LONDON - ACADEMIC publisher Pearson announced on Tuesday that it will build 50 English language schools in China, as British Prime Minister David Cameron arrived in the country on a trade-boosting visit.

Pearson, which already educates around 50,000 students at 66 language centres across China, hopes that the new facilities will boost the number of pupils it teaches to 100,000.

'We've opened six new centres this year and now plan to step up the pace of expansion,' said chief executive John Fallon, who is one of 50 business leaders accompanying Cameron on his two-day trip.

'Therefore, we are delighted to announce that we will be opening up 50 new centres over the next few years and expanding into a number of new cities.' The company, which is part of British-based firm Pearson PLC, hopes to gain a foothold in the cities of Nanjing, Suzhou, Dongguan, Wuhan, Chengdu and Chongqing, creating up to 2,000 jobs.

'This is just one of many ways in which we will continue to help meet the rapidly growing demand for high-quality education across China, as we have done for more than 40 years,' Mr Fallon continued.

'We now employ more than 3,000 people in China, our largest group of Pearson colleagues outside the US and UK, and this number will continue to grow rapidly as we expand our teaching, assessment, learning technology and publishing activities.'

Pearson to build 50 schools