As its comprehensive national strength continuously increases, China’s influence in international affairs and the importance of the Chinese language become increasingly notable. Learning Chinese has become increasingly popular. While some learn it for their interest in the Chinese language and culture, some see learning Chinese as a tool for business. In order to create conditions conducive to learning and facilitate the learning of Chinese overseas, the Chinese government started collaboration with renowned institutions and professional organisations worldwide through the Office of Chinese Learning Council International (Hanban) and established Confucius Institutes to offer Chinese classes and to promote Chinese culture. Since the establishment of the first Confucius Institute in 2005, the number of Institutes around the world has grown to 525 in 2017 spreading over 146 countries.
Under the auspices of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and Hanban, the Confucius Institute of Hong Kong (CIHK) was inaugurated in 2006, dedicated to the promotion of Chinese language and culture as well as the facilitation of cultural exchanges between China and the world. As the only Confucius Institute in the territory and the only one of its kind in China, CIHK addresses Hong Kong’s unique historical background and socio-economic conditions and provides various types of activities and programmes for local residents to broaden and deepen their understanding of Chinese history and traditional culture as well as that of contemporary China.
In 2013 Hanban and PolyU reached an agreement to restructure CIHK as a unit of the University so that the PolyU community could directly benefit from the Institute’s programmes and activities. Beginning 2014 the Institute is further placed under PolyU’s Faculty of Humanities.