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Chinese Dream - Africans in Guangzhou   [Copy link] 中文

Rank: 6Rank: 6

Post time 2012-6-25 17:24:01 |Display all floors

In Guangzhou, a zone with Hongqiao in the center stretches a radius of around 10 kilometers, is called Chocolate Town by taxi drivers.

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In this place, there are more Africans than Asians, as English, French and Spanish mixed with Mandarin and Cantonese can usually be heard, scent of perfume can be smelt everywhere, colorful African long gowns are hung on the hangers along the street, and with 20 US dollars you can get yourself a African-style haircut by a barber who’s been to Africa to learn the skill. Picture shows the Africans in the street of Guangzhou.

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In 1998, the first batch of Africans settled in Guangzhou, with Hongqiao in the center along Taojin Road, Yuexiu District. Ten years have passed, people in this area count 2% of the whole population of Guangzhou city, including more than 200,000 Africans. In the picture, one African woman is pushing a baby carriage across the foot bridge.

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With more and more Africans gathering in this area, view of this city has also been being changed. Many outdoor billboards, LED light boxes are filled with words in English, French, Arabic and Chinese. Service industry including African restaurants or barber shops is sprung up. In the picture there is a photo shop, where the wall is full of pictures the owner took for the customers, some of which show Africans’ life in Guangzhou.


More and more Africans flocked in Guangzhou for the pursuit of fortune, seeking opportunities and dreams. Nelson is one of them, 23, from Nigeria, who used to think Lagos, the most bustling city in Nigeria, heaven until he got to Guangzhou, where he finally thought  was the entrance of heaven. In the picture, in the streets of Guangzhou, numerous gold diggers from Africa are here to make their dreams come true.

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Every noon, Nelson takes on his huge backpack and drags a trash-collection-bag-like black plastic bag and appears in Jianan clothing mall, where black faces are everywhere to be seen, in an underdone Chinese bargaining with Chinese bosses, spending 10,000 Yuan on 500 pairs of fake Adidas jeans or Armani T-shirts. They take these cheap products back to Africa and sell them. “There are not much factories in Africa. People don’t care about brands. It’s ok to wear clothes as long as it’s not bad.” These are the basis of the business of the African merchants. In the picture, Nelson, the Nigerian merchant is taking escalator in Guangzhou.

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There are a lot of Africans like Nelson doing clothing business in Taojin, Guangzhou, which digests the inventory of a large amount of outdated clothing. When talking about those black merchants, Chinese venders always frown as they’ve had it enough for the black people’s bargaining skill. Some reserved 200 pairs of pants but eventually took 10, but the price remained the same. Some stole one more pair from the booth when taking the goods. Many venders don’t even care to learn English, thinking it enough to talk with calculators. In the picture, some African merchants are picking products in a clothes store.

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Lacking money, no request for brands, being obsessed in bargaining and adoring low-standard products are features of most African merchants. Africans’ need for cheap products booms the processing factory in suburban Guangzhou. In the picture, one Chinese seller is wiping drivel of a little African baby of an African buyer, as a way of getting close to the customer.

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Besides, some African merchants who are doing bigger business would also hire some natives to assist them, creating job opportunities for the local. In the picture, businessman Akochaye from Benin is chatting with his Chinese assistant outside of his storage he rents. Akochaye is a shipping agent, who has registered companies in both China and Benin. He’s been to China for many years, and can speak fluent Chinese.


In China-Africa Trade Town, there are disputes between Chinese merchants and African buyers every day, sometimes the police have to intervene. A security guard in Jianan Trade Town said, it’s hard to understand why some people are so poor but still so aggressive. In the picture, Oct 24, 2010, outside a foreign trade mall in Guangzhou, an African merchant is arguing with police about his identity.

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Nelson said he’d got deceived very often, products which were well chosen in china turned out to be of bad quality when arrived at Nigeria, which let him down a lot. Though he stayed in china for not a long time, he’d already learned to be cautious at any time. In the picture, nelson is resting in storage of a small company of Guangzhou, which offers logistics service for African merchants doing business in China. Nelson has packed 10 suits and some cheap cell phones and put them in this storage, and tomorrow will send them to Lagos, capital of Nigeria. When packing, Nelson found 1 suit missing, he’s not sure if it was really missed by accident when transferring the products like the Chinese sellers said. Language barrier and cultural difference make it a lot of misunderstandings and distrust when doing business with each other.

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If he didn’t come to China, Nelson would have continued his management of Auto parts retail. He sold tires, steering wheels, and seats from China with a high price. But the sign “made in China” stimulates his yearning for China. With the help of a friend working in Consulate, Nelson took the visa and came to his new home in Guangzhou, starting his Gold Rush Tour. The picture shows that Nelson finished his daily work, and went back home. On his way home, he stopped by to give a little girl begging for change.

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“Though we’ve tried hard to fit in this city, we can feel people look at us with a different eye.” Nelson said, “ it’s harder for us to get a taxi than for the locals, many of us got refused to take, or extorted. Sometimes, we have to make the driver think we are heading to the airport to get permitted to get in the cab although we are not really heading to the airport. And of course, the price is much higher. We had to.” In the picture, Reuben from Lobelia is taking a cab to the factory for business.

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Many taxi drivers don’t feel like taking Africans for the reason such as too big to get in the car or not able to speak a foreign language. Drivers don’t like the smell of their perfume and their interest in bargaining. “you got to be careful, those Africans like bargaining,” one taxi driver said, “some get in the cab and start playing music, noisy and lousy. Guangzhou is like a melting stove, that’s also why so many black people are here, there won’t be this much in any other cities in China.” In the picture, Chinese and Africans sit separately in food stalls along the street in Guangzhou.  

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Many people like Nelson sometimes complain about Chinese people’s ruthlessness and dishonesty. But Nelson believes that China is a place of the most opportunities. Though this city doesn’t treat him well, but in here he’s made money that his father had to work hard for 10 years to earn in Africa. In the picture, Nelson is taking a bus home.









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Post time 2012-6-25 17:25:05 |Display all floors

Compared to Africans who live in urban villages, Emma who’s rented an apartment can be seen as a successful gold digger. He has an independent studio providing help of visa for Africans who are working in China.


In Guangzhou, a legal identity is more important than anything to Africans. China has a very strict immigration policy. It is said that only people who are Chinese employees, colleges and overseas companies can guarantee them renewing the residence permit. Most Individual businesses are illegal residence without guarantee. Because of the control of the visa, there exists an industry chain breeding ground for gray visa outside the law. Emma made profit on visa renewals through the resources accumulate in China. Meanwhile, Emma also raises money for the sick, and arranging rooms for first-come compatriots. In the picture, a businessman got back his payment with the help of Emma. Emma said, “It’s not easy to be the leader, and the pay is more than the harvest”.


Africans like Emma are rare in China, who are more welcome as well. In Jianan Plaza, there are 4 to 5 African bosses who have got both wealth and respect from their Chinese counterparts for their talent and diligence. These successful people established various committees. In the picture, at a party held for rich Nigerian merchants and community leaders, a successful African merchant is with his Chinese wife.


10 to 20 people can build a committee. These small committees gather regularly to undertake organizing and managing work like member’s wedding, funeral, and all kinds of daily issues. In the picture, at a party held for rich Nigerian merchants and community leaders, a bible and a pile of RMB and a sheep head were put on the table.


In Guangzhou, at a party held for rich Nigerian merchants and community leaders, an African merchant wears a watch with a badge of Chinese Communist Party.


In Chocolate Town, occasionally you can see a black man and his Chinese wife, carrying their mixed baby walking on the street. Compared to this combination of family, it’s more often to see African men bring their African wives to live in china. African merchant Cisse and his African wife don’t intend to get a Chinese green card. Three year ago, Cisse took his wife from Mali to Guangzhou, giving birth to a daughter. Two months ago, they hired a Chinese babysitter to teach their daughter speak Chinese and Chinese etiquette, “Chinese are intelligent, I hope her to have a Chinese brain.”


Some Africans got Chinese girlfriends, but it’s rare. 28-year-old Kankoe from Ghana and his Chinese girlfriend rent a small apartment in Guangzhou. His girlfriend said, she’s ready to marry Kankoe, and she believes “there is no boundary in love, and I love black people’s outburst of enthusiasm.”


Kankoe said it was hard to fit in the local community for his girlfriend was the only chinese friend of his, which was a lot more better than other Africans. Many compatriots in China don’t have a single Chinese friend after living here for 10 years. In the picture, Africans sit alone in a food stall.


In July, 2007, a black man fell off from a 18-storey building accidentally in an attempt to escape from police investigation. This issue sparked the rages of hundreds of Africans. The picture shows the scene of the incident.


It’s the first incident which’s caused by foreign citizens in such a scale since China’s reform and open to the outside world. From then on, black people’s community became famous all over the country. In the picture, the black man gives middle fingers to the crowd.


The wave of consensus past, the lives of Africans went on. Africans don’t have much of community activities in Guangzhou. To most Christians, the Mass held at 3 pm each Sunday becomes an important event. People who take part in the Mass are mostly Africans, which is in English. 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the Mass begins. Numerous black people pray devoutly. To many Africans in Guangzhou, this is the most touching moment of their life.



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Post time 2012-6-25 17:31:14 |Display all floors
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Compared to Africans who live in urban villages, Emma who’s rented an apartment can be seen as a successful gold digger. He has an independent studio providing help of visa for Africans who are working in China.

17.jpg

In Guangzhou, a legal identity is more important than anything to Africans. China has a very strict immigration policy. It is said that only people who are Chinese employees, colleges and overseas companies can guarantee them renewing the residence permit. Most Individual businesses are illegal residence without guarantee. Because of the control of the visa, there exists an industry chain breeding ground for gray visa outside the law. Emma made profit on visa renewals through the resources accumulate in China. Meanwhile, Emma also raises money for the sick, and arranging rooms for first-come compatriots. In the picture, a businessman got back his payment with the help of Emma. Emma said, “It’s not easy to be the leader, and the pay is more than the harvest”.

18.jpg

Africans like Emma are rare in China, who are more welcome as well. In Jianan Plaza, there are 4 to 5 African bosses who have got both wealth and respect from their Chinese counterparts for their talent and diligence. These successful people established various committees. In the picture, at a party held for rich Nigerian merchants and community leaders, a successful African merchant is with his Chinese wife.

19.jpg

10 to 20 people can build a committee. These small committees gather regularly to undertake organizing and managing work like member’s wedding, funeral, and all kinds of daily issues. In the picture, at a party held for rich Nigerian merchants and community leaders, a bible and a pile of RMB and a sheep head were put on the table.

20.jpg

In Guangzhou, at a party held for rich Nigerian merchants and community leaders, an African merchant wears a watch with a badge of Chinese Communist Party.

21.jpg

In Chocolate Town, occasionally you can see a black man and his Chinese wife, carrying their mixed baby walking on the street. Compared to this combination of family, it’s more often to see African men bring their African wives to live in china. African merchant Cisse and his African wife don’t intend to get a Chinese green card. Three year ago, Cisse took his wife from Mali to Guangzhou, giving birth to a daughter. Two months ago, they hired a Chinese babysitter to teach their daughter speak Chinese and Chinese etiquette, “Chinese are intelligent, I hope her to have a Chinese brain.”

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Some Africans got Chinese girlfriends, but it’s rare. 28-year-old Kankoe from Ghana and his Chinese girlfriend rent a small apartment in Guangzhou. His girlfriend said, she’s ready to marry Kankoe, and she believes “there is no boundary in love, and I love black people’s outburst of enthusiasm.”

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Kankoe said it was hard to fit in the local community for his girlfriend was the only chinese friend of his, which was a lot more better than other Africans. Many compatriots in China don’t have a single Chinese friend after living here for 10 years. In the picture, Africans sit alone in a food stall.


In July, 2007, a black man fell off from a 18-storey building accidentally in an attempt to escape from police investigation. This issue sparked the rages of hundreds of Africans. The picture shows the scene of the incident.


It’s the first incident which’s caused by foreign citizens in such a scale since China’s reform and open to the outside world. From then on, black people’s community became famous all over the country. In the picture, the black man gives middle fingers to the crowd


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The wave of consensus past, the lives of Africans went on. Africans don’t have much of community activities in Guangzhou. To most Christians, the Mass held at 3 pm each Sunday becomes an important event. People who take part in the Mass are mostly Africans, which is in English. 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the Mass begins. Numerous black people pray devoutly. To many Africans in Guangzhou, this is the most touching moment of their life.



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Post time 2012-6-25 19:03:56 |Display all floors
Edisonone should love this thread....
Patria est ubicunque bene/Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit

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Rank: 6Rank: 6

Post time 2012-6-25 19:34:07 |Display all floors
I find this a fascinating development. China perhaps doesn't develop high-end products just yet - but it develops useful low-end products that give people with low purchasing power opportunities they never had before!

Prior to China's rise, most Africans either had no clothes, bad clothes or clothes from western charity organisations. Neither is a satisfying solution. Now, China produces cheap but good clothes which people in other developing countries can afford - and thereby doesn't only improve the life of Chinese, but also of all other poor nations!
The only problem is that there aren't sufficient distribution networks in Africa yet, which is why most goods are imported by African traders. That's why I think that Chinese companies should not have the main goal of challenging their established, western counterparts in the west - that'd only swallow a lot of money for little return. Rather, they should try to grab Africa and south east asia to provide goods to the the people living there.

A Chinese car would perfectly suffice and is better than no car, but Western cars would be too expensive for most Africans. Chinese clothes are of sufficient quality and cheap, while Western brands are inaffordable with a low income. And there are so many more business opportunities - go grab them!

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Post time 2012-6-26 01:54:03 |Display all floors
Look at the Christian churches.

The fat guy loved by the Sinophobic West.

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Post time 2012-6-26 03:06:59 |Display all floors
timbatu Post time: 2012-6-26 01:54
Look at the Christian churches.

See what awaits you back in China, Timbo.... MORE CHRISTIANS!!

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