire to leverage Leumi-Tech's capabilities in assisting Israeli high-tech companies that wish to penetrate the Chinese market, through cooperation with a major Chinese entity. This cooperation will constitute a foundation for these companies and is necessary for them to succeed in China.
The cooperation agreement was spearheaded by Leumi-Tech, led by Ms. Yifat Oron, and Leumi’s representative office head in China, Mr. Eyal Shimoni. The representative office was established in Shanghai in 2013, with the aim of assisting Israeli companies operating or wishing to operate in China, as well as helping Chinese companies operating or planning to operate in Israel. Leumi is currently the only Israeli bank operating in China and it employs a team that is deeply familiar with the business and financial sectors in that country. The office has established close working relationships with leading Chinese organizations, including banks, investment houses, commercial entities, government officials and others.
Leumi Chairman, Mr. David Brodet, who participated in the economic delegation that accompanied the Israeli Prime Minister's visit to China, signed the cooperation agreement with Ping An on behalf of Leumi. Mr. Brodet, who was among those who promoted the establishment of a Leumi representative office in China, said at the signing ceremony: "Our precedent-setting alliance with Ping An is the result of the maturing of two strategic processes led by Leumi Group: assisting Israeli companies facing the enormous Chinese market, through our representative office in China, and fostering and promoting Israeli high-tech, through Leumi-Tech. This cooperation will open a broad gateway for Israeli high-tech companies to the world's largest market, and will also help the State of Israel's economic image and activity vis-à-vis China."
Ping An President, Mr. Andrew Zhou, commented: "We attach great importance to the strategic agreement with Bank Leumi, and I hope and believe that many Israeli high-tech companies will join the program and will be able to reap the fruits of this important cooperation."
Leumi-Tech CEO, Ms. Yifat Oron, who will be responsible for the agreement's implementation, sees considerable potential benefits for the Israeli high-tech sector from this cooperation. "Leumi-Tech has, in a very short period of time, become the financial home for the Israeli high-tech industry, thanks to the tailored services and products we offer to this unique industry, alongside the opportunity we provide to Israeli high-tech companies to develop in Israel and worldwide. The cooperation agreement with Ping An is an important new milestone in the service we provide to our customers and will allow many Israeli startups to enter one of the biggest and most significant markets in the world, with the potential for virtually unlimited growth. It is well known that the cultural gap and language differences are major barriers for Israeli companies on their way to penetrating the Chinese market. This strategic alliance ensures assistance with both of these barriers and other obstacles, considerably easing the process and opening the door to dozens of Israeli high-tech companies," said Ms. Oron.
Leumi-Tech, the high-tech banking arm of the Leumi Group, one of the leading and largest banking corporations in Israel, was founded in 2014 with the main goal of promoting financing and development of the Israeli high-tech industry. Leumi-Tech provides companies operating in Israel and abroad with a comprehensive package of services, including: credit and financing, investments and partnerships, unique products and services tailored to the specific needs of the industry, and an innovative global platform for managing their international financial operations. Leumi-Tech is headquartered in Tel Aviv and operates offices in London, New York and Palo Alto. Out of hundreds of start-ups established in Israel in 2016, over 60% chose Leumi-Tech as their financial provider.
About Ping An:
Ping An, China's largest insurance group, and largest non-government-owned company, was founded in 1988. The corporation has 110 million private customers and 2.5 million commercial customers, with 1.3 million employees. In 2015, Ping An was declared the world's second-largest insurance company. It is ranked 32nd among the 2,000 leading companies in the world according to Forbes, and 12th worldwide among financial institutions, with total assets under management amounting to 765 billion USD (as of March, 2016). The company is traded on the Hong Kong and Shanghai stock exchanges, and operates in the areas of insurance, banking, online financial services, investments, and real-estate. The group's real estate arm constructs high-tech complexes throughout China, and has built, among others, the tallest tower in China (in Shenzhen, at 660 meters high), which serves as the company's headquarters.