A total of 2,760 fresh cut roses from Kenya arrived in central China’s Hunan Province Tuesday morning, marking the first batch of flowers from Africa directly entering the province. The flight carrying the fresh flowers was launched last Wednesday, linking Changsha, capital of Hunan and Kenya’s capital of Nairobi. Before the opening of the direct flight, it used to take about three days for the Kenyan flowers to reach Hunan consumers through ports in other provinces, but the new air route shortens the time to just 14 hours.
Importing roses from Kenya is just one of the trade activities between China and Africa. At the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in shanghai last November, over 200 exhibitors are from more than 40 African countries presenting a wide range of products including tea, coffee, wine, cocoa and seafood. For many of them, though it was the first time visiting China they held high expectations to increase export to China through Expo.
At a side event hosted by Jumore on 7th November during CIIE, nearly 1/4 of the foreign exhibitors presented were from Africa. They shared at Jumore’s event their experience and talks with potential Chinese clients and individuals during CIIE, and felt excited about the huge potential of their products in Chinese mainland market. Nancy, a coffee producer from Ethiopia said that China’s large coffee-consuming market will help Ethiopia diversify its coffee sales. Hosea Machuki, chief executive officer of Kenya-based Fresh Produce Exporters Association, whose members are among the CIIE exhibitors, said that China is one of the most promising markets for Kenyan horticultural produce.
Though China’s market is huge and lucrative, the challenges for foreign suppliers are still obvious. Languages, habit of doing business, supply chain difficulties… have for long been obstacles for foreign exporters to deal with Chinese markets. Catering to the needs of foreign companies, either with limited knowledge of Chinese market or has trading experiences here, Jumore has developed a full package of services, which include digital means and human assistance. An increasing double-digit growth of African companies got registered at JumoreGlobal since CIIE last November. Products to sell through JumoreGlobal platform are not only raw materials, but more agricultural products like coffee, sesame and tea etc.
With the growing interest of African businessmen to Chinese market, there will be new challenges to be addressed. African suppliers need to improve the marketing capabilities of the products and their ability to supply such a huge market.
During the FOCAC (Forum on China Africa Cooperation ) 2018 in Beijing last year, President Xi had stated in the new eight-point objective the FOCAC plans that China would encourage the economic development of African countries by importing more commodities from the continent, and most of it would be finished or non-resource commodities. Through that resolve, the trade imbalance between China and Africa which is logically in favor of China would be narrowed down.