More foreigners taking HSK Chinese language exam

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In Shanghai, a number of expats have spent the weekend proving their Chinese skills in the HSK exam - the best-known test of Chinese language proficiency. The test has become increasingly popular over the past few years, as more foreigners move to China, and the country plays a bigger role in the global economy.

Vietnamese housewife Tran Thi Truc Nhi has been living in Shanghai for two and a half years with her German husband. With plans to return to the work world in the future, she took the HSK test this weekend, and says a certificate should provide her with more job opportunities.

"Because we are an international family and now we are in China, maybe (in the) next few years, we are in other countries. I'd like to study because now the economy of China is developing very fast. Many companies now have their offices in China. So it dosen't matter which company I work for, it's still related to China, so Chinese is very important for my job later," she said.

While many people take the test to improve their chances of finding a good job, other just want to learn more about Chinese culture.

"At first, I was scared. My teacher pushed me into it. At the end, it worked well for me, and my results was pretty good. My motivation was just to learn that much of Chinese language to understand the culture better, and to communicate with the locals," one examiee, Petra Suess said.

The growing popularity of the test has been good for training schools in the city.

"According to our academy, the number of HSK students is tripled every year. So we could see that taking HSK test is an increasing trend," Lina Cai from Hanbridge Education said. "And in terms of the purpose of examinees, mostly there are two types, one is for their future study in Chinese universities, and another is to see the Chinese level of themselves. Most of our students are from UK, Germany, France, Japan and South Korea."

Last year, about 370,000 people took the HSK test in China, and five million sat the exam worldwide.

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