The China And Africa Cultural Studies Essay

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Looking back to the history, the involvement of China in Africa has been existed many years ago until now. The ambition of China in emerging to Africa has became clearer that China provided strong support to revolutionary movements, and acted as an influence on African countries for an alternative after the independence from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. (Ambassador David Shinn 2012) Over the past decades, Africa has been a big challenge to China and other global players. The largest development aid provider to Africa is still the European Union. However, its ideas of providing aid and transforming the African states to democratic system seems not to be very attractive. Therefore, the China's no-string-attached policy is more attractive to the African countries comparing with those from traditional donor states. The engagement between China and Africa was triggered from the mutual attraction between both countries. Africa gets no-string-attached aid, infrastructure development, and economic boost. Trade and investment system can bring jobs, new technology, and skills to African people. China in return, gets access to rich natural resources, new markets, and vote in the United Nation. (Peter Lewis 2007) Chinese businesses in Africa are growing everyday which can be indicated from number of retail business, company, and investment owned by Chinese owners. These businesses are containing of thousands of Chinese workers and expatriates.

The Attraction of Africa for the Chinese

The major attraction is the accessibility to natural resources. More than a quarter of China's oil import comes from Africa. Some of the African countries received a large loan from China and might not be able to repay by money. Therefore, their alternative is to repay by oil or other resources. The African continent is also rich of useful raw materials and minerals such as cobalt, platinum, gold, chromium, tantalite, manganese and uranium. (RAVINDER RENA 2008) These minerals are valuable and vary among each country. For instance, 70% of mineral which mobile phones are made of called Coltan can be found in Congo. (Joseph Winter 2006) Diamond reserved, copper, and platinum are from South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. This led China to source for them even in the most difficult areas of the continent where precious sources of minerals are still available. Most of the mining companies are owned and run by Chinese. The sourced minerals are exported back to the country which makes its exports increased by eleven times since 2000. The access to raw material also helps the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to remain in power and sustainability. (Ambassador David Shinn 2012)

The engagement with Africa allows China to expand its economic power by entering to new markets. In order to sustain its industrial production, China has to export to new markets. As mentioned, since 2000, China exports have increased eleven times. Although it was just account for 4% of global trade, but it is an important number if looking at the rise in a short period of time. And not only trading between countries, with rich natural resources and under-exploited market of Africa, number of Chinese international businesses such as, retail, multinational company, and restaurant are also increasing in the past several years. (Chris Alden 2007) Nowadays, the number of Chinese businesses is massive comparing to the past decades. The Africa has been shaped where there are a lot of Chinese retails, megastore, international companies, and construction sites.

China seeks for political influence from African countries. China sees an opportunity to get support from 54 African countries for its role in international institutions. Under World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes and negotiations, China offers its support to African countries in exchange with allies in some institutions such as the United Nations Security Council and the United Nations Human Rights Council. (Ambassador David Shinn 2012)

Staffing Strategy

The staffing policies of multinational companies are varied among each company. One of the key considerations is the orientation of the MNC in staffing for the organization's foreign subsidiaries which have an important impact on its international human resource management strategies. (Hugh Scullion 2006)

Ethnocentric orientation

Organizations in this group are home-country oriented. Keys positions in the headquarters and subsidiaries are filled by parent country nationals or citizens who originally from the country where the headquarter is located. (Hugh Scullion 2006) These organizations believed that their practice, policy, or employees are more superior comparing to the foreigners. Using the same method for the subsidiaries, all the key positions are totally held by Parent Country Nationals (PCNs). The Host Country nationals (HCNs) are rarely get promoted to the next step or to the key positions. Ethnocentric staffing is good for the company in the early stage when the company is setting up its subsidiary or when the company need a great control. The ethnocentric staffing can also effectively be used when the HCNs have not got enough skills or be able to qualify for the job. On the other side, ethnocentric staffing might not work very well for some reasons. Expatriates are all having the same cultural understanding which gives them a limited opportunity to broaden their perspective. Also in a global view, managers in ethnocentric organizations create a cultural barrier in their mind which their knowledge, skills, or perspective are perceived as superior. Therefore, their interests in listening or accepting other nationalities view are low. This creates a negative impact in term of cost implication of expatriate assignments, the possibility of failure and difficulty in sending expatriates to other country.

Polycentric orientation

Parent Country National (PCN)

Host Country National (HCN)

Third Country National (TCN)

Diversity management approach by Chinese

Chinese expatriate move on and move on

Labor in construction 2 - 3 years and back to China

African employees

Culture shock

-what is culture shock

- culture shock in Chinese


"We only turned to the East when you people in the West let us down.(…) Give us the

same or more cooperation we are getting from China and you will see that we are friends. The good thing is that I know of no strings that are attached to Chinese investment." (Levy Mwanawasa, former president of Zambia during the African Business

Forum, 2007)

Hundreds of retail business contain of Chinese worker and also expatriate

The Chinese community in Africa: There are three specific groups of Chinese people in Africa. First, there are the officials, such as embassy staff, head of state owned companies, etc. They are similar to Western expatriates who stay in a country for a short period of time and then move on to the next one. They interact in Africa the same way Westerners do. The second group is the labour force of major infrastructure projects. They originally came for 2 or 3 years, do not put any effort in learning the language, usually live in Chinese compounds and eat Chinese food. They know that eventually they will go back home. Only a few of them will remain in Africa at the end of their contract. Finally, there are the Chinese traders and small business owners. They come under their own initiative, bring Chinese products to be sold in African countries at cheaper prices and try to build a business life on the continent. They are the group that have the biggest impact on African society and economy.

China in Africa: Partner, Competitor or Hegemon?

 โดย Chris Alden หน้า 38

Global Staffing

 โดย Hugh Scullion David G. Collings หน้า17 page 8