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GONZALO TOCA REY

London and Paris have been rivals for as long as anyone can remember. But there is a new front in the age-old conflict between western Europe's richest and chicest capitals: the hearts, minds and - most importantly - the wallets of Chinese tourists.

"Let's be perfectly clear, this is a competition with London, this is a battle between cities." So said François Navarro, the Ile-de-France regional tourist authority's spokesman, to a British newspaper. And this time he is looking to avoid a Waterloo: Paris draws one million Chinese tourists annually, 10 times more than London.

The second of a two-part series on China's growing influence in Europe looks at professionals facing the cold stares of a cynical Spain.

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