Skip to Content

Chinese Competition and the Restructuring of South African Manufacturing

2010 - 2012
Project Status: Completed

Funded by:
Economic & Social Research Council


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 the 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.

Partner Organisations:
University of Cape Town, South Africa

DEV Key Contact:

Rhys Jenkins


Selected Output:
Edwards, L., Jenkins, R. (2014) ‘The Margins of Export Competition: A New Approach to Evaluating the Impacts of China on South Africa Exports to Sub-Saharan Africa’, Journal of Policy Modelling, Vol. 26, pp. S132-S150

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

Edwards, L., Jenkins, R. (2013). ‘The Impact of Chinese Import Penetration on the South African Manufacturing Sector’. A Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit Working paper, Number 102, Cape Town, University of Cape Town.

Edwards, L., Jenkins, R. (2013) ‘Is China “Crowding Out” South African Exports of Manufactures’ Southern African Labour and Development Research Unit Working Paper, Number 107, Cape Town, University of Cape Town.