Chinese exports to Africa surge 38pc as Europe and Japan's fade away

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AFRICANS are buying Chinese high tech electronic consumer devices as well sophisticated production machinery in large volumes without causing any disruption in the domestic producers market.

Low prices help drive the import growth, reports London's Financial Times, but product improvement, better local co-operation and high levels of Chinese African investment, totally US$13 billion in Africa since 2000, are factors too.

The classic complaint of third world products, that cheap imports obliterate domestic markets, is no longer the case for China, whose products though cheap, come from higher up the value chain and beyond local production capacity, the FT said.

"The African market is Chinese. They help us because it is the only one we can afford," shop assistant Eunice told the FT.

Chinese exports have more than tripled their market share in Africa since 2002, which supplied 16.8 per cent of the continent's total imports last year, according to a Standard Bank report.

Over the last four years, Chinese companies recorded their biggest gains in selling machinery, vehicles and electronics at the expense of European and Japanese rivals. African imports from Spain, Germany, Britain and Japan were all lower last year than in 2008 while imports from China surged 38 per cent in 2011 year on year.

Zhenjiang Shenglong Machinery Manufacturing (ZSMM), a middling farm machinery maker in Jiangsu province, started its business in Africa by contributing to aid missions.

Said ZSMM chairman Lou Min: "We were doing well in the Chinese market, but we realised that our products would die out domestically. We had to break into other underdeveloped countries, said Mr Luo, adding that this company made $3 million in Africa last year.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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