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Young Kenyan brushes entrepreneurial skills in China

19 November 2015, 19:11

Nairobi - The rolling hills in central Kenya where Brian Abu grew up provided a perfect training ground for the 27-year-old to master life's skills including agility, resilience and courage.

Abu had a modest upbringing, but his parents exhorted him to pursue his dreams while ignoring doomsayers who opined that a rural boy had minimal chances in life.

The last born child in a family of five scored an impressive grade in high school and in 2009, he joined the University of Nairobi to pursue a bachelor's degree in economics.

In a strange turn of events, Abu felt his calling was not in the dismal science and later switched to Chinese language and political science.

Abu was among the pioneer students at the University of Nairobi's Confucius Institute and credits a mastery in Chinese language for opening new doors.

During an interview with Xinhua on Monday, Abu was upbeat about the future having acquired essential skills that would enable him to navigate the life's treacherous journey with ease.

The owner of a thriving start-up that sells ladies attire manufactured in China hails multilingualism for enhancing personal interactions and commerce.

Even as he studied mandarin at the University of Nairobi's Confucius Institute, Abu knew his destiny was in the world of business.

Thanks to hard work, passion and commitment, Abu won a scholarship to pursue a master's degree in Chinese language at the Tianjin Normal University.

His month-long visit to China for the first time in 2011 was an eye opener to an ambitious youth determined to make a mark in the world of commerce.

Later in 2013, Abu commenced his post graduate studies at the Tianjin Normal University that has a long-standing partnership with the University of Nairobi.

While studying in China, Abu was privileged to interact with people from different cultures and nationalities who broadened his worldviews.

As a teenager, Abu had witnessed Sino-Kenya bilateral ties blossom and yearned for an opportunity to visit the Asian giant and learn how it achieved monumental feats in a short period.

"While in high school, China was actively involved in our country's infrastructure development under former President Mwai Kibaki. As a youth, I was inspired by Chinese activities in my country hence my desire to study mandarin," Abu told Xinhua.

His post graduate degree in Chinese language did not affect his dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

"Even before I left for China, I had some thriving businesses in Nairobi. At the University of Nairobi, I tried several business ventures and together with friends, we were the first people to introduce light emitting diodide (LED) samples in the Kenyan market," said Abu.

He completed his masters' degree in Chinese language in July this year and since then has concentrated on building a business empire.

Abu and his two partners currently own three clothes shops that employ six people.

"We make online request for stock from our suppliers in China and have utilized digital platforms to advertise the clothes to Kenyan clients. Our attire is popular with young female professionals," Abu told Xinhua.

He added the ladies' attire imported from China is elegant and authentic.

Abu's frequent visits to China have improved his entrepreneur skills that have made it possible for him to run a thriving start-up in Nairobi.

"My experience in China has exposed me to new and rewarding opportunities. China offers vital lessons on logistics and online shopping," said Abu.

He has developed long-term friendship with Chinese entrepreneurs who have taught him valuable lessons on how to grow a business.

Studying the Chinese language was a strategic decision for Abu as he mulled venturing into the world of business.

He told Xinhua a firm grasp of mandarin has made it easy for him to interact and conduct business with the Chinese people.

"Learning the Chinese language was the best decision that I made in life. Apart from mastering the language, I have also created serious networks in China," Abu noted.

He is a member of Wechat groups formed by Chinese and Kenyan entrepreneurs to exchange vital information on business trends.

The alumni of Tianjin Normal University that has a sizeable population of Kenyan students considers China his second home.

The thriving clothing line Abu and his friends have created in Nairobi is popular with young female urban professionals.

"On average, we sell 100 pieces daily and our clothing line has 200,000 followers on Facebook. Online marketing is behind our success," said Abu.

His future dream is to establish a local manufacturing plant for garments to help reduce over-reliance on imports.

"The government should encourage Chinese investors to develop special economic zones in order to promote the local manufacturing sector," Abu remarked. 

For the latest on national news, politics, sport, entertainment and more follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page!

- Xinhua


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