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China Square owner reacts to CS Kuria's move to push him out off KU mall

The store which has become popular sells Sh10 million worth of goods on a bad day

Lei Cheng alias Charlie, the businessman behind China Square and China Center

China Square proprietor, Lei Cheng has responded to the order by the Cabinet secretary for Trade and Investments, Moses Kuria to shut down the store.

The newly opened store has been making headlines for its fair prices and is said to be a hub for everything from electronics to clothing.

The store gained attention for creating a versatile shopping centre that some social media users claimed was challenging the dominance of Eastleigh, Kamukunji, and Dubois Road in the Nairobi Central Business District.

CS Kuria however said the Chinese investors should lay focus on manufacturing and not trading.

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I have today given an offer to Prof Wainaina the VC Kenyatta University to buy out the lease for China Square, Unicity Mall and hand it over to the Gikomba, Nyamakima, Muthurwa & Eastleigh Traders Association. We welcome Chinese investors to Kenya but as manufacturers not traders,” Kuria said.

Buying out the lease means paying the current tenants or leaseholders a sum of money in exchange for terminating their lease agreements, after which the properties would be transferred to the local traders.

Responding to the orders by CS Kuria, Lei Cheng said he was going to close the mall on Sunday February 26 and head back to the drawing board to restrategize his business plan.

“My business is legal and is centred on healthy competition. We have cooperated with all government directives for opening a business in Kenya and we are here to break the monopoly.

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"The people who are fighting us feel threatened because Kenyans now know we exist and we are not exploiting them in pricing,” said Cheng added in an interview with the media.

According to the Chinese businessman, the store which is barely a month old raked in Sh20 million in the first two weeks it opened.

After the store going viral, Cheng said the it makes Sh10 million worth of sales on a bad day.

"We opened this store on January 29 this year. We are barely a month old. In the first two weeks in business, our sales turnover was Sh20 million. Nowadays, on a bad day we sell goods worth Sh10 million,” Cheng told the Nation.

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Cheng however said that he was suprised by CS Kuria's sentiments noting that his business is centred on ethical practises and that if other foreigners can do business in the country, then Chinese people should equally do business.

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