I recently completed a (long-overdue) Chinese refresher course thanks to Chinese Pod’s new 8-week, 10 minute a day programme, and can highly recommend it. The lessons are picked based on an initial review of capability (from newbie to advanced), daily lessons can be downloaded (podcast and supporting materials), and are followed up by a conversation (over Skype) with a teacher in Shanghai.
ChinesePod, has recently been covered in the Economist , and is reported to have around 250,000 regular users. More information on its free and paid services can be found at www.ChinesePod.com .
Perhaps some of the senior folk at Goldman Sachs will be signing up for some classes. The FT has just reported that mandarin skills are a new barrier to entry in China’s financial sector:
“Goldman Sachs has been unable to appoint its preferred chief executive at its Beijing joint venture because his Chinese language skills are not sufficient to pass a mandatory financial knowledge test, according to sources at the joint venture partner…The China Securities Regulatory Commission issued formal regulations requiring senior executives to take the test at the end of last year. Managers in place before then have until 2009 to pass the test or they will lose their titles.”
Note: The China Business Blog came into being at the time that ChinesePod was being set up, and this website was put together by some of the team now at ChinesePod. When scoping out the site, Hank Horkoff (one of the founders) asked: “What are you doing about a blog?”. “A what?” I said. He explained, and I have been a dedicated blogger ever since…