Chinese gets popular, more takers for language in City

A host of business opportunities for the tech-savvy younger generation in countries such as China, thanks to globalisation, has led to a gradual rise in the number of people learning Chinese in the IT capital.

Many IT companies generate business in China, which necessitates working in China, and for this, a basic understanding of the language becomes a prerequisite, says S Swaminathan, founder of the Mandarin School of India.

“IT companies have plenty of project work in cities like Chengdu, Shanghai, Shenzen, Guangzhou and Canton, apart from Beijing. IT employees stay in these centres for anything between 15 days and several months, sometimes even a year or more. They have to learn basics to get on with daily life - from calling a cab to talking to people in neighbourhood stores and vegetable vendors. It is almost impossible to survive on a day-to-day basis without some basic knowledge of Chinese. We teach all these basics, starting from how to interact with people at the airport as soon as one lands in China.”

The Mandarin School of India, founded by Abhilasha Agarwal and S Swaminathan, has been training people to speak, read and write Chinese. “We have set up two centres of the Mandarin School in Bengaluru - one at HSR Layout and the other at Kammanahalli.

After we found that more students wanted to learn Chinese, we have now decided to set up another centre in Indiranagar. There is also good demand from areas such as Jayanagar and J P Nagar, Electronic City and HSR Layout. Also, since South Bengaluru is showing a strong yearning to learn Chinese, we decided to set up another centre in HSR Layout.”

Nearly 160 students have graduated from the school over the last two years, which began with only 10 students.

Majority of its students are from the information technology sector, some from banking and finance, others from insurance, some researchers, or just people interested in learning a new language. Sometimes college students who want to take up medical and management degrees such as MD and MBA in China also learn the language, Swaminathan said. But, by far, the best response has been from the IT sector, he added.
The Mandarin School has been selected as one among four centres in India that can organise a test in advanced Chinese called the HSK test, which is similar to TOEFL.

The other three centres are in Vellore, Chennai and Mumbai. The school has procured permission from Hanban University in China to offer various courses at six levels including a survival kit.

After completion of all levels, students are awarded certificates from the Hanban University. There is also provision for a certificate after completion of two years - which is similar to a diploma.

The Hanban University certificate opens up plenty of work opportunities in more than six cities in China, all of which have proved crucial in China’s build- up of its own information technology base.

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