Confucius Institute helps China-Brazil trade

Article published at website about Confucius Institute in Brazil, December 29,2009.

Confucius Institutes are mushrooming around the world. In Brazil, with China becoming its largest trade partner, many people have found the institutes can teach them a lot more than language and culture. Students are flooding in for first hand information on China’s economy and business opportunities.

Brazil is the biggest country in South America. It’s known as “the kingdom of coffee” for its production and export of coffee and cane sugar. Chinese language is gaining momentum in the country. 5 Confucius Institutes have been established since 2008.

The first was set up at Sao Paulo State University. The number of students has grown to 1,300 from the original 30.

Durval Noronha is a sponsor of the institute and a noted lawyer. His law firm specializes in cases concerning China-Brazil trade cooperation. He credits rising enrollment to the new courses on China’s society and economy.

Noronha said, “We want to be able to explain China to businessmen.”

Nearly a third of this year’s new students are well-established Brazilians. They come to identify skills and connections that can help them establish business with China.

As of this year, Confucius Institutes in South America have enrolled more than 14,000 students. Brazilians say they want to know about the Chinese people to avoid frictions when doing business.

And many say greater understanding can help China and South America, which are geographically far away, to become closely connected.

See video.