What distinguishes China is that, unlike the other four members, it is not the main member of a specific trading bloc per se, although it naturally has a number of important free trade agreements. In December 2010, South Africa was invited to join the BRICS group of emerging countries.  With the invitation, it was expected that South Africa would develop trade relations with other BRIC countries, including China. Some see BRICS relations as a potential competition with South Africa`s relations with the IBSA dialogue forum.  In July 2010, South African magazine Business Day reported that 45% of SABMiller`s growth would come from Chinese operations by 2014. The abnormal growth of the South African media company Naspers in 2009 is largely due to its stake in Tencent, the Chinese company.  “In 2018, bilateral trade between China and South Africa increased by 11.18 percent from the decline in world trade to $43.35 billion,” Lin said. According to the Chinese Embassy in Namibia, the volume of bilateral trade between Namibia and China exceeded $800 million in 2018, a 45% increase over the previous year – more than double the growth rate of total trade with Africa. China`s main exports to Namibia include mechanical and electrical equipment, clothing, footwear, equipment, tourism and other daily needs, while its main imports from Namibia include mineral and marine products, hides, live ostriches and relevant products. In 1992, trade between China and South Africa was $14 million, but when the two countries established relations in 1998, that figure rose to $1.4 billion.
182 Until 2010, trade between the two countries reached $25.6 billion, with imports from South Africa reaching $14.8 billion. In the same year, national investment increased to $7 billion. Most of South Africa`s exports to China in 2010 were primary products.  Two-way trade between China and South Africa reached $60.3 billion in 2014.  Chinese President Xi Jinping has just returned from Brazil, where he attended the annual BRICS meeting in Brasilia. At the meeting of the presidents and prime ministers of India, Russia and South Africa, the Brasilia summit statement said that the BRICS bloc had expressed common goals of “expanding trade and innovation”. The delegation led by Mr. Ren Hongbin, Deputy Minister of Trade in the People`s Republic of China, visited South Africa to further improve cooperation between companies. This follows the effective implementation of the consensus established by Chinese President Xi Jinping with President Ramaphosa and the results of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC) in Beijing in 2018. It consists of an industrial park, a fully equipped country with mass infrastructure and a green meadow.
This has had an impact on trade between China and Africa. While the region is volatile and subject to currency fluctuations and regional disputes, China is now Africa`s largest trading partner. In 2018, bilateral trade reached $200 billion, with an upward trend. The following graph, courtesy of the China Africa Research Initiative, based on data from the Chinese Ministry of Customs, also includes North Africa and shows this trade balance. ESwatini is the only African country to recognize Taiwan from China and bilateral trade flows either through Taiwan or Hong Kong. Once again, the Dalai Lama was unable to enter South Africa when he was invited to the World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in October 2014. The mayor of Cape Town says he has been asked by the national government to withdraw his visa application for a visit to SA for reasons of “national interest” in order to prevent his visa from being officially refused.  Ninety-three economic and trade cooperation agreements between South African and Chinese entrepreneurs have been signed.