With China steadily and surely making its way up the economic ladder Mandarin is fast becoming an important weapon in the arsenal of international expats.
In Singapore, itself a thriving country with a huge amount of western expats, foreign workers are taking up Mandarin classes in droves.
Patrick Chen, marketing manager of Academ-Asia School Of Language and Education in Singapore said: “There has been a 30 percent rise in the number of expats learning Mandarin at our school since last year. Considering how China’s economy is growing, it is becoming an important language to know both for professional and cultural reasons.”
Lawrence Foong, centre manager for the language school New Concept Mandarin added: “We’ve been in Singapore for the last five years and around 80 per cent of our students are expats who are working in Singapore. The number of our expat students is increasing by 20 percent every year.”
Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world, and is speedily overtaking Japanese as the official business language in Asia.