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TRANSLATION: Africa Is Not Paradise for Chinese Bosses

File image of a Chinese manager inspecting a shoe produced at a now-defunct apparel manufacturing facility in Ethiopia. ZACHARIAS ABUBEKER / AFP

There’s been a recent flurry of posts on WeChat from various accounts in different countries that tout the enormous opportunities available for Chinese entrepreneurs on the continent. Some of these accounts are either directly or indirectly affiliated with various Chinese government agencies and appear intended to encourage Chinese entrepreneurship in Africa with the intent of facilitating closer trade ties.

For example, this rags-to-riches story of a Chinese laborer who became a successful business leader in Zambia was posted by a group that has ties with the Hunan provincial government. Hunan, located in central China, has been working very hard in recent years to position itself as a major hub for African trade, so helping to develop a Chinese entrepreneurial class in places like Zambia is central to that objective.

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