China's Ogawa sets up Israel investment fund


The $10 million fund will invest in digital health and quality of life.

Chinese health and quality of life company Ogawa has founded a $10 million fund for investing in health and quality of life products, with a focus on investments in Israel. The fund was established through Comfort Group, a Hong Kong-based subsidiary of Ogawa, in cooperation with Chinese investment group RJ Group.

Ogawa is also planning on establishing an innovation center in Israel that will either hire local engineers or local subcontractors to develop health products. The center will focus on digital health, home monitoring of medical indicators, sports performance monitoring, and esthetic medical devices for the home.

The center will be the Chinese company's first in Israel in the medical field. Chinese company Fosun Pharmaceutical Group operates an innovation center in Israel, after acquiring medical esthetics company Alma Lasers in 2013 for $240 million, but Comfort Group's activity in Israel will be the first by a Chinese concern in Israel that is not based on a local company.

The investment fund is already in the processes of negotiating with a number of Israeli companies. Comfort Group is also in talks with other companies for the purpose of distributing or manufacturing their products in China. The entire group is also interested in investments in Israel in cyber and artificial intelligence, in addition to the health field.

The Chinese group's liaison person in Israel is Rafi Aviram, a former senior executive at a number of Israeli medical equipment companies. Among other things, he was VP marketing and business development at Telsys and Canadian company Mio Global, a developer of pulse watches that distributed its products through the Ogawa group, which created a connection between Aviram and Ogawa. Aviram is currently an angel investor in medical equipment companies, and is also employed by the Ogawa group as an innovation manager. He will now also be one of the two managing partners in the fund and head the company's business in Israel.

"Comfort Group has products in health and quality of life, of which the leading category is massage products," Aviram says. The company sells 300,000 massage chairs a year and millions of massage products of diverse kinds. Its products are sold at 180,000 sales points worldwide, of which it owns 1,500. Comfort Group, a listed company in China, has a $1.5 billion market cap.

"The Ogawa group has 15 subsidiaries, including companies in Japan, Europe, and the US. In addition to massage, sports, and medical monitoring products, it also deals in home air purification devices," Aviram explains. The group has four production facilities.

"Quality of life is not a very developed field in Israel, although there are suitable personnel here," Aviram says. "We're interested in mechanical and biomedical engineers."

Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - - on February 14, 2018

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2018

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