Czech PM Babiš pledges to "fight" for an Apple Store in Prague

The Czech PM's Davos sit down with Apple CEO Tim Cook could mean good news for Prague Mac lovers

Katrina Modrá

Written by Katrina Modrá Published on 29.01.2019 08:47:28 (updated on 29.01.2019) Reading time: 2 minutes

The World Economic Forum at Davos, a ski resort in Switzerland, wrapped up its 2019 session on Friday.

The Czech Republic was represented at the annual meeting devoted to the world’s most pressing issues by Prime Minister Andrej Babiš who met with Brazil’s president, AT&T CEO John Donovan, and IBM VP Martin Schroeter during the week-long forum. 

But one session, in particular, has garnered quite a bit of media attention: the PM’s sit down with Apple, Inc. CEO Tim Cook.

Photo via Facebook / @AndrejBabis

The Czech billionaire and the American exec reportedly discussed artificial intelligence, the Czech economy, and the possibility of the company opening an Apple Store in Prague. Babiš released the news in a series of tweets that have since been widely shared across social media:

“Tim Cook was absolutely enthusiastic about the fact that in the Czech Republic we have more than 500 scientists in the field of artificial intelligence. I also offered Apple to build an Apple Store in Prague. It is only in ten European countries, one directly in the Louvre in Paris,” the PM tweeted.

Of potential locations for the country’s first Apple retail outlet, Babiš proposed Old Town Square:

“In our country, the building of the Ministry for Regional Development on Old Town Square would be great. Tim Cook responded immediately and immediately begins coordinating a team for the preparation of the new Apple Store in Prague.”

He added that he believes the country “deserves” an official Apple store:

“We want our citizens to have the opportunity to have technological innovations at the same time as in these countries. It’s a prestigious affair.”

Apple doesn’t currently operate first-party retail stores in the Czech Republic meaning local Apple users must rely on premium resellers for brick and mortar sales and service. Apple Pay could be launching in the Czech Republic at the end of February.

A number of the PM’s political opponents criticized the announcement including the Social Democrats (ČSSD) who tweeted in response to the announcement, “We are not giving away buildings to corporations here at Davos like Babiš does. We are here to help those who cannot afford Apple phones.”

But Deputy Chairman of the Government Council for Research, Development and Innovation Karel Havlíček told local media that the opening of an Apple Store is linked to the Czech innovation strategy.

“They are excited about our innovation strategy because they see that we are among the technology leaders. They see that we are a country of artificial intelligence that we are building top centers here,” he said, adding: “And we say that if we want to be a technology leader, it is not possible that the Apple Store is not here. “

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