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China's World

Category: World Service

Date: 28.02.2005
Printable version

As part of China Week, a pan-BBC season, China's World, a new five-part landmark series, explores China's influence across the globe everyday on BBC World Service from Monday 7 March at 9.05am (GMT).

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 ordinary people.


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 influence here?

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 soya.

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.

Sierra Leone

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 at $17.5bn.

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



Category: World Service

Date: 28.02.2005
Printable version


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