They say that it’s only a matter of time before China overtakes the United States as the world’s greatest economic power, which is why learning business Chinese language has become all but mandatory for a lot of people these days, especially international businesspeople who want to do business with Chinese companies.
Below, we take a look at both the pros and cons of learning business Chinese language to see if it’s worth it or not.
The Pros of Learning Chinese for Business
• Mandarin is easily one of the most popular languages on Earth. The language is used by a lot of native speakers, both living in and outside of China. By learning how to speak Chinese, you increase the possibility of being able to do business with Chinese companies.
• Chinese business partners have a great deal of respect for people who take the time to be fluent in their language. This means that you mean business and that you’re not there to joke around. Not to mention, relying too much on having a translator can help undermine the bonding experience with your Chinese business partners and prevent you from establishing a more personal relationship with them.
• Negotiations also go a lot smoother when there is no longer a need for a translator.
• Not everyone in China learns English. In fact, a lot of people in China, especially outside of Beijing and Shanghai, don’t know how to speak English. By learning how to speak Chinese, it’s easier to get around and do business in many cities in China.
Why Learning Chinese for Business Isn’t Worth it
• It can take at least a year of extensive study to be able to speak Chinese fluently, and at least double that amount of time to be able to read the newspaper properly like a native speaker. That is the time you could’ve spent working on various aspects of your business.
• The Chinese will always view you as an outsider when you do business with them. It doesn’t even matter if you’re very fluent in Mandarin or Cantonese. In the eyes of your Chinese partners, you’re still not Chinese. This can prevent you and your government from enjoying the same benefits that Chinese companies enjoy, such as preferential treatment from the Chinese government, among others.
• While Mandarin is already the most popular language in the world, it’s highly unlikely that it will become the next English, as some experts are trying to claim. Mandarin itself is only primarily used by native Chinese speakers, and it’s far too difficult to learn to standardise and become the preferred international language.
So, which is which? Is it worth learning Chinese for business? Or are you better off spending your time working on your business instead? The answer mainly depends on what your goal is.
If you plan on spending a lot of time working in China or working with the Chinese, then it’s prudent for you to go for Mandarin classes in Singapore. But, if you’re planning on only doing so to secure the occasional deal or two, you’re better off focusing your efforts elsewhere.