Arieli Capital to set up innovation center in China for maritime tech

Holding and investment company Arieli Capital has signed an agreement for a strategic collaboration to set up a technology innovation center in China’s southern city of Sanya that will focus on maritime technologies and shipping.

The innovation center, which will host an investment fund, startup accelerators and incubators, will be part of an initiative to set up a science and technology zone in Sanya, with an investment of 3.5 billion yuan ($529 million) by China Merchants Group, a multinational state-owned corporation that offers freight forwarding services, professional logistics, port transportation, real estate, financial and insurance services.

The agreement for the innovation center was signed by Arieli with the city’s innovation and technology unit, the Yazhou Bay Science and Technology City Administration, and China Merchants Group.

As part of the accord, Arieli Capital will run the innovation center, which will incorporate an investment fund, accelerators and incubators, and be part of the international ocean technology ecosystem that China Merchants seeks to develop in the city.

Arieli Capital has offices in New York, China and Tel Aviv, and operates a global venture arm that manages and invests in technologies, hubs and accelerators. Arieli Capital runs a number of innovation centers, including an agricultural innovation center in Israel, together with the country’s largest regional council Ramat Negev Regional Council. The firm also runs an innovation center in Eilat that focuses on marine technologies, tourism and agriculture.

Part of Arieli’s scope will be to connect the new center in Sanya with the innovation centers Arieli runs in Israel and around the world, the statement said. This connection will create an opportunity to provide Israeli companies and startups with direct access to Chinese partners, “including some of the largest industrial and investment organizations in the ocean industry – shipping companies, tourism, agriculture, universities, research institutions, industry brands,” the statement said.

According to a Credit Suisse 2020 report, the ocean and marine industry market size is estimated at $3 trillion per year, or 5% of global GDP, Or Haviv, a partner and international innovation manager at Arieli Capital, said in the statement. “It is an industry that impacts over 200 million jobs worldwide. The aim of the collaboration as we see it, is for Israel to connect with the innovation center in China and play a significant role in this major industry of Ocean Tech.”

The innovation center’s first building is already in the process of opening its over 10,000 square meters of workspaces, labs and business centers, the statement said. The second phase includes turning the innovation center into a center for marine industry and research, which will lead to the development of over 430,000 square meters earmarked for residential and commercial areas, labs and business centers for researchers and companies from around the world.

A special neighborhood for Israelis will also be set up, the statement said.