One of China's most prestigious universities will partner UNSW in a new Confucius Institute to be established on UNSW's Kensington campus.

The influential Shanghai Jiao Tong University has been selected as the Chinese partner for the new Institute.

UNSW already hosts Australia's largest Chinese language program. The Confucius Institute will open important doors for Australian academics and students in China, as well as enhance Chinese language training for business and the wider Australian community.

About 170 Confucius Institutes have now been established worldwide, mainly in the United States and Europe. UNSW joins universities such as the London School of Economics, London University, the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Rutgers University in hosting a Confucius Institute.

UNSW Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Professor Richard Henry, formally signed the agreement in Beijing earlier this week in the Great Hall of the People. Two academics from Shanghai Jiao Tong will be based at the Confucius Institute at UNSW. Shanghai Jiao Tong University is well known for its expertise in science, technology and engineering and its influential annual research rankings of the world's universities.

"This new Confucius Institute at UNSW reflects Australia's importance to China and it is especially significant that a university of the calibre of Shanghai Jiao Tong has been chosen as our partner," says UNSW Pro Vice Chancellor (International), Jennie Lang.

"This considerable investment in Australia reflects both the growing demand for Chinese language and business skills here and the increasing importance of the link between the two nations, especially as China is now Australia's biggest trading partner," says Ms Lang.

Media contact: Louise Williams, Associate Director, UNSW International 9385 6986, 0407061209