China undoubtedly has a global economic presence. They are the nation with the world's 2nd largest GDP. This GDP growth was achieved in two ways: exports and the building of infrastructures.
However there is another aspect which I do not often see reported in the mainstream media here in Europe. Their efforts for global power projection. They have stated their goal to protect their sea lanes and maritime zone. In principle this is perfectly legitimate. In defense terms this has been expressed in many ways.
Their Navy and Air Force are presently attempting to assimilate technology using a spiral development model. The clearest example of this is their naval destroyer program.
The Chinese have expanded their navy qualitatively and quantitatively. The most visible effort is probably the aircraft carrier Liaoning which embodies a lot of concepts the Chinese employ in their quest for power projection. It is not limited there. They have been building frigates, destroyers, as well as larger marine infantry transport ships with the capability to deploy hovercrafts for beach landings.
China is building a blue water Navy and making naval visits to Africa and South America. The markets they are attempting to court for export of their industrial and military products.
As for the Chinese Air Force they have demonstrated the capability to manufacture products competitive to the mainline units of the Western forces using the Su-27 derivative and their own J-10 as counterparts to the F-15 and F-16 respectively. At the same time they have been developing a stealth fighter program which seems to have some teething problems but has been progressing a lot faster than the efforts done by the USA. Part of the reason is their more organic development model. An aircraft does not need to have the absolute latest of everything in it. They commonly deploy electronics, weapons systems, engines, in older platforms first and only later do they build the novel airframe.
I would like to bring attention to the H-6K bomber. If you judge it by its exterior looks it looks pretty much obsolete. It is after all based on the 1950s design of the Tu-16 Badger bomber. However they changed the electronics, radar, engines, weapon systems. The crew size was halved. The engines are a late 1970s design which is at least as sophisticated as the one employed on, say, the USA B-1 Lancer bomber. These are basically MiG-31 engines sans afterburner. The new weapon systems are pretty telling. Stand-off cruise missiles and anti-shipping missiles. This implies the Chinese wish for a strategy of air supremacy and sea denial not unlike that pursued by the USSR. However their naval ambitions are much larger. The fact that they do not invest as much in submarines as surface warships tells us this much.
The global power chess game is moving from Europe Atlantic region towards the Asia Pacific. Troops and units are being redeployed as the tensions increase. So far it is a staring game. But time will tell.