Market Research and Sino-Kenyan Relations
As you may have read from the last post, I have just recently returned to the UK having spent four months in Shanghai, during which time I got a great sense for Chinese culture whilst also acquiring hands-on experience in the world of marketing.
Andy has just returned from a trip to Kenya and as I was talking about my China experiences he was reciprocating, telling me about various China related conversations he has shared with friends and colleagues whilst in Kenya. As a result, we naturally, became very fascinated about the similarities and socio-economic links across our experiences. As much diplomatic, economic and infrastructural investment as China is undertaking in East Africa, we then started to discuss “market research” and from both of our respective backgrounds it was clear that neither of us have experienced much, if any, research related activities in China or in East Africa (on behalf of Chinese businesses).
The Chinese seem to have been on an “African” mission over the past few years, doing extremely well to exert their influence in this part of the world in various ways. One infrastructural project Andy has been following is the East Africa railway development – each time he “pops in” to Nairobi he sees the next stages in progress. Having done our own research on the net as a result of our discussions, we can see that more Chinese are travelling into East Africa. A newly introduced direct flight between Guangzhou and Nairobi (hosted by China Southern airline) carries over 1,000 passengers every week: evidence of the growing Sino-Kenyan (trade) relations.
SwissPeaks have recently become members of both the Trade & Investment sector of the UK Government (UKTI) and of the British Chamber of Commerce in Kenya (BCCK). As much as we really enjoy the projects we are commissioned on by our clients, we feel it’s high time we learnt more about what is happening in the areas we work in. The East Africa “Chinese” development program – if I can call it that is quite staggering and internally, at SwissPeaks and at AfriQuest, we mull over the Chinese impact on East Africa quite a bit. China must be doing their homework somehow, right?
Our combined fascination from our different walks of life here at SwissPeaks, keep the intrigue level very high and if, as we start to push our partnership with AfriQuest, we can either stumble upon or better still, be recommended to a Sino-Kenyan research project, we can continue our learning and fascination with the Chinese involvement in East Africa.
Now, having joined UKTI and BCCK we’re hoping to take our learning about the socio-economic developments further and to see if there are research projects out there that are either funded or in collaboration with Chinese companies. They seem to have proved themselves to be a powerhouse in global growth; claiming 15.3% of the world’s total GDP in the past few years and raking up £2.6 billion worth of imports into the UK and $22.5 billion’s worth into Kenya in 2013.
Speaking of growth, we at SwissPeaks are building a great reputation for our field management process. We fielded our first combined field operation in Uganda in November and are now looking forward to being in Zambia next month. Time I think for SwissPeaks (and AfriQuest) to dig deeper, gain more understanding and to attempt to lure Chinese companies into their “research” web somehow. Hopefully our first China funded research project is just around the corner!
We’d love to know more from anyone else about their experiences of working on any Chinese led research programme projects. Andy and I noted one peculiar Sino-Kenyan trait – neither population are very good at queuing or abiding to the general “red means stop” rule of traffic enforcement. But then, maybe, it’s an inherent old British mannerism – to queue, and we (in the UK) need to change!