This article first appeared in EL Gazette of February 2008
ENTERTAINMENT colossus the Walt Disney Corporation has opened an English language school in Shanghai, as part of its strategy of entering the Chinese EFL market. The private school caters for children aged two to eleven, using teachers from North America and locally recruited bilingual teaching assistants.
Disney’s market research shows that Chinese parents are willing to spend up to 20 per cent of their annual earnings to enable their children to learn English, and Disney predicts a 12 per cent annual growth in China’s ELT market, which it described in a Shanghai Daily interview as the world’s biggest. Disney estimated that by 2012, China’s estimated US $2 billion spend on language learning for its youth would double to US $4 billion.
· China came third in Computer Weekly magazine’s ranking of top IT ‘outsourcing destinations to watch.’ China was outclassed by Argentina and Bulgaria in the survey, with praise for these countries’ language skills and education systems. The ‘English language capability of Chinese workers’ and its weak intellectual property laws were seen as ‘unsatisfactory.’