A Study on the employment effect of Chinese investment in South Africa


By HUANG Meibo and REN Peiqiang

The employment effect of Chinese investment in Africa has always been questioned by the international observers. Therefore, in order to investigate the suspicions from international observers, this paper uses a survey of the investment of 16 Chinese enterprises in Johannesburg, South Africa (South Africa) to analyse their possible employment effect in South Africa. From the survey, we found these Chinese investments brought about job increment to the local people, alleviating employment pressure, including many local low-skilled or unskilled labour. On the other hand, we argue, South Africa’s strict labour laws, its powerful labour unions, as well as the international orientation of Chinese enterprises in South Africa ensure the employment quality of Chinese enterprises will meet the host country’s legal requirements. As a result, the assumptions of international observers concerning the employment effect of China’s investment in Africa are untenable as far as South Africa is concerned. Finally, the paper argues that the improvement of investment environment in South Africa is a prerequisite for further expanding the employment effect of Chinese firms.

[Download CCS Discussion Paper 04/2013]