China’s Demand for Spanish Skyrocketing

ThinkstockPhotos-186476418Lu Jingsheng, the Chinese government’s National Coordinator for Spanish, said that in the last fifteen years the demand for Spanish language education in China has “increased 30 fold” without being properly addressed. Job opportunities for Spanish language speakers are growing in China, but without sufficient educational support, resulting in a high demand for teachers. “Spanish speakers in China have a good systematic infrastructure, but strong pedagogical work needs to be developed in order to harness the economic opportunities provided by China,” Lu said. “The amount of jobs for Spanish speakers is constantly growing, especially for teachers. China is a challenge, but also a great business opportunity.”

Approximately 40,000 students are enrolled in Spanish teaching courses in order to meet this demand. This puts the Spanish language on a future path to eclipse traditionally taught European languages such as French and German. This predicted growth in Spanish language speakers in China coupled with the increase of Spanish in the United States – the Institutio Cervantes estimates that the U.S. will be the largest Spanish speaking country by 2050 – means a worldwide surge in Spanish.

The ties between Spain and China have been tightening rapidly since 2013 when the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs announced targeted efforts to increase influence in Asia. Despite a lack of Spanish language teachers trade between the two countries has grown, from €2.9 million in 2001, to the current yearly trade revenue of €25 million. However, China’s relationship with Spain will not have as much economic impact as China’s relationship with the Spanish language. China’s demand for Spanish teachers means Spanish-speaking countries other than Spain will be promoted as study abroad destinations.


  1. I would be very interested in learning the process of the educational support needed to acquire new Spanish teachers. I am a native speaker and feel I could help and would love for someone to get in touch. Blanca Lucia

  2. Hello, I´m very interested about to go to China like spanish teacher.
    I´m from PERU.
    Please I need more inormation about it.

  3. Yo soy profesora de Español y estoy actualmente en China como esposa acompañante. Voy a estar aqui por dos años y me gustaria enseñar en ese tiempo.
    ¿Podría darme más información acerca de esto?
    Saludos cordiales,
    Clara Maria

  4. The Chinese have realized: A) that there are hundreds of millions of Spanish speakers who buy imported things and making deals to import things to Spanish language nations usually happen in Spanish, and B) that if you are making products for sale in the US, it is often cheaper to make those products in a Spanish language nation (i.e., Mexico and the rest of Mesoamerica) than to make them in China and ship them to the US. Also, NAFTA

  5. China has been one of Cuba’s trading partners for over 50 years. After the USSR collapsed, China had to pick up the slack for Cuba.

  6. Yes, and that is why things are different now. Cuba is/was a dependent nation. Cuba got what the USSR gave it, and what China gave it. Not a lot of bargaining power there. With 11 million people along with its small economy, Cuba also doesn’t have the importance to cause language learning. The Netherlands is a much larger presence in the international marketplace (and has had one at least since the Romans decided to stay on the left bank of the Rhine), with one of the largest ports in the world, and a larger population than Cuba. But no one in China (or anywhere else) is rushing to learn Dutch. The demand for Spanish speakers is due to the few hundred of million Spanish speakers from all across the Americas. Many of the countries that use Spanish have also seen improvements in GDP that put them in the middle-income zone. It is at this point that large portions of the population want to buy cars, refrigerators, microwave ovens, multiple televisions, etc. And it is also due to Asian nations finding that production facilities in Spanish language nations close to the US and Canada can be cheaper in labor and maintenance costs as well as cheaper and faster in logistical matters. The ability to send a rush shipment of parts from Sinaloa to Ohio overnight by truck saves a tremendous amount of money compared to finding a series of last minute airfreight flights from a city a few hours away from Shanghai to a city a few hours away from Chicago or Dallas. I have seen many internal corporate documents dealing with this issue, more than I want to. This includes long email chains arguing about who is going to take the $10,000+ hit for the emergency shipment from Ningbo to Columbus

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