SHANGHAI — Closer ties between China and Spanish-speaking countries have boosted the number of people learning Spanish in China, according to experts.
“There will be more Chinese learning Spanish under closer ties between China and Spanish-speaking countries,” said Dario Villanueva, director of Real Academia Espanola, during his recent visit to Shanghai.
China included Spanish in the country’s senior high school curriculum this September.
“In the next six years, there might be 10 percent of all China’s high-schoolers learning Spanish, which will enhance the need for Spanish teachers and teaching materials,” Villanueva said.
Real Academia Espanola and Shanghai International Studies University recently signed an agreement to build a research center for Spanish language promotion in China.
Inma Gonzalez Puy, director of the Cervantes Institute in Beijing, said there were few people speaking Spanish when she first came to China in 1979. Now, more than 100 colleges offer Spanish language courses on the Chinese mainland and an increasing number of private institutes offer Spanish language training programs.
In 2018, 8,000 Chinese took the Diplomas of Spanish as a Foreign Language examination, compared to just 3,200 in 2014.
Experts say that closer ties between China and Spanish-speaking countries are the reasons behind the Spanish language fervor.
In 2017, trade between China and Spain hit $30 billion, a record high. More than 700 Spanish companies do business in China.
Meanwhile, the trade between China and Latin America, where Spanish is widely used, was nearly $260 billion. China was the second largest trade partner and third largest export market to Latin America in 2017.