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Bratislava is the capital and the largest city of Slovakia. It is situated on both the banks of the Danube River and borders countries such as Hungary and Austria. It is the economic, cultural and political centre of Slovakia. It is home to the Ministry of finance of the Slovakian government. This shows the financial importance the city has in the country. The Financial department of the Slovakian government is working towards attracting more foreign investment in the city.
Despite being smallest by area, it is the most economically prosperous and the wealthiest region of Slovakia. It is also home to the major financial institutions of Slovakia. Several private companies have their headquarters in Bratislava.
Its proximity to Western Europe has worked wonders for it, as a lot more businesses are coming to the city and making investments. Its strategic location, state of the art infrastructure and skilled labor force really make it one of the best destinations to invest in the European Union.
Bratislava is the only city in the world to border with two countries. The city uses one fifth of its budget for investment. More than 70% of the foreign investments of Slovakia are located in this region. Volkswagen Slovakia, a joint stock company and the assembly plant of German Volkswagen AG group, has established plant in Bratislava in 1991. Over the past few years, high-tech and service oriented businesses have started opening their branches in Bratislava. Many internationally reputed companies, such as AT &T, Lenovo, Dell, IBM, Accenture and SAP have either started establishing or are planning to establish their service and outsourcing centers in Bratislava.
The Slovak Central Bank has predicted a positive growth trend for the country in the coming quarters and Bratislava being the largest city is going to benefit heavily from this growth trend. The Central Bank has predicted a growth rate of 4.3 per cent for Slovakia in the year 2011. This major upward trend is mostly driven by the exports much of which are done in the capital city.
With a population of around half a million people, Bratislava is really a huge market for investors who want to invest in the region. Its excellent infrastructure really provides access to other regions and expands the market which is really a good sign for investors.
The Bratislava region generates about a quarter of the entire Slovakia’s GDP which was $22,100 in 2008. As far as recent growth is concerned, it is seen that the Slovak economy and the Bratislava region has suffered the least during and in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009. The Slovak economy registered a growth rate of 2.8 percent in the first quarter of 2010 and the central bank of Slovak has predicted that it is going to grow at a rate of 4.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2011. Thus, the GDP growth rate of Slovakia is going to double which is a good sign for its major regions such as Bratislava. As far as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is concerned, it absorbs as much as 70% of the entire foreign investment entering the country.
The main sector of Bratislava is the services sector. As much as 75% of the entire population works in the services sector, which mostly comprises of the IT, telecommunication, tourism and financial services industries. There are various sectors worth investing in Bratislava. Some of the best sectors that provide tremendous opportunities to foreign investors in the region include Research and Development, Information and communication technology (ICT), Automotive and electronics. There are also plenty of opportunities in the chemical and wood processing sector.
The government of Slovakia is leaving no stone unturned in attracting foreign direct investment in the country. This has indirectly benefited various regions in Slovakia majorly Bratislava. Apart from this, the Slovakian government is also taking help from the Development Institute of Ireland to gain technical assistance.
With a view to encourage and increase foreign investment in the country, the Slovakian government has always known for providing lots of incentives to foreign investors keen to invest in the region. This can be corroborated from the fact that it was the local incentives that drove up the amount of foreign investments in the country. The government of Slovakia granted a tax break for 5 years to foreign firms which invested as many as five million Euros in the country. These friendly incentives of the Slovakian government have really benefited the Bratislava region as is evident from the fact that it managed to attract the majority of the foreign investment.
The Slovakian government has established an agency known as the Slovakia Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO) to promote foreign investment in the country. The SARIO has always vowed to have a pro-active investment policy that would encourage foreign investors to invest more in the country. This has largely benefited the capital city as is evident from the fact that majority of the foreign investment projects went to the capital city.
An investor-friendly government, a pro-investor investment policy, a stable economic growth, a positive growth trend, all these features really make Bratislava one of the preferred destinations to invest in the entire European Union. Investors who want to expand their business especially in Europe should not overlook the benefits this strategic region has to offer.
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