A version of this article will appear in the first edition of Karateng Magazine of the African Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.

Some of China’s largest tech giants are establishing roots in Africa’s budding e-commerce market, where structural limitations and immature markets have deterred global players. The prospect of getting an early seat at the table, however, has caught the eye of bigwigs such as Jack Ma, who has kickstarted a number of preliminary initiatives aimed at sowing seeds with promising African tech talent.

In August, Ma launched a $10 million annual award called the Netpreneur Prize, which Ma hopes will foster hundreds of future African tech leaders. Each year 10 finalists will receive a $1 million grant from the Jack Ma Foundation for a business plan, as well as mentoring from Chinese industry leaders.

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Timothy Ang

Tim Ang is the assistant editor of the China Economic Review and freelance writer in Shanghai, focusing on business, economics, and policy. He has previously reported from Moscow and traveled extensively...