China is expecting a dramatic baby boom in anticipation of the Year of the Dragon.

The Chinese believe that children born in the Year of the Dragon are destined to be successful and wealthy.

The mythical beast is among the 12 animals that make up the Chinese zodiac and is regarded as a symbol of power and intelligence.

Chinese authorities are expecting a spike in the birth rate as couples rush to have a child in such an auspicious year in the calendar.

China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and other areas of Asia with large Chinese populations have seen a rise in births in previous dragon years. The last, in 2000, saw the birth rate rise by five percent in Hong Kong.

Dr Tong Yuying, assistant professor at the department of sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, told the BBC: "It might affect this birth cohort when they get into school and go to the labour market because more people means more competition."

Education authorities are prepared for a boom in student numbers, because of their past experience, but places are still often hard to come by.