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5
Jan
2014

Roles of Networks and Social Capital in the Success of International Entrepreneurs: Findings

Roles of Networks and Social Capital in the Success of International Entrepreneurs: FindingsThe reasons for the choice of Senegal….
Several reasons explain the presence of the Chinese in Senegal. Some, officials, are sent by the Chinese authorities in the framework of bilateral agreements, the other, mainly individual entrepreneurs, simply hope to make a fortune in Senegal. For the latter, the destination Senegal offers many opportunities: a booming market with many opportunities, industry to develop, affordable rents, a cheap labor, a market which has not yet been very organized.
Chinese traders have settled mainly in the main city of Senegal, Dakar, which is the new “Eldorado” in West Africa, in view of business opportunities.
Successful settlement requires having contacts in Senegal (for easy installation and integration), but also to keep steady relations with China (with family, friends… who are often suppliers, facilitators…). For a trader, “… In Senegal, with few resources and good relations, you can easily start a business, a trade… However, it is important to have relationships and know how things are organized… ” Exhaust Emissions

Settlement and integration in Senegal
After the resumption of diplomatic relations between Senegal and China in 2005, the implantation of many Chinese merchants has been facilitated (visa, residence and paperwork to start a business). Mostly young (between 20 and 45 years), Chinese traders develop their activities in the textile, trade (selling clothes and other), restaurants, import-export. Their massive installation is seen as a double edged sword by the stakeholders of the market:
– For households, the arrival of Chinese merchants can offer the market products at low price (consistent with the income level of the population);
– For national retailers, who buy from the traditional partners (France, Italy, Turkey, China…), competition from the Chinese is unfair (non compliance…).
When looking at the Chinese traders in Senegal, many divisions are recognized: it is a community in the making and it is grouped mainly in the city of Dakar (which makes them visible6. It is a self-sufficient community deeply rooted Chinese culture (importance of family solidarity, guanxi…).
Perception of their location and activities by the population: “The Chinatown, China Market and made in China products” or the negative representation
From our corpus, three concepts are used to describe the location and the products sold by Chinese traders in Senegal. The Secretary General of Unacois sums up the situation: “When you go to Gibraltar area, you believe that you are in Chinatown. In this place you will find products made in china. «Behind this picture, are hidden elements of representation: the “Chinatown” which refers to the avenue that houses the Chinese traders and the “China Market” which characterizes the avenue itself, and “Made in China” products, designate products often perceived as lower quality and low price.
This negative representation is driven mainly by a small and defined social circle: traders, employers and their agents.
To grow their businesses, Chinese traders use Senegalese vendors. Often, “they are underpaid and are used seven days a week, with difficult conditions” (interview with a trader belonging to Unacois). The association of traders profit by the occasion to talk about exploitation, slavery and accuses the community of not investing, not proposing the transfer of technology. Other arguments are those that reinforce the hostility of local businesses: non-participation of the Chinese to the local economy, the money repatriation and controversies about the containers.

The reasons for the choice of Senegal…. Several reasons explain the presence of the Chinese in Senegal. Some, officials, are sent by the Chinese authorities in the framework of bilateral agreements, the other, mainly individual entrepreneurs, simply hope to make a fortune in Senegal. For the latter, the destination Senegal offers many opportunities: a booming market with many opportunities, industry to develop, affordable rents, a cheap labor, a market which has not yet been very organized. Chinese traders have settled mainly in the main city of Senegal, Dakar, which is the new “Eldorado” in West Africa, in view of business opportunities. Successful settlement requires having contacts in Senegal (for easy installation and integration), but also to keep steady relations with

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Kevin J. Brandon

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