Xi Jinping 习近平Xi Jinping via Wikipedia

Vice premier Xi Jinping, candidate for China’s next presidency, visited South Africa and to the astonishment of Danwei’s Jeremy Goldkorn its media missed this important visit completely, he writes in the South-African Daily Maverick.
Jeremy Goldkorn:

With bilateral trade reaching more than R110 billion last year, China is now South Africa’s biggest trading partner and its most lucrative export destination. China’s ICBC bank is South Africa’s largest foreign investor ever, with a 20% stake in Standard Bank that it bought for R36.67 billion in 2008. Naspers is the most successful foreign investor in China’s media and internet sector, with a 35.2% stake in Tencent, China’s largest internet company with annual revenues in excess of R13 billion. SABMiller is the most successful foreign investor in China’s beer market, with a 49% stake in China Resources brewery, which controls about 20% of the country’s R300 billion beer market.

After painting the importance of Xi Jinping’s visit, he summarizes the media attention this VIP visitor got. A raging Jeremy Goldkorn:

But you wouldn’t know it from South Africa’s news media. China has been absent from the front pages of the newspapers in the last few days. It’s no better online.

IOL homepage: no mention of Xi’s visit or China, although if you dig around you can find a recycled piece of Reuters copy headlined China’s Xi in SA for minerals. TimesLive homepage: no mention of Xi’s visit or China, although if you dig around, you can find this story: Chinese company might bail out Aurora. As if to underscore how little the editors know or care about China, there is no contextualisation of this story with Xi Jinping’s visit to South Africa, or Zuma’s visit with a business delegation in August. News24 homepage: A small and hard-to-find link to a Reuters piece on Xi’s visit. M&G online homepage: no mention of China. The Daily Maverick: No mention of Xi’s visit, but if you look closer there is an article about US-China relations.

Kevin Bloom, who is apparently writing a book about China’s growing role in Africa, has even been silent on Xi’s visit. There does not seem to be a single South African journalist or editor who even cares. While a major, epoch-changing story develops, the South African media sleeps, or frets about the proposed media appeals tribunal or Julius Malema’s latest utterance.

Time for South African media to wake up and smell the tea.


goldkorn_3Jeremy Goldkorn via Flickr

Jeremy Goldkorn is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau, a South-African living in Beijing. When you (also those outside of South Africa) need him as a speaker, do get in touch.

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