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Chinese Merchants Are Disrupting Kenya’s Business Cartels

In the old days, a small group of Kenyan elites dominated the business of importing low-cost products from China that they would then turn around and sell for two or three times the cost. But that once-lucrative business is now under threat from Chinese merchants who sell the same products at a lower price direct to consumers, cutting out those Kenyan middlemen.

That tension boiled over earlier this year in Nairobi when Trade Minister Moses Kuria mobilized street protests against a Chinese merchant that ultimately backfired. But now, Chinese expatriates in the country are complaining they’re the targets of a backlash.

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