China And Brazil Warm Up Business, Culture Ties Increasingly, Beijing is using a sophisticated charm offensive in its quest for new markets and resources. It's using this "soft power" approach in countries like Brazil, where it's found a receptive trading partner. And it has a model for its efforts: the United States.
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China And Brazil Warm Up Business, Culture Ties

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China And Brazil Warm Up Business, Culture Ties

China And Brazil Warm Up Business, Culture Ties

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RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

NPR's Juan Forero has the story from Sao Paolo.

JUAN FORERO: Unidentified Woman #2: Hong Kong, the Oriental pearl, is simply amazing.

FORERO: Unidentified Woman #3: (Foreign language spoken)

FORERO: Blatt is 50, highly educated, fluent in English and other languages. Now he's eager to learn about China.

ROBERT BLATT: You have many hours of Chinese classes, and also culture, geography, history and culture in general.

FORERO: Zhu Qingquiao is a business adviser in China's embassy in Brasilia.

ZHU QINGQUIAO: (Foreign language spoken)

FORERO: In Brazil, many form their first impressions of China from the ubiquitous presence of Chinese immigrants, centered here around Plaza Libertad and its many markets.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHATTER)

FORERO: Some Brazilians have delved deeper, like Joao Pedro Flecha de Lima, who directs operations in Brazil for Huawei, the highly successful Chinese telecom giant.

JOAO PEDRO FLECHA DE LIMA: Since I figured I could never learn the language properly, I decided to try to learn a little bit of the culture. So I read some Chinese romances and I got a little more acquainted with the way of thinking of the Chinese.

FORERO: Marina Schwartzman works for the Brazil-China Chamber for Economic Development, helping Brazilian companies find partners in China.

MARINA SCHWARTZMAN: They don't know anything about the Chinese language, the Chinese culture, how to do business in China if they don't know anything about Chinese people.

FORERO: A range of groups, some headed by Chinese-born entrepreneurs and activists with ties to the Chinese state, are determined to spur change.

BOB WEI: (Foreign language spoken)

FORERO: In an industrial corner of Sao Paulo, the Chinese Cultural and Commercial Center, headed by a young Chinese-Brazilian businessman named Bob Wei, holds karate classes. And at night, Wei provides briefings on China to businessmen.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FORERO: Across town, in the heart of Sao Paulo, students play the Chinese harp in the Sao Bento School.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

FORERO: It's filled with the children of Chinese immigrants, singing Chinese songs along with the children of Brazilians.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHILDREN SINGING AND APPLAUSE)

FORERO: Juliana Wu is the principal, herself new to Brazil. She's found fertile ground here: Brazilian parents.

JULIANA WU: They want to have their children, in the future have a good career, because the one who can speak Chinese and also Portuguese or English, they can get good job.

FORERO: The Chinese government, meanwhile, is building up its diplomatic corps - one that Chinese experts say is increasingly composed of sophisticated diplomats like Shu Jianping. He's the cultural attaché here. He's Latinized his name to Antonio, is dashing in slicked hair and a blue suit, and speaks Portuguese and Spanish fluently.

SHU JIANPING: (Spanish spoken)

FORERO: Yet as China's presence has grown here, there's been friction over, among other things, Chinese imports flooding Brazilian manufacturing. The Chinese want to blunt those concerns.

JIANPING: (Foreign language spoken)

FORERO: Preconceptions in Sao Paulo, to be sure, are changing because of the latest Chinese arrival, the new compact cars sold by JAC Motors.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

FAUSTO SILVA: (Foreign language spoken)

FORERO: Sergio Habib, president of JAC Motors here, has opened 50 dealerships since March of this year and plans another 100 by 2012.

SERGIO HABIB: Brazilian image about Chinese products, it's changing very fast. We are helping that with JAC cars.

(SOUNDBITE OF HONKING HORNS)

FORERO: Unidentified Man: (Foreign language spoken)

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

FORERO: Juan Forero, NPR News.

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