China Investment Forum seen as opportunity to boost further investment in Czech Republic
This Monday saw the start of the China Investment Forum in Prague, billed as a key platform for building future business ties. Organisers, the Czech-Chinese Chamber for Bilateral Cooperation and Prague Castle alike hope it will spur future Chinese investment. This, after the Czech and Chinese presidents met in Prague earlier in the year and signed numerous economic accords in Prague, which the Czech head of state, Miloš Zeman, estimated as worth 95 billion crowns (3.2 billion crowns).
Not long ago, Foreign Minister Lubomír Zaorálek suggested that the tumblers were slowly falling into place, saying that the state agency for boosting investment and business ties, CzechInvest, was negotiating about around a dozen projects worth around 22 billion crowns and that all the ongoing negotiations going on would come to a total of around 60 billion crowns, although at the time he didn’t want to speculate further. The head of CzechInvest, Karel Kučera, said on Czech TV this week in a programme dedicated solely to the China Investment Forum that there was an understandable delay before deals agreed were finalized. In his view, China could be one of the top foreign investors in the Czech Republic in the coming years.
“We expect that China, as one of the biggest world economies, will get onto the list of the Top 5. Whether it will be within the next five years is difficult to say: it depends whether we will see a really large investment project like we saw in the past with Japan and South Korea. That kind of investment by China is certainly the case in other European countries annually such as neighboring Germany.”
“The investment cycle is about 12 months long, longer than many people realise. It takes a while before new contracts are fulfilled, not unlike when you buy a new car. If it doesn’t happen to be a showroom model, there too you have a waiting period.”
The chairman of the Czech-Chinese Chamber for Bilateral Cooperation, Jaroslav Tvrdík, shares the optimism, saying he expected a record volume of Chinese investments in the Czech Republic both this year and next.