Chinese tech in Africa: What happened to OPay and what will happen to Huawei?


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Chinese-owned Nigerian tech company OPay started 2020 with $170 million of cash. Yet even that much money wasn’t enough to save the company from the dramatic economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak and new regulations in Lagos, which effectively killed its ride-sharing business. Sensing there was no way to quickly revive OPay’s ailing logistics services (ride sharing, food delivery, etc.), the company’s Beijing-based owner, Zhōu Yàhuī 周亚辉, restructured the business by shutting down pretty much everything except its still-profitable mobile payments unit OPay.

Abubakar Idris, a Lagos-based journalist at the Nigerian tech news website TechCabal, has been following the dramatic events at OPay. He joins Eric and Cobus to share the backstory of what happened at what used to be one of Africa’s most promising tech start-ups. He also discusses his view on what’s next for Huawei in Africa after the company was effectively banned from two of Europe’s largest markets due to intense U.S. pressure.