Chairman Chung attends construction launch at Hyundai's Nosovice plant
After months of delay the South Korean automaker Hyundai began construction on Wednesday on a one-billion-euro car assembly plant in Nosovice, northeast Moravia. The ceremony was attended by Hyundai's chairman Chung Mong-Koo, facing a prison sentence at home for corruption. The troubles at Hyundai haven't stopped the company from going ahead with this huge investment project.
When the Nosovice plant reaches full production, some time in 2011, the Czech Republic will be turning out more than a million cars a year, making it Central Europe's biggest carmaker. The Hyundai factory is the biggest ever foreign investment project in the Czech Republic, and will employ around 3,000 people when production begins in 2009.
Workers at Skoda Auto have just won a 13 percent pay rise, admittedly spread out over two years, after a day of strike action. That's led some to speculate that the Czech Republic's days as a competitive place for big foreign companies to do business are numbered.
That speculation is rejected by organisations such as CzechInvest, the government's inwards investment agency, who say the deal is proof of the good relationship between unions and employers in the Czech Republic, itself a good reason to invest. Whoever's right, it is fair to say that the country is still enjoying a huge boom in foreign investment.