With an estimated approximated 203.42 million population and growing at over 2% per annum, Nigeria ranks the seventh-largest country in the world. The nation represents over 70% of the effective West African market, as Nigeria remains the most competitive destination for the establishment of medium and large manufacturing industries.
No wonder, China has since positioned itself to take advantage of this expansive market by unleashing its horde of investors and businessmen on the manufacturing sector. From textile to garment; household appliances, furniture, automobile; consumables and iron and steel as well as Financial Technology (FinTech) products, China has taken over, churning out tons of products for various segments of the market.
Today, the investments of Chinese companies worth over $20 billion and still counting. In a recent interview, the President, China Chambers of Commerce in Nigeria, Ye Shuijin, said, “The 160 Chinese firms operating in the country had also employed over 200,000 Nigerians. I believe the Chinese investment in Nigeria now is about $20billion and we have employed over 200,000 Nigerians. Our workforce is 95% Nigerians.”
Fintech industry has been thriving for a few years, a development that attracted some Chinese firm to Nigeria. Some of them are OPay and PalmPay, just to mention a few.
For instance, when the Country Manager, Opay, Iniabasi Akpan, reeled out the statistics of the company and its subsidiaries at the KPMG’s Digital Summit on November 26, 2019, a lot of the participants were shocked that in less than five years, the company have achieved so much.
He said, “We make $10million/day in transactions through our agents; N5billion+/day in transactions via Opay; 66% market volume of bank transfers, 10,000 riders with Oride, over 100,000 agents, and 125 million Monthly Active Users among others.”
That is not all. A few weeks ago, another Chinese firm, PalmPay launched its product in Lagos. The app is expected not only to reward its users for making payments but will give Nigeria’s excluded population access to secure and easy to use financial services.
At the event, General Manager, TECNO Mobile, Stephen Ha, told Nairametrics that the fintech company is backed by TECNO mobile, which was the lead investor in its $40 million seed round.
He said, “Tecno has helped expand access to smartphones among the Nigerian population. We are now looking to leverage this infrastructure to further improve people’s lives. We see a huge growth opportunity in mobile payments and financial services in the country and are looking forward to working together with the PalmPay team to help shape the future of payments in the nation.”
Several Chinese companies are presently competing with their Nigerian counterparts in the real sector. For instance, Chinese-owned Western Metal Products Company Limited (WEMPCO), a multi-billion naira integrated steel mill, situated at Magboro, on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ogun State, is the first of its kind in Africa. The sprawling steel-manufacturing plant boasts of a production capacity of 700,000 metric tonnes and production machinery of five-stand Tandem Mill.
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