China is eager to boost trading ties with African nations as a source of energy and raw materials and an increasingly important market for its manufactured goods, the Chinese ambassador to South Africa said. Speaking at a seminar in Pretoria, he said that while trade with the African continent amounted to just 2.3% of China's overseas trade, the complimentary nature of the two offered huge potential for further growth. China has taken a growing interest in African energy and mineral reserves, eager to secure future supplies to feed its fast growing industrial base. It also sees the emerging economies on the continent as an important future market for its products. Trade with South Africa, China's largest trading partner in Africa, reached US$4.3bn in the first nine months of 2004, more than 50% up on the same period last year.