TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Karel Komarek, a billionaire in the Czech Republic, has bought NT$7 million (US$239,000) worth of Petrof pianos that were rejected by a Chinese customer due to Czech Senate President Milos Vystrcil's recent visit to Taiwan.
According to Czech news site iROZHLAS, a customer in Beijing told Petrof that he wanted to suspend his order of 11 instruments after talks about imposing sanctions on Czech companies began to surface in China. The company said Chinese orders accounted for 35 percent of its revenue and it worried Beijing's retaliation would bring serious damage to its business.
After hearing the news, the family foundation of Komarek informed Petrof that it would like to purchase the pianos and donate them to local schools. Komarek said he and his wife wanted to present the instruments as "a symbol of Czech pride and cohesion" and remind people that the Czech Republic is a free country with this small gesture.
Petrof's owner Zuzana Ceralova Petrofova described Komarek's action as generous and said she was surprised by the foundation's determination. She added that the order was very important, especially with 2020 being such a difficult year, reported CNA.
As one of the richest entrepreneurs in the Czech Republic, Komarek started his business in oil and gas during the 1990s and later founded the private investment group KKCG, which now has over 30 companies in the country and across Central Europe. According to last year's ranking of Forbes magazine, Komarek is the 648th richest billionaire in the world with an estimated net worth of US$3.8 billion.