The Confucius Institute for Business and Communication opened at Heriot-Watt in June 2014. We’re one of over 350 Confucius Institutes around the world and the fifth in Scotland. However, we’re the only business-focused Confucius Institute in Scotland, one of five located in the UK.

The Institute offers a wide range of services to promote educational, economic and cultural links between the UK and China. Building on Heriot-Watt’s global reputation and well-developed Chinese strategy, we aim to:

  • Promote cross-cultural understanding
  • Provide Mandarin language tutoring
  • Support business engagement with China and Chinese culture
  • Facilitate organisations to be ‘China ready’
  • Develop focused activity streams with specific business sectors
  • Develop global mindsets and career opportunities for students
  • Foster joint research and academic collaborations

We can provide formal and informal Chinese language learning, advice on business etiquette and cultural awareness, making us a great resource for business. We can work with businesses to identify specific needs and provide tailored programmes, including workshops and consultancy services. Above all, the Institute promotes greater understanding between the two countries — underlining the importance that Heriot-Watt University places on global collaboration and learning.


The Institute’s aims are many — from benefiting our students with world-class learning to establishing strong links between Chinese and Scottish businesses. But in everything we do, the overarching aim is to promote a global outlook and foster mutual understanding between both countries.

Our aim is to increase collaboration between UK and Chinese organisations and businesses. To do this, we:

  • Work with organisations and businesses looking to improve links with China
  • Work closely together to provide language and translation support and other cultural awareness training
  • Offer the use of interpreters in business situations
  • Create tailor-made business programmes and support activities
  • Signpost other assistance for businesses looking to trade with China

Within the University, our aim is to provide support across the institution for Schools, Departments and Directorates in their China relations, and to be a key part of the University’s corporate International Strategy.

In the classroom, the University already offers an undergraduate degree in International Business Management and Chinese Language, and an Edinburgh Business School MBA in Chinese. The Confucius Institute team contributes to degree programmes. Other degree programmes in Chinese are also available. Heriot-Watt also leads the UK in interpreting and translating, thanks to some of the finest language labs in Europe. The Institute builds upon this proud record of academic excellence, attracting more well-qualified students and forging dynamic new partnerships in business and culture.

An ambitious future

Heriot-Watt currently enjoys a well-deserved reputation as a research-led University. Confucius Institute activity will support public engagement activity related to research themes, undertake applied projects with specific subject/business areas, as well as organise an extensive cultural programme. This sees us working closely with cities across Scotland to promote Chinese arts and culture and support celebrations and events such as Chinese New Year, or business development such as the direct air route between Edinburgh and Beijing, and the development of city-wide Chinese New Year celebrations in Edinburgh.