Amir Gal-Or's China <br/>Entrepreneur Magazine Column
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Israeli venture capitalist flying high in China
2018/4/16 0:00:00  From:China Daily
Amir Gal­Or has been avoiding crashes his whole working life — either in the cockpit of a plane or making investment decisions in his office.
The 56­year­old former Israeli Air Force pilot won the first business license to run a foreign venture capital company in China in 2004 after 10 years working in the same field in Israel.
“Both of my choices were strongly opposed by my par­ ents at first, to become a fighter pilot or to start my business in China, which in their opinion were too risky,” Gal­Or said. “But my achievements in two careers, on the other hand, proves that I’m good at controlling risks.”
He said the 24 years he spent as a pilot taught him how to control and reduce risks in a chaotic situation and how to accomplish a goal with only limited infor­ mation.
In 1993, while still serving in the air force, Gal­Or start­ ed a new adventure, launch­ ing a venture capital company in Israel. Because the local market was small, he said venture capital and innovation in Israel was nev­ er about the country itself, but instead going out. Until 2003, he focused on the Unit­ ed States.
Meanwhile, China was a rising world power whose rapid development required science and technology. Gal­ Or spotted the trend, real­ ized the value of melding Israel’s research and devel­ opment skills with China’s manufacturing prowess, and set up shop in China in 2004.
“Our strategy contrasts with the reluctance of many foreign investors to share advanced technology with China for competitive rea­ sons. And some would­be investors in China have steered clear over concerns about intellectual property theft,” he said.
His company invested in a Chinese firm in 2004 and helped it acquire technology for packaging semiconduc­ tor chips. He said the know­ how came from an Israeli manufacturer that was una­ ble to make money from its invention because there was no supply chain it could join there.
The Chinese buyer, China
Amir Gal­Or, Israeli venture capitalist based in Beijing Wafer Level CSP, boosted yields, reduced production costs and found a niche in packaging the sensors used in cellphone cameras — a market valued at more than $7 billion a year.
“With the huge market and friendly investment environment in China, it provides so many opportuni­ ties for foreigners like me or even our next generation to fulfill one’s potential and realize their dreams,” Gal­Or said.
Gal­Or’s wife and four chil­ dren moved to Hong Kong in 2007 and then Beijing in 2012. His son, Raz, who stud­ ied at Peking University, has attracted more than 2.1 mil­ lion followers on Sina Weibo, with videos about foreigners sharing their experiences and opinions of living in Chi­ na. He now runs his own vid­ eo production workshop with more than 20 employ­ ees.
“That’s the magical part about China,” Gal­Or said. “It’s identifying and embrac­ ing individual values no mat­ ter where you come from. Everyone could find a way to take root and thrive. People used to talk a lot about the American dream, but I think now it’s the Chinese Dream.”
On Sept 30, he received China’s Friendship Award, the highest honor granted by the central government to foreign experts who make outstanding contributions to the country’s modernization, and met Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple.
“There is something in the Jewish mentality to a certain level that communicates well with the Chinese,” he said. “You can see it more as synagogue style: You shake hands, you meet.”
Gal­Or predicted he and his family will see a different, more advanced China in 10 years time.
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