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Nanning is a surprise. An ancient city in China's remote southwest, Nanning turns out to be a vibrant mix of traditional and modern in a region which is now poising itself to become the transport hub of southern China and Indochina as combined road, rail, air, river and port improvements reach fruition in the project called 'the Large Channel to the Sea'. A region which has known conflict and controversy, Guangxi is now striving to make the best of its geographical and cultural diversity, and to form part of a wider economic community embracing nearby Chinese provinces as well as the adjacent nations of Southeast Asia.