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African competition heats up

Updated: 2013-03-05 08:08
By Li Jiabao ( China Daily)

Chinese standard

African competition heats up

"Compared with business of project contracting and construction, standard-setting in the global market is more important," Sun said. "Chinese standards in overseas project contracting and construction abroad are now gaining momentum, and it takes about five years to be accepted in Africa."

Gong, from Sinohydro, agreed, saying that the gap between Chinese and international standards are narrowing, and the trend is to use Chinese standards in projects.

In 2012, the turnover of China's contracted projects overseas amounted to $116.6 billion, up by 12.7 percent year-on-year, and the value of newly signed contracts was $156.53 billion, up 10 percent year-on-year.

Meanwhile, Africa has become the second-largest market for China's contracted projects overseas in 2011, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

African countries currently follow the standards of the United Kingdom and France, the continent's two former major colonial powers. Construction supervision firms are mainly European ones although China has the leading technology, Sun said.

"We must boost the internationalization of Chinese standards. It's a key move that will not only promote the exports of Chinese products and technology, but also advance the global reputation of Chinese design, consultancy and supervision. Moreover, it gives us more rights, or a bigger say, in project pricing and reduces project risk through engagement at the earliest stage," Sun said.

He expects more business opportunities to come from Africa's urbanization process and China's renminbi globalization.

"We looking forward to the renminbi globalization," Sun said. "The day when the renminbi is used for settlement will be a new day for Chinese companies in overseas markets as it will enable them to enter the industries of the host countries. ... We will not only build roads and power stations, but also operate them."

Sun added that China's projects in Africa, "in reality, help develop the continent, which lacks technology and management, instead of practising neocolonialism. Instead, projects from Western countries are often accompanied by political agendas."

Contact the writer at lijiabao@chinadaily.com.cn

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