It has always been said that Israelis have much to be proud of. We built a country within a few decades, and we still survive in a sea of hostile countries, we founded the IDF, which helps us survive this savage sea, and we established our very own Silicon Valley, emulating the American Silicon Valley, with a flood of varied technology companies.
Over long years, including today, we tend to compare the collection of technology companies founded within Israel's borders with those founded from sea to shining sea in the US, and even boast of the fact that a tiny country like our own gave birth to a number of technology companies out of all proportion to its size.
And yes, we grabbed the number 2 spot (right after the US) in the list of countries that have sent technology companies to Nasdaq, the world's largest trading platform for technology shares, and to pat ourselves on the shoulder.
But in the past two years, there has been an upset. Almost without us feeling it, we've been pushed from second to third place. Another country has up-shifted, overtaking us on the curve, stealing our silver medal, showing us their back, and disappearing over the horizon: China.
An official announcement from last week states that China has 116 companies traded on Nasdaq, while Israel (according to a "Globes" survey) has only 98 representatives on all of Wall Street (including Nasdaq, the Pink Sheets, and the New York Stock Exchange).
Moreover, since the beginning of the year - hold on tight - eight Chinese companies have held IPOs on Nasdaq, 13 companies have moved up from the Pink Sheets to Nasdaq, and one switched from the American Stock Exchange (the third largest stock exchange in the US) to Nasdaq.
As for Israel, the situation is dire. Not only are the Israeli companies on Nasdaq not in the triple digits, not a single Israeli company has been floated on Nasdaq in the past two years. Zero. Zip. Furthermore, there is not even a prospectus for an IPO by an Israeli company to enter the gates of Nasdaq or another US exchange. The last Israeli IPO on Nasdaq celebrated its second anniversary on Friday, Shaul Elovitch-controlled 012 Smile.Communications Ltd. (Nasdaq:SMLC; TASE: SMLC), and this is nothing to celebrate, given the figures mentioned above.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on November 1, 2009