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Why Learn Mandarin Chinese?
What you might already know
China is one of the world’s oldest and richest continuous cultures, over 5000 years old.
China is the most populous nation in the world, with 1.28 billion people.
One fifth of the planet speaks Chinese. Mandarin Chinese is the mother tongue of over 873 million people, making it the most widely spoken first language in the world.
In addition to the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan, Mandarin Chinese is also spoken in the important and influential Chinese communities of Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, and Mongolia.
China is the second largest economy in the world.
Mandarin has emerged as the new must-have language. People worldwide are realising that fluency in Mandarin gives them an advantage. Professor David Crystal, one of the world’s foremost language experts, advises ‘People who used to be able to make their way in the world as monolingual English speakers are now finding that they’ve got to compete with people who are genuinely multilingual’. In just five years, the number of people learning Mandarin worldwide has soared to 30 million.
China – a rising world economic power
By 2027, China is projected to overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy. Already China is Australia’s largest import and export trade partner, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).
By 2020, China will be one of four countries accounting for over half of the world’s population of 18–22 year olds making it a priority country for international education, not only because it has one of the largest education systems in the world but also because it is expected to send the most students abroad.
Australia’s performance in Asia
Asian economies already have a higher total gross domestic product (GDP) than Europe or the Americas. The Economist Intelligence Unit estimates that by 2030 Asia will be larger than both put together, with a total GDP of US$67 trillion. Asia’s region-wide growth is expected to be 4.9% per annum to 2030, higher than any other region. Australia has not yet taken up the opportunities offered by Asia’s growth. In 2011, exports represented just 21% of GDP. Among OECD countries, only the United States and Japan – with huge internal markets – exported proportionately less. As Asia continues to grow, Asian businesses will be less likely to accept ignorance of their culture and history, or to regard Western principles as a default position.
Building knowledge about Asia helps organisations and individuals to manage new, unfamiliar business environments with confidence. Understanding local cultures, histories and business practices allows Australians to navigate these environments more skilfully. Research shows that Australian businesses are more likely to succeed in Asia if their executives have a strong knowledge of Asia, including understanding Asian cultures, markets, and business. A survey conducted by the Australian Industry Group showed that cultural training and time living in Asia improved business performance in Asia.
So, if you have Chinese clients or are looking to work with Chinese businesses, then having a basic understating of Mandarin will give you a competitive advantage over those that don’t.
If you’re interested in learning Mandarin or giving your children a huge advantage that will help them navigate the business world of the coming century, then contact us and ask how you can get up to 2 hours free tuition.