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Nairobi takes lion’s share of Chinese investments

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Kenya is expected to spark off major Chinese investments in Kenya, making it the Asian giant’s regional investment hub.

The number of Chinese expatriates jetting into Kenya has doubled with many public and private companies from Beijing setting up bases in Nairobi.

Already a group of Chinese companies have come together to set up a China brand city in Athi River with dozens of storey buildings and industrial parks for Chinese products set to be built there.

The Athi River investment will cost over Sh60 billion to set up, with the designers of the plan anticipating the creation of over 200,000 jobs.

On Saturday, Mr Li said that his country is supporting the increasing investment by Chinese nationals in Kenya, adding that more businesses by both the public and private sector companies are expected to increase.

It is estimated that over 20,000 Chinese expatriates may have entered the Kenyan market and are engaged in various aspects of economic development in the real estate, infrastructure, science and the engineering sectors.

The Chinese community has largely settled around Hurlingham and Parklands areas of Nairobi where there is increased acquisition of property for construction of highrise facilities.

Several major hotels targeting Chinese patrons have also been set up in Hurlingham where Chinese developers are investing in major properties as their interests in Kenya continue to grow.

“We are encouraging increased private sector investment in Kenya just as we do with public investment,” Mr Li stated.

Major Chinese companies including those in the automobile industries have been scouting for properties as they plan to relocate to Nairobi from where they intend to set up their regional headquarters.

“Many Chinese companies consider Kenya to be a better trade centre for their products. Many companies are making inquiries about Kenya — they want to put their money here,” said Mr Guo Dong, who is a Chinese investment adviser based in Nairobi.

In the media industry alone, major Chinese news outlets like CCTV have set up shop in Nairobi sparking off competition with their Western rivals who dominated the region for ages.

“There is increasing interest by Chinese investors who believe that the environment in Kenya is better than anywhere else in Africa. That is why China wants tighter ties with Kenya,” said Mao Yizong.

Mr Mao said that there are hundreds of Chinese companies in infrastructure, tourism, automobiles and other fields with branches in Nairobi.