A racist detergent ad — featuring a young Chinese woman stuffing a black man into a washing machine only to be delighted at the Chinese man who emerges at the end of the wash cycle — provoked outrage in China last year. It is but one indication of the rising intolerance towards Africans living in China — and could be a driver of their subsequent exodus. The 1997 Asian economic crisis caused some African traders to relocate their businesses from Thailand and Indonesia to the Chinese port city of Guangzhou. There, a predominantly male business community of mostly Malian, Congolese, Nigerian and Guinean expats, but also Angolans, Burkinabé, Somalis and others, settled in a 7km stretch that swiftly became known as Little Africa. Their numbers have increased to perhaps 100,000, making it the largest African settlement in Asia. They built a bustling market in the central square of Little Africa, but few African traders in Guangzhou were hawkers of low-end goods. Ghanaian professor Adams B...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Sunday Times Daily.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now