Bangladeshi officials choose to learn Chinese to get ahead


DHAKA: Officials and executives of banking and non-banking financial institutions are joining a new and growing trend of learning Chinese in Bangladesh, a country in which proficiency in English has long been the desirable language goal to achieve success.

What the officials maintain is changing because in today’s modern economy knowing Mandarin and understanding China, which has more than 5,000 years of history and 1.28 billion people, is a must. People, particularly business people here, understand that the studying of the Chinese language can pave the way for them to further explore both professional and cultural opportunities.

People from different industries and backgrounds are now showing more interest in learning Chinese in the hope to understand the world’s second-largest economy better, and to benefit from knowing the most widely spoken language in the world, whether it is for personal reasons or in the pursuit of furthering business opportunities.

Language teachers in Dhaka have recently noted a high number of banking and non-financial institutions are seeking their support to teach a rising number of officials and executives the Chinese language. A Dhaka University teacher said they are teaching Chinese to as many 29 officials from just one single bank.

Zubaida is one of the 29 officials of Bangladesh’s leading AB Bank Limited who is learning the Chinese language at the Modern Language Institution of Dhaka University. “Our relationship with China is growing rapidly,” said Zubaida who uses a single name.

“In the business sector they are making so many valuable contributions. So in future for the good of business relationships we need to know the Chinese people and their backgrounds and speak their language. Doing so will help us develop deeper relationships in banking with them.”

She added that China has a long and rich history and its people account for one fifth of the global population and therefore being able to speak, read and write Mandarin and understanding China in general is exceedingly important in today’s global environment.

“And we also know that over one in four people are talking Chinese. So it’s like I feel proud if I can be one of those special people and communicate with so many people easily,” said Zubaida, adding that a new era of business could be explored by visiting China and that many cross-cultural and other reciprocal benefits could be made by Bangladeshis immersing themselves in Chinese culture and language.

Zubaid’s colleague Porshia said, “Right now we are communicating with our Chinese business parters using English, but perhaps, for better communication, if we talk in their own language it might be smoother for us to communicate with them and both parties will feel comfortable.”

She added “They will feel that communicating with us is easy. That’s why our bank sent us here to learn the Chinese language.” “Our bank is trying to further develop business relationships with Chinese companies and communicate with our partners better,” she said.

Afazal Hossain, assistant professor and head of the Chinese Department of Modern Language Institution at Dhaka University, said many organizations are seeking their support to teach their officials the Chinese language.

“The Chinese language is also one of the official languages of the United Nations and every sector including banks, officials need to develop this language skill,”Hossain said. Language is the bridge between two countries, two nations and between two people, he added.

Echoing almost a similar view, Guo Lei, Chinese Language Director at the Confucius Institute at Bangladesh’s leading private North South University in Dhaka, said Chinese teaching services are increasing day by day not only in Bangladesh but all over the world.

He said there are more than 20 Chinese teachers in Bangladesh who are teaching the Chinese language in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country. According to Guo, many Bangladeshi educational institutions are seeking support from his institute to teach their teachers and students the Chinese language.

“I think because the Chinese economy is growing so fast and its influence is expanding, many officials from the bank and other companies are interested in doing business with China,” said Guo. “If they can learn the Chinese language and speak Chinese they can promote their businesses better,” he added. –APP

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