British exports to the country are expected to quadruple by the end of the decade and the government wants every school, college and university to be twinned with an equivalent in China within the next five years.
An estimated 100 schools in the UK are now teaching Mandarin, China's official language, according to the British Council - the UK's international organisation for educational and cultural relations.
GCSE entries for the Chinese languages of Mandarin and Cantonese crept up to just under 4,000 last year. Even with its falling popularity, however, the number of entries in French still hit 320,000.
Ann Martin, a Mandarin teacher at the Ashcombe School in Dorking Surrey, believes part of the problem is the exam system, which isn't designed for non native speakers and is hard for them to gain good grades compared to native speakers.
Business experts are in no doubt about how important Mandarin will become over the next few years.
"China's economy is growing so quickly and becoming so influential in the world economy that people can't afford to ignore it. People who want to be ahead in whatever industry need to think about China and learning Chinese."