How to Learn Mandarin Chinese for Business
What is Mandarin Chinese for business?
While general Mandarin Chinese is associated with the use of Mandarin in daily life with topics based on general interests, Mandarin Chinese for Business includes more academic topics appropriate for those who intend to study in higher education or seek professional registration in Mandarin-speaking countries.
Fortunately, Mandarin Chinese for business is simpler than Korean or Japanese for business, especially in terms of grammar. In a business context, Japanese and Korean require the whole sentence to be structured differently depending on the levels of formality. However, Mandarin Chinese for business only has some changes in single words such as from 你好 (Ni Hao) to 您好 (Nin Hao) to become more formal. The Mandarin grammar rules used in everyday conversations or academic business topics such as “marketing” or “securities” are not much different.
On the contrary, the vocabulary varies depending on the fields. In other words, Chinese Mandarin for business is all about specialized vocabulary acquisition. All you need to do when learning Business Mandarin is accumulate your vocabulary in one specific business field.
Why should you study Mandarin Chinese for business?
1. Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language
Guess what the most spoken language in the world is? Although many people may think that it is English or Spanish, the correct answer is Mandarin Chinese. According to Ethnologue, there are 1.2 billion Mandarin speakers worldwide, and nearly 200 million of them are non-native learners. As the number of Mandarin speakers has continuously increased, Mandarin Chinese has become more and more commercially essential. If you can master this language, especially up to the business level, imagine how “powerful” you can be. Not only can you explore all interesting Chinese cultures, but you can also develop your career by connecting with more people deeply via their first language.
2. China has been economically growing very fast
For the time being, China stands as the world’s second-largest economy, behind the US. However, with a growth rate almost three times that of the US, China will likely overtake the US as the biggest consumer market soon. Those who can master Mandarin Chinese, especially in business settings, can thrive professionally in one of the world’s most prosperous regions.
3. Mandarin Chinese enables foreign businesses to operate more smoothly in China
It is extremely difficult for foreign business sectors when they enter the Chinese market due to different mindsets. It is important to remember that in Chinese business, ‘Guanxi” is everything. “Guanxi” is often translated as “personal connections” or “relationships. It means that before conducting any business practices, having prior personal trust and a strong relationship with your employees or partners is the most important, rather than prioritizing their capabilities. One of the common ways to build “guanxi” with the Chinese is through their first language. The more fluently you can express yourself in both personal and professional contexts in Mandarin, the more credible you become in their eyes. You can cultivate a deep bond with them afterward. In short, studying Mandarin Chinese at the business level is a must if you are operating a business in China.
4. Companies regard Mandarin Chinese for business as ‘useful’
Along with the rapid growth of the Chinese economy and ongoing globalization, many companies have started cultivating strategic partnerships with Chinese firms, which sparks a need to study Mandarin Chinese for Business even if you live outside China. According to The Confederation of British Industry’s 2013 Education Skills Survey, about 30% of the companies in the UK regard Mandarin Chinese as a “useful” language tool for their organizations.
How to study Mandarin Chinese for business?
Step 1: Build a firm foundation of general Mandarin Chinese
You should get familiar with the language and become able to convey your thoughts in informal conversational settings before studying more advanced Business Mandarin. It is better to reach an upper-intermediate level, which is at least HSK 4 beforehand. Many people are so eager that they jump into Business Chinese courses even when their Chinese is not proficient enough for everyday conversations. As a result, they cannot understand the majority of what the tutors are saying. It is because the tutors assume that all learners can understand General Mandarin Chinese well. They will speed up their speaking and not explain the basic things. In addition, as a self-learner, it is even harder for you to design a learning curriculum for yourself if you can still not understand Mandarin Chinese at a proficient level.
Step 2: Choose the field you want to study Business Mandarin Chinese for
When you are ready to level up your Mandarin Chinese, now is time to narrow down the themes you want to work on. You may wonder why you cannot simultaneously study all themes for Business such as food and beverage, real estate, job interview, etc. The answer is that each theme is so broad that it takes up too much time to master. You should concentrate on one or two fields. Otherwise, you end up being incompetent in them all.
So how should you start? First, determine clearly what kind of Business you want to use Mandarin for. Is it because you want to prepare for higher education, go job hunting in China, or negotiate with a Chinese partner? Which industry would you like to be involved in? Which career path would you like to pursue in the future? Only after you truly know your purposes can you select the right type of “Business” Mandarin Chinese for you.
For example, suppose you are a product developer of a female fashion company in China. In that case, you may want to use Mandarin to communicate with your team members and grow new products based on customers’ needs. You can break down the Business Mandarin Chinese into smaller themes to learn, such as female clothing or customer behaviors.
Step 3: After defining the themes, you should start by growing your vocabulary
As mentioned before, the main difference between general Mandarin Chinese and Mandarin Chinese for Business is the specialized vocabulary acquisition. Pandanese can assist you in acquiring business vocabulary more easily and effectively via the effective mnemonics and spaced repetition system. Let’s check out Pandanese Flashcards to learn Chinese radicals right away. You can also sign up for a free Pandanese trial.
Expose yourself to the Chinese Business domain you have selected by reading news or books and watching TV shows. Do not forget to find a tutor or a learning partner to practice using the vocabulary.