BOSTON FDI in the Czech Republic fell dramatically in 2008 as the country received more investment into R&D projects than manufacturing for the first time, according to CzechInvest, the state investment promotion agency.
Last year, a record 213 new investment projects were negotiated through the agency, 12 more than in 2007.
But total value fell steeply to 30B koruna ($1.4B) from 71B koruna ($3.4B) in 2007.
R&D and service ventures accounted for 63 percent of all investment projects, up from 32 percent in 2007, the agency said.
Among the investments were automaker Skoda, which opened a 1B koruna ($47M) automotive R&D center in December.
In addition, IBM, which runs an operation in Brno, last year decided to move the group's Central and Eastern European headquarters from Vienna to Prague.
Such projects are less capital-intensive than the manufacturing operations that have been the core of the country's FDI growth for the last decade.
The Czech Republic also lost two automotive industry investment projects worth "billions of [koruna]" in 2008 due to the global economic crisis, acting CzechInvest director Alexandra Rudysarova told the local press.
Big manufacturing investment projects peaked in 2006, she said.
On the R&D side, the Czech Republic is considered a "moderate innovator," with innovation performance below the EU-27 average, according to the European Innovation Scoreboard for 2008.
The country is attempting to lay the groundwork for a knowledge-based economy.
For example, the Czech Technical University announced plans to create a 1.6B Koruna ($76M) informatics center by 2012.
The Technical University in Liberec intends to launch studies focused on nanotechnologies and nanomaterials, which will provide the first opportunity in Central Europe to study nanomaterials.
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