It should be interesting to see what happens when China starts its move on Construction projects, firstly in BG and then Westwards. The BG construction market, roads, hospitals etc etc is a very closed shop, and as we all know it is run by fat blokes with short haircuts driving Black 4x4's. Chinese construction companies have a very "protectionist" approach to their building projects , which is why they are managing to win so many contracts in Africa. Chinese plant, Chinese labour, even to the point of importing food to feed the labour, low costs, low tenders, more wins.
At the end of the day what you have said Owain is right. The West has sat back for far to long and expects the "monopoly" gravy train to run forever. The Chinese have very cleverly watched and waited and now have stepped in. Western Europe has todate still managed to keep the Chinese construction companies out of the EU by citing safety standards as the main block. Once the Chinese construction companies get past this and into Europe it will open the flood gates and EU construction companies will have something to worry about as they cannot compete on a level playing field.
I did work on a tender for a power station in Wales where the EU prices were circa $2 billion, a Chinese construction company said it could do it for HALF that but was very cleverly sidelined and kept out. For how long this can go on, who knows.
That BBC 2 part series I quoted "The Chinese are Coming" is really well worth a watch. It does show the downside and negatives to the whole thing, not just the niceties of investments which do tend to profit a few rich people and not the general population.
Next phase in all this. Moving from resources and food to buying industries and consumer businesses. My brother-in-law owns a very large motor parts business in the Uk, and has now been approached by the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in London if he is interested in selling. This will cut out the middle man and Chinese products will then go direct to the consumer.
Where this is heading, I don't have a clue, but I am damn sure, the Chinese have a long term plan well in hand.