CEO Lippai-Nagy on the drivers behind Hungary’s economic growth - Pharma Boardroom interview

  • November 11, 2019
Irisz Lippai-Nagy, CEO of AmCham Hungary, shares insights on the drivers contributing to economic growth in Hungary, recent policies and reforms, the role of the association, and policy recommendations to facilitate ease of business.

Pharma Boardroom: Can you tell us what the drivers behind Hungary’s economic growth are?

CEO Lippai-Nagy: Hungary’s growth is the result of very cautious economic policies implemented by the government over the past decade which aimed to create jobs, reduce the unemployment rate, and offer favorable and stable conditions to foreign investors. This has led to an increase in investments year on year, mainly benefiting the manufacturing sector and the automotive industry.

However, to remain competitive we needed to devise a sustainable long-term plan. As a result, through liaising with our members and advocating with the government, supporting R&D in pharmaceutical and other value-added industries has become the focus of AmCham’s policies. The government subsidizes industries and offers support to companies that want to develop or expand their R&D capabilities.

P. B.: What sectors are the most attractive for international companies and American ones?

Lippai-Nagy: Historically, automotive manufacturing has always been important for Hungary and the presence of Audi, Mercedes, and now BMW is a testament to that. More recently, there has been an increase of investments into Tier 1 & 2 industries, which attract further corporation and knowledge sharing activities. For example, innovation and research hubs are being established in Hungary by the likes of Bosch, Siemens, and Continental. In turn, universities are linking with these hubs and cooperating with industry leaders across key sectors. Furthermore, the business services sector is witnessing rapid growth, employing more than 50,000 people. A wide range of companies have set-up strategic business service centers here in the country.

The transactional processes that were brought to Hungary ten years ago are now being outsourced, which is rendering the workforce to a more complex and higher value-added one. In life sciences, for example, Sanofi is expanding its operations here in Hungary. As a company in a highly regulated industry, the expansion of its investment in the country well illustrates this trend. American life sciences and pharma companies have made similar investments over the years, as seven of the top 50 pharma multinationals are present in Hungary as well.

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