Place of Residence
A place of residence is the most important material foundation for the Chinese community to develop. According to my research, new Chinese immigrants in Zimbabwe, especially in its capital, are concentrated in certain residential areas.
In Harare, most new Chinese live in the three “white districts” located in the northern part of the city—namely Mount Pleasant district, Borrowdale district and Avondale district. Taking Brooks, the best and most famous residential suburb of Borrowdale district, as an example, nearly a third of its residents are new Chinese, whereas almost no Chinese live in the “black districts” located in the south of Harare, such as in Mbare. “We don’t live in ‘black districts’. Except for businesses, we don’t even go there, especially in the evening. We doubt the security situation in those districts is very good,” a Chinese told me on the first day I arrived in Harare.5
Centers of Economic Activity
The places in which economic activities go on are another important material foundation on which the Chinese community develops. According to the interviews, these places are scattered, just like the places of residence. Two commercial centers are occupied mainly by new Chinese immigrants in Harare: Long Cheng Plaza shopping mall and the Gulf Shopping Com- plex.6 The former is a very large integrated shopping mall in Belvedere, to the west of Harare, and it was built by Anhui Foreign Economic Construction (Group) Co. Ltd. More than 50 Chinese enterprises have already moved in, including the Horizon Ivato Supermarket, the Happy Club and the Wild Africa Travel Agency, all big companies. The latter is located in the heart of Harare and was built by Lebanese. The Gulf Shopping Complex is near a big bus station and its shops are centralized, so it is popular among new Chinese immigrants. Of the 70 big shops there, more than 60 are rented by new Chinese immigrants.