| ||In China, highways serve multiple functions. Used by motor vehicles, animal-drawn carts, cyclists, they can also become grain dryers. Over the past 30 years, the road network has been developed at an increasing rate. Today, it is close to 4 million kilometers long, nearly three times more than in 1978, putting China in second position behind the United States. Although the average number of vehicles per capita is much lower than the world average, China became in 2009 one of the biggest market for new cars, second after the United States. According to data from the Chinese National Office of Statistics, there were 100 million motor vehicles by the end of 2011, plus 119 million motorbikes and scooters. If the current growth is maintained, there will be more than 150 million cars by 2020. Since 1993, China has imported a great deal of oil. At present, China imports 55% of what it consumes. Because China is getting more and more dependent on the Middle East for its hydrocarbon supplies, this country that has become the second world consumer of oil tends to multiply its agreements with African oil producing countries.
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