Chinese Expansion in Czech Republic

Starting with the purchase of the elegant Zivnobanka building on Prague´s top High Street Na Příkopě and Martinicky Palace just close to the Prague Castle, Shanghai investment group CEFC launched its acquisition spree in the Czech Republic.

First wave of its Czech acquisitions included, among others, acquisition of a 50% share in Travel Service airlines, an almost 80% share in the Czech Republic’s sixth largest beer producer – Lobkowicz breweries, and an approximately 10% share in J&T, a major Czech-Slovak financial group, with a prospect of gaining an additional 20% as soon as approved by the Czech authorities. Acquisitions in CEFC´s main business domains – energy sector and natural resources – are expected to follow soon.

However, the untraceable owners of CEFC are not the sole Chinese players entering the Czech market. President Milos Zeman, who is an ardent supporter of close economic ties with China, personally held an official reception at the Prague Castle to celebrate opening of a tiny Czech branch of the Bank of China. This unprecedented fawning upon China made president’s critics and many independent commentators raise eyebrows.

With another significant player – China Construction Bank – which is about to launch its activities in the Czech Republic next year, it is beyond any doubt that Chinese shopping fever in the Czech Republic is not related to Chinese tourists only.

Mgr. Radek Werich