Mobileye, the Israeli technology company owned by software giant Intel, is one of the most successful suppliers of autonomous driving software on the planet. Continuing its drive to dominate the global market, Mobileye has announced that it is expanding its business in China, partnering with Great Wall Motors, Beijing Public Transport Corp and Beijing Beytai, to develop and integrate autonomous systems for vehicles in China and bring autonomy to its public transport network. This move will pave the way for smaller Israeli competitors that are trying to overcome trade tensions between the US and China.
In 2018, Mobileye signed 16 deals in China. This is unsurprising, with the two companies doing over $10 billion a year in trade together. Due to this, the relationship between China and Israel has been growing for years, with Chinese investors raising $325 million for Israeli startups in the first three quarters of 2018. And, with the latest trade war from the Western market still in full-swing, there are no signs of this relationship slowing.
This success could be credited to Intel, who bought Mobileye for $15 billion in 2017, putting Israel’s autonomous driving expertise in the spotlight. The region now homes over 500 startups involved in the autonomous sector, with most coming from a military background.
As the US continues to block China from attaining technology from Silicon Valley, Israel is becoming even more important to Asia’s success in the autonomous market. The sleeping giant is about to wake up, becoming China’s key ally in the future. However, if Israel wants to establish itself as a global leader, it must not tarnish its existing relationship with the US, which has already invested in 30 of the country’s top technology startups.