Kano State is the second largest industrial center in Nigeria but lately, markets in the state have witnessed influx of Chinese traders who sell their wares at cheaper rates to customers to the disadvantage of indigenous traders. The history of Kano market dates back to the people of Jega, who controlled the textile business in Kantin Kwari textile market, the biggest textile market in Africa made the government of their time to give them all the necessary support to boost their business activities.
Kantin Kwari was the dominated by the Lebanese who came to reside there, but, when business activities heightened, they (Lebanese) gave out their residences in Kantin Kwari for rent to the textile marketers.
When they fully settled, they began to import textile materials to the market from abroad apart from their homemade ones which hitherto, made their economy boom. In a short period of time, the business activities of Jega marketers began to decline in Kantin Kwari market.
The Lebanese traders and businessmen who had dominated business for decades gained a lot in the market before the coming of Indians and Chinese. However, things changed when the Chinese stormed the market place as spies, arriving with innovations resulting from their understanding of the secret of business in Kano.
The unfair trading by Chinese has brought the textiles marketers to their knees, through their importation of textile materials; they store the goods, which they store at the warehouses then dispatch to the local market for sale. Chinese activities have compromised the potential of local textile marketers in Kantin Kwari, the market activities has been jeopardized going by the marketing strategies taken by the Chinese.
The Chinese use local marketers to attract customers and at the end of the transactions, they settle the middlemen with than N1,000 or even N500. When the Chinese get to understand the business tactics, they grant five to ten thousand to a middleman that brings customers. The Chinese have hijacked the ancestral business, and straitened business opportunities due to blackout in Nigeria and lack of government support. Also bribery and corruption has become order of the day amongst security operatives and the government officials.
China has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world through imitative innovations. If a marketer gives Chinese a sample of a product, it is quickly ordered at a subsidized rate.
Six years back, Chinese began importing a native Hausa cap (Zanna Bukar) which is well known to be made in Maiduguri, Borno state, but with the coming of the Chinese, Zanna Bukar has lost its high sales in Maiduguri, but due to price subsidy on the caps, people still embrace it.
It is no longer news that the Chinese are making a fortune from their imposition, posing a threat to the local dyeing businessmen, especially in areas of the dyeing of fabrics, which has been a main attraction to foreigners and tourists alike for centuries. Chinese started importing Ghalilar Textile in the State.
At first, Chinese imported Ghalilar textile because of it poor quality, but when it come to the notice of the Chinese traders that the inferior products were being rejected by buyers, they then bought white textile (Shadda) and ordered it for dyeing instead.
Local dyers complained of imported Chinese-made commodities undercutting local goods that prompted thousands of local dyers march to the emirâ€™s palace in protest. In their appeal to the Emir, Mallam Muhammadu Sanusi II, they urging the monarch as well as the government to intervene in the unfair trading behaviour of the Chinese.
The quality of Chinese brands like Oasis and 212 was also embraced by many as a result of its taste which makes it a favourite for buyers who purchase the product along Zoo road, while some make brisk sales in their automobiles with which they display their wares to their customers in every nook and cranny of Kano.
The Chinese business strategies have put local businessmen in the state on the brink of bankruptcy and it appears that no one is capable for any legal action against them as they storm the market place calling on customers to patronise their products at cheaper rates.
It has been noticed by the Chinese that Nigerians are more interested in cheaper products than quality. Hence, the Chinese traders make the price of their products affordable to everyone.
The Chinese have also mastered art of giving or taking bribes and they understand that Nigeria have shown little or no concern regarding the menace, therefore they are comfortable giving bribes to most, because in Kano a Chinese seems to have more right than even the native of Kano State.
According to Chairman of the Kano State Dyers Association, Alhaji Bashir Dauda, the Chinese problem is worse than HIV/AIDS as the Chinese business activities in Nigeria has cause more harm than good. They have made about 50,000 youths jobless, they also cripple the countryâ€™s economy. Almost all the local marketers in Kantin Kwari are acting as middlemen for Chinese traders.
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