From a windowless room in a dilapidated Hong Kong high-rise, Ali Diallo sells Chinese electronics to retailers across Africa. The modest surroundings belie the multimillion-dollar business the West African trader has built in the five years since he moved to the city.
The 39-year-old from Guinea is part of a growing number of African entrepreneurs thriving in southern China, as trade between the world’s second-largest economy and fastest-growing continent soars.
Sitting in a small room cluttered with cardboard boxes destined for Nigeria, Diallo welcomes the latest delivery of Chinese-made mobile phones to his office in Chungking Mansions – a bustling labyrinth better known for budget hotels and no-frills restaurants.
The building is also the go-to place in Hong Kong for African buyers in search of cheap electronics, with phones selling from around US$8 each.
“In China there are opportunities for people who can start from scratch and build up their own business. Obviously not in one day but through hard work and networking you can do it,” says the trader, whose company sees an annual turnover of US$11 million a year through the sale of phones and tablets alone.
Trade between China and Africa hit new highs of nearly $200 billion last year, according to official Chinese data, driven by Chinese industry’s appetite for African raw materials.
Read more at scmp.com