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China's investment expansion in S Africa "only beginning"       Updated: 2009-07-15 21:05

JOHANNESBURG, July 15 (Xinhua) -- China's outward investment expansion in South Africa was only beginning, Kobus van der Wath, the founder and group managing director of the consultancy The Beijing Axis, said on Wednesday.

"What is to follow will be far, far greater," he added when addressing the African Mining Congress in Johannesburg. Van der Wath said China was using the global financial crisis as a time to invest and expand.

"Far more Chinese companies are doing deals very quickly - and these are deals that would have involved players in the West," he said.

While the financial crisis had hit the global mining sector badly, Chinese mining companies had been better prepared, he noted.

"The global financial crisis has given Chinese mining companies the opportunity to go global by securing strategic assets at fire-sale prices.

"And as international mining companies struggle with debt, China has the best financial banking to snap up mining assets," Van der Wath said.

China's economy had grown tremendously over the past few years, making it the third largest economy in the world. However, Van derWath predicted that China would shortly overtake Japan and would soon be in second position.

He said that China had a wide range of resource demand drivers with construction being the largest component, and other sectors included the manufacturing and the automotive industry.

However, China's infrastructure was still under strain and it needed to upgrade its ports, highways and railways, Van der Wath explained. "In this respect it has a long way to catch up."


Editor: Li