2020 has been an unusual year for Kasereka Mafutamingi Muyisa and his business. Having been in Guangzhou for 13 years, this man from the DR Congo finished his study at Guangdong University of Technology and set up his own tech company in Nansha, the rapidly developing district in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
“This period is very difficult for us. Most of my customers are in Africa and their countries are under lockdown so my employees in both Guangzhou and Kenya are still working from home at this stage,” said Muyisa.
To support the small and medium enterprises like Muyisa’s, the Guangdong government has launched 26 strategies which are aimed at helping get production back to normal and trying to ease pressure through cutting costs, solving financial problems and enhancing public services. According to the Department of Industry and Information Technology, these strategies will help SMEs in the province save more than 8.2 billion yuan in power costs and 140 billion yuan in tax.
Apart from tax and rent reductions, Muyisa believes China will revitalize its economy after the pandemic so he is confident about his business in a long run. “Everything I learned about technology it’s because of Guangzhou. Now my business has started growing and I am sure that I will become one of the biggest GPS fleet management companies in Africa in the next four years.”
Muyisa showed us a stamp book about Nansha to explain why he choose this district to start his ‘dream’.”Nansha is at the center of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Greater Bay Area with the port and train station connecting us to the rest of the world. I’ve already seen huge changes take place here over the past few years.”
With his business not yet fully back on track, Muyisa is working as a volunteer to help expats in need at the local Police Station. “This pandemic will end so we can’t just give up. We have to (face it) with courage, determination in this period,” said Muyisa, “we have to fight together, to change and to get a better life.”
Q: When did you become interested in the tech industry? Why did you choose Guangzhou to set up your tech company?
A: I was interested in the tech industry from the time I arrived in Guangzhou so I chose to study information technology at the Guangdong University of Technology.
I chose Guangzhou to set up the company because firstly, I can easily access the components needed in the technology industry. Secondly, it is the location, as Guangzhou is one of the largest cities in China. It is industrialized, modernized and still relatively cheap in terms of accommodation and food. Thirdly, it is the environment. Guangzhou has good weather and it is a welcoming city filled with people from all nations doing different types of business.
Q: What difficulties have you faced? And how did you manage to solve them?
A: Language is one of the difficulties because you have to use the same language as locals if you want to do better business with the local suppliers or become more popular in the local market.
In overseas markets, product quality is the most important thing. The factory we work with in Guangzhou is very supportive and we jointly provide high-quality products that feed our customers’ demand. In addition, there are some companies that have always supported us and introduce new innovations to us so that we can always come up with fresh things to promote in the African market.
Q: For long time there have been complaints in the west, accusing China of ‘stealing’ their technology. As the owner of a tech company, what do you think about that?
A: I think those are false accusations simply because you can’t accuse people of stealing if they (take something) and make it better. For example, if you created 4G and then someone created 5G based on 4G you cannot accuse them of stealing the technology.
Production was transferred from the West to cheap labor countries and China was one of them. Since then, China has gained experience and expertise in different sectors thus become more advanced in so many ways. So I would rather say Chinese are smart people who can improve anything that comes before them. Technology is changing day by day, and when humanity is updated to the new technologies there will be new innovation and creation. Chinese people are so brave and very motivated, they are working day and night to archive their goals and vision.
Q: Did you seek some support for yourself and your company during the pandemic?
A: The Chinese government really did something that other countries can’t do, we got help from the government and our local community during this period.
They waived the taxes and provided us with free services and free food when we were in quarantine.
Q: Based on your own observation and experience, why is cooperation much more needed during the pandemic for the global economy?
A: The world needs solidarity and cooperation more than ever because without solidarity and cooperation this virus will not end. But if we combine efforts, we work as one world, one heart, one goal to fight COVID-19.
China taught us many things. It has been sharing information and experience with other countries without reservation. The Chinese government has been seeking bilateral cooperation and cooperating with many countries in fighting the pandemic. With cooperation and global solidarity, the world will overcome the pandemic and the global economy will be back on track.
Editor: Keane, Simon
Alicia Yang also contributed to the article.