Enhancing these developments is South Africa’s status as home to the continent’s largest and oldest Chinese community, a concentration of Confucian Institutes and an active Chinese media presence. With the pace of trade and investment picking up, coupled to closer international cooperation with Beijing through the G-20 and BRICS grouping, South Africa-China ties are assuming a significant position in continental and even global affairs.
It is also a relationship of paradoxes, breaking with many of the assumptions that underpin contemporary analyses of ‘China-Africa’ ties. For instance, until recently South African investment into China far exceeded in depth that of China into South Africa.
Moreover, while economic ties between the two countries have extended beyond the conventions of resource extraction and infrastructure financing seen in other African countries, this appears to be changing.