Thursday, November 1, 2007

China pushes deeper into Africa

From the National Post:

China has served notice it is accelerating its investment drive in Africa towards full throttle with the planned $5.4-billion cash purchase of a major stake in Standard Bank by Beijing's biggest lender.

China's IndustrialandCommercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC) said on Thursday it is to buy 20% of South Africa's Standard Bank Group Ltd., the biggest foreign acquisition by a Chinese commercial bank yet.

So far, China has focused its African ventures on mining companies as well as oil to feed its exploding economy....MORE

From Forbes:

...The deal will help give the Chinese government, which has influence over some of the country's biggest companies, important influence and credibility when making investments in Africa. Standard Bank is in 17 countries in Africa, and has investments in many African firms. (A common strategy for investing in Africa is to buy into South African companies with exposure to rapidly-growing economies, like Nigeria, as it is less risky than investing in firms with more local exposure.)

...Rapidly-industrializing China has increasingly relied on Africa for commodities like copper, zinc, gold and iron, which are abundant. About 13% of Africa's exports now go to China, and trade from Africa to China is growing by 50% every year. It's partly why the state-run China Development Bank last July bought a chunk of Barclays (nyse: BCS - news - people ), a British bank that, thanks to its longstanding colonial roots, has a strong foothold in African trade finance. CDB said then that the investment would help "facilitate international commerce for Chinese companies." In May China created a $5 billion investment fund for Africa. (See: "Say It With Investment")...MORE