Alibaba chairman Jack Ma today met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem. The meeting took place shortly after the state visit by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The prime ministers also discussed bilateral business ties between the two countries and implementation of their trade and aviation agreements. This was the third meeting between Netanyahu and Abe, two of which have taken place in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu greeted Ma by saying, "It's wonderful to welcome you to Israel… you are a very successful leader in a very competitive business, and in a very competitive world. The world belongs to those who innovate, and Israel is the nation of innovation."
"We have received many requests, and we have seen a great many people, and in the next two days, we will be very busy… I think that thanks to your leadership, we are discovering that this country is much more peaceful than we thought, and both the economy and security are strong," Ma told Netanyahu.
Netanyahu told Ma that the Alibaba group had excellent reasons for investing in Israeli innovation. Ma said that he was currently visiting Israel with a group of 28 young Alibaba group presidents, and that he was impressed by the business opportunities in Israel.
This is the third time that Netanyahu and Ma have met. They met previously during the prime minister's visit to Davos in January 2016 and during Netanyahu's visit to China in March 2017. During these meetings, Netanyahu invited Ma to visit Israel.
Alibaba senior executives today visited the offices of OrCam, the new company of Mobileye founders Prof. Amnon Shashua and Ziv Avraham. The executives watched a presentation of the OrCam MyEye 2.0 product's technology designed to improve the lives of the blind and partially sighted by using artificial vision to make them independent. The product has a wireless unit containing a microprocessor and camera connected by magnet to reading glasses and sunglasses. The product makes it possible to read texts, identify faces and colors, etc.
Ma is finishing his third day in Israel. Accompanied by 35 Chinese CEOs, Ma yesterday visited the Old City of Jerusalem and the Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Center. He is scheduled to attend a festive event at the Israel Museum, a meeting that will include instruction on Jewish tradition, and a meeting with businesspeople.
The CEOs accompanying Ma continued on to a series of meetings in Jerusalem with the Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) venture capital fund. Alibaba has invested tens of millions of dollars over the past two years in JVP, Alibaba's strategic partner in Israel. Some of the companies operating from JVP's offices in the former railway station site were presented to the CEOs.
The unusual and interesting timetable of the Alibaba executives continued today with a meeting with author Yochi Brandes, who told them about Jewish meditation through the Bible. The entire Alibaba delegation is scheduled to hold its third work meeting on Friday in JVP's offices in Jerusalem.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on May 2, 2018
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