Haier Establishes Innovation Foothold in Israel
The Chinese appliance maker is looking for local technologies and innovations to incorporate into its products
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The center will focus on finding local innovations and technologies, mostly in the domains of sensor technology, materials, chips, Internet of Things, smart homes, and energy. Companies that meet Haier's requirements will become Haier suppliers, and Haier will also assist Israeli companies looking to expand to the Chinese market.
“We have been working with Israeli innovations for more than five years. Now we decided to deepen our involvement in the Israeli ecosystem. This is a long term strategic investment,” said Wang Ye, general manager of the advanced innovation center at Haier’s Appliance Group.Haier Electronics said it currently controls 30% of the Chinese household appliances market. According to company data, by the end of 2016 the company made 1333 venture capital investments totaling $2 billion and supported 108 incubators and 3600 incubation projects. The center is a strategic part of the Haier Open Partnership Ecosystem (HOPE), an online community launched in 2013 for the purpose of facilitating innovation and technological exchange between companies, researchers and entrepreneurs. Daniel Oleiski, former CEO of electronics company Explay Ltd., is the new center's CEO. Haier also signed a non-exclusive agreement with Start-Up Nation Central, a non-profit organization that promotes Israeli innovation globally, to assist Haier with navigating the local startup ecosystem. “Helping Haier with continuous access to leading technologies in their fields of interest –IoT, big data, energy– will help them become more competitive, more innovative and more dominant in their markets," said Start-Up Nation Central’s CEO Eugene Kandel. "Israeli companies will gain continuous access to the new challenges Haier encounters in the markets, giving Israel’s tech sector fuel for new innovations." Haier is the last in a long line of companies announcing innovation centers in Israel. In August Chinese-based Legend Holdings, the controlling shareholder of computer manufacturer Lenovo, announced its intention to establish a presence in Israel. Earlier this month Amazon confirmed previous Calcalist reports announcing the opening of a new research and development center in Israel for its voice enabled personal shopping assistant Alexa. Last week, Calcalist cited sources saying Samsung is examining the option of building an Artificial Intelligence research center in the country.