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Worsening India-China ties take a toll on Mandarin’s growth

Many Indian students and businessmen opting for the Chinese language because of its global reach and Beijing’s growing clout, in addition to booming trade ties with Taiwan and South-East Asia, begin to have second thoughts.

September 09, 2021 / 07:57 PM IST

China, a country where proverbs and parables count for much, has this one-liner from its ancient sayings - “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Well, the single step in this modern context is learning Mandarin, which with 1.4 billion speakers, is the largest spoken language in the world and the second most used language on the internet.

While English occupies the top position if native and non-native speakers are considered, Mandarin Chinese is the most spoken language in the world when counting only first language or native speakers.

The study of Mandarin Chinese in India runs a parallel course with the rising significance of not just China, but the world of South-East Asia – Singapore and Hong Kong, among others – which hold major attractions for Indians doing business and students who want a greater slice of the global exposure without travelling West.