in the september 24 financialmail, a magazine of people.cn in south africa, hengtong’s aberdare was highlighted in a special report with several other chinese companies.
“aberdare is a technology leader driven by cutting-edge research & development to provide world-class innovative solutions, processes, products and services to speed up the modernization and development of infrastructure in africa,” the report says, followed by introductions of hengtong’s acquisition of aberdare in 2016.
“in addition to introducing management experience from hengtong,” the magazine applauds, “it has also introduced more advanced manufacturing equipment from china and invested more than r150 million in a high voltage factory in port elizabeth.”
a photo of aberdare’s ceo, dr. song haiyan, together with s.a.’s trade and industry minister ebrahim patel and former chinese ambassador lin songtian shows the scenario of the commissioning ceremony of high-voltage factory in july 2019.
people.cn is an online information platform of renmin ribao, or people’s daily, one of the ten largest papers in the world. this is not the first time that people.cn zooms in on hengtong and its subsidiary. in may, the website published a story between cablelscom in spain and its head office in china, who supported each other to win the battle against the covid 19 pandemic.
here’s the report’s text on aberdare:
aberdare cables, the largest cable manufacturer in southern africa, was established in 1946. aberdare is a technology leader driven by cutting-edge research & development to provide world-class innovative solutions, processes, products and services to speed up the modernization and development of infrastructure in africa.
the company specializes in cable design, product development, installation support, and commissioning and diagnostic testing through its engineering services division.
in 2016, aberdare cables was bought by a shanghai stock exchange-listed company, hengtong, a leading global power and fiber-optical cable manufacturer.
hengtong was ranked 187th in the list of china’s top 500 enterprises in 2019. it is one of the three top optical fiber communications enterprises and the sixth-largest power cable manufacturer in the world. its geographical footprint extends to 150 countries and regions, employing about 20 000 people.
hengtong’s priority since becoming the majority shareholder of aberdare cables has been to change the company’s business strategy in order to make averdare more profitable. in addition to introducing management experience from hengtong, it has also introduced more advanced manufacturing equipment from china and invested more than r150 million in a high voltage factory in port elizabeth.
another important internationalization strategy is localization, which is the support of local content and the creation of decent jobs for local people. at present, aberdare employs 1200 employees, of which only eight are chinese nationals, in its three sites (joburg-its group operations center, port elizabeth and pietermaritzburg) and eight regional customer service centers.
the company says the biggest challenges of operating a business in s.a. are the weak economy, continuously contracting market demand and an extremely vulnerable supply chain. given that almost all of the company’s raw materials are imported, the covid-19 pandemic meant that its supply chains were negatively impacted.
hengtong has provided the company with financing and technical support. at the same time the company is controlling costs by introducing leaner production processes and developing raw materials suppliers in an effort to set up a local supply chain.
the company says it is starting to recover from a record loss in april as a result of the lockdown and the total shut down of its factories.
it expects that s.a.’s insufficient electricity supply will provide it with opportunities as more investments are made in the energy sector, including renewable energy projects.
other opportunities are likely to emanate from electrification and infrastructure development projects in s.a. sadc and the rest of the continent.