Reporting FOCAC6 – A Turning Point for Africa-China Engagement

Wits‘ 12 November roundtable, Reporting FOCAC6 – A Turning Point for Africa-China Engagement, provided a variety of journalists, experts, and other attendees with plenty of food for thought on China-Africa relations, both at the diplomatic level and on the ground, with a focus on producing quality journalism around this expansive subject. CCTV Africa‘s short video report of the event forms the first of a series of posts I’ll be adding on the FOCAC summit and its implications for Sino-African relations.

Lessons from Alibaba’s World

Jack-Ma-Alibaba-IPOThe last few years have seen Alibaba, the Chinese tech and e-commerce juggernaut, go from being a shaky, unknown start-up to something of a household name from Detroit to Delhi. At some point along its path to success, the company has also become one of the world’s favourite success stories. It’s a rags-to-riches tale of sorts, and it doesn’t hurt that the lead character in the story, CEO Jack Ma, is widely considered “one of China’s most unlikely tech founders”. After all, everyone loves an underdog.  Continue reading

How WeChat is creatively turning online users into online consumers

WeChat screenTencent’s announcement last month that its popular mobile social network, WeChat, has reached a milestone of 500 million monthly active users didn’t only grab people’s attention because of the four-year-old app’s impressive growth figures. Within both emerging and developed markets, WeChat has become a symbol of a mobile social network’s ability to monetise by providing a space where users and brands can connect.  Continue reading

Naspers’ winning lottery ticket, Tencent

Tencent HQThe Cape Town headquartered multinational media company, Naspers, has spent the last decade and a half establishing operations in fast-growing regions such as China, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia, India, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. But it was perhaps only last month (when the value of the group’s shares reached a record high following the announcement of Tencent Holdings’ financial results) that the extent of its success in emerging markets – and China in particular – hit home.

When Naspers acquired a 46.5 percent interest in the mostly loss-making, Chinese-owned Tencent Holdings in 2001, it seemed like a gamble, to say the least. Fast-forward to the present, and Tencent is reporting fourth quarter profits of $973 million.  Continue reading

Tencent, Naspers’ biggest holding, is valued at approximately half of South Africa’s annual GDP

Media 24 Tencent imageNaspers, the multinational media giant with operations in internet services, pay-TV and print media, has been making headlines since the value of its shares shot up earlier this month. Headquartered in Cape Town and listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), it has grown to become one of South Africa’s largest companies, with a market capitalization of R709.7 billion ($60.4 billion). Founded in 1915, the group is best known locally as one of the country’s oldest media companies, and for running Africa’s biggest pay-TV business, Multichoice. But it is Naspers’ interests in China’s biggest internet firm, Tencent Holdings, which transformed the company into a must-have in fund managers’ portfolios. Continue reading

WeBank: China’s first online-only bank

Chinese Yuan

“It’s one small step for WeBank, one giant step for financial reform” said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after the launch of the country’s first online-only bank, a joint venture headed by Tencent Holdings Limited, best-known outside China for its popular instant messaging and social networking app, WeChat. WeBank is the first private bank to pilot online operations after becoming one of six institutions that were granted licences to do so last year.

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Chinese at Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia
Groot Constantia Wine Estate is shrouded in mist as I drive towards its tasting room, the lush grounds glistening in the drizzle. A man in a red rain jacket strides toward the whitewashed building. “He jiu! He jiu!” – Let’s drink! – he calls behind him, enunciating the Mandarin tones. He is followed closely by fifteen bright-eyed Chinese tourists in an assortment of rainbow-coloured jackets. Heads swivelling left and right, taking in their surroundings, they head through a green Cape Dutch door. Continue reading