The two new degree courses will bring the number of courses in mainland China to over 30.

The Portuguese department wants to train teachers who teach Chinese at the Confucius Institutes (IC) operating in Portuguese-speaking countries, through the creation of a free course, in addition to the degree.

The Beijing-sponsored organization guarantees free Mandarin courses at five Portuguese universities - Aveiro, Coimbra, Lisbon, Minho and Porto.

The course at Hebei Normal University will count on 30 students in its first academic year and aims to support the creation of a Faculty dedicated to football.

China aims to become a football power, by the middle of this century, which is why it has attracted foreign coaches and players, including hundreds of Brazilians and Portuguese.

The country has only made the World Cup Finals once, in 2002, in South Korea.

In total, more than 1,500 Chinese students are now taking Portuguese courses in China.

Until 1999, only the University of Foreign Studies in Beijing and the University of International Studies in Shanghai offered degrees in Portuguese.

The accelerated opening of new courses reflects China's growing need to train better staff to work with Portuguese-speaking countries, given the evolution of trade, which in 2020 alone totalled around 121 billion euros.

The majority of which goes to Angola and Brazil, whose exchanges with China make up the majority of this trade.