ASIA is shifting from being Japan-dominated to a Chinese-driven region, according to best-selling writer John Naisbitt. He said Japanese power had peaked and the Chinese were preparing for the 'dragon century'. Mr Naisbitt, in Hong Kong to promote his new book Megatrends Asia , said networks were replacing nation states, with the overseas Chinese becoming the world's most powerful network. The author of Megatrends , which sold eight million copies, said Japan's gross domestic product (GDP) was in its fifth consecutive year of stagnation, its industrial output for the first quarter of 1995 was 7 per cent below its 1991 peak, and this year Nissan closed its leading factory in Japan. 'There will probably never be another new automobile plant built in Japan,' he said. With nation states being replaced by networks and borders being erased, the networks would become larger and more important,' Mr Naisbitt said. 'The place to start is the overseas Chinese network,' he said. 'This phenomenon has been around for centuries, but only now is the world becoming aware of its extraordinary presence. 'The overseas Chinese are the ethnic Chinese people who live outside the mainland of China. They number 57 million - 54 million in Asia.' The overseas Chinese were the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, and the force that would catapult Asia to world economic dominance, he said. The economy of the borderless overseas Chinese was the world's third largest. 'If we counted the economic activity of all the overseas Chinese as a country all by itself, it would be outranked only by the United States and Japan,' Mr Naisbitt said. The overseas Chinese dominated trade and investment in every East Asian country except Korea and Japan, and the Chinese of Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore supplied more capital and foreign investment for the region than did Japan. In Malaysia, overseas Chinese represented 30 per cent of the population and more than half of the economy. In Indonesia, four per cent of the population was ethnic Chinese, but they controlled 70 per cent of the economy. In Thailand, three per cent controlled 60 per cent of the economy, while in the Philippines, four per cent controlled 70 per cent of the economy. Chinese were making increasing inroads into Western economies, and were creating the world's 'first truly global tribal network'. 'Networks have been around for a long time - the difference today is that the revolution in telecommunications has elevated them to a new level,' Mr Naisbitt said.