China moved to establish diplomatic relations with Kenya in 1963. Since, some 50 companies have invested in 96 projects valued at Sh4 billion. According to Chinese Customs, the bilateral trade volume between China and Kenya reached a record high of US$366 million in 2004, with a 44.3% increase in China’s exports to Kenya and 94.3% increase in its imports from Kenya compared with the previous year. The introduction of a direct flight between Nairobi and Beijing is expected to boost trade between the two countries, especially Kenya’s farm produce. Kenya Airways also launched a new service to Guanzu city in China, with flights taking place every week on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
In 2005 China signed an agreement with Kenya to boost the coffee trade and Chinese authorities are helping Kenya to curb imports of counterfeit goods from China. The China National Quality Assurance Agency has been negotiating a memorandum with the Kenya Bureau of Standards. There is increased pre-shipment inspection and surveillance on the Chinese side in order to weed out unscrupulous traders of counterfeit goods.
Chinese electronic company AUCMA has set up a television assembly factory in Kenya with a Sh117 million investment. The facility has the capacity to assemble 800 television sets per day and employs 52 people. Kenya received a Sh200 million grant from China for projects to be identified jointly by the two governments. The two countries have signed two technical and economic co-operation agreements to support economic recovery programmes under the Ministry of Planning and National Development.
Huawei Technologies has signed a contract with the Kenyan government for the Kenya Rural Telecommunications Development project at its Shenzen, China, headquarters. First Automobile Group has teamed up with Trans Africa to market vehicles in Kenya. Another significant investment in Nairobi has been the establishment of a factory, estimated to be worth US$3 million, at Industrial Area to produce concrete poles.
Although Kenya is not rich in minerals, the recent discovery of titanium at the coast has attracted Jianchuan Group. Kenya and China signed an economic co-operation agreement in August 2005 which secured over Sh2 billion in aid. Chinese construction firms have put up the Moi Stadium, Kasarani.
Chinese President Hu Jintao has told Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki that China is ready to expand political and economic cooperation with Kenya to deepen bilateral ties. The Kenyan government firmly abides by the one-China policy and supports China’s efforts for national re-unification. Bilateral co-operation in the fields of economic development, trade, health, tourism and infrastructure construction are under negotiation.