TAIWAN Business.EU l institucions l agencies
nanotechnology, to name just a few. The Czech government recently approved the country’s brand-new Innovation strategy until 2030 under the slogan “The Czech Republic: the Country for the Future”, which seeks to enhance the local environment in the fields of new technology, R&D, innovation and education to meet the requirements of demanding R&D and high-value-added projects of both Czech and foreign companies and R&D institutions. CzechInvest is also placing more emphasis on attracting and assisting high-tech projects benefiting from the country’s high level of technological development and its long industrial and educational tradition. A lot has already been done, for example in the field of artificial intelligence, in which the Czech Republic is ranked among the top countries in Europe and Czech R&D institutions and companies have much to offer within AI research and implementation. Therefore, the Czech Republic is planning to apply for establishing one of the European AI Centres of Excellence. How do you perceive Czech investment in Taiwan? What role could CzechInvest have in the area to support Czech enterprises? First of all, CzechInvest has 14 regional offices that can provide export consultancy to Czech companies on behalf of the CzechTrade agency. I can see a lot of opportunities for Czech investors in both traditionally strong areas of Czech industry like automobiles and electrical systems, as well as a luxury cosmetics, crystal and designer products. Škoda Auto, Moser or Botanicus are all well established in Taiwan. Also, the area of advanced engineering is still very important. On 1 January 2017, the world's leading machine-tool manufacturer, TOS Varnsdorf a.s., merged with the Taiwanese company Litz Hightech Corp. and established a joint
Mgr. Petr Heczko, M.A. Director of the Foreign Activities Division
venture called TOS LITZ Machinery Corporation. The joint venture produces unique drilling machines, which are mainly targeted at the Chinese market, as well as Malaysia or Thailand. I personally also see a lot of opportunities for the Czech companies in modern areas like cybersecurity, environmental protection, smart city technologies to name a few. Could you please name a few areas of cooperation between CzechInvest and Taiwanese institutions? Our priority is of course to cater for Czech and foreign companies. As for the CzechInvest participation in Taiwan, CzechInvest actively helped to organise the participation of a delegation of Czech companies in the Secutech exhibition in April last year and also actively participated in the Smart City summit this year. All these activities were organized jointly with the Czech Economic and Cultural Office in Taiwan. CzechInvest continuously cooperates with TECO, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Prague, to identify fields of potential economic cooperation, e.g. within the automotive industry, electronics and R&D. Through TECO we also got in touch with TAITRA, Taiwan External Trade Development Council, or ITRI, Industrial Technology Research Institute to exchange information about business opportunities and the newest industrial technology developments. Last but not least, apart from assisting foreign companies in setting up their operations in the Czech Republic, CzechInvest is also very active in supporting the subsequent growth of Czech start-ups and SMEs on both the Czech and foreign markets. We send local start-ups abroad to selected business incubators to help them establish contacts, penetrate new markets and scale up their business abroad. So it is no surprise that the topic of start-ups has also been discussed with TECO
with the aim of interconnecting the Czech and Taiwanese start-up ecosystems. Could you please tell a little bit more about the start-up ecosystem in the Czech Republic? Within the CEE region, the Czech Republic is at the forefront of the start-up ecosystem. The Czech start-up scene has a dynamic growth and entrepreneurial spirit even if it is still in its primary stage. The “big boom” started in 2010 when first incubators and accelerators were established and first investments in start-up companies were recognized. The greatest concentration is in large cities Prague, Brno, Ostrava. Start-ups are predominantly conducting business in the sectors such as SaaS, Web Services and Mobile Software Services, Analytics / Business Intelligence and Cloud Services. One of the most highly developed segments is security, where the Czech Republic has a good foundation in the form of globally known firms such as AVAST and AVG. Currently, the Czech start-up ecosystem conglomerates around 2,000 companies. The number of start-ups is constantly growing which could also be a good opportunity for Taiwanese investors or for Taiwanese start-ups to expand their business to the Czech Republic. And CzechInvest is ready to assist, for instance by organizing an incoming mission to the Czech Republic on the occasion of the Startup World Cup Summit, the biggest startup event in the whole CEE region, planned for April 2020. Thank you for interview.
foto: Startup World Cup & Summit
Petr graduated from the Faculty of Science at University of Ostrava and completed his Eastern European Studies with a focus on intercultural communication, European ethnology, Eastern European history and economics at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. He worked as a project coordinator at the consulting and research agency MKW Wirtschaftsforschung prior to starting at CzechInvest. He has been working at CzechInvest since 2011. He started out as an information and marketing specialist, then worked as a territorial specialist for Scandinavia and worked his way up to position of DTitledirector of the Investment Development Department . He has been the Director of the Division of Foreign Activities since April 2018. Petr speaks English, German and Swedish. He is married and has two children. He likes to spend his free time with his family and enjoys travelling, cycling, reading and learning languages.