Learning Chinese Mandarin is big business for students
15 March 2011 Last updated at 13:39 GMT
China is now the world's second largest economy, overtaking Japan which held the position for more than 40 years.
With new business possibilities emerging, the desire to learn Chinese Mandarin is increasing.
Schools are strengthening their links with China, and students are taking up Mandarin as a second or third language to enable them to communicate internationally.
The British Council says it has linked around 43,000 pupils and teachers in the UK and China.
The BBC visited the HSBC/British Council Mandarin Chinese Speaking Competition in London, where students competed to win a trip to Beijing, and asked them to demonstrate some useful Mandarin business phrases.
Primary Languages: Learn your Mandarin basics with the BBC