Czech tycoon Karel Komarek has reached out to piano manufacturer Petrof through the Komarek Family Foundation to purchase 5.3 million korunas (US$234,814) of pianos after a Chinese client canceled an order in protest at Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil’s visit to Taiwan last week.
The customer in Beijing said that it canceled the order because Vystrcil’s visit to Taiwan was harmful to China-Czech relations, Petrof president Zuzana Ceralova Petrofova said.
Petrof, established in 1864, sells about 35 percent of its pianos to China, and is concerned that worsening ties between the Czech Republic and China might affect its sales.
Photo: Screen grab from Karel Komarek Family Foundation Web site
The company expressed its appreciation to Komarek, and Petrofova said that she was surprised by Komarek’s eagerness to step in and complete the unplanned purchase.
Czech media reported that Komarek decided to purchase the pianos to show support for Petrof and Vystrcil’s Taiwan visit, which had deep significance.
“The Czech Republic is a free country. This is what I value most, and I simply want to remind my fellow Czechs of this,” Komarek said.
Komarek said that he and his wife, Stepanka Komarkova, would be donating the pianos to schools in the Czech Republic, hoping that the instruments would be symbols of Czech pride and solidarity.
Forbes magazine has said that Komarek, 51, the third-richest man in the Czech Republic, is worth US$3.8 billion.
Komarek made his fortune in the oil and natural gas business in 1990, and founded his investment group, KKCG, in 2010.
KKCG has investments in the entertainment industry, information technology, real estate and biomedicine.
The 89-person delegation from the Czech Republic, led by Vystrcil, concluded its six-day visit to Taiwan on Friday last week.
Representatives of the Czech political, business, scientific and cultural sectors signed three memorandums of understanding to enhance cooperation, resulting in Taiwanese banks being allowed to open branches in the European nation and China Airlines gaining approval to operate direct flights.
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