Jennifer; I agree with you that it is this type of stereotypes coupled will poor country expossure on the world market stage that have kept the myth of southern Europe as backwards. The opportunity is here for the various governments in southern Europe to re-package their strength (hard working people) and a relatively safe environment to the manufacturers in light of the wave of unrest in the Middle East.
"The question now is whether Hungary is still attractive today. The answer probably depends on what companies are looking to get from establishing a presence there"
Jennifer you are right. Each country has their own wide variety of resources and economic benefits. Some may be rich with natural resources; other may be equipped with technology development and some other with low man power cost or good economic growth and single window system for investment. So the main deciding factor is which industry is suited for that particular scenario or situation. For example, for IT connectivity (broadband/DSL) is more important, similarly for manufacturing company’s low cost manpower important. I don’t think any particular country have all these factors together. So the investment purely depends on requirement.
Nemos - you raise a good question I'm not sure how to answer. Or at least I may not be able to answer delicately. Living in Barcelona, I've heard more than my share of comments about the state of Southern Europe (apparently that seems to include everything south of Toulouse/Milan/Vienna) and how it's perceived as being less efficient than Northern Europe. Even people here in Catalonia (south of the arbitrary Toulouse dividing line) refer to Spain as North Africa - and they mean it in a cruel, demeaning way. I suspect a similar perception exists with Greece and FYROM. They're those guys down there in the south....
I don't put a lot of credence into those stereotypes, and I, too, often wonder how money flows around the world and lands in one place but not another. Right - what makes Hungary, Romania or Bulgaria more lucrative options than Greece Spain, Portugal, Italy, Albania, or Macedonia. In theory, they all have desirable geographies for reaching European, North African and Middle Eastern markets, and generally they all have work ethics and sensibilities that look and feel European. Maybe it comes down to something as simple as branding and marketing. Maybe the Polish and Hungarian govts did a better job of selling themselves to the international community 10 years ago and used all the keywords OEMs wanted to hear.
Personally, I think now is a very interesting time for Southern European countries to make their case. These countries are reeling from the recession, are looking for ways to strengthen their economies, and have a creative and skilled labor force at their fingertips who unfortunately have to accept wages below the EU average wage. I'm not suggesting these countries sell their souls or get in bed with companies who want to exploit their workers, but now's a good time for national redevelopment agencies to start shining up their PR story and making the hard sell to close a major electronics deal.
I am always wondering, why countries like (Greece, etc.) who has small labor cost comparing with countries from Central Europe. they don't have factories. I saw the map you posted Greece is not even existed in the map!.And the big question is why? Why, for instance, Jabil chooses Hungary and not F.Y.R.O.M?
Susan, I think you're right - it's too early to pick winners yet in Central & Eastern Europe, or say which countries will be designated as more important countries. The market hasn't reached full maturity yet, but I think some of this will sift itself out in the next 3-5 years. Government stability, fiscal responsibility, foreign tax breaks, and a perception as open innovation hub may tip the scales and will make some places more attractive than others.
FlyingScot - You raise a good question about the former Yugoslavian countries. Slovenia is already in the EU, and Croatia is slated to join in 2013. Having EU backing is important for these countries to grow and prosper. Slovenia, which is much further along in having EU clout, is attractive geographically and citizens there are relatively wealthy with high purchasing cache. I tend, however, to think of Croatia as a more attractive high-tech distribution hub, mostly because of its extensive Adriatic coastline. I wouldn't be surprised if port infrastructure improvements gain investment attention, particularly in a place like Rijeka, which already has bustling port and is within easy reach to Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovenia via land transportation.
I believe Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, & Montenegro are further behind on a number of fronts (speculation on my part), but their attractiveness for biz investment may depend on their Balkan neighbors' successes and failures. If their neighbors are unable to convert corporate interest into actual business or places like Poland and Hungary take on higher-skilled production-related capabilities, these countries may be able to win some deals for lower-end manufacturing scene. Just a guess. What have you heard about these places?
Hungary and Poland are cases of countries which have been experiencing changes in many spheres and the manufacturing industry is just one of them. Central Europe presents interesting upcoming and emerging business possibilities and opportunities, but maybe it's too soon to claim they may be big and important players in the electronics supply chain so soon.
I would say Poland has the edge over Hungary in becoming a European power house. Hungary has a good academic reputation but I do not imagine it will become a major European player. The same might be said for other small landlocked former Eastern block countries. What do you see happening in the states of the former Yugoslavia concerning business growth and investment opportunities?
EBN Dialogue enables and encourages you to participate in live chats with notable leaders and luminaries. Not only editors and journalists, but the entire EBN community is able to comment and ask questions. Listed below are upcoming and archived chats.
Thailand Stages a Comeback Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Microsoft Surface: Potential Winners & Losers What are the implications for the electronics industry supply chain of Microsoft Corp.'s decision to launch its own tablet PC? Join industry veteran and EE Times' systems and OEM expert Rick Merritt on Tuesday, July 3, at 12:00 pm EDT for a Live Chat on this subject.
Join EBN contributor Jennifer Baljko on Thursday August 23, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. EST for a live chat on how electronic manufacturers in Thailand have shored up their supply chain to reduce the impact of future natural disasters.
Peter Drucker famously said "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window." Yet in the razor's-edge world of electronics—with a lean supply chain and just-in-time demands—the need to know the future is vital.
While no one really can accurately predict the future, we can take guidance from another Drucker saying which is the best way to predict the future is to create it.
You've heard the saying "the No. 1 supply chain risk is your people." That hasn't always been the case. But today's complex global supply chain requires a new type of multitalented employee. It's one who understands, finance, marketing, economics, is savvy with technology, graceful with relationships and can think analytically.
Where are these people? Are universities properly preparing the next generation supply chain professionals? How do train your existing workforce for these new, demanding positions?
Brian Fuller, editor-in-chief of EBN, will lead a 60-minute Avnet Velocity panel discussion that will ask and answer these and other questions swirling around today's supply-chain talent challenges.