Across China: African businessmen in Spring Festival travel rush

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-29 16:54:56|Editor: Li Xia
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GUANGZHOU, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Spring Festival is a time for Chinese people to return home and visit family. So it is with Felly Mwamba, an African businessmen who has spent 16 years in China.

Mwamba's company, in Guangzhou, sells Chinese commodities to Africa. During the Spring Festival holiday, when his Chinese clients put up the shutters, Mwamba also takes break after a year's hard work.

However, it is not an easy trip to go back home to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It takes nearly 20 hours flying.

Mwamba is looking forward to meeting his family and friends. Every year when he is back home, he tells people about the sound business environment in China and the country's fast development.

"I've been to Hunan, Shanghai and Yiwu city in Zhejiang, shipping back the commodities I think are most suitable for African consumers," he said.

Besides doing business, Mwamba also serves as the president of Communauté Congolaise de Chine, promoting Sino-African communications.

Since the late 1990s when the Pearl River Delta became known as a world's factory floor, many African merchants have flocked to Guangzhou for opportunities. Baohanzhi street in the city gradually became a gathering place for Africans.

Currently there are 12,737 Africans living in Guangzhou, accounting for 15.7 percent of all foreigners in the city, according to local authorities.

Baohanzhi street is a busy business site with shops and office buildings. But now it's hard to experience the hustle and bustle of this site, as the lunar new year is drawing near and many businesses have closed their doors.

Sailer, a Cameroonian who owns a 20 square meter clothing shop in Guangzhou, will travel with his Chinese wife to her hometown of Meizhou in northeast Guangdong Province.

"We drove quite slowly [last year] since there were too many cars on the highway," he said. "People rushed home for the eve of Chinese New Year, so did we."

Nearly 3 billion trips will be made as people set off for family gatherings or tours during this year's annual travel rush for the Lunar New Year.

To Moussa, who came to China two years ago from Ethiopia, celebrating the Spring Festival is a new experience.

"I only knew the Dragon Boat Festival before, and I'm eager to know more about the customs of Spring Festival," he said.

Moussa had a hard time getting high-speed train tickets during last year's travel rush, but he still plans to visit Shanghai during the upcoming week-long holiday.

"Changes are taking place everywhere in China as well as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," Mwamba said. "Roads and schools have been built in my home country thanks to the Belt and Road Initiative."

Guangdong is a leading foreign trade player in the country, with its imports and exports topping 7.16 trillion yuan (1.06 trillion U. S. dollars) last year.