Last year, only nine nations--all of them with advanced industrial economies--cranked out at least $100 billion worth of exports. But this year, notes economist Joseph P. Quinlan of Dean Witter Reynolds Inc., a developing nation will join the club for the first time. Helped by soaring foreign investment and by a surplus of cheap labor, China is projected to boost its exports to around $115 billion, up from $47.5 billion as recently as 1988.

That's not all. If one counts Taiwan's and Hong Kong's domestically produced exports, "Chinese" exports should hit about $232 billion this year, says Quinlan--making "Greater China" the world's fourth-largest trading entity, after the U.S., Japan, and Germany.

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