BFSU Launches Index Series Analyzing International Communication Capacity

BFSU Launches Index Series Analyzing International Communication Capacity

Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) launched a series of indices on international communication capacity on May 28, 2022, almost a year since General Secretary Xi Jinping called for China to strengthen international communication and improve the way it tells its stories on May 31, 2021. Titled “Global Index 2022: International Communication Capacity Index Series Launch,”  the launch was chaired by BFSU Vice President Zhao Gang.

Speaking at the launch, BFSU President Yang Dan highlighted how BFSU was responding to Xi Jinping’s call to action with innovative academic research that had resulted in the world’s first series of indices measuring international communication capacity. Yang proposed that a bigger voice on the international stage should be empowered by a multilingual campaign, a stronger synergy of actors created by an all-encompassing media mix and a better efficacy driven by an all-round improvement. Calling for an index series that focused on communication impact, cultural influence, image building, discourse persuasiveness and guidance of global public opinion, Yang expressed the hope that the indices would help China develop a more creative discourse system, promote mass communication of academic discourse and improve the international communication of Chinese discourse.       

Yu Hongjun, former Vice Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, noted that China is more concerned with its international messaging now than at any previous time in history. A stronger capacity for international communication is key to both the Belt and Road Initiative and creating a shared future of humanity. Yu stressed the importance of creating narratives and stories that would resonate with the broader international community and pointed to the vital role of worldwide collaboration in improving international communication. Praising the work of BFSU, Yu commended the university’s strengths in cooperating with international partners and noted the important role that it plays in facilitating such cooperation.  

Yan Wenbin, former Vice President of Xinhua News Agency, praised BFSU for upholding its responsibility and meeting the call of the times by launching the index series. The indices help promote China’s voice on the international stage by enabling actors of all kinds and at all levels to benchmark themselves against the index indicators. The indices create a stronger messaging platform that challenges Western hegemony over discourse and marks a transition away from a messaging approach that focuses on traditional media to one that harnesses the power of digital platforms. Yan noted that these indices enhance China’s translation sovereignty and reflect China’s determination and confidence to translate its narrative on its own terms. . 

Shi Mingde, President of the China-Germany Friendship Association, stated in his keynote speech that BFSU’s index programs led by President Yang Dan were leading the forefront of research in the social sciences and that they had been able to achieve enhanced cooperation through interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral partnerships that broke through traditional barriers between academic disciplines. In his keynote speech, Professor Li Yuming, former Party secretary of Beijing Language and Culture University, expressed his hope that academic and industry progress could be driven by index research and that it would promote further international cooperation, thereby helping to spread China’s message to the world. 

Promoting China’s voice on the international stage requires balancing the transition between language and discourse power. During the index launch, BFSU first released a series of global language indices that had been developed based on its unique strength of teaching 101 languages. The “National Language Capacity Index” quantifies and compares the language capacity of 197 countries, while the “Country-Specific Translation Capacity Index” analyzes and ranks the translation capacity of 193 countries. 

In the context of the new era, the medium for international communication is no longer restricted to traditional media. This is why BFSU has developed and launched a number of index frameworks with which to measure the ability of a country to engage in international communication. From the level of the nation to the city, from businesses to the media and to academia, these frameworks provide us with a more panoramic picture of China’s communication capacity in the world arena:

Country-level index: 

The “International Communication Capacity Index of Countries” assesses the international communication capacity of 195 countries and regions around the world based on data from multiple fields that include politics, trade, commerce, and culture. 

City-level index:

The “International Communication Capacity Index of Cities” analyzes the messaging ability of 53 key cities in China in terms of both hard power and soft power. 

Corporate-level index:

The “International Communication Capacity Index of Corporations” tells the stories of Chinese companies and analyzes the brand power of 4,489 listed companies in China. 

Media-level index: 

The “Global News Communication Index of Media” examines coverage of major international news events to understand the channels of communication, the way media is consumed and understood, and the influence that media has on media consumers. 

Academic-level index: 

The “Index of Chinese Studies in the World” is the first comprehensive big data-based survey on international scholars and their contributions to the field of Chinese studies since the turn of the century. 

Other experts participating in discussions held at the launch included: 

Jiang Fei: Dean of the School of International Journalism and Communication at BFSU;

Hu Zhengrong: Director of Institute of Journalism, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences;

Duan Peng: Vice President, Communication University of China

Yu Yunquan: President of the Academy of Contemporary China and World Studies of the Chinese Foreign Languages Publishing Administration

Wen Qiufang: Director of Xu Guozhang Institute for Advanced Studies in Linguistics, BFSU

Zhang Xiping: Chief Expert of the Institute of International Communication of Chinese Culture, BFSU.

During the subsequent round table discussions, the index series was highly praised, with experts noting that it allowed for a more scientific, multi-dimensional, and quantitative line of international communication research. The index series opens up new horizons for the study of international communication in the context of the development of new liberal arts disciplines. 

In the context of a rapidly changing world, it is vital that we carry out research on national communication capacity. BFSU’s series of indices on international communication will contribute to the research and practice of national messaging in terms of discourse impact, pooling of actors, and efficacy of actions. Once the index series had been launched, it received wide attention from major news outlets. Journalists from Xinhua News Agency and the People’s Daily participated in the whole meeting and conducted interviews throughout. Xinhua News Agency, China Daily, China Youth Daily,, People’s Daily, CGTN and its overseas multilingual platforms in English, German, Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, Japanese and Portuguese all made detailed reports on the conference. 

Introducing National Language Capacity Evaluation Index

The growing relationship between languages and nations has led to the emergence and development of national language capacity. National Language Capacity Evaluation Index reflects national language capacity in the form of data. Based on the principles of conciseness, inclusiveness, representativeness and replicability, National Language Capacity Evaluation Index 2022 sets three level-one indicators including management capacity, development capacity and communication capacity, 10 secondary indicators and 32 tertiary indicators. By calculating weights and conducting statistical analysis using CRITIC weighting method, the project works out the rankings of National Language Capacity Evaluation Index of all countries in 2022. The United States, China and the United Kingdom remain the top three countries and Canada, Russia, Australia, Ireland, France, Singapore and India are among the top 10. The study shows that the updated indicator framework takes both equilibrium and gradation into account. The weights of three level-one indicators are balanced while secondary and tertiary indicators show clear degradations. The new indicator framework also reflects more complex relations: national language capacity is affected by multiple dimensions, including economy, politics, culture and history, of which economic aggregate plays a major role, but not a decisive role. China’s national language capacity remains the second in the world, the same ranking as last year, and is strong in general. In terms of sub-indicators, China’s strengths and weaknesses of national language capacity are reflected more clearly and in a more detailed manner compared with last year. For instance, China’s strengths of national language capacity lie in development capacity and China is high-ranked in education, research, service and technology, which enjoy balanced development, and its weaknesses are reflected in planning capacity under the category of management capacity and discourse power under the category of communication capacity.

Introducing the Country-specific Translation and Interpretation Capacity Index

On May 28th 2022, indices showing the translation and interpreting capacity of 193 countries for 2021 were unveiled on the Global Country-specific Translation and Interpretation Capacity Index. This index system—independently developed by the BFSU Research Centre for Country-Specific Translation and Interpretation Capacity (RECTIC)—is the first of its kind in the world and is built on three Level-1 indicators that measure each country’s translation capacity in terms of management, service and development. The system is further supported with an additional eight secondary and seventeen tertiary indicators.  

In 2021, the top 20 countries in terms of country-specific translation and interpreting capacity were ranked as follows: the United States, China, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Australia, Austria, Italy, France, Canada, Belgium, Finland, Switzerland, Poland, Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Ireland, and Russia.

Research undertaken during development of the indices has shown that global country-specific translation and interpreting ability is unevenly distributed across regions and countries. Given that a country’s translating and interpreting ability is closely interconnected with historical and cultural traditions as well as social, economic and political factors, most of the countries that rank at the top end of the index are developed countries with powerful economies and a longstanding history of immigration and multilingualism. 14 of the top 20 countries are located in Europe, reflecting the advantage that a multilingual society brings to translation and interpreting capacity, while North America also plays a large part, with the United States maintaining its position at the top of the index. China, Japan and Korea ensure an East Asian presence in the top 20, with China’s translation and interpreting capacity continuing to climb from third in 2019 to second position as a result of policies focused on exporting culture and fostering greater international communication and soft power. In the three Level-1 indicators, China came out on top for translation and interpreting development capacity while ranking second for service capacity and fifth for management capacity.

Introducing International Communication Capacity Index of Countries 2022

Guided by the principles of Xi Jinping’s remarks on improving international communication capacity on May 31, 2021, “International Communication Capacity Index of Countries 2022” makes statistical analysis and index-based ranking of international communication capacity of 195 countries and regions in 2021 from the perspectives of hard power and soft power. The index is built on three-tier indicators and collects data of resource investment, information release, interaction and exchanges for improving international communication capacity in political, economic and cultural dimensions. The index assigns weights through subjective weighting and principal component analysis and assign a rank to countries based on their annual national international communication capacity index (see below for top 50).

The ranking is characterized by the following: (1) Top-ranked countries are characterized by one only superpower and multiple great powers; (2) Western developed countries rank high in general; (3) Some traditional “regional powers” and “developed countries” rank relatively low; (4) In terms of geographical distribution, countries in South America, Africa and Oceania rank relatively low.

The study believes that (1) Each country’s overall ranking of international communication capacity correlates closely with its hard power, of which economic development is a major pillar; (2) Soft power becomes a breakthrough point of some “small countries” to improve international communication capacity and it correlates closely with historical and cultural factors; (3) No country can enjoy overwhelming advantages in all aspects and different countries show different weaknesses in international communication capacity; (4) China has built a solid foundation of hard power of international communication and has much room for improvement in soft power. High-level and long-term policy planning and implementation need to be strengthened.

RankingCountryInternational Communication Capacity IndexRankingCountryInternational Communication Capacity IndexRankingCountryInternational Communication Capacity Index
1United States4.97918Switzerland0.80835Thailand0.390
2United Kingdom3.93619Norway0.76736Uganda0.373
6India1.99723Poland0.64940South Africa0.250
15South Korea1.10532Greece0.42049Saudi Arabia0.157

Introducing International Communication Capacity Index of Cities 2022

The index takes 53 major cities of all provinces in the Chinese mainland (Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan excluded) as research objects and municipal governments as subjects to explore the development path and evaluation system of cities’ international communication capacity in the new era. In his important remarks on improving China’s international communication capacity, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed the responsibility of Party committees at all levels and urged to strengthen organization and leadership and expand financial investment. The study believes that the role of government as the mainstay in a city’s international communication should not be overlooked and the support and investment of government is an important guarantee of city international communication capacity. Thus, the study assesses the investment and performance of municipal governments in international communication from the perspectives of hard power and soft power. Built on two level-one indicators, seven secondary indicators and 21 tertiary indicators and assigning weights through a hybrid subjective and objective weighting method, the study evaluates the international communication capacity of major cities in China in 2021. The rankings are shown in Table 1.


Table 1 Top 20 Cities

Introducing International Communication Capacity Index of Chinese Corporations 2022

The international communication capacity of corporations is the capacity to deliver corporate culture and values through multi-dimensional and multiple media with products or services as the carrier, so as to make the company known by the international community and gain international recognition. The international communication capacity of corporations is an important part of a company’s international competitiveness. Research into International Communication Capacity Index of Chinese Corporations will first help readers understand the laws and characteristics of international communication of corporations in the new era in a more intuitive and vivid way; second, it will help companies adopt the right strategies and methods to enhance their international communication capability and international competitiveness; third, it will help enhance the international community’s recognition of China’s path, system and values.

The International Communication Capacity Index of Chinese Corporations 2022 takes Marx’s theories of globalization as the main theoretical foundation and supplements it with the logic and cases of a number of local enterprises engaging in international business. By constructing a three-tier indicator framework encompassing hard and soft power, it ranks 4,489 Chinese companies listed in the A-share stock market in order of their international communication capability index and publishes the Top 50 list for state-owned ones and non-state-owned ones respectively.

The report concludes that Chinese companies already have strong international communication capacity in the new era and they should roll out support programs to improve international communication capability considering different countries and regions and different industries. Chinese companies should expand their international communication capacity by ensuring transparency and using multimedia and increase soft power to drive hard power. To further improve China’s industrial chain system, we should take steps to develop advanced production and services and improve their international communication capacity.

Table 1 Rankings of International Communication Capacity Index of Listed State-owned Companies (Top 10) 

1海康威视002415Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co.,Ltd.HIKVISION
2工商银行601398Industrial and Commercial Bank of China LimitedICBC
3中集集团000039China International Marine Containers (Group) Co., Ltd.CIMC
4中联重科000157Zoomlion Heavy Industry Science and Technology Co., Ltd.Zoomlion
5万华化学600309Wanhua Chemical Group Co.,Ltd.wanhua
6潍柴动力000338Weichai Power Co., Ltd.Weichai Power
7紫金矿业601899Zijin Mining Group Co., Ltd.Zijin Mining
8中国交建601800China Communications Construction Company LimitedCCCC
9中国石化600028China Petroleum and Chemical CorporationSINOPEC
10中海油服601808China Oilfield Services LimitedCOSL

Table 2 Rankings of International Communication Capacity Index of Listed Non-state-owned Companies (Top 10) 

1药明康德603259WuXi AppTec Co., Ltd.WuXi AppTec
3迈瑞医疗300760Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics Co., Ltd.Mindray
4中兴通讯000063ZTE CorporationZTE
5泰格医药300347Hangzhou Tigermed Consulting Co., Ltd.Tigermed
6海能达002583Hytera Communications Corporation LimitedHytera
7康龙化成300759Pharmaron Beijing Co., Ltd.Pharmaron
8长城汽车601633Great Wall Motor Company LimitedGreat Wall Motor
9海尔智家600690Haier Smart Home Co., Ltd.haier
10赣锋锂业002460Ganfeng Lithium Co., Ltd.Ganfeng Lithium

Introducing Global News Communication Index of Media 2022

Major world news is the focus of media to compete for the discourse power in international public opinion and social networks have become a new platform of international communication. To evaluate the efficacy of global news communication of media in different countries on social networking platforms and thus to understand and predict the leaders and direction of international public opinion, Beijing Foreign Studies University releases the “Global News Communication Index of Media.” The index system is based on the top 10 world news in 2021 in five categories including politics, economy, culture, society, and ecological civilization, with the global mainstream media as the object and the international social network Twitter as the data acquisition platform. The study constructs three level-one indicators, namely information reach, information decoding and information recognition, and set up five secondary indicators and 13 tertiary indicators.

The study finds that media in Global North countries take the lead in the global news network. Media in Global South countries have divergent information reach and their information decoding and recognition need to be improved. A comprehensive ranking of the five categories shows that European and American media take up seven out of top 10 and become the leader of international public opinion in major world news. Chinese media, represented by Xinhua News Agency, CGTN, People’s Daily and China Daily, are among the best of media in developing countries. Qatar’s Al Jazeera Satellite Network and Kenya’s Nation Media Group rank high and Nigeria’s Channels Television ranks among the top 10 in the economic category.

Worldwide Chinese Studies Index 2022

To promote Chinese studies and demonstrate the global influence of Chinese culture, Beijing Foreign Studies University releases the Worldwide Chinese Studies Index 2022 (hereinafter referred to as the “Chinese Studies Index”). By looking into academic networks, bibliographies, papers and databases, this study provides a comprehensive overview of international scholars and their academic contributions in the 21st century in the field of Chinese studies. Based on sources such as Microsoft Academic, the study seeks to present the academic pattern of worldwide Chinese studies (sinology) with English academic publications as the main indicator.

The China Studies Index focuses on the global influence of Chinese culture in the 21st century. Through big data collection and analysis, it reflects the overall situation of international scholars’ interest in and research on Chinese culture with a comprehensive evaluation in terms of intensity, dissemination and popularity. It sets three level-one indicators, six secondary indicators and 13 tertiary indicators, forming a cross-sectoral and cross-national integrated data on Chinese studies and presenting it in the form of an index report, which is pioneering and innovative in research perspective, methodology and results.

This study is the first comprehensive index analysis report in academia that is based on big data analysis, looks into the research outcomes of traditional sinology and contemporary Chinese studies across multiple dimensions and uses information including bibliographic data and thematic databases. According to the report, the top 10 most active scholars in Chinese studies from 2000 to 2020 are (in alphabetical order): Colin MacKerras, Daniel A. Bell, Jonathan D. Spence, John Makeham, Joseph W. Esherick, Prasenjit Duara, Scott Rozelle, Thomas S. Mullaney, Wilt Lukas Idema and Yuri Pines. The index shows the distribution of major research fields, distribution of major research institutes by country and buzzword cloud. It also pools index information of research institutes with the largest number of scholars and top 20 academic journals with the largest number of articles in Chinese studies.