Saturday, July 30, 2005

The bright side of China

Chinese business people have established retail shops in the capital, Harare, and other major towns, mostly selling cheap electrical goods, clothes, blankets, toys and beauty products.

Retailers are enjoying brisk business after informal markets offering cheap alternatives were closed down under Operation Murambatsvina, a government cleanup exercise launched in mid-May ostensibly to crack down on illicit trade in foreign currency.

It's called wiping out the competition...

The shops are popular with people who cannot afford to buy at the upmarket departmental stores because many items, especially clothing, are often only a quarter of the price. While a modest television set is sold at around Zim $8m (US $450) at established shops, Chinese ones cost as little as Zim $1m (US $56).

As that old saying goes: "Let them eat televisions"...

However, Makwiramiti warned that the country may soon find itself unable to sustain the business deals it has struck with China due to ongoing forex shortages. "The ZNCC is aware that the Chinese are demanding international commercial rates for whatever services they would be rendering to Zimbabwe - nothing is coming for free or at preferential rates, and if we do not find ways of generating forex we might find ourselves in a worse situation soon," he said.

HINT: The Chinese are excellent businessmen, but they are smart, and won't give you stuff for nothing...and their economic expansion into Southeast Asia predates the communist revolution by at least a century, and has caused a lot of local resentment...In Indonesia, many were killed in an uprising (see the film: The Year of Living Dangerously), but here in the Philippines, we insisted that if they wanted to own land or shops they needed to be married to a a result, half of our elite politicians and most of our rich merchants are part Chinese...

Harare-based economist John Robertson has recommended that the government mend its relations with the IMF, World Bank, USA and European countries in order to revive the economy. "China itself is looking to the West, and there is no way we can sustain our economy by limiting trade to China, or one or two other Asian countries, because that will give the country short-lived relief, Robertson told IRIN. "Let's make sure that we talk to the IMF so that it can resume financial assistance, for that is how we could once again get steady forex inflows."

He complained that some Chinese products, such as the buses and planes, were seen as unreliable; the same complaint has been made against apparel and electrical goods.

Same problem most poor people buy Chinese clothing, paper goods, plastic dishes etc..., but when we buy TV's we buy USED TV's made in Korea...from our local Metziso merchant, of course...

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