Serge Mulumba, the translator and mobile phone dealer from Lubumbashi, introduced us to his Pakistani business partners. They were previously active at the Chungking Mansions in Hong Kong – once a central location for African traders, which we visited during our trip to China.
In Hong Kong, the Pakistani dealers noticed that more and more African dealers were transporting bundles of mobile telephones purchased in the Pearl River Delta into their respective countries with help of their 32 kg free baggage allowances and selling them for a profit at local African markets. Sociologist Gordon Mathews, who teaches in Hong Kong, calls this “low-end globalization”.
So the three Pakistani brothers decided to follow in the footsteps of this baggage trade and also set up a market stand in Lubumbashi. They stay in contact across continents per video telephony on their smartphones.