> Feature: Made-in-China products resonate with budding Kenyan entrepreneurs
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Feature: Made-in-China products resonate with budding Kenyan entrepreneurs

Jasmine Xinhua News Agency 2019-06-06 09:38:26

NAIROBI, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Peter Mwangi defied chilly weather on Wednesday morning to drive more than six kilometers from his home on the outskirts of the Kenyan capital Nairobi to the city's expansive grounds where the fifth edition of China Trade Week Kenya is taking place.

The middle-aged father of three was in a jolly mood as he sampled electrical appliances displayed at the exhibition stands inside the Kenyatta International Convention Centre's (KICC) Tsavo Ballroom.

Speaking to Xinhua at Zhejiang Sharbo Electric Appliance Company Limited's stand, Mwangi confessed he has developed a strong affinity for Chinese manufactured goods since he became an entrepreneur in the last one and a half decade.

"I have been importing solar panels, electrical appliances and sanitary products from China for more than ten years and I can confirm they are of high quality and pocket friendly," said Mwangi.

"It is an honor for me to visit this expo and have a look at new solar solutions from China that I believe will be received well by my local clients," he added.

Mwangi was among hundreds of Kenyan entrepreneurs who attended the opening ceremony of this year's China Trade Week Kenya presided over by senior government officials.

The sharp-witted entrepreneur said he intended to engage with Chinese exhibitors and learn about latest development in solar technology and forge long-term business partnerships.

"Hopefully, I might be able to find new partners to help grow my business and become the leading distributor of solar panels in this region," said Mwangi.

More than 500 exhibitors are participating in China Trade Week held from June 5-7 to showcase high-end manufactured products from China ranging from construction materials, furniture, textiles, to air condition and water treatment gadgets.

Eugene Wamalwa, Kenya's cabinet secretary for the Ministry of Devolution and ASAL said the expo took place against a backdrop of robust bilateral trade between China and East Africa's largest economy.

"The China Trade Week presents a platform for us to exchange knowledge and ideas that can promote fruitful economic partnership," said Wamalwa.

Zhao Xiyuan, minister counselor of the Chinese Embassy in Kenya said that regular exhibitions are key to boost China-Kenya trade that has been growing at a rate of five percent since 2015.

Kenyan visitors at the Chinese Trade Week who included entrepreneurs and the curious public marveled at the cutting edge products displayed at elegantly decorated exhibition stands.

Amos Toel, a middle-aged Nairobi-based entrepreneur said that he was impressed by Chinese manufactured items ranging from automobile parts, lighting equipment, textiles to industrial machinery.

"My visit to this year's China Trade Week was not in vain. I stumbled upon products whose quality is beyond reproach yet they are affordable," said Toel, father of three, adding that he looked forward to importing electrical appliances from China.

Organizers of this year's edition of China Trade Week Kenya said they expected more than 30,000 visitors as the premier event gains traction in Kenya and across the east African region.

David Wang, chairman of MIE Groups, a consultancy firm that organizes China Trade Week said it had struck a chord with local entrepreneurs keen to learn about products manufactured from China.

"We consider it a milestone to host another edition of China Trade Week that has attracted a higher number of visitors keen to purchase goods and network with exhibitors to learn new ideas on how to expand their businesses," said Wang.

Gilbert Injaga, a budding entrepreneur in his early 40s agreed that China is a prized destination for Kenyans looking for cheaper but high-quality manufactured goods.

"I have spent time visiting exhibition stands and have learnt that the products on display are very outstanding," said Injaga.

"My friend who owns a petrol station requested me to look for pipes and valves to be installed in a new premises he is about to open," he added.

Injaga revealed that he has been visiting China since 2015 to source for electronic goods like computers and mobile phones for sale at his mid-sized shop in Nairobi.

Charles Wari, a Nairobi-based businessman told Xinhua beside Shanghai Balance Automotive Equipment Company Limited's exhibition stand that importing goods from China is key to boost growth of his medium scale enterprise.

"Having spent adequate time scrutinizing products on display, I am convinced that China is the place to be for us local entrepreneurs keen to grow our businesses," said Wari.