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Learning Chinese Becoming Increasingly Popular

Xinhua, 9 January 2002

BEIJING, January 9 (Xinhua)-- An increasing number of foreigners are showing interest in learning Chinese as China increases exchanges with the outside world.

It is estimated that the number of foreigners coming to China to learn the language over the last few years has maintained an average annual growth rate of 35 percent.

Last year alone, more than 100,000 examinees took part in HSK ( Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi), also known as the Chinese Proficiency Test, the highest number since the test was initiated a decade ago.

According to Chi Lanying, president of Beijing Language and Culture University, which has a long history in teaching Chinese as a foreign language, the Chinese language has become increasingly important as an international means of communication and teaching Chinese for practical use would be most welcome among foreign learners.

A survey shows that a growing number of foreigners study Chinese for their job rather than out of personal interest. Among the foreign students who took part in HSK in Beijing last year, about half were there for professional reasons.

Many foreign companies like Samsung and Daewood of the Republic of Korea ask for Chinese proficiency certificates from applicants for positions involving business with the Chinese market.