China Wu Yi to employ 800 Kenyans at Athi River
800 job positions are to open at China Wu Yi’s Sh10bn housing materials complex in Athi River, in the Machakos County of Kenya.
The Chinese conglomerate began construction of the 29.6 acres base in September 2016, and have announced that the project is set for completion in March 2017.
The China Wu Yi Kenya Building, Industrialisation Research, Development, and Production Base and Construction Material Supermarket is part of China’s “Belt and Road” policy, which was initiated to prioritise infrastructure and industrial projects.
The 75,970sqm will include an exhibition area, office block, dormitory, service block, building material supermarket, and a hotel.
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“We intend to employ 800 locals at the base once it’s complete. We settled on establishing it in Kenya owing to the country’s good bilateral relations with China and because it is an economic hub,” reported Yihua Lin, the Executive Deputy General Manager at China Wu Yi in Kenya.
The plant is being built by the company’s local subsidiary China Wu Yi Precast (Kenya) Company Limited, who predominantly work with residential buildings and traffic engineering precast components.
The supermarket, taking up 23,850spm of the site, will stock stones, ceramic tiles, bathroom appliances, electrical materials, construction hardware, lamps, kitchen furniture, and more, all stocked from the Fujian Province in China.
“Establishing of the base is significant in meeting the construction requirements and Kenya Vision 2030 which provides for adequate housing and reasonable standards of sanitation,” said James Macharia, Transport Secretary.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.