Although the credit crunch has taken its toll on economies worldwide, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released some positive numbers for 2010, predicting global economic growth of 3.1 percent. Much of this recovery, however, is expected to be the result of Asia’s economic expansion.
Slovakia has been making efforts to add more fuel to its relations with several Asian countries, especially Japan and Taiwan, while also trying to attract more Asian foreign direct investment. This leads to the questions of: why, how, where and with whom.
Since Japan is one of the most advanced and technologically sophisticated countries in the world, occupying a position as one of the world’s strongest economies, it is important for Slovakia to nourish economic relations and to pave the way for a further inflow of Japanese FDI.
Focusing the attention of Japanese companies on Slovakia is a long-term process however: one which requires the active presentation of the country. Exploring and entering the Japanese market requires cooperation with established local partners who know the area and have databases of contacts.
Slovakia’s embassy in Tokyo, as well the Japanese Embassy in Bratislava, the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), the Kansai Economic Federation (Kankeiren) and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) and lately the Tokyo Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) and the Nippon Keidanren are all partners for Slovakia’s investment agency SARIO, which works to explore the market and inspire interests of foreign investors.
Initial contacts with Japanese local partners were established in 2008, as a result of a partnership with Kankeiren and OCCI. The same year, SARIO launched its first “Slovak Investment Seminar in Osaka”, where the Japanese audience appreciated the Electrical Engineering angle of the seminar that highlighted current high-tech trends offered by the Association of Electro-Technical Industry in Slovakia.
SARIO addressed the issue of being eager to catch up with Japan's approach to innovation and to understand its motivations, while also comparing these to conditions within the Slovak R&D environment, at the Tokyo R&D Investment Seminar 2009. Keio University, Waseda University and Tokyo Institute of Technology have also been provided with information about Slovak R&D.
Perhaps one of the milestones so far has been SARIO’s contact with one of the most comprehensive economic organisations in Japan: the Nippon Keidanren. This move has opened doors into Slovakia for a number of potential Japanese investors.
SARIO will for the third time in a row be persuading Japanese investors to place their capital in Slovakia, at a seminar held on November 24th, 2010 in Tokyo. The participants will look into both pre-crisis and post-crisis developments of the investment environments and economy, and the impacts of the downturn on labour markets will be compared. Dia Moulding Slovakia (Mitsubishi Corp.) will also share its own experience of doing business in Slovakia.
Taiwan is an overlooked gem
Taiwan is the hub of notebook-producing companies and home to the world's largest manufacturer of made-to-order chips. Today Taiwan has a dynamic, export-driven economy, where exports have provided the primary impetus for industrialisation. The trade surplus in Taiwan is substantial and its foreign reserves are some of the worlds largest.
Taiwanese companies are interested in the Slovak business environment but still do not have enough information about Slovakia, according to SARIO. Despite this, three main business centres in Taiwan, Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung, have recently hosted a series of investment seminars, organised by SARIO in cooperation with the Slovak Cultural and Economic Office, to promote investment opportunities among the Taiwanese companies.
Representatives of AU Optronics, a recent example of a successfully implemented Taiwanese investment, shared their experiences of doing business in Slovakia.
“Europe is one of the decisive markets for our production with high potential and, based on effectiveness, our company has decided to place a production factory in Slovakia,” said Kuen Yao Lee, the Chairman of AU Optronics Slovakia. “The Trenčín factory will become AUO’s major European production base for the production of large-sized LCD modules.”
SARIO expects these activities to evoke the interest of Japanese and Taiwanese companies into setting up their businesses in Slovakia. Investment projects completed by SARIO from these two countries have the potential to create more than 8,000 new jobs.
Domestic organisations, international organisations, chambers of commerce, associations of entrepreneurs, government institutions, investors, and other business-related representatives, are all welcome to join in with the mission to further increase awareness of the “Slovakia” brand. n
More information about Slovak business environment you can find in our Investment Advisory Guide.
6. Dec 2010 at 0:00 | Compiled by SARIO