SOURCE: CzechInvest

June 02, 2006 14:48 ET

Leading Tech Companies Announce New Investments in the Czech Republic

SAN MATEO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- June 2, 2006 -- The strong technology ramp-up continues in the Czech Republic with news today that Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba and Hewlett-Packard are investing millions of euros in new production facilities in the central European nation.

IPS Alpha, a strategic alliance between Hitachi, Panasonic and Toshiba, today announced it will invest over 90 million euros and employ up to 2,000 people in a new Czech liquid crystal display (LCD) production facility. IPS Alpha plans to begin production in its new facility in Bohemia summer 2007 and will supply Matsushita and Hitachi plants in Europe.

"We've been working closely with leading Japanese companies. Not only does the Czech Republic provide a gateway to Western and Eastern Europe and Russia, it also has the skilled human resource assets companies need to reach key objectives," said Tomas Hruda, CEO, CzechInvest.

In total, 166 Japanese companies have operations in the Czech Republic. According to the Japan External Trade Organization, Japanese manufacturers operated 65 production bases in the Czech Republic as of year-end 2005 -- the fourth-highest number for a European country.

Japanese manufacturers have accelerated construction of production facilities in Eastern Europe since the expansion of the European Union in May 2004.

Meanwhile, Hewlett-Packard also announced the grand opening of its Czech-based computer technology supply chain headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The new facility near Prague supports HP's European headquarters in Grenoble, France. Some 100 new jobs will be created by the expansion.

HP has been collaborating with technical universities in the Czech Republic to train potential job candidates in the months leading up to the June 5 opening.

Economist Intelligent Unit reports companies doing business in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia benefit from low costs, strong skills, European Union regulations and solid infrastructure. These countries are expected to remain attractive for higher-value services for the foreseeable future.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Czech Republic doubled between 2004 to 2005, from $4.9 billion to $11 billion. CzechInvest, the Czech Republic's business and development agency, mediated a record of 154 new foreign and domestic investment projects in 2005. CzechInvest projects contributed $3.2 billion to the superheated Czech economy.

About CzechInvest

CzechInvest, the Investment and Business Development Agency, is an agency of the Ministry of Industry & Trade of the Czech Republic whose services and development programs contribute to attracting foreign investment and developing Czech companies. The agency is the sole organization that may submit applications for investment incentives to governing bodies, manage the agenda with related incentives, and manage the development of the entire system of investment support in the Czech Republic. CzechInvest also promotes the country abroad and acts as an intermediary between the European Union and small and medium-sized enterprises in implementing EU structural funds in the Czech Republic. All CzechInvest's services are free of charge. For more information please visit www.czechinvest.org.

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