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Joint venture trailblazer rides the great red wave

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Then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, left, unveils the entrance plate of a new Volkswagen plant in Shanghai on Nov. 3, 1999.   © Reuters

BANGKOK -- Ever since China opened its gates to the world in the late 1970s, Volkswagen has occupied a special position in the country. Not only are the German manufacturer's vehicles the bestselling cars in the largest auto market in the world, but the company has played a crucial role in leading the rapid industrialization of China. Hence, its operation is considered an exemplary model of joint ventures between Chinese and foreign companies.

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