Products carrying the three words "made-in-China" are finding a ready market in Africa according to a recently issued official report.
The African continent with a population of 700 million is a vast market for light industrial products, household appliances and electronics which has been neglected by many Chinese businessmen.
This was explained in a report issued by the International Economy Research Office under the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
With labor cost increases and overproduction, some manufacturers of household appliances have entered a low-profit phase in China. However, Africa is a huge market with a relatively cheap labor force waiting for Chinese products and investors.
According to the report, in North African countries like Egypt, Chinese products used on a daily basis are popular. In East Africa where agriculture dominates, Chinese farming products and plastics have been identified as bright prospects while light industrial goods and textiles sell well in South Africa.
According to Shi Yongxiang, one of the report's authors and chief expert with the International Economy Research Office, the Chinese and African economies were complementary. Africa needs to import a variety of goods and China is in a position to provide them.
After a lengthy period of market testing, Chinese businesses involved in textiles, garment production, household appliances, mobile phones, IT and agriculture possessed a strong competitive edge in overseas markets.
At the same time many Chinese enterprises like Huawei Technologies, Haier Group and Lenovo have accelerated the pace of building up their global production and sales networks.
Chinese enterprises in the above industries may explore the African market while those in coastal areas could gain entry through sea farming, light textile processing and logistics, suggested Chi Changsheng, executive director with the International Economy Research Office. The processing projects are more welcomed in Africa, Chi added.
At the end of June 2004, Chinese enterprises in Africa which had been approved and recorded by the Ministry of Commerce reached 674 with a total investment value of US$1.509 billion. The Chinese part of that figure is around US$1.13 billion.
China has invested in 49 African countries in a wide range of ventures including trading, processing, resource exploration, transportation, construction, telecommunications, farming and agricultural products.
(China.org.cn by Li Shen, June 1, 2006)