The Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) has seized goods worth Ksh50 million from China Square for an audit.
According to the authorities, China Square could be involved in counterfeit business, after being accused of using the trademark “Finder”, which is allegedly owned by a Kenyan company.
“We have done a search in the place and the investigation is still ongoing. We will be able to give a statement on that after we conclude our investigation,” ACA Regional Manager Ibrahim Bule told the press.
China Square opened on January 29, 2023, and registered sales worth Ksh20 million within a fortnight before the sales grew to Ksh10 million on a bad day.
However, Trade CS Moses Kuria accused the Chinese entity of competing with Kenyan businessmen with cheap goods, leading to its closure on Sunday, February 26, 2023.
“I have today given an offer to Prof Wainaina the VC Kenyatta University to buy out the lease for China Square, Unicity Mall and hand it over to the Gikomba, Nyamakima, Muthurwa & Eastleigh Traders Association. We welcome Chinese investors to Kenya but as manufacturers not traders,” Kuria stated.
He later offered to help the owner, Lei Cheng, to start a manufacturing plant instead of engaging in retail business.
“I will assist China Square owner Mr Cheng to set up a manufacturing plant in Kenya and work on a distribution partnership with Gikomba, Nyamakima, Eastleigh, Kamukunji, Muthurwa and River Road Traders,” Kuria said.
Over the weekend, Mr Cheng announced that the business would shut down temporarily to re-strategise, after experiencing long queues.
“As a supermarket, we are unable to handle the high volume of traffic, which has become a severe concern for the public safety of all our customers, we are arranging more security guards onsite,” China Square said in a statement.
China Square also cited an inability to provide sufficient payment processing facilities, which resulted in long queues.
Cheng dismissed calls for him to close shop as malicious, saying that his business is compliant with all legal requirements.
“My business is legal and is centred on healthy competition. We followed all government requirements for setting up a business and a here to break monopolies,” Cheng said.