WYSO

Rob Gifford

This month, NPR is examining the many ways China is expanding its reach in the world — through investment, infrastructure, military power and more.

This month, NPR is examining the many ways China is expanding its reach in the world — through investment, infrastructure, military power and more.

After 30 years of mind-bending economic growth, everyone knows about brand China — but very few people can name a Chinese brand. And the reasons for that are not just economic.

In a bustling market near the center of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, Soray Peah, 24, is testing the ringtones on a cellphone she wants to buy.

This month, NPR is examining the many ways China is expanding its reach in the world — through investments, infrastructure, military power and more.

When the United States took over from Britain as the predominant world power 100 years ago, the transition was like one between brothers — or cousins, at least. And the two countries remain close allies to this day. The rise of China in relation to U.S. predominance presents a somewhat different challenge — with decades of sometimes outright hostility and an ongoing fractious relationship.

The sound of running water — clean running water — is not one you have always been able to hear in the ramshackle lean-tos that pass for homes on the edge of Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia.

Providing clean water is one of the biggest challenges for governments in the developing world. Clean water charities say that thousands of people die every day of preventable diseases as a result of not having clean drinking water, and 90 percent of those who die are under the age of 5.