Friday, 6 November 2020

Rimac: Production of Electric Cars Opportunity for Croatia

ZAGREB, November 6, 2020 - In ten years time vehicles will be autonomous, networked, electric and shared, which is an opportunity for Croatia to create a new business model, owner of the Rimac Automobili, Mate Rimac said at a conference on electromobility and autonomous cars technology.

During the videoconference, organised on Friday by the Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences' (HAZU) Scientific Council for Technological Development, Rimac underscores said that the future of automobility is changing as too many people are losing their lives on the road.

"Electric autonomous vehicles are able to reduce the number of fatalities in road accidents by more than 90 percent," said Rimac.

He added that one robo-taxi could replace 20 traditional vehicles.

He added that the C2 Rimac automobile was ready for autonomous driving adding that Croatia's potential is not exploited sufficiently and that Croatia is one of the rare European countries that does not have a strong automobile industry.

"Slovakia has become the centre of the automobile industry, Estonia for startups and digitisation so why shouldn't Croatia be the centre for electric and autonomous vehicles?," Rimac asked adding that two huge investment waves  in the automobile industry have already passed us by," he said.

The conference also heard that according to a report by the European association of vehicle manufacturers, eastern Europe is falling behind in developing infrastructure for electric vehicle filling stations. About 200,000 publicly accessible filling stations have been installed per 400 million population which means that there is one station per 2,000 population.

There are currently 500 electric vehicle filling stations in Croatia or 1 per 9,000 inhabitants.

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Best Economic Examples in Croatia in 2020 Are Being Selected

November 4, 2020 – The best economic examples in Croatia will be awarded in early December, which will be decided by an expert jury, but also by the general public.

As Večernji list/Stela Lechpammer reports, one of the main reasons why Večernji list and Poslovni Dnevnik launched the selection of Businessman of the Year and Economic Event of the Year four years ago is to divert attention from negativity and trivia to positive and successful stories from the economy.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this is even more important now, and this autumn the manifestation continues. The expert jury and readers will select new, and perhaps some already known companies, names, and events that marked the Croatian economy this year.

Despite the often negative and uninspiring political and social environment, Večernji list and Poslovni Dnevnik have recognized Croatian businessmen as promoters of excellence, innovation, and successful business ventures. By highlighting positive examples such as business excellence, export success, the opening of new plants, and thus jobs, they want to open a new perspective on life in Croatia.

"Economic successes are an incentive for many small and medium-sized enterprises and a message to young people not to leave Croatia, which has been a particularly painful topic for several years now," said the organizers.

The winners will be decided by the general public and an expert jury composed of leading Croatian journalists and editors who cover the economy, as well as the professionals and scientists. The winners will be awarded in early December in four categories.

"The selection of businessmen and the economic event of the year is of great importance, and at the same time, it is very important that the selection is carried out according to objective criteria and that the recognition goes into the right hands. We need to look at the placement and quality of products, indebtedness," says a well-known Croatian entrepreneur and one of the richest Croats, Branko Roglić.

Based on objective criteria, the expert jury will select the businessman of the year, and the criteria are business excellence, above-average business results, a successful investment project, job creation, and export success. On the other hand, readers will make decisions based on the reputation that each company and entrepreneur have in public.

"The popularization of entrepreneurship in Croatia is very important and that is why this is an important event. Most entrepreneurs in Croatia are very hard-working people who run the economy and take care of their employees, but often the public has a wrong image, both because of the past and because there are always exceptions in every business that ruins the reputation. I would like, when someone in Croatia mentions an entrepreneur, to think of a team from Infinum, Nanobit, Infobip," said the two-time winner of this competition Mate Rimac.

Among the winners in recent years were Ante Vlahović from the Adris group, Željko Kukurin from the tourist company Valamar, and Marin Pucar, the leader of Podravka.

To read more about business in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Sunday, 1 November 2020

Lessons from Rimac: How Croatia Tourist Board Video Promo is Failing (Analysis)

November 1, 2020 - Lessons from Rimac - and no, it is not on how to build an electric supercar. A look at how official Croatian tourism video promotion is largely ineffective and costly. But doesn't need to be. 

Last summer, a friend sent me a link to one of the most beautiful videos I have seen promoting Croatia - pianist Lola Astanova performing solo on the tip of the famous Zlatni Rat beach in Bol on the island of Brac. 

Perfectly shot, stunningly performed by a beautiful artiste, there are few better videos online to show the magic of the Adriatic.

Take a look for yourself.

The story behind the video has that Lola was in Bol to perform at the WTA Bol Tennis Open. She apparently absolutely loved Croatia and did a lot of free promotion on her Instagram during her stay (with over 4 million views). She was due to record this video in Venice, but she was persuaded by her new friends on Brac to record it on Croatia's most iconic beach instead, and she covered all the costs of shooting and directing the video. 

A fantastic and free promotion of Croatia, generated from an initiative from the private sector. 

Looking at the video statistics over a year later, the video has had 855,333 views, with some 14,000+ likes and 857 comments. Some serious social media engagement. 

"When you have a moment," said my friend, "take a look at the national tourist board videos and their engagement."

It was a comment which stayed with me and went onto the never-ending to-do list of mine - one which I will never completely overcome. 

Music and Croatia's fabulous coast are the perfect combination, something that 2Cellos have used to their advantage on more than one occasion with their fantastic global promotions of their native country. How about this stunner from Dubrovnik back in 2017, for example? More than 42 million views, 532k likes and more than 12,000 comments. promotion which would give even Kings Landing itself a run for its money.  

When I saw this video, I was reminded of my friend's comment to check national tourist board engagement, but it still remained on my to-do list until this week, after watching THAT Mate Rimac video for the second time. 

The Rimac video had EVERYTHING, easily the best promotional video of Croatia I have seen in a long time. Apart from promoting the tourism beauties of the country, its major focus on why Croatia is a great place to work and live is hopefully the start of a discussion to move Croatia's tourism direction on a new path built on safety, authentic experiences, lifestyle, and digital nomads. In just over a week, the Rimac video has had over 125,000 views, 4,900+ likes and over 700 comments, many of which were extremely positive about Croatia.

lessons-from-rimac (13).JPG

I smiled at the end of the video at the slide thanking the national tourist board for use of their footage in the making of the video. Rimac is a smart guy. Why reinvent the wheel (I guess he invents enough of his own in his day job)? If you can get fantastic footage for free, interview a few employees at the office, then throw in some footage of those amazing Rimac cars, the production cost of the video is going to be very affordable. 

It also shows that the stunning footage exists in the official archives. And, as the Rimac production team showed, it is possible to use that footage to create something very engaging and positive, promoting many aspects of life and work in Croatia, as well as tourism - on a budget. Perhaps the Rimac team threw some money to boost the video. I would be surprised if yes, and it certainly got a ton of organic traffic and media space, so there was really no need. 

But really great engagement again. When I saw the national tourist board footage slide at the end of the video, my friend's comment from last year came back into my head, and I decided to finally take a look. 

Having written about the heroes who run the Kingdom of Accidental Tourism for a decade now, there is nothing about their efforts that shocks me anymore. I truly have seen it all. 

Or so I thought. 

For when I looked at the Croatia, Full of Life YouTube channel and compared it to these outstanding examples above, what I discovered was truly staggering. Expecially when one considers what must be at least hundreds of thousands of dollars in social media promotion, in addition to the cost of the videos themselves. Having looked at the channel for 5 minutes, I realised that in order to understand and analyse what I was looking at properly, I would need some industry expert help. I posted such a request on Facebook, and a social media marketing expert from a major Croatian tourism company (who asked not to be named) offered his services, including generating some data on the videos. Thank you,  Sir - you know who you are. 

 lessons-from-rimac (2).JPG

(Croatia Full of Life YouTube screenshots above, and more below)

I decided to start at the top. What was the most popular official video of all time? Wow! An impressive 22 MILLION views. Very, very impressive. 

Until I saw the engagement. 

Have you ever come across a video on YouTube with over 20 million views which has just 76 likes and 7 comments (including those of the original poster)?

lessons-from-rimac (3).JPG

Nor had I. The second most popular video of all time. Again, an impressive 12.2 million views, but just 71 likes and just 4 comments (including those of the original poster). 

If a car maker, a pianist and a couple of cellists could get so much engagement and reaction, liking and sharing of their videos, how was it possible that the Croatian National Tourist Board was getting so little love for its videos? As Rimac had proved, they had the material, and he had shown how to use it. My new online data analyst friend offered to run a report on the 12 most popular videos of all time on the official national tourist board channel. Here is what he found.

lessons-rimac-htz.JPG

Pageviews - seriously impressive  But engagement? Only one of the 12 most popular videos in terms of views with more than 80 likes? And a total of just 32 comments over 12 videos and over 120 million views?

And you don't have to make the world's fastest electric car or be the most famous cello duo in the world to get engagement. Here is my little contribution on Hvar 5 years ago, when I managed to persuade a couple of YouTubers to go for a swim in Gariful's underfloor aquarium, complete with baby shark as part of a report they did on a visit to Croatia's premier island. Some 4.5 million organic views later, it is now the most popular video about Hvar on YouTube, with engagement of 92,000 likes and more than 5,000 comments. I personally have answered at least 10 emails from tourists on Hvar asking me where to find the restaurant so they can go for lunch. 

lessons-from-rimac (7).JPG

This screenshot from the official YouTube channel gives us some clues. The same video, posted in numerous languages 8 months ago. The German version, posted twice, has 274,000 views in total, while the Italian one was just viewed 109 times, and the French one a lamentable 61 times. The only explanation, my data expert said, is that the German version had been heavily promoted through a paid campaign, while the Italian and French versions were examples of how the organic traffic looked. Not quite the same as Rimac or Lola.

Indeed, of the 43 videos posted in 2020, over a third (15 of them) have less than 1,500 views. This despite the channel having almost 19,000 subscribers.

rimac-compare.JPG

Time for another report, said my new friend. In 2020, the national tourist board has apparently posted a total of 43 videos (actually not 43 unique videos, as several have gone out in different languages - each video in a new language is counted as one). And here is a summary on engagement compared to Lola on Brac, 2Cellos in Dubrovnik and Rimac in Sveta Nedelja. Almost 30 million views over 43 videos, which sounds ok until we examine just how much of that is paid promotion below, just 1650 likes over 43 videos (even after paid promotion) - the one Rimac video is already three times higher than all 43 official videos combined as it now approaches 5,000 likes. 

And ZERO comments. How can that be possible?

lessons-from-rimac (9).JPG

Quite simple, if the comments are turned off. I don't know much about online promotion, but if you pay to get people to watch a video to then engage, where is the logic in blocking people from doing that by not allowing comments? Perhaps to mask the embarrassment of lack of comments when they were switched on - see above with a total of 32 comments for the top 12 videos of all time. 

lessons-from-rimac (12).JPG

Even more curious is the wasted opportunity of using the description to provide a call to action, a chance to engage further. Take this example from a Croatian tourist board video in Polish with over 1.4 million views, but just 17 likes, no comments possible, and no link for further information. 

Now look at this example of how someone in the private sector does it:

lessons-from-rimac (1).JPG

This is how Rimac promotes not only his video, but also his company. He guides people through the video with a helpful timeline. But look at the other options to engage further, with a range of calls to action. 

It really is not that difficult, especially as I understand that all this work is outsourced by the national tourist board to a third party. After all there are only 70-80 people working fulltime at head office, so who could possibly have the time to take on such a task?

lessons-from-rimac (6).JPG

Interestingly, given that the national tourist board has a policy of not promoting any material from private businesses, the Rimac video was shared on official channels 6 days after it first appeared online. Great stuff, and I hope this is the start in a change of policy. I had to smile to compare the level of engagement on the official national tourist board social media of the Rimac video and then compare it to the engagement to its own record-breaking video with 22 million views. 

So how many likes SHOULD a good video get to indicate how well it is received by its audience? A quick Google search, as well as a question to my new friend, came to roughly the same conclusion:

Like to View Ratio Although likes aren’t taken into consideration when it comes to monetizing your video, it doesn’t mean they aren’t important. Likes will determine your popularity. On average, YouTubers should expect a 4% like to view ratio. That means they should be getting at least 4 likes for every one hundred views. Likes are usually given by people who find your video informative and engaging. If your videos are not getting a high enough like to view ratio, consider an alternate approach.

So Croatia's most popular official video with its 22 million views should then have almost 1 million likes if it was hitting the mark. 

It has just 76. 

If your videos are not getting a high enough like to view ratio, consider an alternate approach.

So how much is all this costing in terms of promotion, to boost these videos that nobody is engaging with?

A Google search reveals a number of prices per view, but my friend suggested a more conservative number of between $0.01 and $0.03 per view. For the sake of this article, let's stick to the conservative end of that (while acknowledging that the amount could be three times higher, or more), so $1 per 100 views. 

rimac-engagement.JPG

Given the lack of engagement and the French and Italian examples above, it is fair to assume that almost all of the traffic is therefore boosted by a paid campaign. Looking at 2020 alone, my friend came up with this. Almost 30 million views so far this year. If the price is $0.01 per view, then that equates to $300,000. If the amount is $0.03 per view, however... 

And this, of course, is just the cost to Google. Add a nice fee to the agency doing the work, and let's not forget the costs of actually producing the material. 

And for what end result? A product nobody engages with, with restricted chance to engage via comments and no call to action to find out more information (not in every video, but in the vast majority I checked). 

There is another tool of measurement I was unaware of - the cost of engagement. How much should it cost for a successful campaign of engagement?

Cost Per Engagement can mean too many things to many people, so there isn't really enough data that is comparable to average out. It's usually not much, however. According to Quora it can be about $2, and according to Reddit, you can pay around $0.01.

lessons-from-rimac (11).JPG

A lot more than $2.  As a huge disclaimer, these are suggested numbers based on the expert analysis I was given. I invite the Croatian National Tourist Board to transparently publish the amounts spent on these promotions, as well as their interpretation of the results. There are always two sides to every story. Well, almost always. 

rimac-comments.JPG

By way of comparison, IF Rimac, 2Cellos and Lola were just promoting their videos with paid similar paid promotion (Lola's management has confirmed all views and engagements are organic, so her cost of engagement is $0), it would compare like this, above. Well within the recommended amount, so they are clearly doing things right. The engagement cost is actually much lower, or even zero (as in Lola's case at least) due to the huge organic traffic. 

So somewhere between $0.01 and $2 then is average. My data friend told me that the calculation as he sent me the above report - page views x 0.01/likes, dislikes, shares and comments. And this price of $169.82 is assuming a conservative ad price of $0.01. If it was $0.03, for example, then the number would be over $500 per engagement.

So what have we learned from all this? And is our tourism promotion money being used effectively?

Lessons from Rimac - we have the material, we need creativity to get the message out effectively (actually let's take a step back, we have to figure out what our message is - the golden era of accidental tourism is coming to an end), calls to action and engagement work. 

We also have the experts in the private sector who can take tourism promotion to the next level for a fraction of the cost of the cash being thrown wastefully at the moment. 

Let's use them. 

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Safety & Lifestyle: Why Mate Rimac Promo Video Defines Croatia's Best Tourism Direction

October 27, 2020 - The recent Mate Rimac promo video on living and working in Croatia is an excellent cornerstone for a new direction for a country which needs to reinvent its tourism strategy. 

Things are a different than how they used to be. 

It used to be the case that you worked hard all year, then you had time off and took a 2-week holiday in the sun.

The distinction was clear. Most of the time you were working (an incredible 50 weeks a year, say some of my American friends as they wondered at the Dalmatian lifestyle of waiting tourism to happen and then for the olives to ripen). And then a much shorter time - 2-4 weeks usually  - was vacation time, where work was a distant memory. 

Then came the onset of technology - emails, SMS messages from the office. It was no longer a guarantee that a holiday was an opportunity to switch off completely from the office. 

And then came the next stage of development, one which is evolving right before our very eyes - the rise of the remote working opportunity. 

It is now much more common for people to take work with them on holiday and for those holidays to be longer. If you can work for a few hours a day in the hotel while the family is off at the beach, then join them later, that is a much better option than being stuck in the office back home. 

The biggest change, however, has come with more companies allowing staff to work from home, or elsewhere. This has led to an increase in digital nomads, and one pre-pandemic prediction had as many as one billion remote workers by 2035, a number which perhaps looks conservative given recent events. 

As long as they are in touch with their office during working hours, an increasing number of people can now work from anywhere, thereby offering a huge range of new opportunities, as well as a type of tourism in which Croatia sells but does not really promote effectively. 

Lifestyle tourism. 

Rather than the 50-week/2-week work/holiday dynamic of yesteryear, this relationship is now a lot more blurred, and tourism (lifestyle living) mixes with work a lot more these days. 

Why not spend a month in another country, working for the office back home by day, then enjoy the local exotic delights by night and at the weekend? It is not classical tourism, which is a lot more rigid, and the flexibility of work location allows these remote workers to spend longer in a country than they would on that beach holiday, experience more, and - crucially for the local economy - spend more. 

Not tourism as we know it, but a much better type of tourism - lower impact, more sustainable, bigger spend, and one where word of mouth will bring others to follow. 

I wrote recently about the recent Mate Rimac promo video, Working and Living in Croatia, calling it the best promo video I had seen for some time in Croatia. Quite when Rimac has the time for such side projects is a different matter, given that his day job is revolutionising the global car industry, but his video captured two of Croatia's greatest selling points, which are currently being undersold. 

Safety and Lifestyle. 

And, to show how the boundaries between work and tourism have become so blurred, his video was not aimed at tourists, rather at showing what a great place Croatia is to live and work. A place that he personally loves, and that people from some 35 countries have moved to in his company alone. 

Listening to the impressions of outsiders is always instructive, for they often see things that locals take for granted. As I have written before, one of my friends runs a successful luxury tour agency, and he recounted the moment when he discovered the secret of selling Dalmatia to rich clients.

"I was having lunch in this olive grove with a group from New York," he explained. "There was a lemon tree, and one of the group walked over and picked a lemon from the tree. He was mesmerised. Later he told me that this was the highlight of the trip. Picking a lemon from a tree, something that he would never be able to do back home. It taught me that the simplest authentic Dalmatian experiences are also the most highly prized. Easy to arrange, and people are willing to pay."

Rimac's video is insightful, as it focuses on the view of Croatia and what it has to offer, almost exclusively through the eyes of his international team. The South African who wonders at the safety of the country, having seen two 16-year-old girls walking home alone at 2am, for example - something that would never happen at home. But the message of lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle shines through the video, as does too that work v life balance.  

There is a lot of discussion of the digital nomad visa for Croatia at the moment, which looks like it will be available in early 2021, offering Croatia's lifestyle to a new mobile global market for 12 months at a time. And while the early feedback is that this would be very welcome, Croatia's lifestyle tourism based on people working here on a temporary basic is already a very well-established thing. Even with restrictions of maximum stays of 90 days for non-EU residents, there are hundreds of digital nomads currently in Croatia (if not more), people who have come to sample the Croatian vibe over an extended period. And with stays of one to three months, their net spend is usually more than the average tourist coming for a week or two. 

As the Rimac promo video points out, these remote workers are attracted to Croatia for the same things as his foreign staff - safety and lifestyle, as well as the range of fantastic authentic experiences that Croatia offers to see and do. Croatia, Your Safe, Authentic, Lifestyle Destination. It has more of a message and focus than Croatia, Full of Life, doesn't it?

Rimac raves about the lifestyle, as well as the emerging startup scene in Croatia. His focus is living and working in Croatia. All the points in the video are relevant to tourism as well, and never has work and play been as aligned as now, or Croatia looked more attractive place to live and work. Either for a fabulous company such as Rimac full-time, or for yourself with your online business, for a month, two or more. The new tourism normal for many.

Croatia is one of the safest countries in Europe to visit. It also has the best lifestyle in Europe. Add in all the extraordinary authentic experiences, great English, good infrastructure, accessibility, affordability, natural beauty, and much more, it should not be hard to attract even more remote workers looking for an authentic lifestyle experience after they finish their online working chores of the day. 

It is a relatively new kind of tourism, but one which could dwarf the current (and non-sustainable) accidental tourism approach. Longer stays, more community involvement, less location pressure on peak season beaches, more revenue - there are many advantages that this new type of tourism could bring over the existing mess. 

And if our tourism chiefs are looking for some ideas, I am sure that young Rimac could find some time for a coffee. 

00:12 Why is Rimac based in Croatia

01:39 Overview and location

02:08 What Croatia offers

02:51 Language

03:31 Food culture

04:10 Prices and standard of living

04:40 Mindset

05:07 Getting here: documentation

05:40 Finding a job for your partner

05:46 Accommodation and commuting

06:47 Croatian culture

07:12 Croatian women

07:33 Safety

08:25 Christmas market in Zagreb

09:12 Traveling and activities in Croatia

10:18 Working in Rimac

12:36 Growing startup culture

For the latest travel info, bookmark our main travel info article, which is updated daily

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Sunday, 25 October 2020

Mate Rimac Video Promotes Working and Living in Croatia: Safety and Lifestyle

October 25, 2020 - Is it time to hire Croatia's electric car pioneer as a tourism consultant? Great Mate Rimac video promoting like and work in Croatia through the eyes of his employees from 35 countries. 

One of the great success stories in Croatia in these troubled economic times is undoubtedly the stunning rise of Mate Rimac and his Rimac Automobili company based in Sveta Nedelja, just outside Zagreb. A one-man company 12 years ago, today Rimac employs over 850 people from 35 countries, and his investors include some of the big names in the global car industry, such as Porsche and Hyundai. The location of his company, in Sveta Nedelja, just outside Zagreb, has possibly played a small role in the happy story - this week it was named as the best medium-sized town in Croatia for the third year in a row, as well as one of the top 5 towns in the country for quality of life

Working and living in Croatia. Rimac has been courted by numerous offers to move his operations to other countries, but he has always resisted. As he explains in the video, he really likes the Croatian lifestyle and living here, and he wanted to prove that one can succeed here in Croatia. 

And yesterday, his company's YouTube channel released a video featuring Rimac and many of the international staff that have moved to Croatia, which he introduced on his Facebook page as follows: 

"They said it can't be done in Croatia. Yet here we are. There are so many things I am proud of right in this video. Many of which very few people will notice. Stuff like this keeps me giving (more than) 100%."

The message of the video is excellent, at least in my opinion. Croatia, Your Safe, Authentic, Lifestyle destination is a slogan and direction we should be moving towards in our tourism thinking, and the way that so many people take for granted here what foreigners see as key selling points, are once again in evidence (this happens the world over, not just in Croatia, where a view from outside often offers a different perspective). The South African Rimac employee, for example, who was stunned to see two 16-year-old girls walking home alone at 2am in Zagreb. That simply would not happen back home. 

As one would expect with a Rimac product, it is beautifully produced, and it combines traditional tourism classic shots with a comprehensive overview of why Croatia is a great place to work and live through his eyes and a number of his international team. 

Great stuff, mose please...  

Croatia might not be the first place you would think of as home to a company designing, engineering, and manufacturing electric hypercars and high-performance EV technology. Nevertheless, we're proudly growing a real innovation and engineering hub in Sveta Nedelja, on the outskirts of Zagreb. Rimac family is 850-people strong and counting. Our employees come from more than 35 different countries! Knowing that moving out here is a bold decision, we've asked a few of them how they find life and work here. Here's hoping you fall in love with Croatia as much as we did, and join us here:

00:12 Why is Rimac based in Croatia

01:39 Overview and location

02:08 What Croatia offers

02:51 Language

03:31 Food culture

04:10 Prices and standard of living

04:40 Mindset

05:07 Getting here: documentation

05:40 Finding a job for your partner

05:46 Accommodation and commuting

06:47 Croatian culture

07:12 Croatian women

07:33 Safety

08:25 Christmas market in Zagreb

09:12 Traveling and activities in Croatia

10:18 Working in Rimac

12:36 Growing startup culture

For the latest news from Mate Rimac, follow the dedicated TCN section.  

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

PM Plenković and Mate Rimac Discuss Electric Vehicles Industry in Croatia

October 14, 2020 – Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković met with Mate Rimac, founder and CEO of Rimac Automobili company. At the meeting, the potential of the electric vehicles industry in Croatia was discussed.

As stated in the announcement of the Government of the Republic of Croatia, the investments planned by Rimac Automobili have a broader context for the development of local and national transport, as well as educational and research and development infrastructure.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković expressed his support for the development initiatives and investments of the company Rimac Automobili and announced institutional support to all investors who develop and apply the latest technologies in Croatia.

They also discussed projects that could be included in the list of projects for funding from upcoming assistance programs, including the EU Recovery and Resilience Fund and the new EU Multiannual Financial Framework.

Mate Rimac also presented the planned construction of the Campus, which will include the company's headquarters, modern research and development facilities, a smart factory of high-tech components and electric cars, and additional accompanying facilities. The investment in the Campus project will enable the realization of an increasing number of projects that the company is engaged in, as well as the serial production, and it is planned to create a total of 2,300 workplaces for highly educated professionals.

Furthermore, the company plans to build a Center for Testing Technology and Components for Electric Vehicles, which is necessary to meet the growing demand for the company's services and expand services to test battery systems, propulsion systems, and environmental friendliness of such systems.

Along with Plenković and Rimac, the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Tomislav Ćorić, Minister of Physical Planning, Construction and State Property Darko Horvat, and Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds Nataša Tramišak were also present at the meeting.

 

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Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Croatia Could Become Centre for Sports Car Development and Production

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Darko Bicak writes on the 22nd of September, 2020, although much more water will flow under the Sava's bridges before electric cars in this area become something normal and in mass use, progress is still visible almost on a monthly basis. Could Croatia become a global centre for sports car development and production?

The first commercial electric cars appeared about 10 years ago, and only a few years later in Croatia began subsidies for their purchase with a hefty amount of up to 10 thousand euros per car, making the country among the most generous in the EU. While at first subsidies were mostly sought after and distributed for hybrid vehicles with electro-petrol engines, now the focus is firmly on electric cars.

All this led to the figure of almost a thousand electric cars with Croatian license plates. Although this figure makes a statistical error in the mass of a total of 2.2 million registered motor vehicles in Croatia (about 1.8 million passenger cars), progress is still visible. While in northern Europe the electrification of the vehicle fleet has started to reach double-digit shares, and Norway has gone the furthest, in the rest of Europe, those numbers and shares are still modest.

In the whole story, Croatia is in a somewhat specific situation. Although there is no automotive industry, the pioneering attempt of Mate Rimac and his Rimac Automobili has led his story to serious dimensions that are measured in billions in value. Rimac is mainly engaged in designing and manufacturing technology for other electric car manufacturers, but he also presented his demonstration examples of hypersport vehicles through the Concept_One and C_Two, which, as the names suggest, are actually still concepts without mass production.

Plans with Bugatti

But just as the Kostelic family once created hundreds of thousands of recreational skiers in Croatia with their global skiing success, mostly out of fans of the sea and the sun, the story about Rimac made electric cars in Croatia a hot topic for everyone in Croatia. This story is evolving and moving forward all the time, and although it is currently difficult to distinguish what is true and what is just a set of wishes, Croatia could soon become a global centre for sports car development and production.

In addition to its Concepts, Rimac could soon take over the production of the globally much better known brand, Bugatti, which is currently part of the Volkswagen Group. As Rimac's company has already caught the eye of Porsche, which is also a prominent member of the VW family, it seems that VW wants to concentrate its production of hypersports cars in Croatia, which would result in a larger or smaller ownership stake in Rimac Automobili. The fact that the largest German automotive industry is seriously counting on an ''electric future'' is also showcased by the fact that just last week they had the presentation of one of perhaps their most significant models of this decade - The Porsche Taycan.

Although VW already had electric cars under its belt, primarily Golf and Up, as an upgrade of the brands of well-known petrol and diesel cars, Taycan is still one step further. Motives for purchasing electric cars can be reduced to three main reasons - environmental awareness, savings and speed.

While in Croatia e-cars are mostly procured for the expected savings - because electricity is cheaper than fuel and oil, and charging at public filling stations across the country is still mostly free, in northern Europe the most common reason for the purchase of e-cars is environmental awareness.

The story with the Taycan is based on speed. Electric cars have much higher accelerations due to their technology. For example, the standard petrol Porsche has an acceleration of 0-100 km / h in 3.2-5 seconds, while the strongest Taycan takes only 2.8 seconds to reach the same speed. Rimac's Concept_One takes 2.6 seconds and the C Two takes 1.8 seconds.

Could Croatia really become the new sports car development and production centre? With the likes of Mate Rimac and everything he has so miraculously acheived so far, from gaining the attention of the likes of Porsche to placing the country on the automotive map, it is becoming less and less difficult to imagine.

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Saturday, 19 September 2020

German Media: VW, Bugatti and Rimac - A Dream Marriage

As Novac writes on the 18th of September, 2020, the German media are speculating about the possibility that Volkswagen will leave its Bugatti brand to the company owned by Croatian entrepreneur Mate Rimac. That could be an ideal combination - even for Porsche, writes Deutsche Welle.

Speculations that the Volkswagen Group could sell its luxury sports car brand Bugatti have been going on for some time now: Manager Magazine has already written about it, and this week the British Car Magazine announced that the new owner would be the Croatian company Rimac Automobili.

However, German media such as the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is skeptical: "We're not declaring the future of the brand," read a statement from Bugatti's Molsheim headquarters which are located near Strasbourg. Similar things are being heard from VW's headquarters. There have already been rumours about the possible sale of other luxury brands such as Bentley and Lamborghini or the Ducati motorcycle manufacturer, recalls the German media outlet.

"Bugatti has announced that it is focusing on current affairs, there's no reason why a new owner of this brand of very expensive sports cars with 1,500 horsepower would come along. According to the latest data, the brand is operating positively, 82 vehicles were sold in 2019. (...) Bugatti is also going through the crisis relatively well this year. The coronavirus pandemic hasn't hit the luxury goods business as hard as the business of mass-produced ones has been hit, even though there is less demand there,'' the German media portal writes.

However, the Süddeutsche Zeitung is much more specific: "VW wants to sell Bugatti" it claims, and immediately in the subtitle we can read the sentence "The brand should become Croatian. Porsche has a decisive role in this business." Because the author of the Munich newspaper Georg Kacher writes that "according to unanimous sources, at least for Bugatti, the deadline has expired. VW must concentrate its resources to succeed in its ambitious investment programme with a focus on electric mobility, digitalisation and autonomous driving."

Süddeutsche Zeitung explains that Volkswagen's plan is to sell Bugatti - but to actually keep it because through its brand Porsche, it would increase its stake in the Croatian company Rimac Automobili: "According to SZ, Porsche will, in turn, increase its stake in Rimac Automobili to 49 percent. The company from Stuttgart took over ten percent of Rimac Automobili back in 2018 and later increased that share to 15.5 percent. The company, founded by Croat Mate Rimac, is one of the world's leading specialists in electromobility, battery technology and demanding electronics. A model for technical expertise is the second supersport car called the C-Two, a so-called hypercar with a 1914 horsepower powerful electric motor and unrivaled driving characteristics that is almost ready for its series production.''

The Munich-based paper speculates that this could be a "dream marriage": the price for the Bugatti would be "somewhere in the three-digit million-dollar amount for a medium size" that would come to Rimac Automobili through Porsche, and in return this German company could benefit from Rimac's know-how. "Rimac, who is only just 21 years old, for his part, could get a perfect market presence with Bugatti, along with the appropriate infrastructure for his all-electric supercars that run in minimal series,'' the German media publication writes.

The German media outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung also writes in its issue from this Friday that the management of the Volkswagen Group actually decided to accept the job last week and the only thing missing is the approval of the supervisory board of the Volkswagen Group. However, the publication adds that this "along with the probability bordering on certainty" will also mean the departure of the current head of the Bugatti brand, Stephan Winkelmann, but that neither Winkelmann nor Porsche's boss Oliver Blume wanted to comment on this.

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Friday, 18 September 2020

Unleash the Croatian Entrepreneur & Follow Infobip, Rimac, Nanobit, Infinum

September 18, 2020 - The recent successes of Infobit, Riimac Automobili, Nanobit and Infinum show the potential of the Croatian private sector. Time to unleash the Croatian entrepreneur?

Even though we have only physically met once, one of my favourite people to follow on social media in Croatia is serial entrepreneur Andrija Colak. Co-founder of Croatia's most successful franchise (Surf'n'Fries - now in 5 continents), as well as the innovative smart umbrella, Kisha (which he cheekily sent to President Putin after the World Cup Final to avoid any presidents or prime ministers getting wet due to unexpected rainfall in the future), Andrija kindly agreed to a TCN interview last year in which I asked him about the positive aspects of doing business in Croatia:

In terms of positives... well if you are up for an adventure you have come to the right place :-) Or... if you really want to test your concept and it survives in Croatia, you can conquer the world! hahah! Actually, I'm not joking.

Successful entrepreneurs here tell me that they have succeeded here not because of Croatia, but DESPITE Croatia. So many others have given up with the bureaucracy, high taxes and nepotism, take their concepts abroad and succeed there. 

But some decide to stay and try their luck here - after all, you cannot beat the Croatian lifestyle. 

I sometimes feel that I live in two countries in Croatia. The first Croatia is the same one which is familiar to all its residents, with the worsening economic situation, polarising politics, constant complaining, corruption, and negative mindset. No wonder people are emigrating. 

But the other Croatia is a totally different place, one where only positivity exists, and where I have decided to spend an increasing amount of my time and energy.

The Croatia of the Croatian entrepreneur. 

Despite the obstacles and the negative stigma attached to entrepreneurs in Croatia, these forward-thinking individuals are quietly achieving miracles DESPITE Croatia. One only wonders what could be achieved with the system supporting their efforts. Two stunning announcements in the last 24 hours are the latest in a series of great news from the Croatian entrepreneurial world, and they give a glimpse of what Croatia 2.0 can deliver to this country. And the thousands of jobs that have been created as a direct result of the business ideas of just a few individuals in a country which is in economic crisis is quite staggering. Indeed Rimac Automobili announced last week that it has hired an additional 150 workers during the pandemic, as tens of millions of jobs were being lost worldwide. Just over a decade ago, Rimac was one man in a garage. Today, the company is closing in on 1,000 employees.  

Here are just four things that have happened in the last few weeks, the first two in the last 24 hours (all are links to TCN articles with full details. 

Swedish Gaming Giant Takes Over Zagreb Company Nanobit for Almost One Billion Kuna

Car Magazine: Rimac Automobili to Takeover Bugatti

Infobip: Croatian Company Raises 200 Million US Dollars for Investment

Porsche Digital Croatia Plans to Employ 100 Experts in Next 3 Years in Infinum Partnership

The eco-system of Croatian entrepreneurial excellence is growing, and I come across this excellence daily in my second Croatia. A meeting last week at Human, for example, who earlier this year beat Google at the prestigious Webby awards, considered the Oscars of the industry. In December I was in Berlin to se Bagatin Clinic collect the award for best international cosmetic surgery clinic 2019. And one only has to spend a short time with Nenad and Rujana Bakic and their STEM revolution and exciting partnership with Google.org to know that the seeds of the future are being sown extremely well. 

crop-hrvatska.jpg

Fresh from his successful initiative to introduce the digital nomad visa to Croatia, which has the potential to make a significant contribution to Croatia's economic numbers, Dutchman Jan de Jong and partner Jerko Trgolic are turning their attention to agriculture, with an initial project to grow tomatoes in northern Croatia, using Dutch technology and Croatian land and labour. The first phase will create 72 jobs in an economically depressed part of northern Croatia.

So many seeds, some of which have blossomed such as Rimac, Nanobit and Infobip, and SO many more that could do the same if they were getting the support they deserve rather than punishing taxation and bureaucracy. I have no idea how many jobs Rimac, Infobit, Nanobit and Infinum have created alone, but it is in the thousands. Imagine if the system was conducive to allowing other such ideas and concepts grow in Croatia - how many more tens and hundreds of thousands of jobs would be created? 

Last year, I met an American consultant for the medical tourism industry at a conference in Zagreb, and we talked about what needed to happen for this Croatian industry to progress (an industry with huge - here I go saying the hated 'P' word again - potential). He told me that the role of government was to provide the legislative framework for the industry to thrive, perhaps bring some financing, but most importantly, then get the hell out of the way

For many years, I bought into the story that Croatia was an economic basket case, with no prospects for employment, and that the emigration was inevitable. But in this second Croatia, the world of the Croatian entrepreneur, the situation is completely different, and the opportunity is there, even more so if we can unleash the Croatian entrepreneur to fulfil his or her true potential. 

And we have a very good precedent of how quickly and effectively change can be introduced. An open letter to the Prime Minister from a Dutchman on LinkedIn on July 11 asking for the introduction of a digital nomad visa started a process which resulted with the prime minister tweeting his plans to introduce the visa just 44 days later, with an amendment to the Foreigner's Act introduced to Parliament the following day. Things are moving smoothly behind the scenes, and my understanding is that this legislation should be in place by January 1. 

Croatia a bureaucratic country? It clearly doesn't have to be. 

Unleash the Croatian entrepreneur, and watch many more seeds like Rimac, Nanobit and Infobip start to bloom all over the country. 

Learn more about foreign entrepreneurs making a success of life in Croatia

Thursday, 17 September 2020

Car Magazine: Rimac Automobili to Takeover Bugatti

September 17, 2020 - Car Magazine dropped a bomb on Thursday - Mate Rimac and Rimac Automobili to takeover Bugatti from Volkswagen.

According to information obtained by Car Magazine, Index.hr reports that the Volkswagen Group has decided to leave its brand of prestigious hypercars Bugatti to Rimac Automobili, which has long been world-famous for electric cars of exceptional performance, but also for the development of electric drive technology and components for large and well-known companies such as Aston Martin, Koenigsegg, Hyundai and the like.

Car Magazine states that Rimac would take over Bugatti in exchange for a larger stake in Volkswagen in Rimac Automobili. Under Volkswagen is also Porsche, which has already invested considerable money in Rimac Automobili. Namely, in 2018, Porsche bought a 10% stake in Rimac Automobili, and a year later, it bought another 5.5%. This put Porsche in good company, as Hyundai, Jaguar, Koenigsegg and Magna are among the investors in Rimac Automobili.

Car Magazine writes that such a transaction would never have been approved under the leadership of former Volkswagen leader Ferdinand Piech. They state that Bugatti was his "favorite toy" in the collection of companies to which Piech added well-known brands such as Bentley and Lamborghini. But Piech left Volkswagen in 2015 and died four years after that.

Unofficial sources cited by Car Magazine claim that Volkswagen's executives approved the transaction last week and that the final approval of the supervisory board is still pending.

Although not all the details are known, it seems that part of Bugatti will still remain under Volkswagen's control, especially since Porsche, as part of the Volkswagen Group, also has a 15.5 percent stake in Rimac Automobili. In addition, it is announced that Porsche should soon take a larger stake in Rimac Automobili.

Car Magazine states that the Volkswagen Group no longer wants to spend big money and workers on "hobby brands" taken over by the former head of the group. Instead, all resources must be directed to a major investment program that addresses the future of the automotive industry - electrification, digitization and autonomous driving.

But how can VW sever its ties with Bugatti without losing the support of other members of the Piech family, who control a 50 percent stake in the Volkswagen Group? The answer is simple, writes Car Magazine: By putting their favorite brand, Porsche, at the heart of this transaction, they would work for the mutual benefit of all parties involved.

Volkswagen has so far declined to comment on this information. Bugatti told the portal Carscoops that they have no comments on the story, either.

Rimac Automobili spokeswoman Marta Longin told Index only briefly: "We can't comment on speculation."

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