Vietnamese student Dinh Thi Mytrang, who is studying business English at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in Guangzhou, collects information on Chinese furniture manufacturers at trade fairs in Guangdong province for her parents, who sell China-made products in Vietnam.
"China-made furniture comes in a rich variety of designs and sells at good prices," she said.
She went to Dongguan in Guangdong to visit furniture companies in 2011, when she started to learn Chinese at GDUFS. She was recently in Shenzhen to learn about fabric suppliers.
"My mom said it helps to be able to use Chinese, English and Vietnamese well," she said.
She is one of 6,567 students from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations studying at universities in Guangdong, up from 5,932 in 2011, according to statistics from the provincial education department.
Students from Indonesia make up the largest share, at 37 percent of the total last year, followed by those from Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore.
A total of 22,188 students from more than 170 countries and regions were studying in Guangdong last year.
Last year, 705 foreign students in Guangdong received scholarships from the Chinese government and 596 received scholarships from the Guangdong government.
The provincial education authorities have been strengthening cooperation with their counterparts in ASEAN in Chinese education and cultural exchanges as they deepen strategic cooperation with the bloc.
The cooperation includes receiving students at Guangdong universities, running Confucius Institutes in ASEAN and offering training in Chinese to teachers and the general public in ASEAN.
Guangdong universities have forged cooperative relations with more than 80 universities in ASEAN.
As one of the projects in building the Maritime Silk Road in the 21st century, China started to accept applications in March for running a second batch of China-ASEAN education training centers.
The Guangdong education authorities have applied to establish up to three such centers.
Ten centers already operate in the provinces of Sichuan,Guizhou, Yunnan, Fujian and Heilongjiang, and in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.