Jackie, Julie and Shanny are some of the thousands of Africans settled in China. Like them, countless young men and women set off for Guangzhou to seek their fortune, train or set up a business in the thriving but cut-throat globalised Chinese economy. Every day, these investors, large and small, beginners or experienced, buy and ship tons of merchandise crammed into containers destined for Douala, Lagos or Mombasa.
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Genuine or counterfeit? What matters is satisfying the customer. Feeling the fabric to judge the quality, placing orders with a tailor… through Marie Voignier’s attentive gaze, we see the expertise of these African entrepreneurs who’ve come to set up their businesses in Guangzhou.
It’s a far cry from our idea of import-export in this economy that makes the most of the lack of Western regulations; here, everything takes place over the counter with a calculator.
But we’re still talking about international trade, endless merchandise moving between the continents: the bags pile up, the trucks are constantly reloaded, the sound of adhesive tape is deafening… In Guangzhou, Voignier gives us a close-up of the mechanisms of globalisation at work in all its excess.