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A high-tech future dawns in China

Beijing is pulling out all the stops to get ready for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
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By Staff on
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A trip across Beijing on Thursday to the corporate offices of Intel and Lenovo provided a look at the rapidly changing city. Beijing is pulling out all the stops to get ready for the 2008 Summer Olympics, which is just 477 days away, as this sign on the highway near Intel's offices reminds passersby.
Credit: Tom Krazit, CNET News.com

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A large banner just outside Lenovo's offices reminds workers heading to and from the lunchroom why people buy PCs. Gaming is a huge part of PC use in China, as the thousands of Internet cafes around the country serve as social outlets and even dating destinations, said Jane Price, head of Intel's marketing efforts in China.
Credit: Tom Krazit, CNET News.com
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An example of the symbiotic relationship between the new high-tech Beijing and the old ways of doing business. This gentleman was taking a nap in the middle of a bustling high-tech district in Beijing, home to dozens of multinational and local tech companies but ringed by poorer areas full of run-down housing and street vendors.
Credit: Tom Krazit, CNET News.com
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Down the block from the main offices, Lenovo employees eat lunch in a cafeteria complete with waiters. The change in Chinese workers from a decade ago has been truly amazing to behold, said Duncan Clark, an analyst with BDA China. Ten years ago, workers were assigned jobs and virtually everyone wore the same drab clothes. Today, workers have the ability to choose their jobs and have discovered the fine art of fashion.
Credit: Tom Krazit, CNET News.com
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One of the more interesting buildings in the area around Lenovo's offices. "This is a country that's kind of in future shock," Clark said. He was trying to explain how China is racing ahead with development--there's a construction project every mile in Beijing--but the government still maintains tight control over the media and tries to push a friendly authoritarian Father Knows Best-type of agenda.
Credit: Tom Krazit, CNET News.com
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Lenovo's corporate offices could be at home in any suburban office park in the U.S. When it acquired IBM's PC business, Lenovo moved its corporate offices to the U.S., but it's still at home in Beijing, where its roots run deep as the first company to make a PC that could understand Chinese characters.
Credit: Tom Krazit, CNET News.com
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One of the PCs developed by Lenovo's engineers is a dual-boot system that can run either Microsoft's Windows Vista or LEOS, a Lenovo-designed operating system. This particular unit fits into Intel's Viiv concept of living room PCs that can be operated from the couch and used to manage a library of songs and videos.
Credit: Tom Krazit, CNET News.com
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Lenovo is a big corporate sponsor of the 2008 Olympics, and is joining forces with Coca-Cola on this particular laptop. It's a marketing pro's dream synergistic branding proposition.
Credit: Tom Krazit, CNET News.com
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This aerial view, complete with smog, shows the Beijing University of Technology Gymnasium (left) and the warm-up hall (right) under construction. These venues will host badminton and artistic gymnastics for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games.
Credit: Xinhua Photo, Luo Xiaoguang
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For all the high-tech glitz and glamour of Beijing's growing sophisticates, there is the day-to-day reality for the majority of the city's residents. There are about 1.3 billion people in China. About 100 million of those are at the top of the economic ladder, with an additional 400 million or so designated as the "urban mass market," Intel's Price said. Intel believes all of these people are potential PC customers, but they live in very different worlds.
Credit: Tom Krazit, CNET News.com

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