Czech Republic: Doing business and staying in touch
Doing Business in Czech Republic
Czech society is still largely male-dominated, with a large proportion of older businessmen, though things are slowly changing. Dress is conservative for older businesses, while new companies tend to be more relaxed. English is widely spoken, particularly amongst the younger generation, but it is a good idea to check if an interpreter will be needed in advance.
By and large, the Czechs are a warm people who value hospitality. In some instances, when dining with Czech business colleagues, it will emerge the bill has quietly been settled. If this happens, visitors should accept gracefully and find a later means of showing appreciation.
Initial business meetings can be serious affairs, during which even business partners refer to one another by title and surname. The use of first names is a mark of friendship, but using them without permission is rare, especially among older groups. Degrees are considered important and are always used in addressing correspondence. However, most businessmen and women in the Czech Republic are tolerant of foreigners who do not follow these rules.
Punctuality is essential – colleagues should be informed of any unavoidable delays. Avoid visits during July and August as many businesses close for the holidays.
Years of stringent state control and public ownership during the Soviet era took its toll on the economy of the former Czechoslovakia, and caused the economy of the new Czech Republic to flounder and fall into recession in 1997.
But now the country is reaping the benefits of an aggressive reform policy, which included a programme of mass privatisation (the majority of economic input is now in private hands) and an overhaul of the country's financial system.
The Czech Republic's long-standing membership of the IMF, World Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and, of course, the European Union has afforded the economy a further boost, with the country strengthening trading relationships in the EU. It no longer relies on trade with Russia; Germany is now its biggest export and import partner.
Prague is the country's main conference venue, with a dedicated Congress Centre and many high-end hotels with meeting facilities. Good hotel facilities are also available in other major Czech cities.
$193 billion (2016 estimate).
Cars, vehicle parts, digital disk drives, monitors and projectors, and electricity.
Cars, vehicle parts, digital disk drives, petroleum, insulated wire
Main trading partners
Germany, Slovakia, Poland, UK, France, Italy and Austria.
Keeping in Touch in Czech Republic
There are plenty of public telephone booths; international calls can be made from any of them. Most of the public telephone booths take phonecards, which can be purchased at hotels, tourist information offices, newsagents and tobacconist shops. Surcharges can be quite high on long-distance calls from hotels.
The Czech Republic uses the GSM 900 system, and is 3G compatible. Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies and coverage is excellent.
Wi-Fi is available in most hotels, bars and cafes, negating the need for internet cafes, although there are still plenty of these in the cities. Some venues may levy a charge for usage.
Private media in the Czech Republic mushroomed in the 1990s, and private radio and TV stations provide stiff competition for public broadcasters. Public TV broadcaster Česká televize operates two networks and a 24-hour news channel.
Czech public radio, Český rozhlas (CRo), operates three national networks as well as local services. The Prague Post newspaper and Czech Business Weekly magazine are published in English, while the main Czech dailies include Mladá Fronta Dnes, Právo and Lidové Noviny, the country's oldest daily paper. Two major private television channels broadcast nationally and there are more than 70 private radio stations. Radio Prague has programmes in a number of languages including English.
Airmail takes a couple of working days to reach other European destinations; allow up to a week to North America.Post Office hours
Mon-Fri 0800-1800, 0800-1200 Sat.