A supermarket far from home

Every year thousands of Africans go to China to shop. They purchase so much that it takes containers to bring the goods back home, and fellow Africans have set up shops in China to help facilitate the trade.

Diallo Mamadou
Diallo Mamadou Aissata, CEO of Korka International Trading, is one of the African traders. He welcomes customers from Africa to his showroom in Guangzhou, where they can buy any kind goods: clothes, electronics and general goods.

50,000

Maersk Line annual container volumes (FFE equivalent) from South China to Africa via the African traders in Guangzhou.

"For the past ten years, this area has been growing so fast and it was an opportunity for Maersk Line to do good business and follow the growth," says Boubacar Ly, Maersk Line’s Africa sales manager in South China.

He is in charge of the 300,000 strong African community in Guangzhou, of which an estimated 50,000 are traders and merchants. Also Ly is Maersk Line’s focal for the African trades.

Diallo Mamadou Aissata, CEO of Korka International Trading, is one of the African traders. He welcomes customers from Africa to his showroom in Guangzhou, where they can buy any kind goods: clothes, electronics and general goods. Once chosen they are packed and stuffed into containers at the packing facilities. Aissata ships up to 75 containers in a good month.

Poster image
Watch the video about African traders in China 2:10

Even with the cost of transportation to Africa, the goods bought in China are still less expensive than what is on the shelves of local shops. That is what drives this niche trade.

Maersk Line annual volumes from South China to Africa amount to 50,000 containers (FFE equivalent) via the African traders in Guangzhou. 40–45% of these volumes are destined for West Africa.