Doing Business in China: Is it Essential to Speak the Language?

I’ve been doing business in China for 20+ years. I speak fluent Mandarin, but know many fellow entrepreneurs in China who do not. Shanghai in particular is a city of foreigners and I’ve met countless successful business owners & executives who are living here and don’t speak the language (and are doing quite well for themselves.) This is a very well educated, welcoming city & a huge portion of the Chinese population speak excellent English.

If you’re interested in doing business in China, but don’t know Chinese, there are so many resources available. Even with an international staff (many of which speak Chinese as their 1st language and English as their 2nd language,) we run into complicated scenarios where technical or legal documentation needs to be translated and we use professional translators. Even my team can’t take technical language from the West and translate it into technical language in China (and vice versa.) Translators, third parties, AI, and apps can help you navigate and make the process relatively painless.

What it all comes down to though, is that you need to have the right mindset. Respect the culture, make an effort to understand, and remember that China belongs to Chinese.

#China #Mandarin #English #Entrepreneur #InternationalBusiness