Kenyan entrepreneurs find niche business in Chinese cities

Updated 2017-10-31 14:01:57 Xinhua
Photo taken on Nov. 4, 2013 shows a new Boeing 777-300ER flight Maasai Mara of Kenya Airways at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, capital of Kenya. (Xinhua/Meng Chenguang)

Photo taken on Nov. 4, 2013 shows a new Boeing 777-300ER flight "Maasai Mara" of Kenya Airways at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, capital of Kenya. (Xinhua/Meng Chenguang)

Beijing and Guangzhou cities in China are becoming popular destinations for Kenyan entrepreneurs, who have established a niche in the Chinese cities.

From importing unique and durable construction materials to furniture and leather products, to second hand clothes, this is evident by the frequent Kenya Airways flights to Guangzhou every week.

A spot check at most of these flights en route to Guangzhou reveals that majority of the passengers are Kenyans who are either going for a business trip, seminar, or importing goods from the one of the world's developed cities.

According to one of the Kenya Airways (KQ) flight cabin crew, none of the KQ flights has ever flew Guangzhou with less than 50 Kenyans.

"You can check the records in our office. The city has become a second home for Kenyan entrepreneurs," said the cabin crew as she boarded the 11 p.m. plane to Guangzhou.

And this is evident by the adverts placed on local dailies inviting entrepreneurs wishing to travel to the big city. The entrepreneurs are offered subsidized costs in hotel books and air ticket on a first come basis.

Xinhua caught up with Dinah Konzole, a Kenyan entrepreneur on her way to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport rushing to book the last flight to China on a Wednesday evening.

Konzole, an entrepreneur who owns one of the largest boutique (beauty shop) in Kenya said she never misses to travel to the big city once or twice a month.

"I'm a frequenter flier. I love this city. The environment is conducive and people here are welcoming. The infrastructure is quite amazing ranging from the buildings, the roads, wow," said Konzole.

She imports ladies handbags, shoes, clothes, jewelries and beauty products.

Walter Riungu, another Kenyan business entrepreneur said it is six years since he established a business in Beijing.

The founder of China Africa Merchants Advisors limited, a trade and investment advisory firm which operates in China, Kenya and Zambia, said his company assists Chinese companies to secure commodities in Africa while handling the procurement of capital equipment and sourcing of financing in China for African companies.

According to Riungu, his business has been doing well given that it was established as a result of gap in the market.

He said Beijing is a popular city to many Kenyans who visit it more often.

"Beijing is constantly a growing city. You set up a business, it catches up very fast so long you establish your relations with the good hearted people around here," Riungu said in an recent interview with Xinhua.

Some other Kenyan business entrepreneurs have come together to mobilize funds for air tickets and hotel bookings to enable them to attend business seminars and import goods as well.

The team of 27 businessmen and women who are dealers in construction materials and furniture shops said they have a joint account in which they make deposits every month to enable them to attend the seminars annually.

"The seminars open our mind to think globally and make the right decisions in our business. Last year we attend the China-Africa business summit held in Guangzhou which brought all business people across the world. It was an opportunity for us to network and even sign big business deals," said Joakim Olando, an entrepreneur based in Kenya.

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