Learn Mandarin for Glamour and Bling

20 May

Students are noticing that China is waking up. The rise of the dragon is shaking the world’s very foundations. Everyone knows that they are good at making stuff. Now; what do they like to consume?

Learning Mandarin Chinese, or standard Mandarin as it is also and more correctly known, is deemed more interesting today than it has ever been before. In 1990’s when China entered the WTO (World Trade Organization), opened its first stock exchange and began toying with the idea of freer markets, China began what is considered the greatest period of economic growth in the history of mankind. China has gone from being a definitive third world country, though a second by the old definition, to a strange new global power.

I write strange because China is not a country like most other nation states. It is by all intents and purposes a continent – a continent on its own, in the middle of Asia. Over a fifth of mankind resides in this strange power. There are fifty distinct cultural groupings. It is the world’s fourth largest country by area. It has both tundra and deserts. It has the world’s largest standing army. Its second only to The United States in terms of published academic papers.

So it is not strange that the world is standing up and starting to take notice. In fact, it is strange that we have not done so long ago. For most of mankind recorded history, the last 10.000 years or so, we have somewhat of an idea of where most economic output happened. For this time China and India has dominated world production. So what should we focus on now that we are standing up to take notice? If we are approaching this question from an employment point of view we should consider this. What is business starting to take notice of?

I write, “starting to take notice of”. China is a reborn power. Little does it matter that China had surgeons when Europeans lived hovels 3000 years ago. Little does it also matter, for young western people, that China today is dominant in the manufacturing sector. It has been the case that China is considered as the “Factory of The World” for some time now. For young people, in a sense, that ship has sailed – there are already manufacturing conduits and supply lines all over the place. In fact, today it is matter of concern for shareholders if the suppliers of a production line are in some way not connected to China.

For a university graduate it seems then that manufacturing China has set sail in terms of unique graduate opportunities where one can join and break new ground. Though this is true, there are still many ships in Chinese ports. One stands out to me in particular. The boat that I should think a great deal of companies want to get on is a luxury liner. This territory, the toys and tools of the rich and beautiful, is still ripe for exploration. Fast cars, Paris fashion, bling and glamour are great examples of China’s other potentials.

We often think of Chinese products and either low quality happy meal toys or large scale industrial bread and butter. For all of China’s manufacturing prowess there is still very little finesse to the output of the middle kingdom. That is not going to change in a heartbeat. Furthermore, there is one fantastic statistic to be considered here.

10 years ago China’s share of the world’s luxury consumption (home to 20% of the worlds population) was less than 1%. Today it is 15%! A 14% rise in only 10 years. You can bet that Ferrari and Mr. Dolce are taking notice. Especially when you consider that forecasts of these are even more astounding – China’s share of the global luxury consumption will by 2025 be 30%, or so they say; 10% above its allocated share (be the world a bit more fair).

So if you are starting to take notice of Chinas potential in the future. Take notice of those areas where you will have a chance to form that future. It is a beautiful and brave new world. Get to China! Get on that luxury liner or on of the other boats still waiting in the docks. China’s future has only begun.

Rui Ming works for a Mandarin Language School that is a great option for those that want to learn Mandarin in China.

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