The Chinese government has responded to the events surrounding the closure of the famous China Square.
In a statement issued through the Chinese Embassy in Kenya, the Chinese government urged the Kenyan government to protect the business interests and rights of citizens of the two countries.
“The Embassy has taken note of the recent situation on the issue of “China Square”, and would like to reiterate that the Embassy supports deepening trade and investment cooperation between China and Kenya, and supports Chinese enterprises and Chinese citizens in conducting business in accordance with Kenyan laws and regulations,” the statement read in part.
“At the same time, we hope that the Kenyan government will protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and Chinese citizens, and create an inclusive and friendly business environment, so as to better promote China-Kenya practical cooperation and bring benefit to our two countries and two peoples.”
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.
Over the weekend, Mr Lei Cheng, the owner, 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.
However, on Sunday, 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.
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.