From a group of peasant farmers rose one proud Asian Kingdom. Rich in culture, industrial by blood, home of Confucius, Sun-Tzu, and Billionaire Jack Ma, China has grown to become the second-largest economy in the World. If that means anything, it is that China has become the El Dorado for every person with a brain that functions, hands that work, and a tongue that speaks Chinese.

Have you ever wondered why the Nigerian economy has recently fallen in love with that of China? A love affair that has witnessed massive investment in not only infrastructure but a sharp rise in bilateral trade over the years. Don't think for too long, the recent economic accord results from the numerous talents in Nigeria, the large consumer market Nigeria provides for China's range of low-cost products, and a good lifestyle Asian Nationals find in Nigeria when they come in.

Every nation cherishes its language, but some more than others. In fact, some give preferential benefits to anyone who can speak their language. Just like speaking to a Hausa trader in his local language can open you to better offers and promos, competence in Mandarin can also be a great business tool for any professional or entrepreneur. The Chinese adore their language and other cultural elements and share the same affinity with foreigners who have learnt to speak Chinese.

With the continued presence of China in Africa and Nigeria and its major contributions to the global economy, learning Mandarin has become a viable option for securing career growth for many Nigerian professionals. Although, there are no enough learning facilities for interested students.

And while many languages have suffered death due to neglect, Mandarin Chinese continues to gain popularity, all thanks to China's economic relevance at the international level and the presence of Chinese nationals in many countries. For instance, in the year 2017, the total number of Chinese people in Nigeria was about 40,000, creating good opportunities for local companies that can speak Mandarin and Nigerian language freelancers that can interpret and translate from and to Chinese. 

Although the average Nigerian professional would favour the learning of French, Portuguese, or Spanish language as part of his education and skill acquisition; the recent rise of China as one of the world power has called for a shift to Chinese language education. Grab a seat as we explore the many reasons why you should opt to learn Mandarin Chinese for your business or career.

Learn Mandarin Chinese to get an International Degree in China

Despite the huge appeal of learning in the West with world-class education available, the amazing perks such as free scholarship opportunities, affordable living expense, work opportunities, and world-class education in China makes it difficult for learners to reject the lure of the ancient city.

Where can I learn Mandarin Chinese?

The Confucius Institute was established across Nigerian universities with the University of Lagos unit set up in the year 2007 and the Nnamdi Azikwe institute a year later. There is also the China culture centre in Abuja. These educational institutions yearly churn out lots of Mandarin speakers in Nigeria. 

Besides teaching the language, these institutes and centres also help students acclimatise to the Chinese culture. The Confucius institutes help their graduates leave Nigeria, most times on a study scholarship programme or a cultural exchange programme to China. Learning Mandarin Chinese, however, is not an end itself. It is only an enabler owing to its wide use and trade benefits.

Averagely, one in 12 Nigerians studying in China is on a scholarship, a pretty good odd. According to a recent report, the majority are studying Medicine, Engineering, and Agriculture. However, students in the arts, humanities, marketing, and social sciences fields have good chances too. Than learning just the language, such categories of learners may have to learn the Chinese culture to raise their chances, while professionals in specialised or more technical fields may not be required to have a high level of proficiency. If you attend an institution with a Confucius Institute, that may be a good place to start learning Mandarin. Slow but steady with many educational benefits.

A young man with a backpack
An international degree looks good on the CV.  Studying in China can give your career the headstart it needs. Source: Unsplash

Aside from learning a career-propelling language, learning Chinese comes with many other benefits. It provides an adventurish opportunity for learners to have a taste of another culture, grow receptive abilities for diversities, develop better cognitive skills for personal and business activities, and have fun.

More Nigerian universities are willing to start a program in the education of young linguists on mandarin Chinese given the Monopoly of the Chinese state in overseeing Confucius institute in Nigeria. The major impediment remains inadequate Mandarin Chinese teachers in the country.

With Superprof, you can never go wrong. Our tutors are adequate in number and competence and will help you grow a Chinese tongue to make your study in China easier. 

Learn Mandarin Chinese, Amp your Economic Future

Especially through its loans for infrastructure, China is building trade relationships with many African countries. Its increasing presence in Africa can be seen as a huge plus for the largest economy in Africa. Before the massive entry of China into Nigeria, the Nigerian market was flooded with expensive products. Now, Chinese products have gained wide use owing to the low cost and great quality. 

On a global scale, the Chinese economy comes second behind the US economy. In manufacturing and exporting, China has the highest figures. China leads the world in many types of goods. Across industries, China parades top companies and a large workforce. From iron and steel to textiles and cement, electronics and automobile, Chinese goods have a global market.

These present huge business opportunities in China and its ally countries. For instance, figures suggest that bilateral trade between Nigeria and China has reached over $19.27 billion as of 2019. Between 2015 and 2018, goods imported from China into Nigeria in that period were about $17.5 billion with predictions this will continue an upward trajectory given the consumer Nigeria is.

If we also consider that China has invested in major infrastructural projects in Nigeria such as the Railway projects, Lekki Free Trade Zone, Power Dams, and the establishment of the University of Transportation, Daura, we can be confident that the ties of commerce will continue to grow stronger between both countries, and striving to learn Mandarin Chinese will place you at a vantage point as a professional or business person.

Learn Chinese to join the Chinese workforce
Button your cuffs and get a Chinese tongue. Learning Mandarin can put you and your business on the path to international success. Source: Unsplash

Competence in Chinese isn't only useful for career advancement, the meteoric rise in the importance of the Asian giant in the economic ring makes learning Mandarin Chinese a worthy exercise for entrepreneurs too. Who says you cannot even secure some Chinese grants or partnerships to expand your venture?

China has a growing commercial presence across Nigeria. In Lagos particularly, the Lekki Free Trade Zone is almost a Chinese colony in West Africa flocking the economic landscape with huge investment. In fact, many street signs in Lekki carry Chinese inscriptions, an obvious sign of the growing presence of Chinese in Nigeria.

Learning Mandarin Chinese can also provide many young Nigerians with a good source of income. There is a growing demand for Chinese interpreters/translators and language professionals for individuals and businesses in Nigeria. 

From the foregoing, there is no denying that competence in Mandarin can be the trump card for your business or career.

Join the Chinese Labour Force

Opportunities in the job labour market are getting stiffer and more competitive in Nigeria. The available number of jobs cannot suffice for the large population of Nigeria. According to a recent report, the unemployment and underemployment rates in Nigeria — combined — stand at 55.7%. This means that the number of available jobs is fewer than the number of economically active persons in Nigeria.  What can be a better option than to earn in yuan?

Chinese is the most spoken language in the world after the English language with about 1.5 billion speakers. From the statement of fact above, it becomes needless to say that with good skill and sound knowledge in Mandarin, anyone can find a job in any Chinese-owned company across the globe. Similarly, other multinationals —even not owned by Chinese — prioritise job candidates that are fluent in multiple languages.

As the seventh-largest country in the World, Chinese firms and investors have found Nigeria a worthy market to settle in. Consequently, job roles will be created but stiff competition will be created with them. What can edge you to? Mandarin!

Here is an excerpt from a 2019 interview with the President of China Chambers of Commerce in Nigeria, Ye Shuijin:

The 160 Chinese firms operating in the country had also employed 200,000 Nigerians. I believe the Chinese investment in Nigeria now is about $20 billion and we have employed over 200,000 Nigerians. Our workforce is 95% Nigerians.

Sumptuous! More so, apart from working with these Chinese firms, you can also work as a freelance translator and earn between 120,000 to 150,000 naira monthly, or become a private Mandarin tutor, especially if you live in states with high economic activities like Lagos and Abuja, or you can go into academia. 

The shortage of Mandarin Chinese lecturers provides huge opportunities for Nigerians who will like to pursue a career in pedagogy. 

Whether you seek to work with international NGOs, become a mandarin tutor/lecturer in schools, or want to get Chinese related employment and free scholarship programs, learning Mandarin is a wise first step.

Why You Should Learn Chinese as a Team Lead

Once, a professor who was part of a negotiating team with a business team from China revealed that the Chinese businessmen communicated with themselves during the meetings using their language which the Nigerian party couldn't understand, and the Nigeria team could only discuss in English which the Chinese understood well. Given the increasing deals among both nations, Nigerian managers would do well to learn the Chinese language too to avoid being put in the dark at international sittings.

A board room
Communication is vital to every team. If you lead a team of diverse people, Mandarin can be a great management gizmo. Source: Unsplash

Also, managers and team leads who can speak Chinese can engender wider reception and goodwill. Consider when the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg delivered a 20-minute speech, entirely, in Mandarin at Tsinghua University in 2015. Even when everyone laughed at his poor Mandarin speech which, according to one headline, was like that of a seven-year-old, the Facebook boss was still able to wow and stun many people — perhaps, than he would have if he used the English language.

The Chinese language — and the entire Chinese culture — is also reputed for its wise sayings and thoughts. Managers who learn to speak Mandarin can find these cultural nuggets of wisdom useful in their management and leadership. Also, if you lead or hope to lead teams of diverse people, being able to speak Mandarin to your Asian colleagues will not only earn you respect but suggest to them that you are a manager who cares for and values everyone.




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A Nigerian freelance SEO Writer-cum-Editor and 2019 Writing Fellow of ALWF who blends creativity with rich content to produce sterling copy — persuasive, informative, or expository. He loves nature and trains in Karate, and he loves to help others grow — individuals and brands.