Li Ka-shing

Li Ka-shing bets on Israeli science institute to build new technology school in Guangdong

Mogul's charity fund helps to bankroll building of Israeli science institute campus in Guangdong

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 September, 2013, 4:53am

Tycoon Li Ka-shing has donated US$130 million to a top Israeli science institute to help build a campus in his home town in Guangdong province in a joint project with Shantou University.

The donation offered to Technion - the Israel Institute of Technology - from charitable organisation the Li Ka Shing Foundation is the largest ever to the institute and "one of the most generous in the history of Israeli higher education", a statement from the foundation and the 101-year-old institute said. It was also one of the biggest one-off donations made by the foundation.

The statement said the new school, dubbed the Technion Guangdong Institute of Technology (TGIT), would represent "unprecedented co-operation" between Technion, Shantou University, Guangdong's provincial government and the Shantou municipal government.

The two governments will set aside 900 million yuan (HK$1.1 billion) to fund TGIT's construction and initial operations, and a 330,000 square metre site for a campus next to Shantou University.

TGIT will begin offering undergraduate programmes in civil and environmental engineering and computer sciences in the 2014 academic year.

By 2020, it will offer programmes in other engineering-related fields, from mechanical to aerospace engineering.

An innovation centre will be involved in the establishment in Shantou, to connect industries in Guangdong with Israel's technological creativity and to promote joint research and innovation, the statement said.

The tycoon has several investments in Israel, including app developer Waze Mobile, which created GPS navigation app Waze. The profit on the recent sale of Waze to Google became part of the donation to Technion.

Li said yesterday that the collaboration "combined the start-up nation with the nation of endless opportunities".

Israel is seeking to boost exports to new markets such as China and India as Europe, long its primary market, struggles with the euro-zone debt crisis.

Additional reporting by Bloomberg