Huarong Zhang is chairman of Huajian Group, whose Chinese factories make shoes for Ivanka Trump, Nine West, Michael Kors and other Western brands.
This week, Zhang brokered a $ 1.5 billion deal with the Nigerian government to build a shoe factory Nigeria.
He plans to create 100,000 jobs in Africa over the next two decades, Zhang told journalists from 27 African countries during a recent tour of the company’s headquarters in Dongguan, China.
In Ethiopia, public sector employees earn a monthly minimum wage of $21, according to minimum-wage.org. Employees in banking and insurance have a minimum monthly wage of $18. China’s minimum wages are set locally and range from $145 to $318 per month.
From Independent Online. Story by Melanie Peters.
According to Nigerian media, the Abia State-Huajian Shoe Industrial City, which will be located in Aba, will produce 5,000 shoes a day and employ about 10,000 people.
Zhang said a large number of African countries had great untapped potential. “But investors are looking for political stability, security and protection of property. Many African countries are opening up and have made remarkable achievements on the economic front.”
Huajian already has a shoe factory in Ethiopia. Zhang set up the plant near the country’s capital, Addis Abba in 2011. It is part of an industrial zone, still under construction, with a total investment of $2 billion by 2020. It manufactures more than 2,000 pairs of shoes a day that are exported to the U.S. and European markets.
In Dongguan, journalists toured the compound which houses a shoe factory and staff living quarters. Staff put in 10-hour days, six days a week. Shoes typically sell for at least $100 a pair in the U.S.
Among the Chinese staff were a group of Ethiopians who will spend a year learning the trade.
Zhang said 150 Ethiopians are being trained at his factory in China and he hopes to increase the number to between 1,000 to 2,000.
The factory uses 50 percent of its raw material from Ethiopia, and 20 percent from China.
Zhang said Huajian produces 12 million pairs of shoes each year, mostly high-end brands for European and U.S. markets.
The company’s annual turnover in China as well as Ethiopia is $300 million.
Zhang said the company is privately owned. The Chinese government supported Huajian’s plans, but had not invested money in the company, not even in its Ethiopian operation.
Read more at Independent Online.