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China Square back in business after a week of standoff

China Square has resumed operations after a week-long standoff initiated by Trade Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria.

The store which is located at Kenyatta University UniCity Mall was closed on February 26, 2023, with the management saying there was a need to ‘re-evaluate and replan company strategy, in order to better serve our customers’.

In a statement on Monday, the Kenya Chinese Chamber of Commerce said the resumption of operations at China Square followed several engagements between the Kenya Government and the Chinese Community (KCCC) in Kenya to find an amicable solution to the stalemate.

“The Chamber looks forward to equal and fair treatment of all businesses across the board to ensure a conducive business environment for all and promote cordial relations based on mutual trust and benefit. We appreciate the Kenya Government’s support in allowing the Chinese Community to do business and contribute to Kenya’s growth and development efforts through employment creation and contribution to Kenya’s tax revenue,” the statement from the chamber of commerce read in part. 

It also called for the equal and fair treatment of all firms across the board.

The KCCC said it will continue to foster collaboration between Kenya and China in promoting investments, trade, and tourism between the two countries.

Last week, the Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) released goods worth Sh50 million that were seized at China Square over claims that they were fake Finder Tools.

According to the agency’s executive director, Dr Robi Mbugua Njoroge, the goods were released after they were confirmed to be original and had been “sourced from the same manufacturer and international brand owner of Finder Merchandise”.

The return of the goods came a day after the Chinese embassy in Kenya broke its silence over the controversy surrounding China Square, a Chinese-owned retailer in Nairobi.

The Chinese statement came after a series of protests by Nyamakima area traders in Nairobi’s Central Business District.

The local traders insist that they should be in charge of controlling the wholesale and retail ends of the supply chain in the country. They accuse the Chinese of taking over the wholesale and retail supply businesses by lowering the prices of their commodities by up to 45 percent.

Set up in January, China Square became a hit with Nairobians for its low-priced items. This did not go down well with the Nyamakima traders.

Trade CS had asked the Kenyatta University vice-chancellor to buy out Mr Lei’s lease and hand it over to the Gikomba, Nyamakima, Muthurwa, and Eastleigh traders, and potentially edge out the Chinese businessman.

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