Feature: Chinese products excite Kenyan visitors at major exhibition – Xinhua
NAIROBI, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) — Tess Omollo, a marketer in her early 30s was among hordes of shoppers who thronged the venue of the fifth edition of Kenya International Industrial Expo to sample a wide range of products on display.
Omollo spent valuable time on Thursday at China’s Hebei Umek Environment Machine Co. Limited stall where a technician explained to an attentive group of onlookers the key features of a water purifier.
The sleek water purifying machine that utilizes Reverse Osmosis impressed the urbane sales lady who confessed that she planned to purchase it and deal a lethal blow to water-borne infections.
“Having a water purification system that is affordable, easy to use, and durable is a precious gift to many households in Nairobi grappling with water-borne diseases,” said Omollo.
She had defied early morning drizzles to troop to Sarit Center, an upscale Nairobi shopping mall, where some 130 companies including a sizeable number from China are displaying their products during the three-day expo.
Omollo observed that Chinese manufactured products on display at the expo including electrical appliances, farm machinery, vehicle spare parts, and pharmaceuticals were resonating with local shoppers, amid high quality.
Held under the theme of “Driving Growth in Kenya’s Manufacturing Sector through Technology and Partnerships,” the well-attended expo spotlighted the growing popularity of Chinese products in the Kenyan market.
Muadh Said, a 24-year-old finance major currently working for his parents’ construction firm said that visiting the expo exposed him to cutting-edge roofing materials, tiles, and plywood sourced from China.
The suave entrepreneur who is based in the port city of Mombasa said his specific mission at the expo was to link up with Chinese firms that can directly supply him with construction materials, and eliminate the grip of exploitative middlemen.
According to Said, China has emerged as a reliable source of quality, durable, and pocket-friendly construction materials to help meet the rising demand for houses in Kenya’s fast-growing urban centers.
The fifth edition of the Kenya International Industrial Expo, to be held in a hybrid format from Nov. 3 to 5 will also showcase mining equipment, renewable energy products, and medical supplies like surgical gowns, and face masks manufactured in China.
Gao Wei, the Managing Director of Afripeak Expo Kenya Limited, one of the expo’s organizers, said it will help link up Chinese and Kenyan entrepreneurs, spotlight abundant business opportunities, and foster the transfer of technologies required to boost local manufacturing.
Gao added that Kenyan importers who visit the expo will be able to sample a wider portfolio of Chinese manufactured products at close range and forge mutually beneficial ties with traders from the Asian Nation.
The excitement in some visitors to the expo like Joseph Ngotho, a middle-aged father of two, was palpable as they took a stroll at the rooftop where local and Chinese exhibitors displayed elegant products.
Ngotho who owns an electronics shop in downtown Nairobi said he visited the expo to look for a public address system manufactured in China for supplying to his clients who happen to be educational institutions and entertainment spots.
“I do not doubt the quality of electronic products from China since I have always stocked them and they are popular with my clients. As for the public address system, I would like to link up with a Chinese trader who can supply them to me directly,” said Ngotho.
On her part, Beth Mwangi, a pharmacy major currently working at a private clinic, met her expectations since she managed to link up with a Chinese supplier of personal protective gear like surgical masks.
Mwangi said that medical supplies from China were highly regarded at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Kenya adding that local health facilities should seize the opportunity provided by the expo to learn about Chinese technologies for developing pharmaceutical products.
Kenya’s small and medium-sized enterprises are expected to reap from the expo through partnering with Chinese exhibitors to explore the potential market for their produce in the Asian Nation, said Pius Rotich, the General Manager of Investment Promotion and Business Development at Kenya Investment Authority.
Rotich said the expo which will also feature 20 local firms dealing with fresh produce will elevate Kenya-China trade to a new level, besides unlocking finances required to boost the growth of women and youth-owned start-ups. ■