Chinese people in the DRC

Chinese people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Les Chinois en République démocratique du Congo
Total population
(4-5,000 (Chinese embassy data, 2015)[1])
Regions with significant populations
Kinshasa, Katanga
Chinese, French
Related ethnic groups
Overseas Chinese

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo there is a community of Chinese migrants located in the capital of Kinshasa and mineral rich southern province of Katanga. According to official figures from the Chinese embassy there are 4-5,000 Chinese living in the DRC but this is considered an underestimate.[1]


Business links, both by individual entrepreneurs and state owned enterprises, has brought Chinese migration to the DRC.

The first wave of migrants were individuals who opened stores, restaurants, and private medical clinics.[2] Chinese run stores in Kinshasa are typically scattered across neighborhoods and are not concentrated in any Chinatown.[3] The stores carry a range of household goods and change money.[3] The owner eekes out a small profit albeit one still higher than what is earned by neighborhood stores in China.[3]

Some small scale entrepreneurs are in mining. In Katanga Province 60 of the 75 mineral processing plants are owned by Chinese entrepreneurs.[4] Chinese employers have been criticized for their use of child labor and lack of health and safety standards.[4]

Major deals have been signed by Chinese state owned companies and the DRC government. In 2012, Chinese investors and the Export-Import Bank of China offered to build $6 billion worth of infrastructure as part of a loan backed by collateral in mineral rights.[5] These state owned enterprises have brought Chinese employees to the country.[2]

Anti-Chinese violence

Congolese mobs have attacked Chinese businesses on at least two occasions. In December 2010, local team TP Mazembe lost to Italian club Inter Milan.[6] Mobs in Lubumbashi were angered by the calls made by a Japanese referee who was mistaken for Chinese, provoking attacks on Chinese businesses in the city.[6]

During protests in January 2015 against the government of Joseph Kabila, Chinese businesses in the Kinshasa neighborhoods of Ngaba and Kalamu were targeted for destruction.[1] An Agence France-Presse article on the attacks reported the motivation for violence was both resentment by local businesses that had difficulty competing against the low prices of Chinese run stores and association by rioters of Chinese nationals running stores with investment deals concluded by Chinese companies and the government.[1]


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