China's phenomenal rise to wealth will make a global economic, political and perhaps cultural and even religious impact far beyond the modernization of its smaller neighbours. In the early 1990s analysts frequently referred to the rapid economic growth of Japan and the 'four little dragons' - South Korea. Singapore. Hong Kong, Taiwan - as the main evidence of the shift of economic power to the Asia Pacific region. It was almost unthinkable then that China would soon become the world's second economic power; yet that is likely to be the case by 2010. It is now more appropriate to compare China's rise with that of the USA in the first decade of the twentieth century. Another relevant point of comparison is with India which, despite a different configuration of resources and social ordering, is a huge economy expanding in numerous sectors. The terms 'Chinese Century' and 'New Chinese Empire' are gaining currency as the rest of the world reflects on the statement, attributed to Napoleon, that 'when China wakes, the world will tremble'.