Business News

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In Business News this week: 43,000 Czechs are working legally abroad in the EU’s 15 oldest member states; the Czech National Bank wants to freeze all proceeds generated by the privatization of state assets; the country’s biggest chain of record shops has announced that it will shut five of its stores; the number of people to visit Czech websites has risen in the last two years by over 1.5 million, and a newspaper accuses Czech Railways of failing to inform clients about discounts that they are entitled to.

Thousands of Czechs working in old EU member states, but Czech migration rate remains low

Photo: European Commission
There are 43,000 Czechs working legally abroad in the EU’s 15 oldest member states. A study conducted by the Research Institute for Labour and Social Affairs found that the most popular countries for Czechs looking to work abroad were Germany, Austria and Great Britain. The study found that the Czech Republic actually had a rather low migration rate - the number of Czechs working abroad only made up 0.43 percent of the country’s overall population. According to the research, Czechs were put off working abroad by the need to master a foreign language, and the anticipated necessity of accepting menial work in a foreign country. This was coupled with rising living standards and wages at home, the study found.

Press: Czech National Bank wants to freeze proceeds generated by privatisation

The Czech National Bank wants to freeze all proceeds generated by the privatisation of state assets, so as to reduce the flow of money into the Czech economy, the newspaper E15 reported this week. In practice, this would mean that money generated by the sale of shares in Czech Airlines, the Czech post office, and the Budejovcky Budvar brewery, would be deposited in a special National Bank or Finance Ministry account. This in turn would mean that such sums would not be converted into crowns, and so the demand for Czech currency, which leads to a strengthening of the crown, would not increase further. A spokesperson for the Finance Ministry confirmed that talks were underway with the National Bank concerning the matter.

Bontonland to close five stores

The Czech Republic’s biggest chain of record shops, Bontonland, announced this week that it was to shut five of its stores around the country. The closures amount to a sixth of Bontonland’s overall number of outlets. The chain said that it would now focus increasingly on internet sales, and that the closures were a result of the growing trend amongst customers to buy their music over the internet. The firm said that in the past year, internet sales had risen by over 50% - but if you like nothing more than perusing shelves of CDs then never fear, there will still be seven branches of Bontonland left in Prague alone.

Czech websites record more visits than ever before, Czech internet literacy up

In related news, the number of people to visit Czech websites has risen in the last two years by over 1.5 million. Now, it is thought that there are over 4.5 million Czechs regularly using the net. Mediaresearch, who conducted the study, said that internet literacy had risen sharply in the Czech Republic over the last couple of years. The time that Czechs spent on the internet over this period went up as well – Czechs spend on average 21 hours 20 minutes on the web each month, which is more than double the figure recorded two years ago. The most popular websites in the Czech Republic are currently the search engine Seznam, followed by the news websites iDnes and Novinky respectively.

Czech Railways accused of failing to inform customers about discounts

Czech Railways are failing to inform their clients about discounts they are entitled to, Hospodarske noviny has reported. According to the daily, the state-run railway operator has a policy of hushing up its discount fares, and selling passengers standard-price tickets should they fail to ask for something cheaper. The company responds that it is not the job of the ticket seller to run through all the different tariffs available with each customer – it points out that there are information desks where consultation is offered. The newspaper accuses Czech Railways of being ‘stubborn’ in refusing to introduce a sales method which would automatically show cashiers the cheapest possible ticket available for any one route. Czech Railways have come under criticism in the past for its complicated system of discounts, which, experts say is not user-friendly.