Vice-President Mujuru listens while Seed Company head of marketing Mr Ivan Craig explains during a tour of the firm’s stand at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair which ended in Bulawayo on April 27, 2013. (Photo: Percy Musiiwa), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
More than 50 Chinese companies attend trade fair
Sunday, 28 April 2013 00:00
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail
This year’s edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), which ended yesterday, saw increased participation by Chinese companies, especially from Tianjin, with 56 companies from the Asian country’s fourth biggest province participating.
This indicates the rising trade relations between Harare and Beijing. Tianjin is the fourth largest province in China in terms of urban population after Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou, and is regarded by investors as the new hub of advanced industrial and financial activity.
About 285 Fortune 500 companies — a listing of the United States’ top 500 closely held public corporations by gross revenue — have set base in the province.
Companies that participated in last week’s exhibition include: Tianjin Ruikelun Plastic Products Co. Ltd., Tianjin Dragon Crystal Decoration Engineering Co. Ltd., Tianjin Dashang Luggage Trade Co. Ltd., Tianjin Entry-Exit Administration Bureau, Tianjin City Quanrun Trading Co. Ltd., Tianjin Poly-US Science and Technology Co. Ltd, Tianjin Saiyuan Health Products Co. Ltd., Tianjin City Jade Qi Century Trade Co. Ltd., Tianjin Feituo Electronic Technology Co. Ltd., Tianjin Xin Lu Chi International Trade Co. Ltd., Tianjin Hongda Company of Agriculture Industry and Commerce, Tianjin Haihe Dairy Co. Ltd. and Tianjin Century Rubber Co. Ltd.
As Zimbabwe’s economy continues to recover, it has attracted interest from Africa’s biggest economy, South Africa, and the world’s fastest-growing economy, China.
In particular, the two countries had the highest number of exhibitors at the Trade Fair as South Africa doubled its exhibition space from last year to 800 square metres, while China took up 600 square metres.
Market watchers say Zimbabwe needs to forge a winning alliance with the Chinese as they have shown an appetite to invest.
“The Chinese companies exhibiting at the Trade Fair are looking for Zimbabwean companies to partner with; that’s why they are here. The partnerships between Zimbabwean and Chinese companies, if structured right, can lead to a win-win situation for both economies.
“Zimbabwean companies will benefit from the transfer of skills and technology and access to capital, while Chinese companies will benefit from accessing a new market with future growth potential and reducing costs,” said Mr Manyika Kangai, the managing director of Muvambi Global, a local trade and investment company that has been facilitating deals with Chinese companies.
Trade between Zimbabwe and China has been increasing exponentially over the past five years and official statistics show that the Asian giant is now the country’s third biggest trading partner after South Africa and the European Union.
Ever since Zimbabwe implemented the Look East policy, economic and trade relations between China and Zimbabwe have further strengthened, and since then, more Chinese travellers come to Zimbabwe for tourism and investment.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, the annual direct investment from China to Zimbabwe was around US$35 million to US$45 million between 2008 and 2010, but in the year 2011 direct investment from China to Zimbabwe reached US$460 million.
Also, trade volumes had soared to US$750 million in the first 10 months of last year.
Currently, Chinese investments are mainly concentrated in agriculture, mining, construction, trade and tourism.
In the mining sector, there are Chinese companies such as Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company, SinoSteel, Norinco, Shandong Taishan Sunlight Group, Jiangxi International and Jinen International doing joint ventures successfully with Zimbabwean partners.
China’s Ministry of Commerce says trade between China and Africa rose by more than 20 percent to US$26,4 billion last year.
It is widely believed that the trade will continue to rise as Africa, especially sub-Saharan Africa, positions itself to be the world’s next economic growth zone.