Begun as a Presidential Initiative, Utah Valley University sought to create greater engagement opportunities with China as an emerging world economic and cultural power. As a result, President Matthew S. Holland was part of a delegation that traveled with Governor Gary Herbert to create diplomatic and educational ties between Utah and China. During the 2010-11 academic year, UVU designated China as its first Global Spotlight country with a full slate of educational activities for students and the local community. Over the succeeding years, the Woodbury School of Business supported this initiative by holding a regular conference on doing business with China that addressed the relevant opportunities that existed between the United States (Utah in particular) and China.

UVU's Chinese Initiative also developed academic courses and areas of study in Chinese language, culture and commerce. UVU is an active participant in the state's efforts around Dual Language Immersion (DLI), which features Chinese as one of the six languages taught in primary and secondary schools. Since the inception of the Chinese Initiative, UVU has developed an academically rigorous, interdisciplinary curriculum that aligns with the aspirations of students, faculty, regional businesses and local government and non-government agencies. UVU strives to be a regional destination for graduating high school seniors who want to further their interest and career objectives in China.