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Chinese security company makes foray into Africa

Updated: 2014-10-31 14:45
By Yang Yao (China Daily Africa)

In December, a Chinese security company will be the first to provide its services in Africa when it embarks on a trip to Tanzania in December.

Sun Hongyu, director of Beijing Huayuan Weishi Security Service Co, says "hundreds of Chinese companies operating in Tanzania need our protection".

In June, Sun joined Vice-President Li Yuanchao during a trip to Tanzania to survey the potential market demand in the African country.

"I feel that Africa has become an important investment destination for Chinese companies. Thousands of companies with hundreds of billions of RMB are investing in Africa," he said. "But there is not a single Chinese security company there to provide protection."

He said that when the Chinese vice-president visited Tanzania, an Indian security company called KK Security ensured Li's safety.

He said Chinese companies are currently employing American, British and Indian security services, though cultural differences, language barriers and trust issues have created challenges.

"We need a Chinese company there to guarantee safety," Sun says.

After securing a business registration in Tanzania, Huayuan Weishi is now educating its staff on the country's local laws, culture and language.

It will first send over 20 managers to the capital Dodoma. When they arrive in December, they will begin recruiting local guards and installing safety equipment.

"Since local labor costs are cheaper, we will hire locals as guards," he says. "Having heard that we plan to operate in Africa, many Chinese companies have begun reaching out to me to hire us as their security company next year," he says.

Sun says the company is also exploring the possibility of providing armed security services.

"We have already finished our application to the local government to request permits for owning weapons," Sun says. "We are not allowed to use weapons at home, but in Tanzania, we will start with guns."

The company's primary investment is over 10 million yuan ($1.63 million) to guard the transportation of cash, minerals, religious items and celebrities. Their goal is to build an 800-member team in three years with sales volume of around 560 million yuan.

"Developing an overseas market would also help the growth of our domestic security services," Sun said.

The security service market in China is gradually opening to foreign investors, which Sun says will create stiff competition for the company in the future, he says.

"But it is a chance for us to learn from and compete with mature security service companies abroad, so that when they enter the Chinese market one day, we can be prepared," he says.

Currently, there are over 4,200 Chinese security companies with more than 4.5 million security guards overseas.

Wang Xiaoyong, secretary-general of the China-Africa Business Council, says China should have its "own security services to guarantee a safe overseas business environment".


 Chinese security company makes foray into Africa

Guards of Beijing Huayuan Weishi Security Service Co on patrol. Provided to China Daily

(China Daily Africa Weekly 10/31/2014 page2)

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