Chinese enrol for Spanish as trade links grow

23rd October 2006, Comments 0 comments

23 October 2006, BEIJING — Chinese signed up for Spanish classes at the new Cervantes Institute in Beijing on Monday, many motivated by commercial prospects in the 400-million-strong Spanish-speaking global market.

23 October 2006

BEIJING — Chinese signed up for Spanish classes at the new Cervantes Institute in Beijing on Monday, many motivated by commercial prospects in the 400-million-strong Spanish-speaking global market.

"We are quite pleased with the turnout," Inmaculada Gonzalez, director of the institute, told EFE.

She said participation here in the opening phase was greater than inaugural sessions in other capitals, like Moscow.

The Cervantes Institute's objectives include extending the use and understanding of Spanish throughout the world, disseminating the Spanish and Hispanic culture and training language teachers around the globe.

More than 170 people, mostly Chinese university students, began formal instruction in Spanish.

"Eighty-five percent are young, under the age of 25," said Federico Losada, academic director said.

"South America is a very important market for China, which, even though it continues to perceive English as the priority language, feels attracted by the culture and customs of Latin nations," he said.

Most of those signed up for the commercial Spanish course have some connection with Chinese companies doing business in Spain or Latin America, or are local employees of Spanish or Latin American companies operating in China.

Officials of the institute predicted that by the second trimester, which will begin in February after the Chinese New Year, some 500 students will be taking part.

The classes kicked off three months after Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia attended the inauguration of the Cervantes Institute branch in Beijing in July.

The Cervantes Institute has 58 centres in 38 countries.

The opening of the Cervantes centre in Beijing made the Chinese capital "the spearhead" for the institute in Asia and the Pacific, where over the next two years it will open centers in Shanghai, New Delhi, Seoul, Tokyo and Sydney, in accord with its worldwide expansion plans.

Late last month, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said his nation plans to continue bolstering economic relations with the countries in Latin America, which could reap benefits from the new free trade agreement Beijing signed with Chile.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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