Monday, March 19, 2018

How Many Chinese Businesses Are in Africa?

Asia Times published on 16 March 2018 an article titled "How Many 'Chinese' Businesses Are in Africa?" by Doug Tsuruoka.

The article notes the comment in the June 2017 McKinsey & Company report titled "Dance of the Lions and Dragons" that "there are more than 10,000 Chinese-owned firms operating in Africa today." China-Africa expert Thierry Pairault rightly points out that the authors of the McKinsey & Company report do not define what is a Chinese firm. He offers the example of small Chinese-owned businesses in Africa that are locally incorporated, which makes them local and not Chinese enterprises. Does the McKinsey report count the mom and pop Chinese restaurant owner or acupuncturist? We don't know.

The problem is that no one knows for certain how many Chinese companies there are even if there is an agreed upon definition. The Secretary-General of the China-Africa Business Council, which represents Chinese companies in Africa, told me in Beijing in June 2017 there are an estimated 8,000 Chinese companies in Africa while the Ministry of Commerce has 4,000 registered companies. Again, there is no definition and there may be double counting as some companies have multiple branches. So take your pick: 4,000, 8,000, 10,000 or something else.

No comments:

Post a Comment