Wednesday, 20 January 2021

HGK's Ivan Barbaric Highlights Problems Croatia and USA Must Solve

January the 20th, 2021 - The US Government has changed, and with Joe Biden as the new president, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce's Ivan Barbaric has looked at precisely which questions must be answered, and which issues must be solved by the countries on either side of the vast Atlantic.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the change of Government in the USA could pave way to an additional impetus to the economic relations between Croatia and the USA, and so far the highest priority is to solve the problem of double taxation and abolish visas for Croatian citizens, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (HGK) announced.

The Croatian Chamber of Commerce states that Croatian exports to the United States are continuing to grow solidly and constantly, and that a change of government in one of the world's strongest economies could give an additional spring to the step of the two countries' economic relations. 

Back in 2019, the total trade exchange between Croatia and the United States amounted to an impressive 649 million US dollars, of which 461 million kuna was made up by Croatian exports (14 percent more than in 2018). In the first nine months of 2020, the amount of exports of goods to the United States also reached almost 370 million US dollars, an increase of almost three percent over the same period a year earlier. Ivan Barbaric, Vice President of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce for International Affairs, believes that the economic and trade policy of the new administration of President Joe Biden will change the current direction, will go back into the direction of the process of economic globalisation, cooperation with international organisations and possible inclusion in some new/old trade agreements.

"The currently weakened strategic partnership between Washington and the European Union could now also be repaired, with the hope that the new US administration will enable stability and predictability of EU-US relations and trade. In the end, it would certainly benefit Croatia, ie Croatian companies that do business internationally,'' said Ivan Barbaric, adding that double taxation is one of the burning problems of economic relations between Croatia and the United States and has been for a long time now.

Namely, as he stated, Croatian companies export a significant number of services to the USA, during the first nine months of 2020 revenues from such services amounted to 152 million euros, and the companies that export services will be most helped out by signing the Double Taxation Agreement.

"We believe that the new US administration will realise the importance of this agreement and sign it as soon as possible," Ivan Barbaric stressed. The current topic is the abolition of visas for Croatian citizens, and the Croatian Chamber of Commerce also cooperated with the US Embassy in Croatia in resolving this problem. According to the latest unofficial information, Croatia has met all the conditions, so visas could be abolished soon.

An example of quality economic and political cooperation, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce points out, is the LNG terminal on Krk, which was put into commercial operation at the beginning of the year. This is a project of great strategic and geopolitical importance for both Croatia and the EU as a whole, because the import of American gas reduces the dependence of European consumers on Russian gas, meaning that it diversifies energy supply sources.

President-elect Biden has already announced the return of the United States to the Paris Agreement, which means a greater possibility of American investments in the field of energy, and Croatian companies should also look for their chance in this field. The Croatian Chamber of Commerce also added that wines from Croatia, more precisely Peljesac dingac and zinfandel, will be poured at the inauguration of the new American president, which is just the culmination of long-term trends of successful export and promotion of local wines over on the American market.

Croatian wine exports are growing at a rate of 10 to 15 percent per year, and according to data for the first ten months of 2020, it reached the amount of 860,000 US dollars, meaning that despite the pandemic, it remained at the levels from 2019.

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Sunday, 6 December 2020

Roberto Kutic: Infobip Preparing for Big Step Forward to US Market

December the 6th, 2020 - Roberto Kutic, the founder of the wildly successful Vodnjan-based Croatian company Infobip, has discussed how the pandemic has affected the industry in which Infobip has taken an enviably strong position.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Roberto Kutic writes, many things have fundamentally altered over the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and what has still managed to experience enormous acceleration is technological advancement.

There is a visible difference in how people currently use different services, especially when it comes to the communication segment. The market in which Infobip operates is growing rapidly, technology is evolving and companies are increasingly improving their communication channels, because with them, they manage to reach their customers in moments of this sort of physical disconnection. However, this accelerated digital transformation and all the significant technological changes that have taken place will remain and will continue to develop strongly even after the coronavirus period has passed - because the benefits have become very obvious to everyone. We expect to continue to be an important factor on this market, precisely because of the need for the technology we provide.

For us at Infobip, every year represents a completely new beginning, a new start for the company. This is how we're looking at 2021, which we're entering with a mindset of exponential growth. In front of Infobip lie more new milestones and goals. One of our most important moments in Croatia will be the opening of the Zagreb campus Alpha Centauri, also Infobip's strongest engineering HUB. On top of all that, we also have a considerable and challenging job ahead of us in terms of business growth and employment.

It is a year in which we'll move towards our stronger positioning in the always competitive American market, which is gravitated to by the world's largest technology companies. We have a large space in front of us there and it is the only region in the world in which we we have yet to step forward in a stronger way, and we're rapidly preparing for precisely that move.

Here in Croatia, the IT sector has left a significant mark this year. The strength of this industry has been confirmed by the recent successes of many Croatian technology companies. That part of the economy is full of potential and can provide a really strong spring in the step of other branches of the economy as well, if it's allowed to fully do so. We're sure that next year will bring many new success stories from Croatian technological circles, which we'll all be very proud of indeed.

Written by Roberto Kutic of Infobip

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Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Sportyn: Croatian-American Company Presents App for Sport Lovers

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Lucija Spiljak writes on the 16th of November, 2020, the Croatian-American company Sportyn INC presented the free Sportyn application (app) in Zagreb. By exchanging video content, as the main medium, the app enables the promotion of athletes on a global level, changes the image of sport scouting and financing the development of athletes, using all aspects of modern social networking concepts.

Experts in the field of developing new technological solutions from Sportyn are otherwise experienced entrepreneurs and world-famous sport ambassadors, and they consider this application a kind of revolution for the sporting community and redefining the path of young athletes to success.

Sportyn, they say, wants to become a platform to promote athletes globally, and is the first on the market to offer real benefits to those who are serious or amateurs in sport, such as athletes, spectators, coaches or scouts. It is the first and only platform in the world that, by the use of an advanced algorithmic search engine, enables agents and scouts, but also all sport lovers, to quickly find any athlete, amateur or professional, regardless of their age, country or sport, even if the athlete's name is completely unknown.

''Millions of talented athletes face the same problem today - insufficiently targeted visibility and connectivity with desired audiences, sport recruiters and organisations. YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok are massive channels that offer fast, unfiltered and typical content for viewing by the general population, but they lack the special focus needed for athletes, especially younger people, for competitions and sporting entertainment that is only served casually. This means that there are no real and functional filters, and the videos are scattered around and virtually invisible to the target audience for which they were created. Sport recruiters therefore don't rely on these channels as reliable resources or talent search platforms. We saw space for Sportyn there,'' said Ivan Ilecic, the founder and CEO of Sportyn Inc.

With the help of the special Sportyn algorithm, it is possible to rank and compare athletes according to different criteria. The platform will also contain detailed biographies of the athletes, their athletic characteristics, achievements, statistics, club history, contract and agency status. It is easy to use, available at sportyn.com/app/, and the main communication tool is video clips lasting up to 60 seconds, which are archived and easily accessible, even if the data was published in the application as long as a few years ago. Special emphasis is also placed on data security.

"No matter what part of the world you live in and in what conditions you train in, Sportyn helps you show off your talent to a global sporting audience and those who, recognising your potential, can change your life literally overnight," said Ivan Rakitic, an ambassador of Sportyn.

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Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Luxury Cabin for American Client Being Constructed in Split Shipyard

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 9th of November, 2020, the luxury cabins of an impressive polar cruiser are being built in the Split shipyard for an American client. The cabins are truly luxurious and boast everything an American client might need and want.

The cabin being worked on currently is a demonstration cabin located in the hangar in the aforementioned Split shipyard, Brodosplit. If the client is satisfied with what he sees and what is being offered, then it will be installed in the ship, HRT reports.

''The shipowner is the one who sets all of the requirements, we're here to fulfill all of those requirements or to offer some replacements for what he would like within the budget he has,'' explained Ana Perisic, interior designer.

''We're in the final phase of work on this new construction, and that is the Ultramarine that we're building for the American company Quark. So, after these works, we will start testing it out and expect the final field works by the end of this year, followed by the handover of the ship,'' stated Dalibor Komatina, production director at the well known Split shipyard.

The shipowner's representative is more than satisfied with the construction process so far, as all of the deadlines and all their other requirements have been met. They already know when the ship will leave and where it will head on its very first voyage.

''It will make its first trip to the Arctic next May. In the summer season, we'll go to the Arctic area. The ship will set sail in Norway for the ocean, and sail around Iceland and Greenland moving west following the movement of the ice,'' says Elliott Tulloch, a client representative of Quark Expeditions, USA.

The construction of polar cruisers is an extremely demanding and complex job, which they readily prepared for at the aforementioned Ship shipyard in order to seize the best possible position on the global market, and they succeeded in doing precisely that.

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Sunday, 11 October 2020

Pompeo in Dubrovnik Warns Croatia Against Close Ties With China

October the 11th, 2020 - Mike Pompeo in Dubrovnik attracted a lot of media attention, and the former head of the CIA had a clear message to Croatia when it comes to doing business with the Chinese - Be careful.

As Novac/David Lekaj writes, "Open your eyes when doing business with China," was the message of the former head of the Central Intelligence Agency, who received his military training at the prestigious West Point and his doctorate in law from Harvard.

Mike Pompeo in Dubrovnik explained the geopolitical dangers and pitfalls of cooperation with China in great detail as part of the "17 + 1" initiative. His statement that "the Chinese just want to take money from Croatia" surprised the Croatian public, considering that newspaper columns have been filled with articles about Chinese investments in various projects within the country for several years. However, what was happening far from the radar of the Croatian public was the presentation of Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma to Chinese businessmen at the "Green Forum" on Tuesday (September the 29th) when he uttered almost the same words as Pompeo in Dubrovnik. All in all, we should encourage our government to seriously consider Croatia's further role in the "17 + 1" initiative.

What has been achieved from the announced Chinese investments in Croatia? Well almost nothing. In the absence of the realisation of the promised investments, Peljesac Bridge often gets referred to as a Chinese investment, although it isn't. Peljesac Bridge is an investment by the Croatian Government, mostly financed by European Union (EU) funds. The Chinese simply picked up money to carry out the work. The then Chinese ambassador in Zagreb, Hu Zhaoming, in the midst of some strong media lobbying for Chinese companies, publicly promised that the money that the Chinese state-owned company would receive for doing the work on Peljesac Bridge would be invested in Croatia. As soon as the transfer was made, the Chinese directed all the money to the Italian Port of Trieste, and Ambassador Hu Zhaoming left Croatia for half a term, and was promoted to the high position of Director of the Information and Communication Office of the Central Liaison Department at the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Such a modus operandi was pointed out by Pompeo in Dubrovnik. As were China's combinatorics through the "17 + 1" initiative, whereby China has networked the transition countries of Europe in order for Chinese companies to gain initial business experience that they currently lack to enter the ''game'' with developed EU countries. In fact, the "17 + 1" initiative brings together the "b" and "c" leagues of European countries according to Chinese criteria. In all this, Croatia hasn't achieved any economic interest and this quite legitimately calls into question the further membership of Croatia in such an organisation from which only China benefits.

Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma appealed to Chinese corporations at the Green Forum on Tuesday (September the 29th) to strive to be at the service of the world to restore China's degraded image, rather than trying to conquer the global market. In addition, Ma told Chinese businessmen that they should stop considering globalisation a mere effort to conquer the global market and nothing more. Instead, they should properly develop their ability to provide quality products and services, the tycoon noted.

In other words, China’s image is currently and expectedly dismal, as Chinese companies are the world’s biggest plagiarists, unscrupulously using other people’s patents and intellectual property. But you don't have to go to China to understand what Jack Ma is talking about, just visit the Smederevo steel plant or the Bor mine in neighbouring Serbia, which taken over by the Chinese, and after talking to the locals there it will be clear what environmental issues are at stake in that part of Serbia. If China doesn't finally make a real turnaround, if it doesn't become a reliable country that instills confidence in others, that doesn't "mask" things that can endanger human lives around the world (as it did at the beginning of the current coronavirus pandemic), then such a China quite simply cannot expect the rest of the world to harbour decent relations with it, instead, the world will continue to experience China as it did before - the global cradle of cheap copies.

The harsh criticism of the Chinese Embassy in Zagreb on the statements of the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Dubrovnik was obviously wrongly addressed, as Pompeo spoke in Dubrovnik almost in the same tone as Jack Ma did just a few days ago in China.

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Saturday, 26 September 2020

Final Criteria Met: Croatians Don't Need A Visa For The USA From 2021

September 26, 2020 - A 20-year-old diplomatic and business stumbling block has finally been resolved - Croatians don't need a visa for the USA from 2021

With a considerable amount of the country's diaspora living in English-speaking countries, the issue of visa requirement to enter the USA has been of significant interest to Croatians for years. Discussions have been ongoing since the late 1990s, complicated by the fact Croatian passports can be issued in a different country altogether - Bosnia and Herzegovina. But now, the wait is finally over - Croatians don't need a visa for the USA from 2021.

As detailed in Total Croatia News on 7th September, the final hurdle for the removal of visa requirements was the issuing of 2000 further visas before the end of this month. Sources inside the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs have revealed this criterion has now been met and thus the annual level of rejected applications will be less than 3%. This was the bar set by the USA to the Croatian state.

Meeting this figure was complicated by the decrease in travel due to the ongoing pandemic. Therefore, with full disclosure to their American counterparts, sections of the Croatian government set about orchestrating the required number of applications. They enlisted the help of the Croatian business community and members within it who were sure to submit successful applications.

Next Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will arrive in Croatia. Final details for the abolition of visas will be discussed between his accompanying team and that of Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman and Minister of Defense Mario Banožić, who will meet him in Dubrovnik. The official announcement that Croatians don't need a visa for the USA from 2021 could potentially come as soon as the end of the US Secretary of State's visit.

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Tuesday, 15 September 2020

What Would Croatian-American Agreement on Double Taxation Imply?

As Novac/Marina Klepo writes on the 14th of September, 2020, last week, US Ambassador Robert Kohorst presented the Croatian Government with a proposal for a draft agreement on avoiding double taxation between the United States and Croatia, a document that the two countries have now been negotiating for a quarter of a century. But just what would the Croatian-American agreement bring, and what are the details?

After the US ambassador met with Finance Minister Zdravko Maric at the Banski dvori, they reported that the long anticipated Croatian-American agreement would provide "additional legal security to taxpayers, especially those with dual citizenship, prevent double tax payments and protect them from possible discriminatory practices."

Cooperation between the Croatian and US tax services will be established in order to resolve possible ambiguities and misunderstandings during the implementation of the Croatian-American tax agreement itself. Negotiations between the two sides are scheduled for the end of the year, with Croatia being represented by the Ministry of Finance. When asked when this Croatian-American agreement could enter into force, Minister Maric was reluctant to state a time frame, emphasising that it doesn't depend only on the Croatian side.

''We've been waiting for this moment for a long time, we're going to do everything to make it happen as soon as possible,'' said the Minister of Finance. The first negotiations on the avoidance of double taxation between Croatia and the United States began back in 1995, and a year later, standard model agreements were exchanged. However, the official start of negotiations didn't take place. The most probable time for signing such a Croatian-American agreement seemed to be in 2008, just before Croatia's accession to NATO, when US President George W. Bush also visited Croatia, but it didn't happen even then.

There were several initiatives after that, primarily on the Croatian side, and the last one was launched two years ago by the American Chamber of Commerce in Croatia (AmCham), which also presented the publication "Arguments in favour of signing a double taxation agreement between Croatia and the United States". The conditions for a higher phase of negotiations, both on signing an agreement on avoiding double taxation and on abolishing visas, are now clearly ripe.

Given that double taxation is the most harmful thing to would-be investors, agreements to avoid such practices are an important tool for protecting investors and foreign direct investment. In its analysis, the US Chamber of Commerce states, among other things, that avoiding double taxation would lead to increased investment between the two countries, that existing cumulative tax rates in the US are higher than in Croatia and that they have a disincentive effect on Croatian companies.

An additional reason for this step is the fact that the current situation encourages companies on both sides to operate through subsidiaries registered in other countries, which means additional financial expenditures. The agreement would bring the greater and cheaper transfer of knowledge and experience, especially for small and medium-sized companies and companies in the IT sector, and ultimately "better tax treatment of US citizens who work, reside or own real estate in Croatia."

When rxplaining what double taxation means, for example, for a company in Croatia that is 100 percent owned by an American company, AmCham states that it must pay 18 percent income tax in Croatia and interest, fees and dividends, so the total amount paid to the American owner is significantly less than it would have been if the Croatian-American agreement had been signed. The same applies to the operations of Croatian companies in the United States.

"The burden is even greater than the above example, because in the United States, all three tax rates are 30 percent deductible for countries that haven't signed an agreement. This is especially true for Croatian IT companies, which are very much present over on the US market,'' reads the AmCham analysis.

As for the most common example of economic double taxation, it has been stated that the company pays income tax, and then the tax is paid by the shareholders on the dividend paid from that taxed profit. One country can tax income according to the criterion of its origin, and the other on the basis of residence. Agreements usually deal with the fact that the country in which the taxpayer is resident doesn't collect income tax that has already been subject to taxation abroad or grants a tax deduction in the amount of tax paid abroad. In the case of companies, a dividend deduction system, imputation systems or separate tax rates are most commonly used.

According to the Croatian Chamber of Commerce, Croatia currently has 63 double taxation agreements in place, including with all EU countries except Cyprus, most of which have been in force since Croatia's accession to the EU. The only exceptions to that, meaning agreements which came before Croatia joining the bloc are the agreements with three European countries - Portugal, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg.

These agreements differ in the scope and tax rates agreed upon, with some regulating only income tax and some covering both income and assets. Each agreement specifies exactly which taxes in the signatory countries are the subject of the agreement and defines who has the right to tax, how those taxes are distributed or what the highest amount of taxation stands at. As an example, the Croatian Chamber of Commerce cites the agreement between Croatia and the Czech Republic, which defines that a state in which a dividend is paid to a resident of another state has the right to collect tax on that dividend, but in the maximum amount of 5 percent gross dividend.

When it comes to the United States, which has 68 double taxation agreements, Croatia is the only European Union country with which it still doesn't have such an agreement.

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Saturday, 12 September 2020

Americans Take Over Successful Zagreb Company Altus IT

As Lucija Spiljak/Poslovni Dnevnik writes on the 11th of September, 2020, with the acquisition of its European subsidiary Interxion, the American company Digital Realty took over the Zagreb company Altus IT, the first Croatian data centre independent of a telecom operator. This acquisition will further increase the global user presence with access to the global PlatformDIGITAL, which helps users worldwide to connect their entire digital ecosystem through a single data centre service provider.

''We believe that this is an extremely significant step further that brings our customers a stronger global presence and opens up new opportunities for growth and development. We'll certainly use Interxion's access to a global network of more than 280 facilities at 47 metro locations in 22 countries across six continents and established relationships with 700 telecoms, to further develop the established telecommunications hub,'' said Goran Djoreski, the current director of Altus IT, which connects more than 45 telecoms, including Cogent, CenturyLink, NTT, Cloudflare, DT, A1 and others, making Altus IT the focal point of all communications between the region and Western Europe.

The company has established itself on the Croatian market as the leading independent provider of data centre services and one of the main communication hubs, and last year they earned 18.71 million kuna, with a growth compared to last year of 26.42 percent. They currently have about fifteen employees, and that number will follow future development plans, the company says. Djoreski will take over the position of Interxion's business director in Croatia. The price of the acquisition isn't yet known, and it is too early, they say from the company, to discuss concrete plans and investments on the Croatian market. However, the business model of Altus IT, Djoreski added, is similar to that of Interxion, so they don't expect major changes in the continuation of business and organisational structure, and the company will continue to operate in Croatia as an independent legal entity.

Last year, in an interview with Poslovni Dnevnik, Djoreski revealed that Altus IT concluded its fourth expansion by raising its capacity by an additional 200 square metres to a total of 830 square metres, marking the beginning of a phase of accelerated cloud-based growth and preparation for even greater investment. Since back in 2012, when Altus IT initially entered the cloud business, they have become a key cloud point in Croatia, from which they now generate a quarter of their revenue. Half of their customers are various IT and digital companies, and the other half are telecoms. Four years ago, Telia Carrier placed a direct connection to the Microsoft cloud platforms Azure and Office365 at Altus, which means that in the past three years, large companies and banks haven't needed to use Office365 over the Internet, but can optically connect to Altus IT and as such connect directly to Microsoft services. Thus, users store all their data in Croatia, and if necessary, transfer it to the Microsoft cloud and back. At Altus, both Amazon and Google have direct links to their clouds.

With this acquisition, it seems that it will try to strengthen globally, and the fact that Interxion: A Digital Realty Company, as a European independent provider of cloud data centres and collocation solutions, is a leader in the EMEA region, also supports this. It is a subsidiary of Digital Realty, which operates in 22 countries with 280 day centres on six continents. Last year, with 1,550 employees, they earned 3.2 billion US dollars, while profit was 579 million US dollars.

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Sunday, 9 August 2020

US Embassy: Level 3 Travel Health Notice Issued for Travel to Croatia

August the 9th, 2020 - The US Embassy in Croatia has stated that the advise now being given to American tourists is to ''reconsider travel to Croatia'' amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As the US Embassy in Croatia has stated, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice to American citizens hoping to travel to the Republic of Croatia.

There have been numerous items added to the ''checklist'' for travel for US citizens for Croatia, which can be read by clicking the above link and by following the links provided within the US Embassy's webpage. A country information page is also available.

For more on travel to, from and within Croatia during the coronavirus era, follow our dedicated travel page.

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Thursday, 23 July 2020

From Total Blockade to Delivery of Croatian Robots to USA

STEMI says that the ongoing coronavirus crisis has increased the prices of inputs by up to 20 and even 30 percent, and extended the procurement deadlines by two to three times. Croatian robots are wanted in the US!

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Bernard Ivezic writes on the 21st of July, 2020 the domestic startup STEMI set off on Tuesday with the first deliveries of its robots to California, the state where the famous Silicon Valley is located. More than 50 American schools located from California to Texas and Arizona, all the way to Florida, Connecticut and New Jersey, bought some Croatian educational robots in a package with educational content for STEM education around two months ago.

This is one of the greatest Croatian successes in adapting business to the conditions of the "new normal" that developed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Marin Troselj, the co-founder and director of STEMI, says that he almost had a nervous breakdown in March, because their work simply stopped completely.

Back at the end of last year, STEMI raised 319,000 euros or 2.4 million kuna of capital through Funderbeam SEE in order to expand to the American market in 2020.

"In March, we started selling and in the first three weeks we reached as much as 20 percent of the sales target for this year, and then quarantines started and schools from the USA started calling us and cancelling their orders," Troselj recalls.

He says they immediately changed their strategy that fourth week. They stepped up their communication through digital channels with American schools, introduced a series of changes and prepared for the next opportunity. It opened for them in May.

He states that schools in the US have money, they're very interested in STEM and they continue to invest. Even those who aren't currently buying robots are buying laptops intensively so that their students can work from home. Some schools have therefore frozen their budgets for other things as they wait for September to see how the situation with the coronavirus pandemic develops. Troselj says that the most important thing for them now is to deliver all the contracted orders, and emphasises that, as things seem at the moment, they will manage to achieve that.

"We were also a little lucky, because culturally, schools in the United States are like kindergartens, they also serve to look after children while their parents work so that they're still in function with them," says Troselj. He adds that the transformation of the company in such a short time has been very challenging indeed, not only in terms of sales but also in communication to investors and in production, as well as planning for future development. He states that STEMI now communicates with major investors on a daily basis, and with the bigger ones on a monthly basis. In addition, they are currently preparing to send out a quarterly report.

"We didn't reach the set goals for this quarter, but we couldn't have predicted the coronavirus pandemic. However, investors have an understanding, because we inform them in detail about everything we're doing and that's why we get to enjoy their support,'' says Troselj. In production and planning for future development, he states that the coronavirus crisis has increased the prices of inputs by up to 20 and even 30 percent, and extended the procurement deadlines by two to three times. He points out that some hardware factories in China have had to shut down, others have slowed down the pace of their deliveries, and transportation has slowed.

"The biggest challenge was the fact that we were supposed to start our production in May, and we were just starting a real 'new normal' sale and we couldn't immediately know how many robots we needed to produce," says Troselj.

He explains that they didn't want to overcrowd the parts warehouse, nor did they want to question the deliveries. In addition, before the coronavirus struck Croatia, they planned to go to China for a short time and personally perform some of the necessary tests before delivering the parts.

This way, he says, they had to hire an R&D company from Shenzhen to do the job for them. He adds that they intend to continue to adapt.

"Some schools have even increased their orders from us, because they're conducting education from home, so they ordered additional robots. However, we're already looking for space for growth in programmes that aren't related to hardware,'' concludes Troselj.

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