Many Israeli startups are trying to seize business opportunities in China. How big is technological potential of the Israeli startups? What does "Chinese Dream" mean for them? To answer this question, Gil and Nir, founders of NoviSign, accept our interview invitation.
Why "Chinese Dream"?
Gil has been working for a big company for more than 10 years before starting his own business. Four years ago, Gil and his friend Nir, together with some partners, established NoviSign, an internet venture company, which is committed to providing convenient and low-cost digital marketing solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises. Both of them show great expectations toward China, especially Nir, whose father was once the representative of Teva company in China. Now Nir travels around China almost every year.
1. Great market potential in China
In Gil and Nir’s opinion, all Israeli starups know the fact that the Israeli market is very limited because of its small population. As an innovative digital signage SaaS platform service provider, NoviSign, which mainly serves the European market, cannot make a breakthrough there because of the slow growth in recent years. In Asia they only have partners in Japan, but Japanese market is also quite limited. Gil tends to believe that market in China is vast and fast-developing with great potential and prospect. The communication between China and Israel gets closer these years, entrepreneurs in Israel have better understanding, confidence and expectations from China. That is the reason why they choose China as the second important market after Europe.
2. Mature development of Chinese Internet
Nir points out that Israel has lots of internet startups, some technologies are quite progressive, but in terms of market development, Israel is still far behind China. Nir has observed European market, and found out that Chinese internet users’ education level is higher and internet market is more mature than in any European country. So, NoviSign, as a new media product service, can reduce marketing education costs while entering Chinese market. In a matter of fact, many Israeli companies have noticed this phenomenon. An Israeli QR code company which was invested by Alibaba, enters Chinese market rapidly as it notices Chinese users’ habit of using QR code, while users in Israel and Europe barely use it.
What kind of "Chinese dream"?
1. Doing business with China
The first step of "Chinese Dream" is to set up relationships with China: first of all, to earn China’s acquisition and investment, then to choose a way to expand Chinese market.
The next step will be expanding the market through NoviSign agents in China in early stage, meanwhile, trying to understand and study Chinese market during that process.
2. Localization in China
Unlike other entrepreneurs, Nir is quite familiar with China, and he thinks users in Israel and Europe have similar customs and thoughts, which make a unified product for all three markets. However, the Chinese internet users have different ways of thinking and have their own regional characteristics, they use the products that are quite different from those of American and European users. That’s why some products, which can be popular in Europe, might not be accepted in China. Nir and his team believe they can enter Chinese market successfully, and it is worth trying to localize their products and develop new applications.
Challenges before realization
1. Great differences between China and Israel
As the CEO of NoviSign, with great hope to enter the Chinese market, Gil is also worried about the differences between Israel and China. The most obvious one is the cultural difference. Nir mentions that it takes more time to do business with China, and Chinese people are used to making friends before doing business. Nir thinks that making friend with a Chinese partner (a long-term relationship) is an excellent business culture.
2. Talents strategy
Nir and Gil think their company needs Chinese partners in order to enter Chinese market in the coming future, even though some Israeli companies have communication conflicts during cooperating with Chinese partners. On the other hand, most Israelis job hoppers and it’s hard to keep the talents for long. Besides, the lack of Chinese local talents is another challenge before Israeli startups realize the "Chinese dream".
Two founders of NoviSign said that Israelis enjoy meeting challenges, no matter there are upcoming unknown difficulties. They are preparing for the "Chinese dream", like many other Israeli startups.