Skip to Content


Education in the Chinese language provides insight into the culture, thought, and literature of China. It also gives students knowledge of a language that enables them to work and travel in areas of the world where Chinese is spoken-including a better understanding of both the spoken and written traditions of China.

Chinese is a global language, spoken by some 1.4 billion people as either their native tongue or as a second language. Next to English, it is the most important world language for business, diplomacy, and education. World-wide, almost one million people took a Chinese proficiency test in 2016. In the United States alone over 250,000 people are presently studying Chinese.

China leads the world in many areas, including steel and automobile production, computer, cell phone, and other high-technology exports, and global patent registrations. China is also at the forefront of research into digital media, quantum communications, and space exploration.

The Chinese economy is on the path to becoming the world's largest economy by 2020 and Minnesota companies need employees with cultural and linguistic competencies to succeed in the global economy. At present, China is the # 1 trading partner of the United States (US$ 580 Billion, 2016), Minnesota's # 3 export market (US$2.2 Billion, 2015). 

More Reasons to Study Chinese

America put a man on the moon in 1969. China has a rover on Mars and plans to put a man on the moon by 2025.

Today, China has over 2,000 power plants under construction, and has invested almost $400 billion dollars in alternative energy. Its largest cities are home to over 1,200 skyscrapers, including 5 of the tallest buildings in the world. It has the most expansive high-speed (bullet) train network in the world, spreading out some 12,000 miles, with plans to expand it to 18,000 miles. Their highway and airport building program is also the biggest in history. And it has more supercomputers than any country in the world, including the United States, with its fastest home-grown supercomputer 5 times faster than anything in the West.

China is the world's:

  • Leading trade nation
  • Most industrialized nation
  • Biggest producer of food
  • Greatest producer of consumer goods.
  • Largest consumer of food and energy

As a result, the study of China and Chinese has become one of the fastest growing areas of learning in the United States and the world.

How can Normandale Community College help?

  • By giving you the opportunity to learn Mandarin Chinese, a language spoken by over 1/4th of the world's population and one of the 6 working languages of the United Nations.
  • And by introducing you to Chinese culture, the oldest continuous culture in the world, with roots that go back more than 5,000 years, with literature and philosophy that rival any.

What can you do with this knowledge?

Apply it in a variety of fields, including:

  • Teaching & Research
  • Government Service
  • Business
  • Industry
  • Law
  • Journalism
  • Tourism

Or travel and see China first hand.

Whatever your choices in life, knowledge of China or Chinese is sure to be an invaluable asset, working to give you an advantage in the competition for employment, but also contributing to you becoming a true Global Citizen.
Welcome to the fascinating field of Chinese Studies.

20 Facts About China

  1. China has some 1.4 billion people, with 1 in 5 people in the world being Chinese.
  2. Over 50% of Chinese live in cities, creating a country in which there are 170+ cities with a population over 1 million.
  3. Han Chinese account for 92% of all Chinese, but there are also over 125 million ethnic minority people in China.
  4. China has a land mass of 3.8 million square miles, slightly larger than the USA and third in size in the world to Russia and Canada.
  5. Over 1 billion people speak Mandarin Chinese; some 900+ million of them speak it as their first language.


  1. During the last decade China’s economy grew 7X as fast as that of the USA (316% to 43%).
  2. China is now the No. 1 industrial and agricultural producer in the world, having recently surpassed the USA.
  3. China is the No. 1 exporting country and No. 3 importing country in the world.
  4. China’s Foreign Exchange & Gold Reserves total $US 3 Trillion.
  5. China has almost 12,000 miles of High Speed Rail, with its Mag Lev line capable of speeds up to 300 mph.


  1. Peking Man, an early example of Homo Erectus, lived in the caves of China more than 500,000 years ago.
  2. Modern Humans walked the plains of China 50,000 years ago.
  3. Approximately 10,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age, water buffalo, crocodiles, and elephants roamed Northern China.
  4. The earliest Neolithic settlements were established in China 8,500 years ago.
  5. Royal Centers, with bronze technology, palatial architecture, and large tombs were part of the first Chinese “civilization,” the Xia Dynasty (2100-1600 BCE).

Little-Known Facts

  1. Chinese invented silk, the cross bow, the compass, paper, gun powder, and printing.
  2. Chinese created the earliest calendar around 2,600 BCE.
  3. The Chinese writing system goes back to the Shang Dynasty (1576-1059 BCE), when it was used on oracle bones, which were used to communicate with spirits.
  4. The Chinese were the first to use a place for ‘zero’ and were using the decimal system as early as the 14th century BCE, some 2,300 years before Westerners.
  5. Chinese were the first to use paper money (about 1,400 years ago).

World Languages Faculty

upper arrowtop