Feature: Namibian enterprise endeavours to seize opportunities at China import expo

Source:Xinhua 2018-11-09

  WINDHOEK, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- A Namibian enterprise exhibiting at the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai is maximizing on the platform to seize business opportunities and expand its global market share.

  Koos Blaauw, co-owner and managing director of Tetelestai Mariculture from Namibia's coastal town Walvis Bay, said the company is among the more than 3,600 companies showcasing their products at the expo taking place this week.

  The oyster producing company concentrates on growing Pacific oysters from juvenile stage (around 30 grams) up to market size, which is between 40 and 150 grams.

  According to Blaauw who is in Shanghai, the expo presented him with an excellent opportunity to meet new clients and introduce his home country Namibia to the world.

  "A diverse audience of people and Chinese customers visited our exhibition desk. People are surprised to see the name Namibia and see oysters from Namibia. It is good for us in getting our brand out there and let people know about our oysters," he told Xinhua in a telephone interview.

  Having already an export market for fresh live oysters to China, particularly its major cities including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai as well as Hong Kong, Blaauw's focus at the expo is on opening up more market destinations in Asia for his products along the supply value chain.

  "The expo created an avenue for traders to arrange partnerships, for Chinese companies to have investments in African countries and vice versa, to further develop these countries through alliances to be able to export," he said.

  For Blaauw, such partnerships would create a competitive edge for his business, especially in light of increased trade between China and Namibia.

  Statistics released in June by Namibia Statistics Agency showed that China has overtaken South Africa as the largest export destination for Namibian products, making up 18.3 percent of Namibia's total exports in the first quarter of 2018.

  Meanwhile, Bernice Ndungaua, manager of entrepreneurship and incubation at Namibia Business Innovation Institute, said that due to the rather small Namibian market, platforms such as the Chinese import expo will enable entrepreneurs venture into a much bigger market especially given that Namibian entrepreneurs face challenges of penetrating international markets due to lack of access to information and networks.

  Moreover, Namibia depends heavily on international trade for the continuity of its economy, and the exposure to international standards at the Chinese import expo will push Namibian entrepreneurs to improve the quality of their products, she said.

  "It is an opportunity for us to market Africa to China, and give a grounding to Chinese companies that might not have the opportunity to know about or go to Africa. We also tap on the best practices from China to improve," Blaauw said.

  In the interim, Blaauw, who has recently partnered with Beijing Hi-Technology Energy Investments (Pty) Ltd, said that more networking during the expo would help him initiate more partnerships with more Chinese companies.

  "This would aid in the understanding of the Asian market as well as break down linguistic and trade barriers." he said.

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