Hu  Deping

Hu Deping

President, China-Africa Business Council

Date of Birth: November 1942
Place of Birth: Hunan

Facing a growing demand for agricultural products while its wealthy business people seek new opportunities, Chinese companies are searching for investments in Africa that go beyond energy and mineral resourses. A key figure in linking Chinese and African enterprises is Hu Deping and his China-Africa Business Council (CABC).

Hu's initiative is partly funded by the United Nations Development Programme. The CABC bills itself as a non-governmental platform to develop partnerships between African and Chinese private enterprises. Most recently, Hu led a 64-member delegation to Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda for two weeks in mid-April. The delegation looked at agriculture and tourism.

Hu was born in 1942 in Hunan and studied history at Beijing University. After graduation in 1967, he spent some years in agricultural and factory labour before joining the National Museum of China, where he became Deputy Director. While at the Central Party School, the training center for the political elite, in the early 1980s, he befriended classmate and future President Hu Jintao.

The relationship has served both men well. Hu Deping is the eldest son of a high-ranking politician - Hu Yaobang, a reform-minded General Secretary of the Communist Party. Hu Jintao's access to Hu Yaobang is said to have been instrumental in the former's rise to the Chinese presidency. Public grief surrounding Hu Yaobang's death in 1989 led to the democracy protests in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, that were violently put down by the army. His son was involved in politics at the provincial level and, as hard-liners tightened their grip on the Party, he seemed destined to remain there. Since then, however, events have turned slowly in his favour.

Hu holds several influential positions in China's private sector. He is Vice-Chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce that informally links party leadership and the private sector, and also welcomes foreign investors to China. He is Vice-Chairman of a non-governmental organisation of Chinese entrepreneurs that focuses on poverty reduction and Deputy Director of the Central Committee's United Front Work Department. On 13 March, the President secured a place for Hu on the standing committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a body that advises the Chinese parliament.