Mandarin Chinese is the Language of Business – What Should You Know?

Centuries ago, China had its own lingua franca called Classical Chinese. Over the years, it blended with other languages and popular dialects, resulting in numerous local variants. China is now home to 56 ethnic groups and 302 living languages in a population of over 1.4 billion people. Mandarin Chinese stands out as a key language in the business world. What should you know about this language?

The most spoken form of Chinese is Mandarin, and it also dominates the business world. With over 1.1 billion speakers in China alone, it becomes the most spoken language globally. There are various dialects within Mandarin, typically categorized into four groups: Northern Mandarin, Northwestern Mandarin, Southwestern Mandarin, and Southern Mandarin.

 Mandarin Chinese is the Key Language for Business

As mentioned, Mandarin Chinese is the most widely spoken and understood variant among the Chinese population. It has solidified its position as the primary language of business.

Knowing this language is immensely helpful because China has evolved into a global economic powerhouse with significant influence in international markets. Those looking to establish strong business relationships in China will find that speaking Mandarin is a valuable asset.

What is the Complexity of Learning Mandarin?

While Mandarin Chinese is an important language in the business world, learning it can be a challenge for non-native speakers due to its structural and linguistic differences compared to Western languages.

The Chinese writing system uses characters instead of the Latin alphabet, and intonation is crucial as a single word can have different meanings based on the tone used.

Some Basic Expressions to Know for Doing Business in China

When conducting business with Chinese suppliers, having a basic understanding of some expressions in Mandarin Chinese is essential. These phrases can help make a good impression and demonstrate respect for the local culture.

  • 你好 (Nǐ hǎo): Means “Hello” and is a polite way to greet someone in Mandarin Chinese.
  • 谢谢 (Xièxiè): Means “Thank you.” Showing gratitude is an important part of business interactions in China.
  • 请问 (Qǐngwèn): This phrase is used to make a request or ask for something politely. It can be useful, for example, when requesting information about products or services.
  • 希望我的合作愉快 (Xīwàng wǒmen de hézuò yúkuài): Means “I hope our cooperation is pleasant.” It is a friendly and encouraging expression used in business contexts.
  • 价格 (Jiàgé): Another basic expression in Mandarin Chinese for business. Means “Price.” This word is crucial when negotiating business deals and discussing financial transactions.


As you know, IBMH offices are in China. We have been operating in the market for years, so we not only understand the language firsthand but also the best methods for negotiations. We can be your guide and help you increase the profitability of your business by taking care of all your furniture and construction hardware imports. Do not hesitate and contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you!