Western Balkans citizens legally resident in EU equal to 14% of region’s population
International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) has stripped Belarus of the right to hold the World Championship this year
Alexei Navalny arrested on arrival as he returns home
LONG READ: The oligarch problem
MOSCOW BLOG: Has Navalny started a revolution?
Russia's biggest demonstrations since 2011 in protest against Navalny jailing
Opposition activist Navalny's call for mass protests a success as thousands take to the streets across Russia
Russia's National Welfare Fund accounts for almost 12% of GDP
NBU keeps key policy rate at 6%, worsens CPI outlook
Western Balkans and Ukraine urged to scrutinise coal subsidies
Oligarchs trying to derail Ukraine’s privatisation programme, warns the head of Ukraine’s State Property Fund
VISEGRAD BLOG: Central Europe's populists need a new strategy for Biden
OUTLOOK 2021 Lithuania
EBRD says loan to Estonia’s controversial Porto Franco project was never disbursed
Czech MPs pass protectionist food law in violation of EU rules
M&A in Central and Eastern Europe fell 16% in value in 2020, says CMS report
Hungarian vehicle makers hit by supply chain shortage
COVID-19 and Trump’s indifference helped human rights abusers in 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Poland
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovakia
BRICKS & MORTAR: Rosier future beckons for CEE retailers after year of change and disruption
FDI inflows to CEE down 58% in 1H20 but rebound expected
BALKAN BLOG: Superstition and resentment surround vaccination plans
Albania needs reforms for e-commerce to thrive, says World Bank
BALKAN BLOG: US approach to switch from quick-fix dealmaking to experience and cooperation
Bosnia's exports in 2020 amounted to BAM10.5bn, trade deficit to BAM6.3bn
Retailers and restaurant owners threaten protests in Bulgaria if reopening is delayed
Bulgaria's Biodit first company to IPO on new BEAM market
Bulgaria’s government considers gradual easing of COVID-related restrictions
Spring lockdown caused spike in online transactions in Croatia
ING: Growth in the Balkans: from zero to hero again?
Labour demand down 28% y/y in Croatia in 2020
OUTLOOK 2021 Moldova
Storming parliaments: New Europe's greatest hits
World Bank revises projection for Moldova’s 2020 GDP decline to 7.2%
North Macedonia plans to cut personal income tax in IT sector to zero in 2023
Romania government to pursue “ambitious” timetable for justice reforms
Private finance mobilised by development banks up 9% to $175bn in 2019
OUTLOOK 2021 Romania
OUTLOOK 2021 Slovenia
Slovenia’s opposition files no-confidence motion against Jansa cabinet
Slovenia’s government to release funds to news agency STA after EU pressure
UK Moneyhub picks Slovenia for post-Brexit European base
D’S Damat franchise deals ‘show Turkey’s hard-pressed mall operators becoming their own tenants’
Turkey’s benchmark rate held as concerns over faltering recovery come to fore
Turkish lira breaches HSBC’s stop-loss, Turkey ETF signalling outflows
CAUCASUS BLOG : What can Biden offer the Caucasus and Stans, all but forgotten about by Trump?
Armenia ‘to extend life of its 1970s Metsamor nuclear power plant after 2026’
OUTLOOK 2021 Armenia
COMMENT: Record high debt levels will slow post-coronavirus recovery, threaten some countries' financial stability, says IIF
OUTLOOK 2021 Georgia
Iran’s Khamenei menaces private citizen Trump with image of aircraft shadowing blond golfer
Iran’s technology minister indicted for failing to properly implement internet censorship
No US move to rejoin Iran nuclear deal imminent, say Biden national security nominees
TEHRAN BLOG: Will Biden bet on a quick return to the Iran nuclear deal?
Central Asia vaccination plans underwhelm, but governments look unruffled
Fears of authoritarianism as Kyrgyz populist wins landslide and backing for ‘Khanstitution’
Mongolia's PM quits amid protests over treatment of mother with coronavirus and newborn baby
Mongolia's winter dzud set to be one of most extreme on record says Red Cross
Mongolian coal exports to China paralysed as Beijing demands virus testing of truck drivers
Mongolia fears economic damage as country faces up to its first local transmissions of coronavirus
OUTLOOK 2021 Tajikistan
OUTLOOK 2021 Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan: How the Grinch stole New Year
COMMENT: Uzbekistan is being transformed, but where are the democratic reforms?
Download the pdf version
It’s an understatement to say that 2020 proved a gruelling test for the whole world. In business, enterprises often had to switch to experimental approaches or total restructuring of processes to keep going. In Uzbekistan, as elsewhere, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and lockdown necessities such as quarantining confused the plans of great numbers of domestic as well as foreign companies.
For example, Russia’s Sportmaster, which announced its expansion into the Uzbek market in 2019, and started recruiting in Tashkent in February, was forced to not only revise its plans, but attend to difficult situations on its main markets.
Despite challenging and often excruciating circumstances, but in some cases because of them, several foreign companies still arrived on the Uzbek market this year. Here are notes on some of the most significant ones.
Hilton Tashkent City has been hosting guests since the beginning of 2020. The 21-storey building has 258 rooms, including eight presidential suites. It is the first hotel of the American hotel chain in Uzbekistan and the third in Central Asia after Hilton Dushanbe and Hilton Astana.
The first vehicles of the Russian cargo and freight vehicle rental company appeared in Tashkent even before the pandemic, at the end of January. The company plans to cover the entire country by 2021.
The Uzbek children's goods market this year got a new player—the official distributor of Japanese brand Merries.
In May, Uzbekistan became the first country to localise the Russian Selectel cloud platform. The company intends to invest up to $1mn in the development of its new market over three years. Selectel said it chose Uzbekistan as its first foreign market because it sees the economic potential of the country and the desire of the authorities to build a digital state and economy. Cloud technologies are an integral part of this process.
In June, Humans introduced the first version of its mobile app in Uzbekistan, combining finance, mobile operator services and goods and services showcasing.
In July, Tashkent hosted a presentation of the Volkswagen Caddy, which is offered in three versions. So far, Uzbekistan is selling models of the fourth generation, which was introduced in 2015. In 2021, production and sales of the fifth generation of the German car should start.
In July, the Russian company said it had adapted its Diadok system especially for Uzbek business: it presented a module that allows for exchanging electronic documents from the 1C accounting system.
The international company opened its first stores in Tashkent at the end of August. By the end of the year, there were already 13. Fix Price is a discounter, a store with a wide range of products at prices below the market average.
Sales of the Czech automaker Skoda’s Škoda Kodiaq started in Uzbekistan in the autumn.
September saw the Uzbek sales launch of Chinese car brand Haval. It is offering premium SUVs and crossovers produced in accordance with all European standards. Haval is a division of Great Wall Motors that produces premium SUVs and crossovers in China.
Georgia’s TBC Bank opened two offices in Tashkent in October. They are currently operating in a test mode.
The Ukrainian food delivery service started operating in Uzbekistan in November. Given the country’s even lower penetration of online grocery delivery services than is the case in Ukraine, Zakaz saw huge potential for business development.
The French company is moving to open its first stores in Uzbekistan by the end of the year. Carrefour plans to work with more than 600 local suppliers, producers and farmers.
Companies intending to enter Uzbek market in 2021
The largest Kazakh retailer plans to open at least six supermarkets in Uzbekistan in 2021, each of which will create up to 500 jobs.
The Russian lowcoster has won its permit from Rosaviation, but it still needs permission from Uzaviation to resume Russia-Uzbekistan flights.
In October, the St Petersburg-based social media and social networking company announced plans to open a representative office in Uzbekistan. Vkontakte is presently seeking a specialist to become its country ambassador. It says it wants to make its platform local in both meaning and products.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has published a report on its activitiies in Uzbekistan in 2020. Central Asia’s most populated country during the exacting year saw funds ... more
Power outages have reached an all-time high in Uzbekistan. The energy ministry has blamed outdated equipment, while adding that it does not have enough resources to solve the problem.
Thousands of ... more
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has allocated a senior local currency loan of up to $2.8mn in Uzbek sum-equivalent to Uzbek Healthline, a producer and trader of disposable ... more
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