1. Africa established diplomatic relations with China when the day
|Country names||Date||Country names||Date|
|Central African Republic||1964-9-29||Mozambique||1975-6-25|
2. Why do people choose Africa for their businesses?
In recent years, the economic growth in Africa has been increased rapidly, so enterprises start focusing on Africa. As they hope to explore new markets, Africa is deemed as a market with great potential.
3. Why choose Africa Desk as your business partner?
General public considers Africa as a perilous continent because they receive insufficient and inaccurate information. As chambers and enterprises are lack of relevant experience, they cannot find a suitable way to start their businesses in Africa. But Africa Desk has adequate information and experience of Africa, our business network can help you to explore business opportunities in Africa.
4. Is Africa dangerous for us?
Actually, Africa is not as dangerous as we thought. It has a beautiful nature and fresh air, and it riches in natural resources. Thus more than one million Chinese are living in Africa now. Living in Africa is relatively stable. However we need learn places where are unstable and avoid to go there, for example, Libya, Central African Republic and Somalia. However we cannot draw conclusion and believe Africa as a dangerous place because of inaccurate information.
5. Is it easy to accustom myself to live in Africa?
Although human has strong adaptability and flexibility, you need to pay attention to the climate when you live in Africa. If you find it difficult to adapt new environment, you can choose a country which has better environment and climate, for example, South Africa, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritius.
Apart from climate and weather, please noted that adaption of food and culture is also needed.
6. How can I visit Africa?
Nowadays it is easy to visit Africa. Firstly, you need to check your visa. If you are holding a HKSAR passport, some African countries such as South Africa, Egypt and Mauritius are visa-free.
If you need to apply one, you will need to visit the African Consulates. It is better if you arrange someone to pick you up at airport and accommodation.
Also, a reliable and trustworthy person in Africa could provide information and help you to contact relevant units so they could help you to study the potential commercial opportunities in Africa.
7. Who would visit Africa?
Many Chinese visit Africa today for business, travelling, studying or visiting relatives. Many Zhejiang, Fujian people and Cantonese go to Africa for business opportunities or trading. In addition, many Chinese government officials would visit Africa every year.
8. Do all businessmen succeed in Africa?
Many businessmen are in fact succeed in Africa. Since Africa has a profitable market, the profit could reach to 500% when they started business in Africa a decade ago. Most of them have quickly accumulated capital.
Certainly, there are a few who failed in running businesses there.
9. Would it cost too much on business development in Africa?
That depends on what you intend to develop. There are some companies involved in major infrastructure projects in Africa, and some of them choose to invest and develop natural mineral resources. However practices would of course differ from trade to trade. If you want to operate commodities, it is general to sell or resell to others. Thus money could usually be earned if capital is available for turnover. If you are going to build factories in Africa, analysis and budget must be made.
In conclusion, less capital is needed to start a business in Africa than in Europe. Several million yuan (the equivalent of several hundred thousand dollars) in Europe may not take you far, but only one million yuan (about 160,000 US dollars) in Africa could bring you a life of nobles.
10. Should I have any special skills in Africa?
A special skill is not necessary but it would be an advantage. You may have a better development in Africa if you could do something different. Even if you do not have any special skill, you can still cooperate with others. Many people start their businesses in Africa without any skills so you have no need to worry.
11. Which African countries should I invest in?
Nowadays, many Chinese enterprises have been invested in 54 African countries already; however, the choices where to invest are important.
Africa Desk is your best consultant which provides useful information. Unclear information would direct you to make wrong decisions. Investors have to consider fluctuated situations such as economic depression in order to make profits. Africa Desk provides professional services and a platform to link up with African and Asian enterprises.
In addition, you would need to consider economic strength and purchasing power of African nations as they varies. In South Africa, economic development and environment are similar to Europe. Some people even want to stay in Africa. They found more opportunities there and they love the local lifestyle. However, of course thoughts and feelings are different among individuals.
12. How to deal with language problem?
There is no doubt that communication would be major problem when you visit Africa. Some African countries have been French or Portugal territory, so English is not common there. You need to do some preparations or hire a translators for yourself.
13. What projects should I invest?
The previous projects are major in trading, but the situation is changing. In fact, many industries are going to contribute to development in Africa. Projects involve different area, such as infrastructure ,building and so on. We believe more varieties of projects would be progressing in the future.
14. How can I start my business smoothly?
Compared with other areas, Africa has a large and potential market. Successful cases include: retailing, shoes, watches and clothes. Because of the competition, there is tariff to restrict importation from China. Well preparation and accurate information would help you to start your business smoothly.
15. Should I choose trading or investing in Africa?
Although trading in Africa is not difficult, you have to consider problems like if your products are permitted or the amount of tariff is included. However, it is even more complicated to invest than to trade, understanding of local investment environment and policies, choosing locations for factories and suppliers, and considering market needs and remitted profit is inevitable. Moreover, investment is always more risky than trading. This is because of the longer investment cycle means a greater probability of changes in social, economic and political aspects.
At the same time, you would need a professional team for operation, management and sales. But not to forget that once the manufacturing starts and a pleasant sells have made, the profit could be very agreeable. It would be way more than what you could get from trading.
It is an advantage to invest in Africa due to the low cost in production and transportation. Africa Desk could provide a rounded profile to enterprises for a further understanding.
16. Are these any other options except trading and investment?
There are many natural resources in Africa which need oversea investors to inject capital and provide technical and relevant experience for developing the local mining industry. African notice that their lack of experts and high-performance machines would lead to deviation in mining. Thus they are more than willing to corporate with relevant enterprises for the sake of gaining more benefits.
Land development and other relevant issues also need capital injection and provision of techniques from investors. This is why different professions is required for further development in Africa.
We, Africa Desk embraces different projects. Inquiry is always welcomed.
17. What do Africans need?
Situations varies according to individuals who try to develop in Africa. Their ways of trading could also be very different. Thus it is general to study the local market needs before going anywhere.
Firstly, you could go to places such as supermarkets, flea markets and exclusive stores. In these places, you could not only get information about the products' prices, styles and place of origins, but also other local market information.
Secondly, you could inquire relevant people about the local market situation. However, it is notable that they might consider their knowledge as confidential and are not willing to tell you much about it. Thus it is necessary to get a professional business consulting company to help you in studying the market operation.
Africa Desk absolutely could help you on this and provide relevant information.
18. Should I set up branches in Africa?
The best way to start a trade in Africa is to set up a branch there. This is because most countries in Africa are not willing to trade by letter of credit. The situation is different from European countries. Letters of credit in Africa which need assuring from European bank is not reliable. Usance credit is even more risky. If you want an outstanding performance, a subsidiary company must be founded in Africa. It provides a venue for people who in charge of marketing and sales to stay. Thus if you want to open the market in Africa, we suggest you to get inside and settle down.
19. Is there any guarantee of payment transactions with Africans?
African handle payment in a special way. Although situations vary from country to country, the most important issue for local people is to guarantee the payment safety. It is not a good way to do business on credits, using letters of credit, documents against payment or documents against acceptance. It would be better to follow the local culture for this, which means cash on delivery. Once payment has been paid, make sure it is saved into account on that day.
On the contrary, many inexperienced Chinese who do business in Africa get into financial problem because of the problem in payment.
20. Could I import product from Asia?
Importing products from Asia would be more convenient as it is easier to find sources of goods. African may need machinery equipment, textile, light industrial products, commodities and household appliances. Asian enterprises on the other hand are very competitive in these areas. Thus their products are very popular in Africa. This is why people would find suppliers from Asian and once they find suitable products, products would be easy to export.
21. Would I face the problem of customs in African Countries?
Sometimes products which are made from China would encounter problems of customs in Africa due to product inspections and problems in quality. Also changes of tariff, operation of import forbidden items or false contract price would also lead to custom seal. Custom management of some of the African countries are comparably orderless. Collusion between officers, traders, customs brokers and customs are not rare. Extra attention is needed on this issue. Thus getting custom clearance of your goods in a way of costing you least is what you have to consider.
A good clearance agent is a key to deal with this problem. Africa Desk undoubtedly could help you on this.
22. Are African welcome us for trading?
Asian are not always welcomed in every countries in terms of trading. It is because some of the African think that trading with Asian would weaken their local industries. Some even think that products from Asia would dump in their market. However, they hope enterprises from Asia would invest so that employment issues could be eased due to the injection of capital, techniques and facilities.
23. Is there any difficulties for registering a trading company?
A few countries in Africa, such as Angola and Ethiopia, do not allow foreigners to register trading company.
However it is not difficult to register a company in Africa overall.
24. Do I need to find someone to finish the formalities?
There are Chinese companies in South Africa and Kenya which provide company registration service and other relevant services. Thus you could seek for their help. Moreover, having a good relationship with officers would make your registration easier. However, of course, you must comply with the local law or else you would get into big troubles. Early inspection from local authorities is needed as decisions on the kind of company to register and the amount of registered capital have to be made . You could also choose Africa Desk for inspection.
25. Are Africans friendly?
Chinese and African have a traditional friendship. 600 years ago, relationship between China and Africa has been built. In 1960s, the relationship between two parties even went further as China had been very generous and given a great help to its counterpart. There are famous infrastructure built by Chinese, such as Tanzania Zambia Railway. Chinese medical teams also had a good reputation in Africa. Thus African are nice to Chinese in general. They praised the Chinese economic achievement and and they liked Chinese martial art as well as Chinese food. African treated Chinese like brothers and sisters.
However a few Chinese businessmen sell forge goods in Africa nowadays and worsen their image in African's heart. This also leads to mistrust or even hostility.
In some countries, as bilateral trade grows rapidly, a great amount of Chinese products have imported to Africa, causing a crush to African industries. Some of the locals think that Chinese have grabbed their jobs away. Thus negative image of Chinese is built.
Attention should also be paid as violence against Chinese takes place in a few African countries. Thus, before going there, it is safer to ask Africa Desk for updated information.
26. Will my store be robbed or stolen?
Incident of stealing or robbery from Chinese store seldom happens in Africa. In fact business environment there is quite safe. Even if this kind of incidents happen unluckily, the local government will give you a hand for prevention. In the downtown of Johannesburg of South Africa, Chinese stores are surrounded with barbed wire in order to avoid theft and robbery.
You should also be very careful when choosing a location for your store. The location must be within safe area. Moreover, security work must be followed according to local situation to prevent any lose.
27. Is there any violence to against Chinese?
It is a fact that some violence against Chinese has taken place in Africa. However, these incidents are concentrated on a few countries only. Also, not every corner of these countries is dangerous. Merely some cities or regions are unsafe. Thus, in order to avoid unpleasant matters, it is better to have a well understanding of the local basic security, or ask Africa Desk for help.
28. How to deal with the local Africans?
Getting to know African culture is the first thing that you have to do. It is important to learn what is appropriate and what is not, for example what colors should not be wore in different occasions and what cannot be said. Jokes or offences could be avoided only if you have apprehended the local culture.
29. Can I hire local employees?
Many Chinese would bring their domestic residents to Africa for doing business. Some of them are their family members. However, there are also Chinese businessmen who employs African to work for them. It would cost you less and easier to operate if you hire indigene. However, senior managers are better brought from China in order to have a better control in business.
Moreover, due to different natures of business, the situation of hiring locals are not the same. If you are building a factory, you may need a great number of people. It is not practical if you bring all of them from your country, as this involves a large amount of fee. Thus, most businessmen would hire indigene. However, if you are going to do international trade, you must not employ the locals. Surely, it is easier to open marketing channels if you hire indigenes as sales.
30. Can I work with local Chinese?
Many people would cooperate with overseas Chinese when they do business in Africa. It would be easy to communicate as both parties have a lingua franca and communication would be easy to achieve. Besides, some overseas Chinese have long been there and may have a close relationship with local government as well as some local enterprises. Their contacts would be what you need the most when you are new there.
There are many examples of cooperation between Chinese which are successful. However some agonies might be derived too. Operating similar products and having a price war would make the parties become enemies. Some of them even deceive or frame their partners.
Thus if you want to cooperate with local Chinese in Africa, you have to choose your partner carefully as this would be a key to success.
31. How to apply a work permit?
African Embassy generally would only issue short-term business visas for Chinese who go for business. These visas normally valid for two to three months, and allow staying for two weeks to a month. Thus if you want to work for a long period of time in Africa, application for a work permit and a residence permit would be needed. Most countries there are relatively loose in issuing residence permit.
Thus you should apply for business visa extension once you get there, also you have to go to immigration and other relevant units to apply a residence permit. In some countries, you have to provide proof of no criminal records and qualifications also.
32. What should I do if the visa extension is unsuccessful?
Failure in applying visa extension means you have to leave before the visa expires. Otherwise you would become a overstay visitor. This is not a good sign if you want a long-term development in Africa. Some people would choose to take a trip to a neighboring country and come back to apply for business visas later. However you have to ensure business visa could be issued smoothly when you come back.
Currently, it is not that difficult to get a business visa extension in Africa as long as you are careful enough.
33. What should I do for investing in Africa?
Firstly, you have to choose a project and a country that you want to start with. Learning the stability in economics and politics of the relevant country is essential. If economical policy and exchange rate are unstable, or there are domestic economic difficulties, it is not a suitable nation for investment. On the contrary, if it is stable in politics and economic growth, it is a good choice to invest.
Moreover, considering your strengths and weaknesses is needed when selecting projects. It is also better to think about local suppliers of raw materials, labor force characteristics, water and electricity supply and market demand too.
34. What are the procedures of building a factory?
You first have to learn about construction program. Many countries in Africa have national investment promotion centers which provide help to foreigners. It is an option to first ask for their advise. Sometimes they could also help you with formalities of investment and building factory. However please note that those units may try to verify whether you are going to invest. They may suspense you for wanting to take benefits from preferential policies only.
You could find Africa Desk or the Chinese Embassy for assistance.
35. How to find a good partner?
Finding a good partner could bring a multiplier effect in your business. Surely, getting familiar with African affairs can definitely reduce errors and losses.
Africa Desk can provide useful information for enterprises.
36. Do I need to understand African laws?
Before starting any investment and trading, you should learn about the local law to protect your own interests. Noted that Africa and Asia share the same philosophy in law.
37. What should I do to make profits?
Enterprises should earn interest through its own strengths, for example, nature and quality of products, experience and services. If you can make use of your strengths, profits could easily be made as African may not have experience of what you provide.
38. How many people should I send for doing business?
It depends. Because of different job natures, some positions can be hired locally but should be brought to there for staying.
39. How to respond to market changes?
Market is always changing. Probably no fixed market exists. You could find products from China almost anywhere in Africa. Other businessmen would quickly produce similar products if it could make money. Trades which are profitable would soonly get into competition too.
Thus research on marketing is a must to start a business in Africa.
40. How to prevent being cheated in Africa?
If you receive a letter or an email claiming that there are a lot of money to share with you, it must be a scam. In addition, it is better to ask relevant units if credits is reliable. It is because many countries in Africa need a credit guarantee from a third-country back. Do not believe in documents and certificates easily. Africa has a high standard in making forged document. They could make out any documents they need.
Do not believe in certificates when hiring local people either. Getting to know the candidate better would be a more reliable way to avoid cheating and stealing. Clearance company is not always reliable. Make sure you have a full view of the situation, or else you could never get into any delivery. Some African frauds are good at lying and they would trick you in many ways. You are reminded not to believe in any pie which is not belonged to you.
Strictly speaking, African customers' information cannot be investigated. Even if you have a few trades with your customers already, we still ask you for your carefulness as there are examples of bad debts which the customers cannot be found before payment.
41. How to prevent theft in Africa?
Precautions of stealing are the same no matter where you are. They should be taken no matter where you go. It is similar when you go to Europe and travel, you would be very careful as there are lots of stealing too. It would not be useful if you pretend that you are sophisticated, locals would still easily recognize you as tourists.
Revealing your property would be a dangerous thing to do. Moreover, not to talk about money at all when you are surrounded by African. A topic on money could get you into troubles easily. Products should be stored in ware house and safely locked. Guarding would be a good idea too.
Note that you could change your money to US dollar and save in the bank. Do not bring too much cash to your residence and home.
42. What should I pay attention to if I go out at night in Africa?
Try not to go out at night. If you must go out, a few people should be with you. Lock the door if you are driving and do not go to remote area. Pay attention on your safety when you go to club at night too . If you are going anywhere on foot, you should be careful with the route you choose and do not go to anywhere that you are not familiar.
43. How to find a safe living place in African countries?
Area near the embassy would be more secure. Please noted that foreign embassies usually do not live near their office, so you should learn where they live first. Surely, places where American diplomats live may be dangerous as they would be attack targets of anti-American units.
It would be safer to live near the Chinese embassy in general.
44. What should I do if my shops are closed down?
It is not a usual thing to happen, but it have recently occurred in some African countries. If your store is sealed Unfortunately, you should report the situation to the Chinese Embassy immediately and ask them to assist with negotiation. There are thousands of reason to be sealed. It might be due to framing, extortion, illegal operation, illegal purchase or tax evasion.
To avoid this unpleasant situation, you should always take precaution. Legitimate business and avoid conflicts with local government and officers would be also effective.
45. How to take a taxi in Africa?
Situations differ from nation to nation. Taxis in many countries do not have meters. Therefore the only way is to valuate. Taxi drivers always quote a high price and passengers will have to bargain. It is not safe to travel by taxi in some countries. It is better to find a taxi service company with good reputations. In general, taxi service would be provided by hotel. These taxis are usually registered and would be relatively safe.
46. How to do market research in Africa?
There are many ways to do market research but probably the most effective way is to be diligent. The common characteristic of many people who are successful in Africa is that they have down a lot of of hard work to have a better understanding of the local market . It would be better if you could visit Africa for 2 months, or maybe 3 months, so that you would see what the local market really needs.
Finding a blank spot in a market which no one has noticed would be your goal. Success would not be difficult to achieve if you do it in a right way.
47. Where can I get the information of Africa?
Africa Desk can definitely provide information about Africa for business. Public media are also welcome to contact us for doing reports on Africa. On the other hand, we would also provide information about Asia to Africa enterprises.