Three years ago, Amnon Ronen was dodging bullets that whistled past his ear in a bunker in Hebron in the West Bank. Now the former Israeli soldier is about to open a bakery offering Middle Eastern-style bread in an upmarket district of Shanghai. 'I want to do something new,' he said. 'Opening a bakery in Israel would be like opening a Chinese restaurant in China. This is the first Mediterranean bakery in Shanghai. We would like to open many in this city and elsewhere in China.' Mr Ronen, 24, is one of an increasing number of foreigners who have come to Shanghai and set up a business. The start-up capital of US$100,000 came from a female Chinese friend who is travelling outside the country. A trained baker, Mr Ronen is manager of the operation. 'I met her in Israel and we discussed what I could do. We decided to open a bakery in Shanghai. I wanted to do something by myself. This is a new thing,' he said. Last year he came to Shanghai to study Chinese at East China Teachers University and apply for the necessary licences and permits. 'This process has taken about a year, and we expect to open in mid-October. Since this is a food business, the controls have been strict,' Mr Ronen said. Cutting through the red tape has been difficult. 'There has been too much control,' he said. 'First [officials] said they wanted ABC. We provided that and then they said they wanted D. Perhaps because we are foreigners, they have played with us a little. In Israel, I could open a bakery in one or two months.' Mr Ronan added that he did not give 'presents' to speed the process. 'I am disappointed with the time it took. I want to swim in the big market.' The two main products will be pita and laffa bread - at prices aimed at the local market. The shop will also offer take-out Mediterranean food and drinks. Shanghai has hundreds of bakeries, run by local, Taiwanese, Hong Kong and foreign companies. 'With the competition, it will not be easy,' Mr Ronen said. No one could predict the market, he said, but Israeli businesspeople were generally well regarded in China. 'In China, Israelis have a good image. When I tell people I am from Israel, they say that Jews are very smart and talented at making money. This is positive for us,' he said.