This week, Amy Wong, Program Consultant at Hutong School in China, talks about the growing global demand for and importance of studying Mandarin and competition in the Chinese market.

My own China adventure began in 2011 when I moved to Beijing to study Mandarin in a hope to broaden my career opportunities.  I was not the only one.  In fact, according to a 2012 report by the Ministry of Education, the number of foreign students studying in China increased by 10% in a year to over 290,000 in 2011. And this trend of foreigners ‘flocking’ to China is not looking to stop anytime soon, as we have been seeing first hand at Hutong School over the past 10 years.

Our specialist team answer many enquiries daily from those who are interested in learning Mandarin for professional or personal reasons, and those looking for an internship by means of an entryway to employment opportunities in China.  From my personal experience, the types of students and interns we receive vary greatly, but it is clear that many want to come to China to be at the forefront of the competitive job market. Having a first-hand experience of living in China and speaking the language is often associated with greater employment opportunities, and a must for the world’s next generation of leaders, as highlighted by influential role models in the media such as Mark Zuckerberg.

China has been the fastest-growing major economy for the past 30 years, and many of the world’s top 500 companies are basing their headquarters in Chinese cities. While the global importance of English is obvious, the usefulness of learning Mandarin is becoming increasingly apparent.  Ranked as the second most important business language in the world by Bloomberg Media, non-native Mandarin speakers learning the language and understanding the rich history of China are recognised as having great attributes from both a business and personal standpoint. There is also the factor of being able to communicate with the 1.3 billion speakers of Mandarin in the world. 

Although more and more non-Chinese schools worldwide are now including Chinese learning into their curriculum, many realise that one cannot understand the true Chinese culture without coming to China themselves. A problem that we have encountered along the way is that the great demand in this market sector is surely competitive, and so many students tend to ‘shop around’ before deciding their final school/ internship provider of choice.

Another factor has also been explaining to newcomers to China about the lack of clarity and structure in the policies regarding visas and their processes. The change in visa regulations from September 2013 brought about some uncertainties of processing rules making it more difficult for some to obtain a visa to easily come to China.  China is still learning to cope with the large volumes of foreign interest to its vast land. However, as a top service in this sector we always aim to stay ahead and be ready to inform and advise our students of misconceptions and queries that they may have.

Placing the highest priority in our quality teaching, outstanding customer service and a focus on offering an enriching package for our students, Hutong School aims to remain at the forefront for years to come and we will tackle problems as we go along in order to fulfil our goals of bridging the gap between the East and the West, and thus strengthening further understanding in this global world we live in.

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