BBC World Service producers travel to Kazakhstan, Argentina, Romania
and France, Sierra Leone and India to examine the way Beijing and its
mighty economic power influences regional economies and the lives of
One of the largest independent states to emerge from the break-up of
the Soviet Union, oil rich Kazakhstan is China's neighbour to the west.
In the north-west oil fields close to the Russian border the Chinese
are now driving the oil production in an area that was previously an
integral part of the Soviet economy.
Oleg and Dina travel to the country's largest city, Almaty, to talk
to oil analysts and security experts who are convinced that China will
play a crucial role in Central Asia's future.
But how do the local people feel about these changes and the new Chinese
Closer to the border, people are more and more concerned with China's
growing interest in Kazakhstan. A local man says: "You always know
what to expect from Russians, but you never know what's on China's mind."
The producers are Oleg Boldyrev & Dina Zhansagimova.
Five years ago China hardly entered the political radar of Latin American
politicians, but now there are few governments who haven't sent ministers
off to Beijing in their desire to sell commodities or to seek direct
investment from Chinese companies.
The impact has been dramatic. Last year Latin America's economies grew
at their fastest rate since the debt crisis of the Eighties, helped
by demand from China and high commodity prices. Argentina's growth reached
more than eight per cent in 2004.
Many analysts say one of the biggest factors behind its remarkable
recovery from its crisis three years ago has been China's demand for
Argentina now provides 30 per cent of China's soya needs and the Asian
giant is now Argentina's fourth major destination for its products.
The producer is Hernanod Alvarez.
Henan Guoji, a semi private Chinese company, is to invest up to $200m
in a large scale tourist resort in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
If it goes ahead the joint venture will finance the construction of
200 hotels, conference centres, sports facilities and a promenade along
Lumley beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in West Africa which
was very popular before the civil war.
China and Sierra Leone have had good relations since Sierra Leone pushed
for China's admission into the United Nations in 1971.
Since then, there has been steady economic cooperation, mainly through
Chinese development aid in the Seventies and Eighties.
But Henan Guoji's investment, just three years after the end of Sierra
Leone's civil war, will be the largest direct foreign investment in
a country still ranked as the poorest in the world according to the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The producer is Christophe Pons.
Romania and France
Romania is an important garments producer and France is one of the
top fabric producers in the world.
Anca Toader travels to Paris in France and Iassy in Romania to compare
how the two countries deal with cheap imports of Chinese clothes and
how they maintain their position on the foreign markets where they compete
with the Chinese garments.
She speaks to Romanian workers who are concerned about losing their
jobs to the Chinese and discovers one of China's largest wholesale markets
in her home town of Bucharest.
The producer is Anca Toader.
India's answer to China's economic boom comes in the shape of Information
Technology (IT) with India's total software exports in 2004/05 estimated
Today there is a rush for IT in India and it's not difficult to find
posters and pamphlets advertising IT courses.
India produces four million IT graduates every year and thousands of
IT companies have sprouted up, not just in swanky smart offices but
even in cramped, rundown buildings with computer workstations squeezed
into a tiny room.
The producer is Indushekhar Sinha.
Broadcast times (GMT)
China Week: China's World: five, 25-minute programmes
Monday 7 March to Friday 11 March, 9.05-9.30am.
Listen online at bbc.co.uk/worldservice.