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Kenyan businesses embrace workers who can speak Chinese
en.hangzhou.com.cn  2016/02/11 17:21  Source:Xinhua

    NAIROBI, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- More Kenyan businesses have embraced local workers who can speak Chinese or they have hired Chinese nationals to work for them as the number of citizens from China in the country increases.

    There has been a rise in Chinese nationals in the East African nation following the strengthening of bilateral ties between the two countries, whose relations stretch over 50 years.

    A good number of the Chinese citizens are expatriates working on various infrastructure projects jointly undertaken by Kenya and China.

    For instance, an estimated 2,500 Chinese workers were shipped into the country to work on the standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Nairobi.

    Others are workers of various Chinese firms in the East African nation, which include those in the real estate, hospitality industry, mobile phone makers and vehicle assembly plants.

    Topping the list of Kenyan businesses hiring workers who speak Chinese language so that they can attract the growing Chinese clientele are banks and hotels.

    Among the financial institutions that have hired Chinese nationals are Equity Bank, National Bank and Cooperative Bank.

    Workers who can speak Chinese taught at various Confucius Institutes in Kenyan universities are mainly working as tellers in the banks.

    However, for the Chinese nationals, most of them are working as relationship managers, helping the banks break the language and cultural barriers.

    The Equity Bank in a recent report noted that it has more than 1,000 bank accounts run by Chinese clients, both individuals and enterprises.

    According to the institution, revenue from business with Chinese enterprises is about 5 percent of the total revenue, a significant portion that cannot be ignored.

    "Kenyan firms have been missing business because they do not comprehend how to tap the Chinese market, but they are turning things around," Sandra Rwese of Gulu and Hirst, a social media tourism marketing company that helps Kenyan businesses tap into Chinese market, noted in a recent interview.

    Rwese noted that most companies in the hotel sector now have workers who can speak Chinese.

    "This means one can attend to tourists or businessmen from China visiting Kenya, which translates into new opportunities," she said, adding that Kenyan businesses are aggressively marketing themselves to the Chinese.

    According to her, communication is very important when it comes to business and the search for new opportunities.

    "Staff, be it in hotels or banks must, therefore, learn and speak Chinese, at least the basics," said Rwese, who speaks Chinese and has stayed in China for several years.

    Just as the Chinese nationals troop into Kenya to run businesses and work on projects funded by their government, Kenyan traders have been making trips to the Asian country to import clothing, electronics, building materials, stationery and other fast moving consumer goods.

    Therefore, a good number of Kenyans are learning Chinese so that they can be able to effectively communicate in China.

    Bilateral trade volume between China and Kenya rose by 53 percent in 2014, according to Chinese embassy, hitting a high of 592 million U.S. dollars.

Author:Mu Xuequan Editor:陈东
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