By Jonathan Berkley
If you are running a business today, it is most likely that you have eyes on China. This is the fastest growing economy today and most big brands from Nike, Starbucks, Ikea, Apple and Coach to Adidas are moving to the country. Whether you are a startup or you are expanding your business, the opportunities in China are tremendous. According to the top brands in China surveyed by Business Insider, the trick in making it in China simply lies in learning the local language, Mandarin.
With over 1 billion speakers around the world, Mandarin boasts the title of the most spoken language in the world. If your business is expanding to the Chinese market either as an importer, exporter or a consultancy, you must invest in learning the local language. There are myriad reasons to learn the language if your business is to succeed in China. Take a look:
1. Respect to Business Partners
Forget the numbers for a moment and look at the opportunities that you will earn through local connections. Your business partners in China will love the fact that your staff has some knowledge of Mandarin. Like in all oriental cultures, respect plays a big part in business and most deals are closed not just on the profitability but the respect shown during negotiations.
2. More Local Appeal
Chinese is spoken by millions of people and most of these are in China. If your employees can use the language, it becomes easier to interact with the target audience. Most Chinese have not yet adopted English and it is up to you to invest in Chinese tuition which will help your staff interact with the local community. The more people you reach the better and this will give your business a local touch leading to more foot traffic and conversion.
3. Understand the Culture
Language is the most important aspect of culture and if you want to trade in China, you better learn the culture fast. Through language training, you will understand the nuances of culture. This helps your business to know what to do and avoid in this unique culture. Most big brands like Apple have had to learn the hard way when it comes to marketing because China has a unique culture and the only way to get ahead is to respect this way of life. Google has had a tough time penetrating the local market as it has approached the business the same way it does globally, leading to devastating consequences.
4. Tapping into Local Talent
Investing in a foreign country involves tapping into the local talent. Unlike most countries, Chinese employees have just started adopting other languages and you will have to learn mandarin in order to communicate with your local staff. The more proficient you are in the language the better; this helps to bond with your staff which translates to more productivity.
Learning the Chinese language is a must for your business in China. There are established tutors offering flexible lessons and you just have to pick the one that suits your schedule.