Understanding Business Mandarin is becoming more important because it helps people communicate effectively in global business. There’s a good chance you’ll encounter Chinese business owners or professionals during your career. This is why learning Business Mandarin can give you an advantage.

Why Learning Business Mandarin Helps Worldwide


The construction of Pokhara international Airport in Nepal, built and largely financed by China. Image credit: Raju Babu

China is one of the most populated countries in the world, so you’re likely to meet Chinese people often. Knowing Business Mandarin can help you communicate your business goals confidently and clearly.

Some might argue that regular Mandarin is enough, claiming Business Mandarin is similar. This leads some to overlook the importance of learning Business Mandarin. While both are essentially the same language, Business Mandarin includes specific business terms and a deeper understanding of Chinese business etiquette.

By using the right vocabulary and being familiar with the etiquette, you make your Chinese counterparts feel right at ease with you – whether you’re about to make a business deal, or simply working together with colleagues from the Shanghai office.

Consider Singapore, a country with plentiful business opportunities. Several language schools offer Business Mandarin courses, which are even useful to Singaporeans who speak Chinese at home. Knowing basic business etiquette and vocabulary makes working with Mainland Chinese much easier.

Chinese Business Etiquette Tips


If you happen to run into Alibaba’s chairman Jack Ma, you can speak English, and he’s familiar with Western business etiquette. But a lot of Chinese business people aren’t as comfortable in that kind of setting. Image credit: ITU

In multicultural Singapore, Chinese customs are quite common. Here are a few tips on Chinese business etiquette:

First Impressions

First impressions are crucial because people often judge by appearances. At your first meeting, make a good impression with a proper handshake. A firm but gentle grip is best. If your grip is too strong, you might seem aggressive.

Body Language

After making a good first impression, pay attention to your body language. Positive body language helps convey your messages effectively. However, avoid behaviors like finger snapping, whistling, or fidgeting, as they are considered rude.

Additionally, avoid showing the soles of your shoes or pointing your index finger during meetings, as these gestures can offend.

The Power of Silence

If you forget what to say during a meeting, don’t scramble to fill the silence with meaningless words. It’s more respectable to pause, collect your thoughts, and then speak. Unlike in some cultures where constant talking shows confidence, in Chinese business etiquette, silence can be a powerful tool.

By understanding these etiquette rules and practicing Business Mandarin, you can increase your chances of success in your meetings. Business Mandarin not only teaches you the correct language and terminology for business settings, it also imparts more etiquette rules, marketing strategies, and much more!

Ready to learn business Mandarin?

We’re not the only provider of Business Mandarin courses in Singapore. However, most other training institutes deliver training to large groups of 20 people or more.

In our small group business Mandarin classes, you’ll have lots of opportunities to speak.