Monday, 12 July 2021

Croatian Koncar Succeeds in Asia with Job Contract in Japan

July the 12th, 2021 - The Croatian Koncar company, which is very well known on a global scale for its expertise and high quality work, has succeeded on the Asian market as Japanese jobs are contracted.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Suzana Varosanec writes, the Croatian Koncar - Generators and Engines (GIM), owned by its parent company Koncar - Elektroindustrija, made a very significant step forward onto the challenging Asian market back in mid-May.

Following two entire years of continuous bidding and a tough negotiation process, the Croatian Koncar company earned a large contract over in Japan for the first time in its history. In this regard, the company, one of the components of the Koncar Group, pointed out that the delivery of the signed contract includes "the design, production and supervision during the installation of three generators for two different small hydropower plants."

The first phase of the project will be completed with the successful commissioning of a 5.2 MVA synchronous generator (240 min-1) at Shin Sakagami SHPP, they explained, while the second stage will be completed when the 5.2 MVA (240 min-1) synchronous generator is put into operation, followed by an asynchronous generator with a nominal power of 0.546 MW (366 min-1) at SHE Utsubo.

This is a contract that is a continuation of the Croatian Koncar company's highly successful cooperation with an Austrian turbine manufacturer, and over the next three years the two companies should justify the trust placed in them by Japanese consultants with their work. However, given the fact that this is the first time that Japanese investors have chosen a turbine manufacturer based in Europe, Koncar GIM will not only work hard to introduce itself, but is also expected to be a pioneer in opening the market to other European manufacturers.

This market is widely known for being very demanding, and the company got involved in a challenging project precisely due to typically demanding Japanese consultants and sky high expectations. The Austrian partner and the customer have recognised the competencies and capabilities of the Croatian Koncar, which are harder and harder to find, and decided they were by far the best choice for this kind of solution.

It also turns out that Japan is one of the markets in this segment that puts quality, technical solution and good communication in the first place, above all else. After the first contract on the Japanese market, Koncar could expect many other similar projects in the future, as well as more in various other areas of business. It's worth noting that the share of exports in total revenues from the sales of Koncar Group products and services with references to 130 world markets in the first quarter of this year reached 67 percent, and the most significant exports were realized in Germany, Sweden, the UAE and Austria.

Two thirds of the the Croatian Koncar company's total exports go to the EU market, which again speaks of the quality of their products and the solutions that they successfully offer in this also very demanding market. Koncar GIM has 375 hydropower plants built and revitalised across the world - individual products are adapted to customer requirements and form a niche market for the company's business, and 700 generators are produced and revitalised. Their business results are based on their own product development and production, cooperation with other companies operating under the wider Koncar umbrella, as well as numerous scientific institutions.

For more, follow our dedicated business section.

Sunday, 19 January 2020

Japanese Kodo Drummers to Perform in Zagreb on February 9

ZAGREB, January 19, 2020 - Japanese Kodo drummers will perform their new show "Legacy", marketed as a spectacular synthesis of some of their most popular pieces and new compositions, at Zagreb's Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall on 9 February.

The drumming troupe, whose name means "heartbeat", are masters of the art form who have catapulted the ancient Japanese culture straight to the 21st century. Since they started performing in 1981, the Kodo ensemble gave more than 6,000 performances in 50 countries all over the world.

"The legendary drumming sensation has been thundering throughout the world for 40 years, leaving audiences breathless," states the concert announcement. Their giant drums unearth a treasure trove of images and sounds the group has created in almost 40 world tours.

Legacy, Kodo's new show to be staged at the Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall, is a combination of some of their most popular pieces and new compositions, focusing on the limitless possibilities of their drumming.

"Japan's legendary Kodo drummers return to their roots with a physically stunning and musically sensational show. Legacy puts Kodo’s huge drums centre stage and reworks their treasure trove of signature pieces created over almost 40 years of international touring," it is stated in the announcement.

"Balancing a deadly aggression with utter tranquillity, Kodo’s sound stretches from the lightest of rainfall to cataclysmic thunderclaps, from silence to a wall of sound, as high, frightening and impregnable as a mountain," writes The Guardian.

More culture news can be found in the Lifestyle section.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Made in Croatia: Japanese Customers Love Sesvete Chocolates

As Novac writes on the 29th of December, 2019, everything went much more spontaneously than it did in a planned fashion when it comes to these Sesvete chocolates that have won over Japanese customers, acting as yet another example of just how successful the ''Made in Croatia'' tag could really be for this little country.

''My father had had a plan in his mind for ages to produce some authentic Croatian desserts, chocolate balls. Four years ago, when the possibility to obtain EU funds was opened, we decided to take a chance,'' recalls Fran Reizl, the son of the owner of the Sesvete family-owned chocolate factory - Vrsna.

Together with his mother Jozefin and his father Mirko, the small factory produces handmade pralines, truffles, white, milk and dark chocolates that have broken through the borders of Croatia and have become popular even in Japan.

''My parents founded a consumer goods distribution company 20 years ago. They mostly imported sweets, biscuits and chocolates. Over time, these jobs were less and less fulfilling. During this time I studied design. After graduation, I worked for a short time in an agency, but I wasn't satisfied with that. I decided to try to work with my parents, even though that was never my plan,'' explains Fran.

With the help of EU funds, they were able to equip a small factory for the production of the Sesvete chocolates, and as Fran explains, it took them almost two years to master the craft.

''At first, we had no idea what we were doing. We'd get the temperatures wrong, then we'd put the chocolate in the fridge and everything would crust over. I had some crazy combinations in my head, like olive oil in chocolate, which was a total failure… We had total chaos in the kitchen. Chocolate was all over the walls too,'' he said.

Although these Sesvete chocolates are of course made here in Croatia, they do not process raw cocoa themselves, they buy it from a French-Belgian company as raw material, which they then process according to their own recipes in Sesvete near Zagreb.

The first brand with which they bravely came to the market was white chocolate with black dots, called Dalmatiner. After that, they just kept on throwing out new products. This year, they grabbed more attention with the first pink chocolate made in Croatia - Ruby. The price of their chocolates ranges from 30 to 35 kuna. They are of course more expensive than chocolates from major manufacturers, reports tportal.

''That chocolate has no artificial colour and doesn't contain any berries. The natural colour of cocoa seeds is rosy. Chocolate makers discovered just two years ago that it can be preserved if the cocoa is kept in lemon juice for 24 hours. And there's the secret for you,'' he adds.

Reiz currently has more than fifty brands, all of which have been made in Croatia, out on the market. In addition to chocolates, there are various types of pralines and truffles under their name, too. Almost 40 percent of their production is exported to the markets of Japan, Australia and Austria, and may soon be present in neighbouring Montenegro, and even in the United Arab Emirates and in Pakistan.

''Most of our customers came to us alone. They would taste our products and that would interest them. The story with the Japanese is interesting. I got an email from their big distribution house. At first, I thought someone was messing with me because it seemed too good to be true. But then their representative came to us by plane directly from Japan. She was with us for an hour and immediately returned home. The Japanese are our favourite customers now. They're particularly delighted by our family story. They want us for long-term partners,'' says Fran proudly.

Make sure to follow our dedicated Made in Croatia and business pages for much more.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Japan Day Marked in Croatia

ZAGREB, November 10, 2019 - Japan Day was held at the Mimara Museum in Zagreb on Saturday ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo next year.

The event was organised by the Japanese Embassy and was addressed by Ambassador Misako Kaji, Croatian Olympic Committee (HOO) Chairman Zlatko Mateša and Croatian Paralympic Committee Chairman Ratko Kovacic.

Olympic contender Tin Srbić (gymnastics) and potential contenders Kristina Tomic (taekwondo) and Ana Lenard (karate) spoke about the Olympic Games, while Paralympics contenders Helena Dretar, Pavao Jozić (both table tennis) and Damir Juren (boccia) presented the Paralympic Games.

The Croatia House in Tokyo, organised on the premises of the Croatian Embassy, was presented by the HOO assistant secretary-general for marketing, Ranko Ćetković.

The event attracted great attention from members of the public, who waited in long queues to take pictures of themselves in traditional Japanese costumes, drink tea and familiarise themselves with the arts of ikebana and origami.

More news about relations between Croatia and Japan can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Reiner Attends Ceremony of Emperor Naruhito Enthronement

ZAGREB, October 24, 2019 - Croatian Deputy Parliament Speaker Željko Reiner attended in Tokyo on Wednesday a ceremony organised by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in honour of Emperor Naruhito's enthronement, parliament said in a press release.

Emperor Naruhito officially proclaimed his enthronement on Tuesday in front of guests from more than 180 countries.

Reiner briefly met Abe and invited him to visit Croatia.

He also held talks with Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi on Croatia's presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2020 and the future of the EU. They also talked about Japan-EU relations, notably in light of the Strategic Partnership Agreement which Motegi said was already showing results.

Reiner also met Defence Minister Taro Kono for talks on Croatia's military industry, and Finance Minister Taro Aso, with whom he talked about the Japanese-Croatian Friendship House in Tokamachi and the reconstruction of Nagasaki, linking it to the reconstruction of Croatian towns devastated in the Homeland War.

More news about relations between Croatia and Japan can be found in the Politics section.

Thursday, 15 August 2019

Croatian and Japanese Ministers Hold Talks on Boosting Bilateral Ties

ZAGREB, August 15, 2019 - Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono met in Zagreb on Wednesday evening for the talks on boosting bilateral relations, which also includes the improvement of the economic cooperation.

Taro Kono is the first Japanese foreign minister to visit Croatia after 24 years when his father Yohei Kono also visited Zagreb as the Japanese foreign minister. Grlić Radman' s predecessor Marija Pejčinović Burić paid an official visit to that Asian country this past March.

The main topic of today's meeting was the bilateral relations. We agreed that these relations are very good and friendly, marked by regular political dialogue and visits of senior officials of both countries, as well as by excellent parliamentary cooperation, the Croatian minister told the press after the talks.

We have discussed the possibilities for the further strengthening of economic cooperation, which will be definitely facilitated by the entry into force of the double taxation avoidance agreement between Croatia and Japan this September, Grlić Radman said.

The two countries are set to conclude an air traffic agreement, too.

Grlić Radman underscored that his country registered a surplus in the trade with Japan, and added that small and medium-sized businesses have good opportunities in plans to boost the economic cooperation with Japan. In this context he mentioned the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), signed by the European Union and Japan, which also provides good opportunities for that cooperation. The EPA came into force on 1 February this year and abolishes 97% of tariffs imported from the EU.

The data provided by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce show that in 2017 the trade between Croatia and Japan reached 85.8 million dollars, and Croatia's export amounted to 55 million dollars. Last year, the trade reached nearly 100 million dollars.

According to Grlić Radman, Croatia would like to diversify its exports to Japan, and in this context, he mentioned the possibilities for exports of wines, oil, neckties, video games and applications.

"We are particularly proud of our export of high-quality tuna meat, which makes up 80% of total Croatian exports to Japan," he added.

The minister said that Croatia "is committed to improving its business and investment climate", calling on Japanese businesses to invest in his country.

Currently, 24 Japanese companies do business in Croatia. One of them has acquired the Kali Tuna company at the price of $33 million, while Yazaki, a worldwide operating automotive supplier from Japan, has opened a research and development centre in Croatia.

The Japanese minister expressed hope that the bilateral economic cooperation would improve in other fields apart from the tuna export.

He said he was looking forward to a higher number of Japanese investors in the manufacturing sector, IT and in high-tech industries, and praised Croatia's human resources.

Croatia's network of ports and railways can make the country a gateway for Croatian companies towards east and central Europe, Kono said.

The two ministers expressed satisfaction with cooperation in the tourist trade.

Grlić Radman thanked his Japanese counterpart for Japan's strong support to Croatia's OECD membership bid.

He informed Kono of Croatia's preparation for taking over the rotating presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2020.

He reiterated that Croatia is committed to efforts aimed at enabling western Balkan counties to join the European Union and to the stability of that region.

Kono said that Japan strongly supported EU aspirations of Western Balkan countries and would like to help them in that regard.

Japan committedly supports social and economic reforms in Western Balkan countries and inter-regional cooperation through Initiative for Cooperation with the Western Balkans, the Japanese minister said.

In January 2018 during his visit to Belgrade, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe proposed that Initiative, underscoring the importance of that western Balkan region for the stability of Europe and the international community.

Kono said that Japan would be glad to offer assistance and to closely cooperate with Croatia in the promotion of the admission of western Balkan countries to the EU. Before arriving in Zagreb, Kono visited Bulgaria and Slovenia and the next two stops of his regional tour are Serbia and Italy.

More news about relations between Croatia and Japan can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Parliament Speaker Meets with Japanese Prime Minister

ZAGREB, June 3, 2019 - Croatian Parliament Speaker Gordan Jandroković began an official visit to Japan by meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, parliament said in a press release on Monday.

The two officials said political relations were very good and friendly, and welcomed the political dialogue established at all levels, notably parliamentary.

As for economic cooperation, they cited several good examples and underlined the joint wish to boost it further.

Jandroković and Abe singled out as positive examples of Japanese investment in Croatia the Kali Tuna and Yazaki companies. Jandroković invited Japanese investors to follow their example, saying they were welcome in Croatia.

Abe mentioned the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, where numerous Croatian athletes are expected, which will be an excellent opportunity to further promote Croatia and its tourism as well as contribute to more Japanese tourists visiting Croatia.

The two officials also talked about Croatia's EU presidency in 2020, concluding that it would provide a good framework for further Croatia-Japan and EU-Japan cooperation.

Jandroković invited Abe to visit Croatia.

More news about relations between Croatia and Japan can be found in the Politics section.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Croatian Foreign Minister Visits Japan

ZAGREB, March 25, 2019) - Croatian Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić and her Japanese host Taro Kono, confirmed in Tokyo on Monday good and friendly relations between Croatia and Japan and discussed topical global and regional issues as well as cooperation within multilateral organisations, the Croatian foreign ministry said in a press release.

During the second part of his official visit to Japan, Pejčinović Burić held a number of bilateral meetings with representatives of Japanese institutions.

In the first part of her visit, Pejčinović Burić took part in a conference of the World Assembly for Women, held in Tokyo on March 22-24. Pejčinović Burić invited minister Kono to a return visit to Croatia.

The minister also met with representatives of the Japanese-Croatian parliamentary groups of friendship, led by Secretary General Nobu Kishi as well as with the leadership of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) is a Japanese government-related organisation that promotes mutually beneficial trade and investment.

The meeting also focused on the support to the two countries' business people so as to advance bilateral trade and attract investments.

They also discussed the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and Japan, the biggest trade agreement ever negotiated by the EU that will create an open trade zone covering over 600 million people. The agreement entered into force on Friday, 1 February 2019.

Pejčinović Burić and the Japanse officials also talked about an agreement between Japan and Croatia aimed at eliminating of double taxation.

The Croatian minister also talked with the Yazaki management board president and the leadership of the Japan Association of Travel Agents (JATA), the press release said.

More news about relations between Croatia and Japan can be found in the Politics section.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Foreign Minister Attends World Assembly for Women Conference in Japan

ZAGREB, March 24, 2019 - Croatia's Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Marija Pejčinović Burić, took part in a conference of the World Assembly for Women, held in Tokyo on March 22-24, as part of her working visit to Japan, her ministry said.

The main theme of this year's conference of the World Assembly for Women was diversity.

The purpose of the initiative is to connect women that head states, governments or ministries or hold leading positions in the corporate sector in the context of the empowerment of women in society.

The main guest at the event was Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate for 2014, and the conference was also addressed by Michelle Bachelet Jeria, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Pejčinović Burić attended two panel discussions, the closing one and a panel discussion on the importance of the promotion of diversity in the media.

The Croatian minister also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to whom she conveyed an invitation by Croatian PM Andrej Plenković to visit Croatia.

More news about the Foreign Ministry can be found in the Politics section.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Croatia and Japan Sign Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement

ZAGREB, October 19, 2018 - Croatian Finance Minister Zdravko Marić and Japanese Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Kenji Yamada signed an agreement in Zagreb on Friday on the avoidance of double taxation between the two countries.

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