Seeing business, Gujaratis flock to learn Chinese language

‘There is an increasing trend amongst Gujaratis to learn Chinese language’

Ahmedabad: With Gujarat hoping to boost trade ties with China after President Xi Jinping's recent visit, more are more Gujaratis are thronging institutes here imparting training in various foreign languages especially to learn Chinese with a view to explore business opportunities in the neighbouring country.

Several pacts were inked between the two countries when President Xi visited Gujarat during his three-day India tour.

This included an agreement of sister city pact between Guangzhou in China and Gujarat's mega city Ahmedabad besides a deal on setting up of an industrial park in the state.

The people of Gujarat did not wait for such events to happen and had already started sensing business opportunities in the land of Mao Zedong earlier.

But according to city-based teachers and students of Chinese language, the trend to learn Chinese recently got a big push after Xi's visit.

"There is an increasing trend amongst Gujaratis to learn Chinese languages. The trend emerged rapidly, during the last two years after China and Gujarat began new business relations due to initiatives taken by state's former Chief Minister and present Prime Minister Narendra Modi," a city-based teacher of Chinese languages, Lavanya Trivedi said.

Trivedi claims that business personnel, medical students and interior designers are front runners to learn Chinese so that they can establish themselves in the People's Republic of China.

"There are more than 60 students, who are learning the Chinese language Mandarin, in various city-based institutes. As per the current trend, businessmen, medicos and interior designers dominate the numbers," Trivedi said.

She said that Chinese interior designers are quite in demand in Gujarat which could be the reason why the interior designers from the state often deal with China.

Besides, a new chapter in the relations between China and Gujarat have raised hopes among businessmen here, Trivedi said.

Also, medical education is financially accessible to Gujarati students and that could be the reason behind this influx to China.

Asked about difficulties faced by Gujarati students while learning Chinese language, zrivedi said there is no such great difficulty as the sentence patterns of both the languages are similar.

An Ahmedabad-based interior designer Bhvik Mankad (45) feels that business is the main purpose for Gujaratis.

"We Gujaratis are business-oriented people and therefore visit China for business purposes only. Earlier, the people from Gujarat were less associated with China. However in last few years there are opportunities in various sectors, like plastics and chemicals for Gujaratis in Chinese markets," Mankad said.

On his own business of interior-designing, Mankad has said he often goes to China to buy furniture from there as Chinese interiors are much in demand amongst Gujaratis.

On why he began learning Chinese, Mankad said, "I visited China often than any other countries where I had to face difficulties in communication."

"Unlike other countries, where English is more or less spoken or at least understandable by people, in China, it is difficult even to communicate, for a glass of water or seeking directions about a rest room. This was the reason for learning the language," Makad said, adding that he does not have to depend upon a interpreter now.

Another professional from Gujarat, Dharmesh Bhan (31) had a similar reason for learning Chinese as he deals with exports to China's textile sector.

"There was a need to learn Chinese language Mandarin. I am an Export Manager and often visit China for business purpose as our firm exports textile blankets made of rubber to China, which has the biggest textile market in the world," Bhan, who has been learning Mandarin in Ahmedabad's Gujarat Vidyapith, said.

Bhan further said it is difficult to learn Chinese as the tone and pronunciation are different, and a minor change in tone can change the entire meaning.

( Source : PTI )
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