Tech TLV

What inspired Alibaba to choose Israel for its first foreign R&D Center?

Speaking with James Spiro at Tech TLV, General Manager at Alibaba Israel Lihi Zelnik shares what made the Asian company come to the Middle East

James Spiro 13:0403.11.21



“For Alibaba, we are the first foreign and non-Chinese R&D center, but why? What is special or ‘the feather in the hat’?” asked Lihi Zelnik Manor, General Manager at Alibaba Israel, when speaking at Tech TLV in Israel. Even though the Chinese eCommerce company has had a center in Israel for four years, their presence here in Startup Nation has remained low-key until they were ready to reveal themselves and the hyper-personalized photo and video app they have been developing.


“The answer we found is that we are very good at finding the sweet point that integrates product thinking and technology,” she continued. “Many people are good at developing technologies, and many people are good at product thinking, but here we know how to create and leverage and harness the technologies required to create a great product. And this synergy between product and technology I think is unique to Israel... this is the reason that even though we’re in Israel, we are developing a product for the Chinese market. Because we have this ability.”


You can watch the entire exchange in the video above