November 23, 2015

PM Sobotka visits Huawei development center

Chinese tech firm agrees on cooperation with Czech universities; other deals announced

Shanghai, Nov 23 (ČTK special correspondent) — Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka visited today a development center of Huawei Technologies and the Shanghai plant of Czech carmaker Škoda Auto.

Representatives of Huawei Technologies and the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at Czech Technical University in Prague and of the Technical University of Ostrava signed a memorandum on cooperation, saying that this act represents a new stage in mutual cooperation.

Huawei has decided to contribute $250,000 to either of the universities for ambitious development projects. The company has been cooperating with Prague’s university for more than 10 years and with the Ostrava University for over a year.

Sobotka appreciated cooperation with Huawei, one of the three largest firms in the field of mobile communications and tablets in the world, and said he hopes that bilateral ties focused on new technologies, research and development will expand in the future.

At Škoda Auto’s plant, Sobotka met leading officials of the company and had the possibility to see the production of the Yeti model, which seems to be popular in China. A big advertising campaign has been launched in the country to boost Yeti’s sales. A number of Skoda models have been made in China.

Skoda sells nearly 300,000 cars there a year and its share in the market for new passenger cars is 1.5 percentage points, Sobotka told journalists.

According to Jakub Šulc of Škoda Auto, the company is betting on its new flagship Superb in China at present, though Octavia remains the top-selling model.

Škoda entered the Chinese market with Octavia in 2007. Since then it has sold over 1.5 million Octavias there.

Sobotka said he held talks with China Eastern whose representatives confirmed the plan to establish a direct air route from Prague to Shanghai next year.

“We tried to find out if a direct air connection has been opened between Shanghai and any of the 16 countries in Central and Eastern Europe in the ‘16+1’ regional cooperation format but it shows that (ours) will be the first direct air route between Shanghai and a Central and Eastern European country,” Sobotka said.

The ‘16+1’ format was intended to facilitate the shaping of relations between China and the EU.

Sobotka said the Chinese partners would be glad if the route was launched during a visit by the Chinese president to the Czech Republic. The visit is scheduled for the first half of 2016.

CEFC Investment (Europe) Company is the largest company in Shanghai that made big investments in the Czech Republic in recent months. It said today it will take over Le Palais Art Hotel Prague, a five-star hotel in Prague’s center. A framework sales contract was signed in Shanghai today.

CEFC said in a press release that the acquisition of the hotel is part of its strategy in the area of tourism. CEFC has already bought into the Czech airline Travel Service.

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