In Business News this week: CzechInvest claims annual doubling of mediated investments; developers see recovery in Prague new property market; economic crime, mostly committed by staff, on the rise; more foreign filmmakers seek Czech support; record player maker plans marked increase in production; bitcoin ATM launched in Prague.
CzechInvest last year mediated direct domestic and foreign investment to the tune of almost CZK 48 billion, the state agency said this week. That figure represents a two-fold rise on 2012 and is in part down to investment incentives. CzechInvest said the deals it had brokered helped create over 10,500 new jobs. Local companies accounted for the majority of the money invested, while Germany topped the list of foreign investors, according to the agency.
Prague’s market in residential properties has recovered completely from the crisis, according to a forthcoming first-quarter analysis of the construction industry from CEEC Research quoted by the Czech News Agency. When it comes to new properties, developers expect to see a growth in both supply and demand in the Czech capital this year and in 2015, the study found. Suggested reasons for this optimism are low interest rates and expectations of an overall economic revival.
Forty-eight percent of companies in the Czech Republic have been the victim of economic crime in the last two years, according to a global survey released this week by auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers. In 2011, 29 percent of Czech firms reported they had fallen foul of such activities. In the most recent survey, theft or embezzlement by employees accounted for 80 percent of Czech economic crime, compared to 69 percent on average worldwide.
Foreign filmmakers are this year focusing strongly on the Czech Republic as a potential location. Almost 80 film projects – around 30 more than in 2013 – have been submitted for partial funding from the State Cinematography Fund. It has CZK 500 million to spend each year and offers to cover up to 20 percent of film makers’ costs of shooting in the Czech Republic. But with many projects submitted, for many the funding share-out is likely to fall well short of the maximum allowed.
A Czech firm claiming to be Europe’s biggest producer of “hi-fi quality” record players plans to boost production this year. SEV Litovel will increase its output by a quarter and produce up to 100,000 turntables by the end of 2014. A spokesperson said a cheaper line introduced last year had proved successful and that demand was growing on foreign markets, particularly the UK and Germany. The record players are sold under the brand name Pro-Ject.
The Czech Republic’s first ATM enabling the purchase of the virtual currency bitcoin has been unveiled at a Prague workspace shared by people in the technology field, Hospodářské noviny reported this week. The Czech-developed ATM works by scanning the QR code of a virtual wallet from a smartphone to make a cash deposit and then sending bitcoins to the wallet. More than three dozen firms in the Czech Republic are now accepting the virtual currency.