Deals and Diplomacy

Jimmy Gao glides down the broad staircase of a French colonial mansion in Cambodia's steamy capital, Phnom Penh, and lets a self-satisfied grin spread across his face. The Chinese businessman has e very right to feel good. This grand edifice was once the city hall when Paris ruled Indochina. Now, it's the headquarters of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, and Gao is the chamber's president. Last year, China ranked as Cambodia's No. 1 foreign investor for the first time, and bilateral trade volume rose 50% from the year before. Chinese interests permeate practically every sector of the Southeast Asian nation's economy,...

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