MidEast

Summit Highlights Role for Israeli Innovation Throughout Asia

Israeli innovation can help Asian countries cope with their most critical demographic, social, and environmental threats, according to participants at the recently concluded Israel-Asia Summit in Tel Aviv. an Indian official explained to Israeli outlets how the Jewish state’s innovation culture – and the products it produces – can help address income inequality in the region:

“India faces a lot of “bottom of the pyramid” issues with a majority of the population living on less than two dollars a day,” Dr. Arvind Gupta, the National Technology Head of the opposition BJP party told The Media Line. “These people are ready to consume innovation fast and they will take solutions from Israel or anyplace else in the world.” Israel offers some unique opportunities for “co-creation” with Indian entrepreneurs, he says. “There is a lot of fresh thinking in Israel,” he said. “This is as good a place to do business as any place in the world.”

Gupta’s statements echo those of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who a few weeks ago declared that Israel is the “most promising investment hub” outside the United States. They come as Britain and Israel have signed a memorandum of understanding cementing the scientific cooperation between the two countries.

Summit participants also heard that Israeli innovation can help Asia cope with the effects of the continent’s coming “silver tsunami”:

A “silver tsunami” in Korea, the fastest-aging population in the world, means that more than 20 percent of its population will be elderly by 2026, according to Korea Economic Research Institute president Choi Byung-il. In China, the proportion of elderly is set to triple by 2050. Japan’s graying population, said TMT Strategic Advising partner Levi Shapiro, “is a great opportunity for investment.”

With a lower proportion of young people to care for the increasingly old population, technology can play an important part in not only care, but recreation as well. “Is anyone thinking about the over-60 market for iPhone apps?” Zeffert asked. Whether building technological toys for the elderly, robotic dogs or age-friendly cars, she said, Israeli technology could fill a major gap. “We have the technology, we just don’t fully understand the market,” she said.

Global interest in Israeli technological innovation has complicated efforts by fringe activists to promote boycotts of the Jewish state.

[Photo: israelasiacenter.org]