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.
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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.
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FORERO: Across town, in the heart of Sao Paulo, students play the Chinese harp in the Sao Bento School.
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FORERO: It's filled with the children of Chinese immigrants, singing Chinese songs along with the children of Brazilians.
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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 attachÃÂ© 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.
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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.
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FORERO: Unidentified Man: (Foreign language spoken)
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FORERO: Juan Forero, NPR News.
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