Changsha’s E-commerce Boom Enables African Exporters to Thrive

## African Exporters Tap into China’s E-commerce Boom

Dancing to tribal drum beats, wearing full Maasai costume, and speaking fluent Mandarin, Benjamin Watuma is captivating tens of thousands of viewers on his livestreams on Chinese e-commerce site Taobao. Hailing from Kenya, Benjamin sells plant products from his hometown and believes in the growing Chinese appetite for natural, organic food, and consumer goods from Africa[^1^].

As a botanist by profession, Watuma is confident that the Chinese market is ripe for expansion. He plans to leverage additional social media platforms and potentially establish a new studio outside of his current office in Shenzhen. This video showcases the thriving trade relationship between China and Africa, particularly in Changsha City, Hunan Province, which offers an array of incentives for businesses involved in China-Africa trade[^1^].

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#### Video Transcript:

The tribal drum beats might have you thinking this is a Maasai ritual in Kenya. However, it’s a live stream on Chinese e-commerce site Taobao. Benjamin Watuma interacts with his customers from his shop in Shenzhen, where he sells plant products directly sourced from small-scale farmers in his Kenyan hometown[^1^].

Benjamin emphasizes the importance of supporting small-scale farmers as their livelihood and the economy of rural villages heavily rely on the trade. Previously, it took around three days to fulfill an order. But now, every live stream generates numerous sales as the Chinese market has become a significant market for African exporters[^1^].

Expanding his reach, Benjamin plans to explore other social media platforms and potentially set up a new studio. Meanwhile, Changsha City, a free trade zone in China’s Hunan Province, is attracting businesses involved in China-Africa trade. With over a thousand companies already established, Changsha offers tax cuts, quick customs clearance, and an exhibition that promotes African goods and policy developments[^1^].

The China-Africa Trade Park in Changsha aims to consolidate the entire product supply chain, including procurement, processing, storage, marketing, and distribution, in one location. This professional marketplace facilitates trade with Africa, shortening transportation time and reducing costs for importers. Just last year, the industrial park facilitated a trade worth $450 million with Africa, triple the amount from 2021[^1^].

While the market operators acknowledge challenges related to political systems, local production capacity, and currency exchange, they believe that as trade relations deepen, these challenges will be addressed. Expanding trade reciprocally cultivates the demand for African products in China[^1^].

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Dancing to tribal drum beats, wearing full Maasai costume and speaking fluent mandarin, Benjamin Watuma is getting tens of thousands of views on his livestreams on Chinese e-commerce site Taobao, where he sells plant products from his hometown in Kenya. A botanist by training, Watuma is confident in a growing Chinese appetite for natural, organic food and other consumer products from Africa. He is looking to expand to more social media platforms and potentially open a new studio outside his current office in Shenzhen. With free trade policies and industrial facilities designed for China-Africa trade, Changsha City in central China’s Hunan Province presents an alluring package.

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