Look who is investing in Israel

First Quality is not a well known company like Boeing or Siemens. That said, since its establishment 21 years ago, it has become a manufacturing giant on the American (and now Chinese) scene, whose private labels can be found in homes in over 50 countries around the world.

Go to the website of First Quality and you will find a company actively looking for the next new product leader in the fields of wellbeing, agriculture, renewable energy and more. And for all this mega performance, the company, essentially founded by a trio of brothers, has set up an innovation centre in little Israel.

The centre is led by Noam Yarimi, who this week gave an excellent talk to the Jerusalem Business Networking Forum. Present were members from a wide range of activities; biomed, wind energy, manufacturing and more. Yarimi left with a bag of business cards and a lot of homework. His bosses had made a wise choice in setting up in this part of the Middle East.

Less than 12 hours after the meeting, I opened the business pages of the Israeli press. If anyone thought that First Quality was a freak consideration, they would be very wrong.

Item 1: E-bay is opening up a new r&d centre in Israel and has just started to recruit for tens of new positions. This is after the Californian giant has purchased three indigenous start ups including The Gifts Project.

Item 2: General Electric has completed the purchase of Check-Cap Ltd, a colon cancer imaging capsule developer. Within two years, it is hoped that colonoscopies will take on a different feel. Say no more!

Item 3: ECI, one of Israel’s telecom giants, is to be bought out by Russian atomic energy giant, Rosatom Nuclear Energy State Corporation. The size of the deal is reported to be between US$2.5 – 5 billion.Not bad for a company that last changed hands in 2007 for “only” US$1.7 billion.

Item 4: InMobi, which has barely 50 workers and was set up just in 2005 for the bulgong mobile ad industry, is being handed over to a company from Singapoer for US$350 million. The original owners had put in around US$54 million.

2012 may not be a great year for the world economy. Israel’s growth may not reach 4 or 5% as in previous years. However, the commercial fizz and buzz in the Holy Land is there for all to see.

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