In addition to giving a boost to foreign trade and foreign direct investment, the opening of the borders to the Central and Eastern European countries has also intensified links between companies which cannot be subsumed under the strictly separate categories of market-mediated and hierarchical co-ordination. Such co-operations usually have the Austrian company as the leading partner, indicated either by differences in size or the ownership structure. Most of these relationships found are of the majority or minority stakeholding type, and Austrian companies are typically larger than their partners in the CEECs. For a company survey performed by WIFO, more than a third of the businesses polled stated that they were co-operating with firms in the CEECs. The rate of co-operation depends very much on the firm size. Larger companies co-operate more frequently than smaller ones. Co-operation mostly concerns distribution or production, whereas R&D co-operation is quite negligible. Intra-industrial co-operation is the preferred option. Contrary to expectations that it was mostly near-border companies who had entered into co-operation schemes, it is actually the more remote companies who play the lead. More than half of all co-operating businesses in Austria have their domicile more than 50 km away from a CEEC border, and their respective partners in turn are more than 100 km away from their side of the border. Even CEEC firms within proximity of the border usually co-operate with Austrian companies situated more than 50 km away from the next CEEC border. But even firms in the Austrian border region mostly co-operate with CEEC companies located at a distance of more than 100 km from the Austrian border. From the surveyed companies' point of view, soft activities to promote co-operation (such as information centres) would be just as effective as financial promotion. This applies even more to companies that have not yet entered any co-operative venture. They rank information centres top among key activities. Promotion measures at institutional level are similarly judged to be considerably more important by non-co-operating companies than by co-operating firms.
Unternehmenskooperationen mit den MOEL; Corporate Co-operation with CEECs
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