Interview: South Africa promotes business with China

08:23, January 26, 2011      

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To ignore China would be a ' fundamental mistake" for any business seeking growth in the world, the Founder of a consultancy company said in Johannesburg Tuesday as South Africa is preparing to host the first China-South Africa business.

Beijing Axis (BA) group managing director Kobus van der Wath said a China-South Africa business forum is being prepared, which aimed at assisting South African and African business to expand trade relations with China.

The forum, with a theme "Can South Africa and Africa take the risk and ignore the Chinese", which is going to held next mouth, will address key trade issues that include unlocking opportunities in the resource sector, strategic considerations and business dynamics in Asia and the effects of culture on business.

"Our desire is to help business understand the culture of the Chinese business market and to fully embrace this immense trading partner available to our companies. The Chinese have the capacity to invest in major infrastructure projects on this continent, to provide finance for developments and are keen to source raw materials and products to service their growing needs," Van der Wath told Xinhua.

He encouraged people to attend the forum to gain valuable insight into how to do business with China.

He said following 13 years of diplomatic ties it is becoming more evident that trade between China and South Africa is gaining momentum and companies that may have ignored this growing trade relationship in the past, are now forced to recognize the potential for doing business with China.

"Not only is there room for growth in trade between South Africa and China, but China is viewing the well-developed infrastructure South Africa provides as the key to unlocking the gateway into the rest of Africa," Van der Wath said.

He said in 2009, China surpassed the United States, to become South Africa's largest export destination. This emanated from major exports in raw materials to fuel the booming Chinese economy.

"To ignore China would be a fundamental mistake for any business seeking growth in a world limited with expansion opportunities as a result of the economic meltdown in recent years in developed markets. China provides the platform to harness increased trade, develop new markets as well as given China's growing household and industrial consumption, the demand for exports from South Africa and Africa is rising rapidly," he said.

"Business has the opportunity to grow by developing partnerships with China," Van der Wath told Xinhua.

Trade between China and South Africa reached 16 billion U. S. dollars in 2009 and is expected to grow year on year, with the signing of various cooperation deals in August 2010 by South Africa President Jacob Zuma during his state visit to China.

These deals focus on the mineral resources sector, railway development, construction industry, the mining sector and power transmission and nuclear power.

According to Van der Wath, scope for trade with the rest of Africa is also being given added impetus by the Asian country's capacity to innovate as well as currently China enjoys an enviable fiscal situation and has the demand to invest in infrastructure.

"As China is moving up the development ladder it is prudent that other emerging economies explore and develop trade relations with this country, currently listed at the top of the list of 28 developing economies globally," Van der Wath told Xinhua.

South Africa and China are both members of BRICS an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, a forum that provides its members with opportunities to network and to initiate economic arrangements.

Under this arrangement, South Africa is expected to push for the 15-nations of the Southern African Development Community to integrate trade and policies with the other members.

Source: Xinhua
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