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Israel seeks high-tech ties with Indian states

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Israel is now keenly looking at growing economies like India and China

DavidAaronBANGALORE, INDIA: After carving its niche in the US and developed countries, Israel is now keenly looking at growing economies like India and China. With the help of the platforms like events and discussion forums, it aims at increased collaboration with India.

Speaking to Akanksha Prasad of CIOL, Aaron Mankovski, chairman, High Tech Industry Association (HTIA) and David Keynan, founder and CEO of BDO-i2i, talked about Israel market and their expectation about the forthcoming HTIA Annual Conference and Delegation, which is being held in Jerusalem from June 6 to 10, 2010. Excerpts:

Why did you change the name of the conference from the earlier Israel Venture Association (IVA) High Tech Conference to High Tech Industry Association Annual Conference?

Aaron: Israel Venture Association (IVA) had been taking the high tech conference with a different approach. Now we are aiming at bringing in more knowledge sharing and collaboration between Israeli firms and their globals counterparts. We intend to continue this pattern with greater emphasis on new markets such as China and India.

This is part of the continuous shift, which is happening in the industry. For instance, we observed from past years, a paradigm shift in the focus among the Venture Capitalist companies from credit creation to value creation.

Today, companies have become more involved and serious in value building of start-ups rather than a short-term gain. Out of the 750 VC companies that operated in the US during 2000, only 450 survived. In Israel, only 15 VC firms could survive in their business, against 85 that operated in 2000. We feel that the industry should focus more on value-based businesses rather than looking at short-term gains.

With this renewed focus, companies would look forward to the future with a better outlook and gain more from global markets, through partnership, collaboration and meetings.

We feel this conference will open up new avenues for businesses globally. Hence the change in the name to include all stakeholders in the tech industry.

How do you see this event helping the association and the Indian industry? Compared to the previous years, there is an increased participation from the Indian firms...

Aaron: The event will be a great opportunity to meet Indian and Israeli players. This is part of our focus towards strongly growing economies like China and India. We have invited many Indian firms and ministries to participate in the conference.

The important invitees include Secretary of IT at the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Government of India; secretaries of IT from various states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Around 4-5 projects in partnership with the state governments are expected to kick off during the event.

In the past few years, the Association successfully managed to bring VC backed companies to meet with key executives in companies such as Nokia, Dell, IBM, TI and more, as well as with foreign financial investors.

The association will act on a quarterly basis to initiate business missions abroad and host foreign delegations in Israel.

As a result of such efforts, this year, we have India Semiconductor Association (ISA), Communication, Multimedia And IT Association (CMAI), Manufacturers Association in Information Technology (MAIT), State Bank of India (SBI), Tejas Networks and Shyam Telecom participating in the event.

How would you demonstrate the uniqueness of Israel in innovation?

Aaron: Innovation, creativity and cutting-edge-technologies are in the gene of Israel. We are using this platform to showcase products ranging from applications, solutions to hardware, all with the latest technologies. We have sessions on the latest trends, innovations and next wave ahead like Automotive – All About Advanced Technology; Consumer Electronics Trends and Future Directions; India: The Next Frontier for Israeli Technology; Technology of Education – Global Commitment to Future Generations and many more.

We have around 50 companies participating in the conference and demonstrations of some innovations in the field of communication, wireless, WLL etc.

What is the state of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in Israel's economy? How big is the ICT's share in that? Could you share an idea about the growth in the FDI in ICT in the country over the past couple of years?

Aaron: The investment in information and communication technology is somewhere around $1.2 - $1.5 billion on a yearly basis. A large portion of this comes in as FDI.

I would not be able to share the exact number right away, but yes, there has been a significant increase in this. In 2008, the export of electronic and software industries contributed to more than 50 per cent of Israel's industrial export.

Israel's technology industry is a major contributor to national gross domestic product (GDP), and contributes 26 per cent of the country's GDP.

Could you share about global IT services companies who have their centers in Israel? I believe companies like HP, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle already have established R&D centers there...

David: There are 3000 technology companies in Israel. It is the second largest non-USA country in terms of the number of NASDAQ-listed companies, with around 120 companies listed.

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), State bank of India (SBI) and Tejas Networks are among a few Indian companies who have their presence in Israel.

HP, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, Nokia Siemens Networks, Applied Materials, Intel and Motorola are other examples of companies having their R&D centers in the country.

Could you share an overview about the workforce in the country?

Aaron: Israel has a good talent pool of engineers and scientists. We retain the highest rate of scientists and engineers, which is around 140,000 people, followed by USA and Japan.

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