China-South Africa Strategic Partnership
2023 marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and South Africa, and over the past 25 years both countries have seen significant progress in their economic and trade cooperation.
On the occasion of the 15th BRICS Summit held in Johannesburg in August, Chinese President Xi Jinping met his South African counterpart President Cyril Ramaphosa, for his fourth official state visit as Chinese President. The two sides pledged to continue to seek the strengthening of cooperation in key areas such as infrastructure and logistics, trade and investment, manufacturing, energy and resources, digital economy, technology, and green development.
During the visit, the two heads of state also witnessed the signing of 11 cooperation documents, issued a joint statement, and the South African President awarded President Xi the Order of South Africa, the highest honor South Africa bestows on foreign heads of state.
South Africa, is the first African country to sign the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, and has been the largest trading partner of China in Africa for 13 consecutive years. It is also one of the largest destinations for Chinese investment in the continent, with cumulative Chinese investment exceeding USD 10 billion. China on the other hand, has been South Africa's largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years.
The deepening trade relations between the two countries have resulted in Chinese companies creating over 400,000 local jobs in South Africa, while South African companies are actively investing in the Chinese market, capitalizing on its abundant business opportunities. South African products, such as wines, rooibos tea, and aloe vera gels, are currently trending within the Chinese market, while automobiles and home appliances with Chinese brands gain increasing popularity among South African households.
In 2022, bilateral trade between China and South Africa expanded 5 per cent year-on-year to USD 56.7 billion, hitting a new record, and accounting for 20.1 per cent of China-Africa total trade.
In the first seven months of 2023, China's trade with South Africa surged by 10.5 per cent year-on-year, reaching USD 32.7 billion, with Chinese exports to South Africa increased by 16.5 per cent, while imports from the country rose by 6.1 per cent, according to official Chinese data.