Chinese entrepreneurs vital to South African economy

10:57, April 06, 2010      

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Picture: The business activities of Chinese businessmen in Africa have created lots of job opportunities there. The picture shows the workshop of the South African Baoli case and bag factory, in which the local workers are busy in the production line.

"At the time, life was hard but still very interesting," said Zhao Baopei, 63-year-old chairman of the South African Baoli case and bag factory, referring to his experience as a street vendor in Johannesburg 20 years ago. In 1990, Zhao was one of the first mainland nationals to immigrate to South Africa. He started his import business as street vendor, but now he is planning to create his own products to establish a famous local brand.

Many of the Chinese businessmen, who were once street vendors like Zhao, have become bosses. Over the course of the last 20 years, a large number of Chinese businessmen emerged in South Africa. According to the data from the Chinese Consulate General, 10 percent of Chinese businessmen operate factories, mines and companies with the assets over billion rands. Around 30 percent to 40 percent operate wholesale trade, and about 50 percent own restaurants or manage shops.

"South Africans, especially the lower classes, depend greatly on the Chinese businessmen," said Fangli, the Consul General of China in Johannesburg. The business activities of Chinese businessmen are a useful supplement for the economic development of China and South Africa. They fulfill a need that cannot be met by the government or large companies.

In the Baoli case and bag processing plant located in southwest of Johannesburg, the reporter saw dozens of local workers working on the production line. Zhao Baopei said that the factory employed up to 120 workers and some of the 80 current workers had been working here for 10 years. The Chinese factories have provided a lot of employment opportunities for locals.

"According to the laws of South Africa, if workers resign from factories where they have worked for two weeks, the employer must pay one year's salary. However, no local workers resign deliberately. Because of this I was deeply moved," said Zhao. Zhao is very familiar with the laws of South Africa. All the workers are treated in accordance with the local labor laws, and his factory also provides technical training for the local workers.

By People's Daily Online


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