South Africa is looking to China as a model in its process of re-industrialization.

The comment was made by the South African Deputy President in Beijing, before leaving for Qingdao, the second stop of his five-day trip to China.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says the driving force behind frequent exchanges between the leaders of China and South Africa is economic growth. He recalled that when China started the industrialization process in the late 1970s, Chinese leaders like Deng Xiaoping had traveled to Japan and Europe to seek investment and technological exchanges. That’s also what he hopes to get from China.

“We want as much investment as we possibly can get from businesses that originate from China, but we also want innovation. We want them to come and invest and as they invest, they bring new ways of doing things. We give them the market, and we give them profits.”

As an example, Deputy President Ramaphosa cites the expansion in South Africa by Hisense Co Ltd, a Chinese multinational white goods and electronics manufacturer.

In addition to cooperation in telecommunications and infrastructure, the Deputy President says South Africa is also keen to get China’s cooperation in the energy sector, especially nuclear energy.

“Because you have developed nuclear energy, and you’ve built up nuclear energy power station, and you advance in a very admirable way. So we’ll be wanting to draw quite a lot of experience and a lot of participation from your side.”

He adds this would be a big project and South Africa is looking at a number of countries including China to expand his country’s energy mix.

Ramaphosa says his visit in Beijing has been a learning experience, and he is deeply impressed with the ways that China’s state-owned enterprises are run. He says the SOEs have contributed enormously to the growth of China’s economy, which is also what he’d like to see in the context of South Africa’s mixed economy.