Construction underway on Technion campus in China

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology will open a research center in Shantou, China.

Construction of the Guandong Technion Israel Institute of Technology began last month. The institute is the product of a $130 million gift from investor Li Ka-shing and will be a joint venture between the Technion and Shantou University.

“The establishment of a Technion campus in China is more proof that Israeli innovation is breaking down geographic borders,” former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres said at the groundbreaking ceremony on Dec. 16. “China is one of Israel’s major partners in technology and high-tech, and there are over 1,000 Israeli companies active in China.

Artist rendering of Technion-Shantou University joint research center in China photo/courtesy technion-israel institute of technology

“I hope that the economic cooperation between these two countries will continue to expand, as both countries have much to share with, and learn from, one another.”

Guandong Technion Israel Institute will have three units: the College of Engineering, College of Science, and the College of Life Science. Areas of study will eventually include chemical engineering, materials engineering, environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, mathematics, physics, biotechnology and food engineering, biology, and biochemical engineering.

The campus will offer Technion engineering degrees at all levels, from bachelor’s to doctorate. The school plans to enroll an initial class of 100 students for chemical engineering in 2016, with a goal of eventually enrolling 4,000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students.

The financial gift by Li, who with a net worth of nearly $30 billion is the richest man in China, is the largest ever given to the Technion. “In this day and age,” he said, “no one has an iota of doubt that technological innovation underpins a country’s ability to create collective wealth, and that it is the key impetus to individual success. Creativity is the defining centerpiece of our time — powering us into the future. Establishing a creative paradigm is not easy to set right, only through education and the rule of law can we build a free and fair, fun and fruitful future for all.”

“The combination of the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit of Israel and the unbelievable scale and resources of China will result in a great partnership,” said Technion president Peretz Lavie.

The Haifa-based Technion recently opened a joint campus in New York City with Cornell University. Cornell Tech currently offers graduate-level degrees in a temporary site in Manhattan, but is slated to open three new buildings on Roosevelt Island in 2017. — jta and j. staff