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Chinese Investors Back Israel Startups Amid Silicon Valley Froth

  • Money-hungry startups throng Alibaba bash at Tel Aviv bar
  • Targeting `core technologies,' including storage and big data
Employees and visitors sit in a lobby at the Alibaba headquarters in Hangzhou, China.
Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
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It was standing room only at Tel Aviv’s Mad Men-inspired Zou Bisou Bar on Nov. 17. Representatives from more than 150 Israeli tech startups drank wine and beer, munched finger food and jostled to get a business card into the hands of an investment team from Alibaba Holding Group Ltd.

Chinese investors are a common sight in Israel these days. Companies like Alibaba and Baidu Inc. are looking for promising innovations that will help them compete globally, while a host of angel investors are hoping to get in early enough to profit from promising startups. For Israeli tech firms it’s an opportunity to tap a huge market and a new pool of investors. In a typical deal, Alibaba invested earlier this year in Visualead, giving the e-commerce giant access to a leading startup’s mobile marketing technology.