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Enter the dragon: Is China looking to colonize Kenya and rest of the East Africa?

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By Nitin Kesar

The way Chinese people are making inroads into Kenya, has a striking resemblance to how British paved their way into India during early 17 century.

With a promise of investing $5 billion in Kenya’s infrastructure, China has done exactly the same thing what East India company did then with India- show a false promise of prosperity and growth.

One of the reasons why China is so interested in Kenya is for its need of oil. As the dragon nation is set to become the world’s largest oil importer, the new oil discoveries in Kenya serve its purpose well.

It is estimated that the Kenya will be the first oil exporter in East Africa by 2016 — with deposits topping 10 billion barrels, or three times more than the United Kingdom’s remaining oil reserves.

Again, it is just like the way Britishers exploited Indian farmers for opium, cotton and spices.

The signs of this modern day colonization showed its horrific side on March 26 when a Chinese restaurant in Kenyan capital of Nairobi was shut down after it emerged that it was barring dark-skinned locals from entering its premises.

The case came into limelight after furious residents took to social media to denounce an apparently racist policy of not allowing African patrons to eat there after 5pm.

This is exactly what happened in India after Anglophone masters took control of the sub-continent and debarred the natives from entering restaurants. In fact, this was the time when Britishers used to put a board outside their so-called English eating joints which read- Dogs and Indians are not allowed.

Though Chinese investment at this moment seems like a good relief for Kenyans, it is going to have a great impact on the African nations sovereignty and autonomy.

A report conducted by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT ), Nairobi, Kenya also suggested that the FDI from China can have adverse effects on employment, income distribution, and national sovereignty and autonomy.

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Amazon Plans to Close its Domestic Marketplace in China by Mid-July

Amazon shoppers in China will no longer be able to buy goods from third-party merchants in the country, but they still will be able to order from the United States, Britain, Denmark and Japan via the firm’s global store

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FILE - Amazon plans to close its domestic marketplace in China to focus on more lucrative businesses there. VOA

Amazon.com Inc. plans to close its domestic marketplace in China by mid-July, people familiar with the matter told Reuters, focusing efforts on more lucrative businesses selling overseas goods and cloud services in the world’s most populous nation.

Amazon shoppers in China will no longer be able to buy goods from third-party merchants in the country, but they still will be able to order from the United States, Britain, Denmark and Japan via the firm’s global store. Amazon expects to close fulfillment centers and wind down support for domestic-selling merchants in China in the next 90 days, one of the people said.

Home-grown e-commerce

The move underscores how entrenched, home-grown e-commerce rivals have made it difficult for Amazon’s marketplace to gain a foothold. Consumer insights firm iResearch Global said Alibaba Group Holding Ltd’s Tmall marketplace and JD.com Inc. controlled 81.9 percent of the Chinese market last year.

“They’re pulling out because it’s not profitable and not growing,” said analyst Michael Pachter at Wedbush Securities. Ker Zheng, marketing specialist at Shenzhen-based e-commerce consultancy Azoya, said Amazon had no major competitive advantage in China over its domestic rivals.

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FILE – A logo of JD.com is seen on a helmet of a delivery man in Beijing, June 16, 2014. VOA

Unless someone is searching for a very specific imported good that can’t be found elsewhere, “there’s no reason for a consumer to pick Amazon because they’re not going to be able to ship things as fast as Tmall or JD,” he said.

Amazon’s customers in China will still be able to purchase the firm’s Kindle e-readers and online content, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud computing unit that sells data storage and computing power to enterprises, will remain as well.

The U.S.-listed shares of Alibaba and JD.com rose 1% Wednesday after Reuters first reported the move, before paring gains later in the day. Amazon’s shares closed flat.

US retreat, e-commerce showdown

The withdrawal of the world’s largest online retailer — founded by the world’s richest person — comes amid a broader e-commerce slowdown in China. Alibaba in January reported its lowest quarterly earnings growth since 2016, while JD.com is responding to the changing business environment with staff cuts.

 

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FILE – A worker removes an advertisement billboard of Indian online marketplace Flipkart, installed along the roadside in Mumbai, India, Oct. 16, 2015. Amazon.com Inc. is concentrating on India and its competition, Flipkart. VOA

It also follows the Chinese e-commerce retreat of other big-name Western retailers. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. sold its Chinese online shopping platform to JD.com in 2016 in return for a stake in JD.com to focus on its bricks-and-mortar stores.

Similarly, the country appears to factor less in the global aspirations of fellow U.S. tech majors Netflix Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Pachter said.

ALSO READ: Microsoft, Amazon in Race For $10bn Pentagon Project

Amazon bought Chinese online shopping website Joyo.com in 2004 for $75 million, rebranding the business in 2011 as Amazon China. But in a sign of Tmall’s dominance, Amazon nevertheless opened an online store on the Alibaba site in 2015.

The firm is still expanding aggressively in other countries, notably India, where it is contending with local rival Flipkart. (VOA)