Author: Chris Alden, Yu-Shan Wu.
Alden, Chris and Wu, Yu-Shan. August 2014. "South Africa and China: The Making of a Partnership." Occasional Paper 199 41. Johannesburg:
China relations are developing at a steady pace, from the onset of formal
diplomatic ties in 1998 to the multi-faceted partnership we see today. Its various elements
include historical links, diplomatic relations, multilateral co-operation, trade and investment,
and public media engagement. At the same time, there are differences between the two
countries that continue to shape ties and distinguish them from China’s relations with other
African countries. South Africa is a diversified economy with relatively strong institutional
structures and is home to a vibrant civil society; China is seen as a key competitor in
sectors South Africa views as strategic, as well as being an investor in resources that enjoy
a favourable trade balance. Sharing a similar global vision, the two emerging countries
are working towards closer strategic co-operation that takes account of the structure of
bilateral economic ties, domestic diversity and overlapping interests.