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THE negative spectre of the large fire Chinese breathing dragon dwarfing its investment destinations is being replaced by a warm, cuddly panda bear.

Dr Martyn Davies, the CEO of Frontier Advisory, believes that the negative perception of invading Chinese colonialists is being done away with and the trade numbers support his view.

Speaking at the merger announcement between local Promet Engineers Africa and Chinese Dadi Engineering Development Group, Davies said China was the single largest trading partner and financier of infrastructure into the African continent with trade levels showing compound annual growth of 35%.

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Africa, hungry for acceptance into the big economic leagues, has sprung on every possible merger and acquisition it can hold or get into, a strategy very reminiscent of China two decades ago.

In the 1980s, China jumped on every possible and available M&A when it opened its markets to foreign companies in exchange for technological know-how, Chunlin Zhang, specialist at the World Bank, said in The Globe and Mail. The rest is history.

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CHINA's Dadi Engineering Development Group has taken a 20% stake in SA-based Promet Engineers Africa for an undisclosed sum to get involved in mining and infrastructure projects in Africa.

The merged entity, Promet Dadi Africa, now has lump-sum turnkey project capabilities of up to $300m in respect of engineering, procurement and construction. This includes mine development, and port, process, plant and materials handling.

But more than that, it reflects the blossoming relationship between China and SA.

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South African project engineering company ProMet Engineers Africa (ProMet Africa) has merged with a large Chinese enterprise, Dadi Engineering Development (Dadi), it was formally announced in Johannesburg on Thursday. The new company is ProMet Dadi Africa.

Dadi is a major player in the Chinese coal sector, and since it was established in late 2008 it has designed and supplied more than 70 coal processing plants, of which 30 were turnkey projects, as well as three water slurry treatment plants. Of the 30 turnkey processing plants, Dadi operates and maintains ten, under contract from the clients.

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