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A recent visit by The Telegraph to Yantian – part of Shenzhen, the world’s fourth busiest container port – offers a glimpse of the impact of the global economic slowdown on China.

Even though this visit was during the peak season, lorry drivers canvassed at the container terminal said their business was up to 50% down and there are no longer any congested truck queues which characterised the port in the boom years.

An agent for one shipper, Bridgestone, said that the tyre producer has been forced to flip its strategy. Instead of selling Chinese products to the world, 70% of its revenues now come from imports. And there are signs that such a shift from exports to imports could be a lifeline to ports like Yantian as new markets are “created from nothing”.

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