Electrical engineering becomes Czech Republic's biggest industry

New figures show that electrical engineering has now become the Czech Republic's biggest industry - overtaking the country's traditional industrial sectors of steel production and engineering. Turnover in electrical engineering - which covers everything from computers to components for the car industry - has more than doubled since 2000, thanks largely to an influx of foreign multinationals.

Petr Zahradnik, head of the EU office at the Ceska sporitelna bank, told Radio Prague the data hadn't come as a surprise.

"Not so much. I think it could be surprising looking at the situation in the electronics industry let's say 10 or 11 years ago. At that time, this kind of industry was not promising at all, and many companies in this sector went bankrupt. Right now, the situation is completely the opposite. This segment of the industry is a target for many multinational companies coming to the Czech Republic, and also the domestic companies have recovered very successfully. So these two factors in my opinion have played the most important role in the current performance of the sector."

But it's true to say that the domestic Czech electronics industry is completely dwarfed by the multinationals?

"Yes, I fully agree. However the value added created in those multinationals is created from the domestic sources, and I fully agree that companies such as Masushita, Philips and so on play a very important role both in a European and a global context. Some of those companies located in the Czech Republic export some 90-95 percent of their production, but on the other hand, domestic electronics companies are very much in demand, by the automotive industry, by the chemical industry and so on."

Turnover in the electronics sector grew to 436 billion crowns last year, that's more than 17 billion dollars, outstripping the steel industry which had a turnover of around 400 billion crowns, and engineering with 374 billion. A total of 23 electronics plants have been built in the Czech Republic since 2000.