Expats advised learning Chinese is vital for those working globally

Published:  22 Apr at 6 PM
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The unprecedented economic boom taking place in China is a justification for expatriates working in its major cities to learn the language, especially if they’re active in the global marketplace.

China’s manufacturing sector is now the planet’s largest, with UK companies in particular being urged to provide Chinese language classes for all their relocating expat professionals. Expanding a Western company into China often involves finding Chinese partners as well as employing non-specialist Chinese employees at far less cost than bringing workers in from the home country. Including the cost of already set-up Chinese language tuition as well as paying their expat workers for the time spent learning is a worthwhile investment for all international firms setting up in the country.

The situation is worse still for expat job-seekers arriving in China in the hope of being able to stay once they’ve found employment. What’s not usually taken into account by foreign employers and head-hunting companies is that Chinese culture is inherent in the Mandarin language and is necessary for all who want to make or improve their careers in the country’s huge cities. For business success, cultural and linguistic awareness is essential for integrating into Chinese local society as well as being understood by colleagues and bosses in the workplace. One key to understanding China as an entity is to look further into traditional culture rather than just studying the language itself.

Classes in Tai Chi, calligraphy and Chinese history can help expatriates get a glimpse of how the Chinese language represents Chinese culture in a way impossible for Western languages. Once expat professionals get the idea behind this ancient link, their experience of China will be at a far more satisfactory level and repeated both in their personal and professional lives.
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