China Square has announced it will not open tomorrow as its owner Lei Cheng re-evaluates its strategy following claims that it had pushed Kenyan traders out of business.
Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria raised a storm today morning when he asked Kenyatta University which is China City’s landlord to take away its lease at the Unicity Mall.
Although the university has not heeded to CS Kuria’s demands, Cheng has sort of buckled to the political pressure.
“My business is legal and is centred on healthy competition. We have cooperated with all government directives for opening a business in Kenya and we are here to break the monopoly. The people who are fighting us feel threatened because Kenyans now know we exist and we are not exploiting them in pricing,” Mr Cheng told Nation.Africa.
“Kenya is a very good country and its people are very friendly. I was very shocked by trade minister Moses Kuria’s utterances because this may heavily slow down foreign investments in Kenya and I think the minister should support ethical businesses like the one we have here that create opportunities for Kenyans and pays huge taxes to the government,” he argued.
Cheng further explained that China Square is already working with local companies and that he cannot understand why the government was singling him out yet investors from other companies are welcome.
“If other foreigners can do business in Kenya so can Chinese because we have done nothing wrong. Our customers are happy because we have drastically reduced our prices. Business is about serving customers and they have been our biggest referral,” said Cheng.
Kuria had said that Chinese investors are welcome to Kenya, “but as manufacturers, not traders.”
“I have today given an offer to Prof Wainaina the VC Kenyatta University to buy out the lease for China Square, Unicity Mall and hand it over to the Gikomba, Nyamakima, Muthurwa & Eastleigh Traders Association. We welcome Chinese investors to Kenya but as manufacturers not traders,” he wrote.