Technion USA - Winter 2016-2017 - page 6-7

and invest-
ment groups
with hefty
are looking
to Israel and
Silicon Valley
to acquire
and invest
in high-tech
continued on page 16
Globalization is the
way of the future. If we look
at universities in Europe and
the U.S. that are similar to the
Technion, its best students, par-
ticularly in the natural sciences
and engineering, come from the
entire world. So a few years ago
the Technion decided we should
open our gates. The Technion
International School now has
close to 800 foreign students—
undergraduates, graduates and
The Joan & Irwin Jacobs
Technion-Cornell Institute in
New York and the Guangdong
Technion Israel Institute of
Technology (or GTIIT) in
China afford us the type of
experience that many universi-
ties have now. Having the
Technion educate students in
China strengthens the relation-
ship between China and Israel
and promotes collaborative
research between Chinese
scientists and the Technion.
Does having these satellite
campuses improve your standing
around the world?
Yes. Visibility is so important.
We’re in the news, people know
about us. We participate in sci-
entific conferences all over the
world and everybody wants to
hear our story.
How did you do
it? What is the recipe?
the Technion changed from the
best-kept secret of Israel to the
forefront of Israeli higher educa-
tion. And that’s helped move up
our academic rankings.
How does Technion
globalization impact the Technion
students in Israel?
Exposure to students from so
many countries enables our
students to communicate bet-
ter with people from South
America, Europe and China, to
understand different cultures
and behavior patterns. Many
Technion students find them-
selves in multinational compa-
nies when they graduate. The
global exposure on campus pre-
pares them for professional life.
Do you envision a future
when students can take classes
at different campuses?
Absolutely. Students at the
Jacobs Technion-Cornell Insti-
tute have already visited the
Technion in Israel and had a
great experience. The exchange
of students between the cam-
puses in China, New York and
Israel enriches student life.
Because the degree in China will
be equivalent to the degree at the
Technion, a student will be able
to study in China and earn the
same number of credits. Flexibil-
ity is critical.
We also envision that faculty
members at the Technion could
have a laboratory in China,
and researchers at the GTIIT
will have a laboratory at the
Technion in Haifa, so that they
can conduct complementary
research. Having three centers
of academic education will allow
the movement of students and
What does success look
like to you?
Three elements are important
for a university’s success: having
top-notch students, an excep-
tional faculty and a mission.
When Michael Bloomberg chose
us to develop the campus in
New York City, he told me, ‘You
took an economy based on Jaffa
oranges and turned it into an
economy based on semiconduc-
tors.’ A statement of mission
should be part of a university’s
DNA. This is a service to
society, to the world, and to the
betterment of mankind—which
to me sums up our story in New
York and our story in China.
he technology world is at
the forefront of a major
trend that links Israel with
China and the U.S. for venture
capital and research. Call it the
Tech Triangle, a new angle on
how advances will increasingly
be made by collaborations among
this trio, leading to a new world
order in technology leadership.
It’s long been a given that
Israel and Silicon Valley domi-
nate in technological advances,
with such forces as the Technion
and Stanford turning out top
engineering and entrepreneurial
talent. Increasingly, China is
now seen as an innovator of
technologies, and not—as was
widely regarded in the past—
merely a copier of the best ideas
from the West.
In China’s first era of tech
entrepreneurship, beginning
in 2000, versions of several
U.S. leaders emerged: Baidu vs.
Google, Weibo vs. Twitter,
Alibaba vs. eBay. This tech race
is now emerging at a deeper level.
Propelled by top-tier universi-
ties such as Beijing’s Tsinghua,
China is getting ahead in such
key sectors as e-commerce and
gaming, and also in more com-
plex technologies including next-
generation advances in artificial
intelligence, virtual reality,
cleantech and medtech. Indeed,
China has climbed steadily over
the past seven years to rank third
worldwide for the number of
patents in force, at 1.2 million—
compared to the U.S. in the lead
with 2.5 million patents.
This is only the beginning.
nologies but a small domestic
market, it makes sense to con-
nect with a huge country that is
hungry for innovation.
Figuring out how to win the
China market continues to be
a challenge, however. Consider
how ride-sharing app Uber was
snapped up by its local rival,
Didi Chuxing. Even so, such
leading brands as Airbnb are forg-
ing ahead in China by tailoring
their marketing to local tastes.
In turn, Chinese corporations
and investment groups with
hefty checkbooks are looking
to Israel and Silicon Valley to
acquire or invest in high-tech
businesses. Horizons Ventures,
backed by Hong Kong tycoon
Li Ka-shing, has funded 26 Israeli
tech companies. In a sign of
the Tech Triangle at work, in
2011, Horizons led a $30 million
financing of Israeli mapping and
navigation startup Waze, which
Google bought two years later
for $1.1 billion.
The trend line is clearly
upward. Total capital invested in
Israeli high-tech deals with some
Chinese participation flooded in
at $500 million in 2015, com-
pared to $118 million in 2012,
according to the IVC Research
Center. The group predicts “the
vast majority” of Israeli venture
capital funds will have at least
one Chinese investor in their
financing rounds this year.
Already, Chinese smartphone
maker Xiaomi has co-invested
$11 million in Pebbles Interfaces,
a developer of motion gesture
technology. Large conglomerate
Fosun International has acquired
Israeli medical technology com-
panies and invested in skin care
business Ahava. Chinese inves-
Eager to become the world’s lead-
ing innovative economic power
by 2020, China has been on a
shopping spree in Israel and the
U.S. More than 500
delegations visited Israel in
2015. Chinese investment in
Israeli companies and venture
capital funds has surged to record
highs—and is still climbing.
Moreover, China has become
the world’s second-largest VC
market: nearly $50 billion in
venture deals during 2015 and
narrowing the gap with the U.S.,
the leader, with $72 billion.
Israel ranks fourth globally, at
$2.6 billion in 2015—on track to
double this year.
New links among these tech
powers are forming in venture
capital investment and fund-
raising. Start-up investors that
for decades traveled the Silicon
Valley-Tel Aviv highway in
search of potentially disruptive
breakthroughs are now adding
Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen
to their stops. For instance, lead-
ing Israeli VC fund Jerusalem
Venture Partners drew $10 mil-
lion from Chinese tech titan
Alibaba, while Carmel Ventures
is backed by Chinese search
leader Baidu and Internet secu-
rity company Qihoo 360. Addi-
tionally, Techcode, a Chinese
accelerator focused on artificial
intelligence and biotech, recent-
ly opened in Tel Aviv.
Expansion opportunities
in the huge Chinese market
are a major lure. Startups and
emerging companies are drawn
to China’s fast-paced market,
where technology advances
catch on quickly among a young,
tech-savvy populace. For Israel,
a country with advanced tech-
Global Vision
Rebecca A.
Fannin is Founder/
Editor of news
and events group
Silicon Dragon,
and is a
Technion President Professor Peretz Lavie’s
by Rebecca A. Fannin
We caught up with Prof. Lavie to
learn about his strategic plans for
a global Technion
Why is the
Technion going
global? And
why is now the
right time?
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