Israel looks forward to stronger ties with China's prosperous southern manufacturing region, inaugurating a new Israeli consulate in Guangzhou, capital of the flourishing Guangdong province. Having begun operations in March, the new consulate is Israel's third in the country, with Shanghai and Hong Kong branches already serving Israelis living and traveling in Asia.

The Guangzhou consulate will serve the Guangdong, Hainan and Fujian provinces, as well as the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Opportunities for cooperation are most prevalent in the areas of water recycling and agriculture, as well as clean energy and computer and mobile phone technologies, according to Consul General in Guangzhou Avraham Nir. Guangdong province, one of China's most prosperous regions, is increasingly focused on hi-tech and "green" practices, said Nir.

The Consul General told the China Daily newspaper that Israel was recently named the world's most efficient recycled water user by the United Nations. He also noted that many of the computer and mobile phone technologies in use today were invented in Israel, making a partnership between the Jewish State and the economic giant a natural one for both parties.

Even prior to the new partnership, trade between Israel and Guangdong province was $1.3 billion in 2007, a quarter of all trade between Israel and China.

Guangzhou, the third largest metropolis in China, is also home to a successful Chabad house, which frequently provides services to Jewish businessmen attracted by the large Canton business fair held annually in the city. According to Chabad emissary Rabbi Eliyahu Rozenberg, there are an estimated 200 local Jews residing in the area. While some non-Jews, often wives of Jewish men who came to the region, have expressed an interest in converting to Judaism, Chinese anti-proselytizing laws have prevented Chabad from performing conversions.

Guangzhou is currently the sister city of many international cities, including Los Angeles, Dubai, Durban, Bristol, Lyon, and Sydney.