Across China: Ghanaian man seeks business opportunity in Hainan

Updated: December 22, 2022 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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HAIKOU, Dec. 21 (Xinhua) -- Kingsford John, from Ghana, just finished the market survey and is now preparing to import shea butter, chocolate, cocoa powder and African soap from his hometown to south China's Hainan Province next year.

John, 31, came to Hainan in 2017 as a student, studying electrical and mechanical engineering at Hainan Normal University. Before graduation, he founded an international trading company in 2020 in Haikou, the capital of Hainan.

Hainan officially launched the construction of the Hainan Free Trade Port in 2020. Eyeing a series of preferential policies, especially the zero tariff policy on imports, John felt it was a huge opportunity to start a business.

"We import the shea butter, we add value to it, and we get some tax benefits, so it's a great deal for us," he said.

"There are so many things in Africa that the world doesn't know about, and this is an advantage for me in bringing such products to Hainan," he added.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, business has been hard over the past two years, and so John put a lot of focus on doing market research, especially on shea butter.

He found that shea butter is quite popular in the American and European markets, and that it is very expensive there. "Either the production or the supply tends to be limited, while the demand is high," he explained.

Shea butter is classified as one of the best products from Africa, as it is needed globally in cosmetics companies, the food industry, the pharmaceutical industry and also for personal care, John said.

"However, the demand for shea butter is not so high in Asia, because a lot of people here don't know about it," he said. "So we want to bring shea butter to Hainan, and we will re-package it and then re-sell it to the Asian market."

During his journey of entrepreneurship, John has encountered lots of problems, including the time difference between China and other countries, and the challenge of winning the trust of buyers.

In order to communicate at work, he has to engage in Zoom meetings with people from different countries, who are interested in his shea butter.

"Coming to Hainan is one of the best decisions I've made in my life so far," he said, adding that he had come to Hainan following the advice of an American friend, who used to live in Hainan.

"After I arrived in Hainan, it felt right for me, a good fit, and what my friend told me about Hainan was actually true," he said. "The weather is great, the air is clean, and there are so many beautiful places to go, like Sanya, Wanning or Dongfang."

Having been in Hainan for five years, he feels that it is indeed a safe and healthy place to live, and also a place where the people are very friendly and kind. He has made many new friends in Hainan and has fallen in love with the island even more with the passage of time.

Besides focusing on his career, John loves to play football with his friends in his spare time. He also enjoys the local food -- during Spring Festival, he made dumplings with his friends to experience traditional Chinese culture.

John is quite confident about the future of Hainan and he believes that there will be massive changes in Hainan over the next five to ten years. "Hainan Free Trade Port is a big opportunity, and people who want to do business will start coming here and will establish their business here," he said.

Meanwhile, he believes the existence of the free trade port will draw a lot of people to Hainan. "When they come, they will sleep in hotels, they will eat and they will probably buy our products."

"My dream is to establish one of the biggest African brands in Hainan, and also in Asia," he said.

Editor: Gao Jingyan