September 23, 2023

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Renovations go on at China Square despite stand-off

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Renovations at the entrance of China Square at the Kenyatta University-owned mall are going on despite the feud with Trade CS Moses Kuria.

The Star has learnt that the renovations started on Monday evening and the management spent time with staff stocking the supermarket.

Lei Cheng, China Square proprietor, recently said he was inspired to start the business after he came across basic things being sold expensively in local supermarkets.

Lei Cheng came to Kenya in November last year accompanied by a powerful politician and assessed the space.

He renovated the place by adding more floors to accommodate the goods that he had.

China Square

“This mall has employed more than 150 people and if they close, Kenyans will suffer,” a source said.

China Square opened its doors on January 29 and since then, the place has been attracting many shoppers daily.

“From November, the renovations have been ongoing and we opened the doors on January 29, 2023,” Cheng said.

“My business is legal and is centered on healthy competition. We have cooperated with all government directives for opening a business in Kenya and we are here to break the monopoly,” Cheng said.

“The people who are fighting us feel threatened because Kenyans now know we exist and we are not exploiting them in pricing.”

On Sunday, China Square announced that the shop will remain closed indefinitely to allow time to sort out a number of issues.

But a source said there was a mass stocking of goods on Monday evening and the staff has been notified to remain alert as they will resume soon.

“All the staff were here on Monday as they restocked and they were told to remain alert,” the source said.

CS Kuria had said both countries must trade within a framework that will ensure a win-win situation.

“We need nothing short of a win-win solution,” Kuria tweeted.

China Square: Inside the traders tiff

The CS said he will work with the Chinese owner to ensure that they built a manufacturing plant in Kenya to produce goods that Kenya can trade in rather than competing with local businesspeople in the retail business.

Former Kasarani MP John Njoroge has said CS Kuria is violating international trade laws.

He said Chinese investors are duly registered and are operating a genuine business and should not be mistreated.

“Our minister for Trade is out of order and he should stop mistreating foreign investors, and he should support them,” Njoroge said.

He said there is more than meets the eye and the government should let China Mall investors trade effectively.

Hundreds of traders held demonstrations in Nairobi’s CBD on Tuesday, citing infiltration of the Kenyan market by Chinese traders.

The protesters said Chinese traders had driven them out of business, claiming they were offering goods at extremely low prices.

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