Increased trade with China prompts Mexicans to begin learning Mandarin

World Today

Increased trade with China prompts Mexicans to begin learning Mandarin

China and Mexico trade tens of billions of dollars in goods each year. That’s prompted many Mexicans to begin learning Chinese. CGTN’s Alasdair Baverstock reports.

Axel Rodriguez from Mexico City has been speaking Mandarin Chinese for the past two years. He works for Huawei, in the Chinese company’s Mexico Head Office, and decided to study the language to help him in his professional capacity.

“Right now I work in a Chinese company, with Chinese people, so I think it’s a good idea to speak Chinese, and the Chinese has helped me,” Gutierrez said. “For example, the folders in the computer, it’s not with translation. So I can read it, and I don’t have the need to call a Chinese colleague and say, ‘what is this?’”

Axel isn’t alone. For many Mexicans, proficiency in Mandarin gives a serious boost to their career prospects, and they see proficiency in Mandarin as a good way to get ahead.

Dian Jin from Shanghai runs a Mandarin language school in the capital, where she says the students today have a newfound respect for China’s global role.  

“We see that there are more and more Chinese companies that are opening their market here,” said Jin. “So the Mexicans are seeing the contemporary China more, I think.  Before, the Mexicans they related China with buffet restaurants and wholesalers in the downtown. But now with Chinese companies like the application DiDi, or the cellphone developer Huawei, we see more and more bigger Chinese companies here, so I think there is a bigger demand.”

And it isn’t only adults. Nine-year-old Fernanda Martinez has been studying Mandarin since she was just four. Encouraged by her parents to pick up multiple languages, she now speaks and writes at an upper-intermediate level.

“These days it’s an important language to speak,” said Fernanda’s mother, Joanna Lida. “Many companies are more likely to give jobs to those who speak Mandarin, and now, given that Mexico and China’s relationship is ever-closer, we want to give our daughter every possible opportunity.”

A serious focus on the Chinese language reflects a new generation’s serious view of Mexico’s relationship with Asia.

As Chinese-Latin American business ties strengthen, more and more Mexicans are taking an interest in speaking a language that could serve them well… in a future where their country takes a greater role in the Trans-Pacific relationship.

Dan Ye on the rising popularity of Mandarin classes

Dan Ye, CEO and Co-Founder of the online platform, CollegeNode, talked to CGTN’s Elaine Reyes about the rising numbers of students around the world who are learning Mandarin.