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Since the communist regime decided to open up to foreign investment in 1978, China has become one of the world's fastest growing economies and is among its 10 largest.

But, with growth rates over 10%, some experts warn the Chinese economy may be overheating and that should it falter the rest of the world could suffer.

In recent years, China has also become a trading giant - it is the world's fifth largest exporter of merchandise after the US, Germany, Japan, and France.

The economic boom has, however, created new social and environmental problems.

Graphs showing GDP Annual Growth ratesand Global exporters and importers


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