‘Our dream is to rid Nigeria of sub-standard Chinese products’
A bid to keep pace with Nigeria’s expanding economy and the demand of its huge population, China Town has announced its intention to develop into a wholesale mall focusing on the middle and high-end market.
Located in Ojota area of Lagos State with 300 shops and 200 apartment units, the shopping complex is now under a new management, which has pledged to develop China Town into an exhibition centre for well-known, quality products from China.
Speaking with journalists recently during a tour of the edifice, General Manager of China Town, Liu Chang’an, said he had plans rid Nigeria of sub-standard Chinese products by getting certified Chinese companies to supply goods to the complex and subsequently establish factories in Nigeria.
Chang’an, who is the Chairman of Huafei Group and President/Founder of the Institute of Nigeria-China Development Studies at the University of Lagos, Akoka, said that once the plan is accomplished, China Town would turn into a hub for trade, investment, recreation and cultural activities.
His words: “In the near future, China Town will develop into a wholesale mall focusing on the middle and high-end market, selling and distributing hardware, bathroom wares, building materials, small and medium sized equipment and auto parts that are imported from China. With the support of our political connections and business resources here in Nigeria, China Town will form and train a competent sales team to develop distribution networks in major cities in Nigeria, promptly responding to the demand of clients.”
Chang’an who has lived for close to 20 years in Nigeria and also serves as the Chairman of Chinese Investors Association for Development and Promotion, stated that since taking over the responsibility of running China Town, he has been making contacts with top Chinese firms so that they could come and start operations in the complex.
“I have been here for three weeks now and seven of the shops have been occupied by very good Chinese companies. In three months’ time, the whole place would have been filled up with quality Chinese products.
“China has 30 provinces and each of them is very big with very good products and services. We are talking with them. Many Nigerians do business in Banjo and we are already talking with the authorities to arrange all the factories for us so that Nigerians can be dealing directly with the right factories. With this, products quality can be guaranteed. There are three African Study centres in China and we are working with them to give us good factories that would supply us. We are bringing a wide range of products and services. In the next three to 20 years, Nigeria would have been wonderfully changed. We already have a company in Calabar that is into electronics but most of them still import goods.
“We are doing some new things now in China Town and we need all Nigerians to come to this place. That is why we need more good Chinese factories to come here to open shops. Without Nigerians coming here, the Chinese factories won’t open shops. We have adequate security here for shop owners and everybody coming here to do business. After 7:00pm, the complex closes for business activities.”
He expressed confidence in the Nigerian economy, saying it was at a stage where fake products were unavoidable but stressed that the era would soon be over.
He added: “When I was a small boy, we didn’t have enough to eat. Projects like Third Mainland Bridge back then were a very big one for China, but it is a very small thing for us to do now. You have all these highways but in China 30 years ago, we didn’t have anything at all. Nigeria was very great before now. Back then, N1 was equal to $1. You (Nigeria) were at the top and we were always looking at you with envy.
“Low quality products are for this period. When we bring the factories here and begin to produce a lot of quality goods, the economy would begin to pick up because people working with us would get paid and have money to spend. By that time, Nigeria will be fully changed. We have the full confidence that in the next few years, Nigeria would be changed totally just as I have the confidence that in half a year’s time, this place (China Town) would be changed.
“You don’t know how many factories that would come here. If Nigeria is full of factories and we produce things by ourselves, this country will have everything to itself. You will have good quality by yourselves and would have no reason to go for low quality products. This was the same condition China found itself 30 years ago. Then we had to buy television from America and Japan. If you didn’t have money you would not be able to get it because the door was closed. Only the rich people could get quality things. The poor could only get low quality goods. It requires time and everybody’s efforts to improve the economy.”
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