On September 4, CCG held a seminar on the theme of “Chinese entrepreneurs in Africa” to mark the release of the 2018 Report on the Development of Chinese Entrepreneurs.
The chief editors of the report, compiled by CCG and published by the Social Sciences Academic Press (SSAP), were CCG President Wang Huiyao and Kang Rongping, head of CCG’s Global Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs Research Institute.
The event was attended by officials from government departments for overseas Chinese, and scholars, experts, and entrepreneurs linked to the field. This included He Shujing, deputy director of the Beijing Overseas Chinese Affairs Office; Deng Yonghong, SSAP President; Chen Xue, SSAP vice president; SSAP editor Chen Qingyu; Zhao Jian, vice principal of the Executive Leadership Academy of Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council; Zhu Yan, professor at Takushoku University and advisor to the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Japan; Zhang Yili, secretary-general of the Global Research Center for Wenzhounese; Miao Lu, CCG vice president and secretary general; Huang Rihan, acting director of CCG’s Belt and Road Research Center; Tang Haoxuan, CCG council member and chairman of Fueta International; and Yang Baorong, CCG non-resident fellow and deputy director of the CASS Institute of West Asian and African Studies.
Xie Shouguang, head of SSAP
The seminar was chaired by Miao Lu, CCG vice president and secretary general. Xie Shouguang, head of SSAP, gave opening remarks, noting how this discussion on the activities of Chinese entrepreneurs in Africa was particularly timely, coinciding with the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) being held in Beijing.
Wang Huiyao， CCG President
Kang Rongping，head of CCG’s Global Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs Research Institute
Following this, chief editors of the report Wang Huiyao and Kang Rongping spoke about key themes and issues of the book. CCG President Wang Huiyao noted that overseas Chinese entrepreneurs have constituted a significant force in the global economy and are well placed to play a key role in China’s continued reform and development process.
Speakers moved on to discuss major themes of the book. These include key trends in the business activities of overseas Chinese entrepreneurs; their geographical distribution, industry focus, and origins in China such as Fujian, Guangdong, Zhejiang; their contribution to China’s reform and development; presence in tech sectors and cross border e-commerce; contribution to capital investment in China; and cooperation with Chinese firms in going out, a new trend in globalization.
Following these introductions of the book content, seminar participants shared their perspectives and engaged in a lively discussion about the key trends of overseas Chinese entrepreneurship and the opportunities and challenges they face, particularly in Africa’s dynamic market.
CCG’s report highlights several key trends regarding the activities of overseas Chinese entrepreneurs.
- First of all, investment by Chinese enterprises in Africa is growing fast, with the private sector become a more significant force and various groups of Chinese entrepreneurs establishing themselves in Africa.
- Among these groups, entrepreneurs from Fujian were among the first to settle in Africa and their business activities have grown strongly. In recent years, increasing numbers of Wenzhounese entrepreneurs have moved to Africa, constituting a wave of “second migration” from Europe and other places.
- Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs are geographically dispersed all over the globe, particularly South East Asia, North America, and Europe. Their business activities are concentrated in a few industries such as catering, wholesale and retail, but capital allocation is relatively dispersed among small and medium enterprises. Large overseas Chinese enterprises are concentrated in five countries in South East Asia, namely Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, The Philippines, and Indonesia.
- Most Overseas Chinese entrepreneurs trace their roots back to the coastal provinces of Fujian, Zhejiang and Guangdong. These shared regional affiliations have come to form groups with global impact.
- In the 21st century, overseas Chinese entrepreneurs are pursuing new development pathways. There is increasing focus on high-tech sectors, innovation, and cross-border e-commerce, which this group are well placed to take advantage of.
- Growing cooperation between overseas Chinese and Chinese enterprises “going global” is forming a new mode of globalization and development.
- China’s economic development and the Belt and Road Initiative are important factors for overseas Chinese entrepreneurs.
- The creation of “Overseas Chinese Parks” (侨梦苑) across China have provided a new platform for development of overseas Chinese business in China. Cooperation between overseas Chinese and Chinese companies outside China’s borders is also a growing trend and source of opportunities.
- Overseas Chinese are an important source of foreign investment for China. In addition, overseas Chinese enterprises are an important resource for China’s economic development.
- The Belt and Road Initiative presents major opportunities for overseas Chinese, who can play a unique role in win-win international cooperation.
CCG put forward several recommendations to support the future development of overseas Chinese entrepreneurship.
At the national level, China should strive to build a supportive policy framework and market environment to further attract overseas Chinese entrepreneurs to China. China could also strengthen cooperation and coordination with overseas Chinese, drawing lessons from the work of Israel with diaspora communities in the US.
Meanwhile, overseas Chinese entrepreneurs should continue efforts towards enterprise transformation and upgrading and accelerate the modernization of management for family-based enterprises.
About CCG Global Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs Research Institute
CCG Global Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs Research Institute was established in April 2016, headed by renowned expert in the field and former head of CASS Institute of World Economic and Politics (IWEP) Global Overseas Chinese Entrepreneurs Research Center. The institute focuses on the key trends, impacts, challenges, and opportunities for overseas Chinese entrepreneurs, a group that play a significant role in the global economy and China’s economic transformation.