Many Kenyans know the Chinese for the multi-billion dollar projects in infrastructure and engineering, but that is not they are doing.
They have been leveraging on the comparative advantages they enjoy to set up several other businesses.
Some of this businesses include tours and travel, hotel and restaurants, merchant imports, motor vehicles businesses and computer and mobile phones business. China is a mega source of tourists for the rest of the world and any advantage the chinses investors get can be a huge gamechanger.
The investors are riding on the rising interest of the Chinese middle class in Africa to cash on the tourism sector since most of the local firms do no understand Chinese and have no offices abroad. They are therefore well placed capture this huge and growing consumers.
“It is not easy to find a Kenyan company with an office in China, so we are able to easily capture this market since communication is not a problem given we have offices in China,” says Rose, an official at the Shushiang, a tours and travel agent specialising on the Chinese arrivals in Nairobi.
Chinese merchants are also importing merchandise like machines and gadgets into Africa since they are made at a cheaper cost in china for sale here. The cost of such machines in other countries is normally unable to compete against the Chinese goods except on the grounds of quality.
The Chinese business people are also able to tailor-make their hospitality businesses in a way to attract their fellow nationals visiting Africa given the shared culture and language giving their local competitors a run for their money.
The Chinese have also ventured into real estate market following their growing credibility in road building. They are building apartments and hotels in Nairobi earning them million in earnings. The Chinese are also able to do this on account of the low cost of credit in China compared to the countries in the world.
The auto mobile market is also presenting more opportunities as the cost of china made cars is way cheaper that cars from the west, they are also major dealers in the motorcycles market on driving in cheaper pricing.