HomeNEWSBUSINESSChina Square Opens Its Doors Once Again

China Square Opens Its Doors Once Again

Regular operations have resumed at China Square Mall, even as controversy continues to rage around it. The mall located at UniCity along Thika Road re-opened its doors on Monday, March 6. It had been closed for over a week, in the aftermath of the storm that followed comments made by Trade and Investments Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria.

The lowkey reopening was accompanied by little publicity. Kuria had called for China Square’s closure, stating that Kenya welcomed Chinese investment in manufacturing but not in retail trade. At the same time, local traders from Gikomba and Nyamakima markets launched protests against China Square mall – whose prices were on average 45% lower, attracting hoards of customers.

In a since-deleted tweet, Kuria wrote: “I have today given an offer to Prof Paul Wainaina who is the Kenyatta University Vice Chancellor, to buy out the lease for China Square, Unicity Mall and hand it over to the Gikomba, Nyamakima, Muthurwa and Eastleigh Traders Association. We welcome Chinese investors to Kenya as manufacturers, not traders.”

The closure was connected to an alleged case of copyright infringement regarding the Finder brand, and the Anti-Counterfeit Authority seized goods worth Ksh50 million from the mall. The goods were however soon returned and the issue resolved.

Lei Cheng, the Chinese entrepreneur behind the mall, had maintained that the closure was a politically motivated attempt to shut him down, claiming that those behind the move were those exploiting Kenyans and frustrated by the mall’s popularity with Kenyans due to its comparatively cheaper pricing.

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“We have cooperated with all government directives for opening a business in Kenya and we are here to break the monopoly. The people who are fighting us feel threatened because Kenyans now know we exist and we are not exploiting them in pricing,” he stated.

Cheng’ had disclosed that the mall was raking in around Ksh10 million in revenue everyday.

“We opened this store on January 29 this year. We are barely a month old. In the first two weeks in business, our sales turnover was Ksh20 million. Nowadays, on a bad day we sell goods worth Ksh10 million,” he maintained.

The re-opening was welcomed by various Kenya-China trade lobby groups who had countered Kuria’s sentiments.

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