Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Translation Tuesday: China’s Follow-Up Strategy for the Prospective African Free Trade Zone

By Laiyin Yuan

Author: Shao Zhiyuan
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 08/18/2014
Source: China Industrial Economy News
Original text (in Chinese): http://www.cien.com.cn/html/report/14081882-1.htm

A strong and united Africa has always been a dream for many Africans, and the upcoming African Free Trade Zone would be a milestone for its regional integration. However, how would it influence African countries and their Chinese investors? Would Africa still be a “fairytale land” for Chinese companies under a multilateral economic framework? The Chinese say: of course there would be risks, but we should focus more on potential opportunities.
--- Laiyin Yuan (translator)

On August 16, Stergomena Lawrence Tax, executive secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said that if everything goes well, the African Free Trade Zone (AFTZ) will be established in 2015, a year earlier than originally planned.

Meanwhile, on August 17 and 18 the 34th SADC Summit was also held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. During the conference, national leaders from 15 member countries discussed SADC’s economic restructuring strategy with the AFTZ-related negotiations in particular.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Forecasting: Why stories of China teaming up with the U.S. over Inga-3 are overblown

A lot of hay was made during the U.S.-Africa Summit about China possibly teaming up with the U.S. over the Inga-3 dam. I was quite unhappy with the quality of this coverage, as anyone could find out that this very project has been in the works for months with a quick Google search (this is the first thing that popped up for me), making this announcement not particularly newsworthy. I have a sneaking suspicion that, since the initial consortium of Chinese companies who will probably win the bid are SOEs with good relations with China's EXIM bank, and that Sicomines looks to be moving ahead in the DRC, and that Sinohydro is involved with both projects, that this is a public relations move by Chinese officials to lock in a certain amount of U.S. financing and construction and threaten the dam project with shutdown if the IMF looks to renegotiate Sicomines again. It also made China look particularly magnanimous during the summit while Chinese-language outlets were slamming the entire concept. Considering some of the rumored reasons why the Inga 3 collaboration shut down last time (happy to tell you in private), I am quite skeptical of the viability of this project.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Translation Tuesday: Tecno, the Chinese Cellphone Manufacturer That Only Does Business in Africa

By Laiyin Yuan

Author: Li Kunkun
Translator: Laiyin Yuan
Published on: 07/18/2014
Source: African Business Insider
Original text (in Chinese): http://www.abitimes.com/portal.php?mod=view&aid=139

This is a story about a “unique” Chinese cellphone manufacturer that is obscure in China, but not so low-profile in Africa. As popular as Samsung or Nokia are among African consumers, Chinese brand Tecno is equally popular and it represents the strength of Chinese companies in regards to localization, brand building, and distribution-channel expansion. How can a Chinese company only do business in Africa, and how was Tecno so successful? Maybe this report can provide some answers.
- Laiyin Yuan (translator)

Last month, one of my British friends, Emma, wanted to buy a cellphone in Lira, a town in northern Uganda, to replace the Nokia phone she brought with her from England. While we were chatting, she asked me about the brand Tecno: “I saw Tecno phones in many Lira stores, and I heard that it was a Chinese brand. You must have heard of it.” However, the truth is I have never came across this brand before coming to Africa. When I told her that Tecno phones are never actually sold in China, Emma was very surprised: “I thought Tecno was a popular brand in China!”