BULAWAYO, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Chinese firms should take advantage of the vast business opportunities that exist in Zimbabwe and intensify investment into the southern African country, Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Huang Ping said Friday.
He told Xinhua at the annual 2017 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in the second largest city of Bulawayo that Chinese firms should invest not only in agriculture, the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy, but in the industrial sector to help speed up economic development in the country.
This year's ZITF ran from April 25-29 under the theme: "Harnessing Linkages for Industrial Development".
He said the embassy was enhancing information dissemination about the business opportunities in Zimbabwe to the Chinese business people so as to attract many Chinese investors.
"We are bringing more Chinese business delegations to Zimbabwe to explore the potential of future cooperation. The opportunities are plenty but we need to do more to let the people back in China know the opportunities," he added.
He commended one of the Chinese companies in Zimbabwe, Inspur, saying it was playing a part in the development of Zimbabwe's economy.
Inspur is a state-owned Chinese firm that provides integrated information and communication technology (ICT) services. It began operations in Zimbabwe in 2011 and is one of the several Chinese companies that are exhibiting at this year's ZITF.
"Inspur is doing very good business here and in the meantime it is helping Zimbabwe to develop by providing advanced technology and expertise and this is a good example and I hope more companies in China will come to Zimbabwe to intensify cooperation, create business and help Zimbabwe's economy to develop," Huang said.
An official at Inspur, Joseph Qiu said they were using Zimbabwe's premier trade showcase, ZITF, to market their products to Zimbabweans customers.
"The main purpose of our exhibition here is to let government ministries and other customers to get familiar with our products," Qiu said.
The firm has been exhibiting at the trade event for the past four years. Qiu said Zimbabwe's fairly developed ICT sector, when compared to other countries in southern Africa, offered good business opportunities for the Chinese firm.
A cement manufacturing firm recently set up in Zimbabwe, LiveTouch Investments, exhibited for the first time at this year's ZIFT where it sought to market its products to the Zimbabwean market.
Chief executive officer Wang Dongming told Xinhua that the Zimbabwean market was promising given the vast infrastructure projects planned that include upgrading of major highways and rehabilitation of city roads and other infrastructure that were damaged by heavy rains this year.
"We are a relevant small-scale cement factory and our advantage is that we offer acceptable price and the best quality," Wang said.
A Chinese automotive company Beijing Automotive Group Co. Ltd (BAIC Group) that recently formed a joint venture with two Zimbabwean companies to form Beiqi Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd also exhibited at the ZITF this year.
Its local partners are the government owned Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries (which had not been operational for more than four years) and automotive and spare parts dealer Astol Motors who jointly own 49 percent of shares in the joint venture.
Beiqi Zimbabwe is involved in the importation of whole vehicles, knocked down kits, distribution, services and finance management.
An official of the joint venture automotive firm Peter Makowa said they had sold 25 top of the range pick-up trucks - the Grand Tiger - which they launched on March 27 this year at a competitive price of 33,000 U.S. dollars.
"This means that we sold one unit per day since we started operations and this is good. The market for our product is very good. We are using the technology that Zimbabweans are familiar with and we also provide after-sales service." Makowa said.