On April 17, Social Sciences Academic Press and Hubei University jointly issued the "Culture Blue Book, Chinese Culture Development Report." The Report states that although the Confucius Institute was launched not long ago, it already has had a huge effect and a far-reaching influence. Compared to other major international organizations that promote language and culture, the Confucius Institute is leading the league in terms of pace of expansion and magnitude of influence. According to the latest data from Hanban (the Chinese National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language), by the end of 2013, 440 Confucius Institutes and 646 Confucius Classrooms had been established in 120 countries (regions) around the world. The United States has the largest number (97) of Confucius Institutes.
Pushed forward by the Confucius Institute, learning the Chinese language has become popular around the globe. In 2010 and 2011, Russia and France each organized the "Chinese Year" activities. According to the China culture media network, a website under the Ministry of Culture, in 2010, about 100 million foreigners were learning Chinese; that figure reached 150 million in 2013. The Confucius Institute has become the brand name for promoting the Chinese language and showcasing China’s "soft power."
Source: People’s Daily Online, April 17, 2014