For most outsiders, the Chinese operations in Africa run largely as an opaque mystery. Seemingly every Western book or in-depth news article on the subject features the same complaint of not receiving any help from either Chinese officials or businesses there about how the mechanics of their investments in the region function. Basic questions like how are factories acquired or what kind of support do Chinese embassies offer local businesses in the region largely go unanswered.
For some perspective on these issues, I came across a fascinating bulletin board site (BBS) that offers remarkable insights into the inner-workings of Chinese business on the continent: www.chineseinafrica.com/bbs/ The site is exclusively in Chinese, so for the benefit of CTP’s English-only readers, here are some highlights of recent entries:
How Chinese Businesses in Africa see the
One entry submitted by a writer with the handle “Old African Trader” posts what appears to be an open letter to the Chinese government appealing on behalf of business leaders for more help from Chinese embassies on the continent. The posts starts by saying how much pride there is seeing the Chinese flag rise over Africa and the emergence of China as a global power. However, he goes on to sharply criticize the government for its lack of support of small businesses operating in Africa:
- Get a daily email packed with the latest China-Africa news and analysis.
- Read exclusive insights on the key trends shaping China-Africa relations.
- Full access to the News Feed that provides daily updates on Chinese engagement in Africa and throughout the Global South.