Gabriela Pleschová, PhD.
Faculty of Social and Economic Sciences, Comenius University,
Institute of European Studies and International Relations
Odbojarov 10/A, P. O. Box 129
82005 Bratislava, Slovakia
The 2007 epsNet general conference
Europe: Integration and/or Fragmentation?
Subtheme B: Internal and External Security
Immigration, Integration, and Xenophobia in Europe
Chinese Migrants in Slovakia –
Little Transparency of Business Environment Strengthened by Competing Policies
Since the beginning of 1990s Chinese minority has established itself as a steady part of
societies in Central Europe. In Slovakia, approximately two thousand Chinese form a small
but visible community. Within recent priorities of the Slovak government and the European
Union these people have been trapped in between contradicting policies. Firstly, they are the
efforts to combat illegal trade and illegal work as documented by everyday procedures of the
Slovak authorities. Then, there is a strong commitment to fulfil criteria for entering the
Shenghen union in 2008 which makes the policy towards migrants stricter. On the other hand,
for more than five years attracting foreign investors has been the chief economic policy of the
Slovak government – recently both foreign minister and the prime minister during their visits
in China attempted to draw more Chinese businessmen to Slovakia. In 2006 Chinese
companies of Lenovo and Huawei started their ventures in Bratislava and other are expected
to follow their example.
In my paper I discuss the composition of Chinese population in Slovakia, whether they
are still mainly small traders or if we can speak more about investors and larger numbers are
supposed to come. I mainly focus on the issue how do these competing policies influence
their business strategies discussing the problem whether they may discourage the Chinese
entrepreneurs from investing in Slovakia.
Chinese migrants in Slovakia constitute an interesting but a little-known phenomenon. Since
the end of 1980s several dozens of thousands of Chinese have arrived to Central Europe from
which some thousands of migrants settled or temporarily stayed in Slovakia. While there have
already been a number of studies published about the Chinese population in Hungary, Czech
Republic and Poland (Moore and Tubilewicz 2000, Mezlíková-Moore 2000, Nyíri 2003,
1999, 1998, Laczko and Thompson 2000, Obuchová 1999) Chinese in Slovakia remain
largely under-researched. Until now, there have only been published two shorter scholarly
papers examining the topic of Chinese settlers in Slovakia (Poľaško 2006, Gregušová-
Pleschová 2005). Not only the scholars, but also the media in Slovakia rarely pay attention to
this topic providing only scattered picture of Chinese community living in the country.
Nevertheless, life of Chinese migrants in Slovakia offers an interesting example of