Background To Business in Austria

Austria is a landlocked country, set in the heart of Europe with a population of scarcely more than eight million people.

It has little in the way of natural resources and relies heavily on its larger neighbour Germany in both import and export terms. Yet despite these seeming handicaps, Austrians enjoy an extremely high standard of living and an economy which is relatively robust. This is, in no small measure due, to the drive and application of those eight million Austrians.

Although the current State of Austria has only existed in its current form since 1955, the country has a long and distinguished history. The capital, Vienna, was for centuries one of the major centres of the European world and as the fulcrum of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was, for a long time, a magnet for the best and the brightest amongst Europe’s intelligentsia.

During the Cold War period, the country managed to steer an impressively neutral path between the two competing super powers and the contacts Austrians managed to develop into the old Soviet Bloc countries during that period now stand them in good stead when developing business contacts in the burgeoning markets of Central and Eastern Europe.

Austria is a country with an auspicious past and a bright future. Perfectly located to take advantage of the development and enlargement of the EU, the country has the human capital and highly developed infrastructure needed to act as bridge between Western and Eastern Europe.
Austria is an attractive business destination with a strong business culture of its own and has significant strength in such distinct areas as banking and finance, precision engineering and bio-technology.

A brief overview of some key concepts to consider when doing business in Austria

Written and Produced by Keith Warburton

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Although Austria is a landlocked country, its geographic position brings certain advantages as it is perfectly positioned between the countries of western Europe and the former Soviet satellite countries to the East. Thus, Austria is able to command centre stage in central Europe and is often seen as the bridge between the two areas.

Austria is also a very successful exporting nation with strong links to, not only its largest trading partner Germany, but also into the Middle East and Asia. Austria is at the same time traditional and outward looking. The country realises that it must trade internationally if it is to be able to continue to compete globally and maintain its current high standard of living.

All of this points to the fact that doing business in Austria could very well be a good idea for your business. If you are not currently doing business in Austria, we would recommend that you take a serious look at the market – you might be surprised by the opportunities you uncover and you might even start to see a commercial opening into some Eastern European neighbours.

If you do decide to do business in Austria make sure you take a little time out in advance to study the business culture you are likely to meet when you arrive. All countries develop their own unique approach to the way in which business is conducted and Austria is no exception. Austria is quite traditional and formal and you would do well to understand how these formalities play out in day-to-day business activities.

This country profile provides an overview of some of the key aspects of Austrian business culture in a concise, easy to follow-format. The document includes information on:

  • Background to business
  • Business Structures
  • Management style
  • Meetings
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Women in business
  • Entertaining
  • Top tips