An Education First English teacher in front of a group of Chinese students. (Internet photo)
China ranked 34th among 60 non-English speaking countries for English comprehension levels, according to a report from Education First cited in the Beijing Evening News.
English First conducted a series of tests and research on 750,000 volunteers for a year. China's ranking moved up 2 spots from 36th in 2012, putting itself ahead of France.
The education firm's report said that the English comprehension of Chinese people has improved during the past six years. The number of Chinese tourists abroad increased substantially between 2005 and 2012 and they topped the charts for money spent, all major reasons for China's boosted ranking in the education firm's report.
China's ranking still fell behind major countries, even in East Asia. Thailand is the only country who fell behind China in the charts for Asia, said the report.
Most Chinese college students spend a good chunk of their time studying English, but only approximately 5% of them are able to communicate in English fluently. A huge factor is the lack of a proper learning environment, said the report.
English comprehension levels are closely related to the subject nation's economic development, according to Education First. Research by the World Bank in 2012 showed that those with better English language skill in non-English speaking nations will have more success in conducting business.
Around two billion people will be able to speak English in 2020. Half of them will be non-native speakers, said the report.