Hosted by Alibaba founder Jack Ma, the four-hour entrepreneurial talent show had all the production values of The Apprentice.

But the glitzy televised extravaganza, in which 10 contestants battled for $1m (R14.6m) in prize money in front of a boisterous audience, took place neither in the US nor China. The action unfolded instead on a stage in Ghana, the first of what is set to be an Africa-wide annual contest as one of China's best known businessmen scours the continent for younger versions of himself.

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