Czech Republic on Taiwan’s business map: CETRA officials

Diana Lin,The China Post

The Czech Republic is seen as a prospective new site for Taiwan business development, a CETRA-organized delegation returning from a recent trip to Europe said.

The delegation, made up of CETRA officials and representatives of various businesses, traveled to the Czech Republic to help Taiwan companies establish business posts and seek partners for market development in Europe.

What makes the Czech Republic so ideal for Taiwan’s businesses is its location in mid-Eastern Europe and its solid foundation for developing distribution businesses. Wages there are lower than in Western Europe, although premium labor quality still exists. Additionally, the country offers various benefits to companies making investments.

The Czech economy has grown steadily in the past few years, with an average growth of 3 percent from 2000 to 2002. Its market is expanding rapidly with its pending 2004 entry into the European Union, and it has already attracted investors from Germany, Austria and Japan. According to CETRA, many companies have already established assembly lines, production facilities and business posts in the Czech Republic. They include mostly businesses from the IT, automobile, airline and distribution industries such as Motorola, Siemens, Philips, Volkswagen, Chevlon, Boeing, ABB and Otis. Taiwan’s First International Computer, Hon Hai Precision, Lite-On group and Asustek Computer have all been operating assembly lines in the East European country.

CETRA pointed out that the delegation’s recent visit to the Czech Republic was a collaborated effort by its Czech-based Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and the investment bureau of the Czech government. The delegation held several seminars with many principle figures of the Czech economy, including the ING Bank, major distribution companies and leading European international financial consulting companies. Vice-Director of CETRA Yeh Ming-shui remarked that the Czech Republic’s location – it borders Poland, Germany and Slovakia – makes it ideal to attract the over 370 million residents of Western Europe. Yeh also said that the Czech Republic has excellent transportation services; for example, there are three different ways to get to Hamburg, Germany. The country’s four airports also offer European and international flights and contain two business ports used by companies such as Sony, Bosch and L’Oreal. The Czech Republic’s minimum wage per month is about US$187 for forty hours a week. To attract more investors, the Czech Republic offers many investment benefits, including the waiving of the 31 percent business tax for ten years and a subsidy of US$5,700 for each worker at a newly-invested venture. CETRA finds these options very attractive for Taiwanese businesses.