Feature: Chinese entrepreneurs seek larger presence in Kenyan market as economic ties blossom-Xinhua

Feature: Chinese entrepreneurs seek larger presence in Kenyan market as economic ties blossom

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2023-11-17 00:46:30

NAIROBI, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- When China Trade Week opened its doors to the public Wednesday in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, Liao Xuhui, the chairman of Amanbo, a Chinese e-commerce platform, engaged in a friendly conversation with local merchants keen to learn about the nitty-gritty of importing products from the Asian nation.

Liao explained to the visitors how the Amanbo online platform can facilitate seamless transactions between Chinese manufacturers of diverse consumer goods and local retailers. At the giant stand erected by Amanbo inside the exhibition hall which was the venue of China Trade Week, a variety of sleek products ranging from solar equipment, textiles and electronics were on display.

During an interview with Xinhua, Liao said that since entering the Kenyan market in 2014, Amanbo has revolutionized digital commerce in the country, unleashing benefits to local startups and their clients. As an e-commerce platform, Amanbo has been connecting buyers and sellers of various Chinese manufactured products like solar solutions, designer wear and electronics, cutting down on transaction costs and improving efficiency, Liao declared.

George Gathura, a middle-aged spare parts dealer in downtown Nairobi, cut a jovial image after engaging with the attendants at the Amanbo exhibition stall where he learned about the benefits of using a digital platform to source products from China.

According to Gathura, the analogue model of importing spare parts overseas had proved tedious and expensive but the Amanbo digital platform promised efficiency and a reduction in transaction cost. Like the growing army of Kenyan retailers, Gathura has turned to Chinese-manufactured motor vehicle parts since they are affordable yet durable and of high quality.

"I look forward to engaging Chinese manufacturers through online platforms and importing spare parts directly from them. That route will enable me to grow the business," Gathura said.

The Amanbo business model has resonated with Kenyan retailers who have embraced the digital space to market, establish overseas linkages and grow their businesses, said Rao Guowei, the country manager for Amanbo.

More than 50 Chinese firms are participating in the three-day event where they will be showcasing different products including electronics, textiles, solar, construction and agriculture equipment.

The premier exhibition and business networking event, which resumed in-person after the pandemic-linked hiatus, will expose Chinese entrepreneurs to untapped opportunities in the Kenyan market, said Edwin Masivo, the Kenyan country director for Global Exhibitions, an event organizer.

Outside the exhibition hall, a sizable crowd was attracted to the gleaming and automated water service station displayed by Romer Tech Limited, a Chinese manufacturer of water treatment solutions. Qiu Fan, the Kenya country director for Romer Environmental Protection, said the company has been at the forefront of revolutionizing access to clean drinking water at the grassroots by leveraging treatment technologies like reverse osmosis and filtration.

"We have clients including small business owners spread across the country. We sell and install the water service station. The machine can purify salty water, store over 150 liters of the commodity and dispense it using mobile money platforms," said Qiu, adding that the water automated teller machine (ATM) has been in the Kenyan market for the last two years.

He noted that it is multipurpose since it has an installed screen for advertisement to generate additional income for local retailers. He said that during the China Trade Week, Romer aims to secure more customers while showcasing its latest water purification and dispensing technology.

Miraj Abdulrahman, a female nominated senator representing Kenya's port city of Mombasa, said that Chinese-manufactured water treatment technologies will help boost access to the commodity in underserved regions. "The water purifying machines from China will enable us to tackle water scarcity in the country, provide new business opportunities and boost environmental conservation," said Abdulrahman.

During the trade week, 56 exhibitors from China, 22 from Kenya, three from the United Arab Emirates and three more from Egypt will be showcasing their products during the premier trade forum. Chinese firms will be exhibiting products ranging from agricultural machinery, textiles, clean energy technologies, and construction and security-related equipment.