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Chinese Competition and the Restructuring of South African Manufacturing

DEV Key Contact: Rhys Jenkins
Project Dates: 2011 to 2012
Project Status: Open


China's impact on South Africa is of particular interest since it is Africa's largest and most developed economy. It has the most advanced manufacturing sector in Africa and it is China's second most important trading partner in the region after Angola and the largest importer of Chinese goods in Africa.  China has been perceived as both an opportunity and a threat (particularly in the manufacturing sector) in South Africa.

South African manufacturers face competition from China both in the domestic market where the penetration by Chinese goods has increased rapidly in recent years, and in other Sub-Saharan countries which are important export markets for South Africa.  Increased import penetration from China has led to job losses in domestic industry, adding to the severe problems of unemployment in South Africa. Although South Africa has lost market share to China in most of its major African export markets, the value of South African exports has still grown substantially as a result of the economic growth elsewhere in Africa, which in turn was partly stimulated by the Chinese led commodity boom. 

DEV Researchers: Rhys Jenkins

Partner Organisations: University of Cape Town, South Africa

Selected Outputs

Edwards, L., Jenkins, R. (2014) "The margins of export competition : A new approach to evaluating the impact of China on South African exports to Sub-Saharan Africa" in Journal of Policy Modelling 36. pp. S132-S150 

Chinese Competition and the Restructuring of South African Manufacturing, DEV Research Briefing 4.

The impact of Chinese import penetration on the South African manufacturing sector A Southern Africa labour and development research unit working paper Number 102

Is China "crowding out" South African exports of manufacturers? South African Labour and Development Research Unit