World | Asia

July 04, 2013

Mauritius Wide Open to Chinese investors

The Finance Minister Xavier-Luc Duval, returned from a week-long mission to China. With the help of his team and our investment agency, the Board of Investment (BoI), he presented Maurice investors. Difficult mission is to convince the Chinese business community to invest in Mauritius.

From the outset, we must recognize that the Chinese investor seems to know Maurice as a tourist attraction. Why also be interested given the small size of our market and the lack of raw material? However, projected by the Finance Minister Maurice picture seems to have tickled the curiosity of Chinese entrepreneurs. Xavier-Luc Duval, also, throughout the mission from Beijing to Shanghai via Qingdao City, focused on the guarantees offered to investors and Maurice avenues of cooperation between the two countries.

Mauritian arguments

The high ranking of Mauritius in the "Ease of Doing Business" World Bank, or the Mo Ibrahim Index of Economic Freedom and the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation, was a strong case to reassure Chinese investors seeking a sound investment climate and protected.

With more than 40 treaties of double taxation signed, including more than a dozen signed with African countries and investment protection agreements, Xavier-Luc Duval said that Mauritius was the ideal place for Chinese investors to establish their headquarters to deal with Africa. Note BAA1 Moody's, a budget deficit at 1.8% and public debt down to 53% and the low taxation in the country, not to mention a political and social stability and the country's accession to COMESA and SADC were also the arguments.

The 'Exclusive Economic Zone' of approximately 2.3 million km2 of Mauritius was also presented to investors. A team from the World Bank, was also in Mauritius to help countries to better explore this area, which could, according to the Minister of Finance, detect mineral resources.

The Achilles heel of Mauritius

Connectivity, either air or sea, remains a thorn in the foot of Mauritius. Xavier-Luc Duval, was also recognized. But it has announced some major changes to improve the situation. Liberalization of activities of 'bunkering', this year one, is one, in order to better equip the port to refuel the ships going to and transform Mauritius Port Louis hub port. An announcement on the first day of the visit of the Minister of Finance, will encourage more shipping lines to use the Mauritian sea route remains, according to Xavier-Luc Duval, a less dangerous and expensive route compared to the Suez Canal .

COSCO Group, also known as the official name of China Ocean Shipping Company, which Xavier-Luc Duval has paid a visit, is also interested. A survey team was also in Mauritius to assess the potential of the port of the country. Cosco is the first Chinese to be the owner and owner sixth globally by the number of containers transported. The group includes many listed subsidiaries, providing services in logistics, shipbuilding and repair, port handling, construction container, etc.. The group possess a total of about 550 ships, all transport combined, and is the largest owner bulk of China. The finance minister also raised the possibility of establishing a regional airline to better connect Mauritius to Asia.

After the promotion of investment, up to that of the Mauritian tourism industry. The Finance Minister has also announced the forthcoming visit of Minister of Tourism, Michael Sik Yuen, China, at the new flight from Beijing to Mauritius.

Ken Poonoosamy: "This is a long-term strategy"

"It was a high-level mission. We were able to establish contact with the CCPIT, which is an organization connected to the central government. The message that we had aimed to raise awareness among Chinese operators on Mauritius, as an entry door in Africa. The private sector has had the opportunity to interact with Chinese entrepreneurs, who were very interested in Mauritius and its diverse sectors. Specifically, some operators have decided to explore the country like the Haier Group. You should know that this is a long-term strategy. The first contact was made, now you have to follow. Overall, it was a positive mission. "

The enigma Jinfei: The president of a company shareholder project sanctioned

The Jinfei file remains sensitive in China. The Minister of Finance has certainly highlighted the existence of this in several of its exclusive economic zone speech, but the interest has not been growing among Chinese investors. In addition, we learned that Bai Peizhong got sacked from his post as chairman of Shanxi Coking Coal Group, one of three shareholders Jinfei groups.

Following a robbery at his residence, the latter reportedly told the police that the stolen items were worth 3 million yuan, while in reality, the value would be closer to 50 million yuan. After an investigation, authorities discovered that Bai Peizhong had amassed a fortune that he had not officially declared. If one of the two thieves was sentenced to death, Bai Peizhong also a politician, he was punished by his party.

Kee Cheong Li Kwong Wing, the surprise guest

The spokesman of the economic record of the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM), which was also in China, took the opportunity to move to Shanghai to listen to the speech of the Finance Minister of Mauritius. On seeing him, Xavier-Luc Duval has welcomed and introduced to the audience present. Taking advantage of the occasion, the Minister of Finance pointed out that the presence of the latter was demonstrated good agreement between the government and the opposition.

"Very tiny country"

In talking with Chinese entrepreneurs, ignorance Mauritius is obvious. For Joffrie Wang of Northeast Asian, American and Oceanian Investment and Trade Promotion Divison, Mauritius is comparable to Hawaii. While Xiang Zhenig the same institution, we asked about our relationship with the Great Peninsula. India and China established diplomatic relations often strained because of disputes, including on their borders have been 14 rounds of fruitless negotiations since 1962, when the two countries fought a brief but brutal war. Others were quick to a smile when they said the number of people that had Maurice, calling us "very tiny country. "

Business cards in spades

Members of the private sector, who also made the trip were mobbed by Chinese entrepreneurs. Exchange of business cards on a large scale and have occurred throughout the mission, so that some local operators found themselves short of the precious document. Operators who accompanied the Minister of Finance, are Tommy Ah-Teck, de Gamma Civic, Ben Lim d'Intercontinental Trust Limited, Ali Rawat from HM Rawat, Ravin Dajee from Barclays, Vivek Chada from Star Knitwear, Sridhar Nagarajen from Standard Chartered, Alaistair Brice and Nathalie Daynes from HSBC, Avinash Gopee from Nundun Gopee Ltd and Kevin Allagapen from DTOS .

Chinese Credit Crunch: Buyer Beware

This is the concern in the Middle Kingdom. For a month, a shortage of liquidity in the interbank market has caused a surge in short-term rates in the market, jeopardizing the ability of banks to finance and loans. The impact of liquidity shortages has not yet been fully felt. Some analysts do not rule, now known as China this year, less than the government's target of 7.5% growth, which would be a first since the financial crisis of 1998. Li Keqiang, the Prime Minister, reassuring, and just said that the goal was attainable.

In the Chinese press, the deputy director of the Central Bank in Shanghai said that "the bank monitors the interbank liquidity and will change interest rates within a reasonable range. "Ting Lu, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (China), explained him that" we are on our guard, because we believe that the main risk is that the Central Bank potentially lose control of the situation. "Note that the Chinese groups were ejected from the world's top ten caps. This list of the most expensive companies in the world is now fully occupied by U.S. companies.

The language problem

The Chinese speak little English. Or rather, some Chinese master this language. We do not speak English in restaurants or in taxis and rarely in hotels, so one should not really expect to find a native speaker in China. However, the observation varies depending on the city. In Beijing and Shanghai, there are still people who speak English, but they are small. In large hotels and great restaurants, and in general wherever it is expensive, you can find a service in English. But it stops there.

Come to China without speaking a word of Chinese insurance is too much hassle when you want to do something other than shopping. The Board of Investment, aware of this problem, hired a Chinese who lives in Mauritius for over 20 years, in the person of Sarah Lai Cheong which acts as the China Desk Officer in order to better facilitate communication. Pending the establishment of a cell in China.

Chinese investment in Africa

Chinese investment in Africa by sector: Oil and natural gas (19%), rail and road (18.55%), other mining (10%), hydroelectric dams (9.2% p) ore iron (7.4%), copper (6.9%), civil construction (5.9%), manufacturing (3.7%), uranium (2.3%), airports (2 %), technical assistance (1.8%), construction of ports (1.6%), gold (0.7%), water (0.5%) and other (11%), as the China Business Review.

African countries where China has invested the most in 2012, according to data from the Heritage Foundation, are: Nigeria ($ 15.4 billion), Algeria ($ 9.2 billion), South Africa (6 , 6 billion), Democratic Republic of Congo ($ 6.5 billion), Niger ($ 5.2 billion), Egypt ($ 3.2 billion), Libya ($ 2.6 billion), Zambia ($ 2.4 billion), Sudan ($ 2.2 billion) and Ethiopia ($ 1.9 billion).



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