In a highly globalised world where businesses look for people with diverse skills, being multilingual is an asset. It is beneficial for youngsters to be well versed in languages spoken in one of the world's biggest and fastest growing economies such as China and Taiwan. Mandarin is emerging as one of the most widely spoken languages with growing business possibilities and tourism opportunities.
Earlier, languages such as French, Spanish or German were more favoured, however, due to the shift in economic trends, Mandarin Chinese is enjoying the coveted status.
At the school level, several students are opting for Mandarin instead of Spanish or French, looking at the growing possibilities. China and Taiwan have also set up special schools to train students at school.
“Learning a new language is no longer a hobby. It has become mandatory for professionals to learn Mandarin Chinese, as it adds value to their portfolio. Professionals including journalists, CAs, engineers, bankers are visiting the Chinese learning centres as it helps in growing professionally,” says Usha Sahoo, founder, Yeh China, a language training institute. The demand to learn the language has increased since 2010, as trade exchange increased between India-China.
Being the two fast-growing economies, the trade relations between the two countries have increased. Chinese investments across the globe has surged and India -China trade is estimated to have a value of US$2 trillion.
"With this growth, knowing the foreign language can land Indian professionals with lucrative jobs, not just with Chinese firms but other international organisations as well," adds Sahoo.
For the certificate or diploma holders in the language, opportunities are no longer limited to translation or interpretation jobs. There are several new avenues including in the service sector, tourism and with big corporations, she adds.
A recent survey by Adzuna, showed that 2.5 lakh jobs need the knowledge of foreign languages. Chinese speakers are the highest paid, earning Rs 11,89,234 per year. Taiwan has set up training centres in India to teach Mandarin in order to boost trade, tourism and education tie-ups between the two nations.
“From 2012 till now, more than 7,000 Indian students have enrolled in Mandarin Chinese courses offered by Taiwanese teachers in Indian universities. Therefore, we look positively on the growing numbers of people learning Mandarin,” says Peters Chen, director, Education Division, Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India (TECC).
He adds that many of these graduates now work in science parks in Taiwan, while others opted for roles in the private sector. People have opportunities to work as brand specialist, interpreter, international marketing, HR recruiter, university faculty, hotel manager, tour guide, flight attendant, foreign correspondent, and so on.