Saturday, May 10, 2008

Global Business English

Welcome to a new featured category on The Communications Coach - Global Business English. In this category we will have irregular postings on a subsection of English used in business throughout the world that is related to a new instructional website called Global Business English.

This website is a direct outgrowth of my work teaching at the Queen's School of Business and is designed to help fill the need for on-line instruction in global business English. So, check it out by clicking on a link in this posting or in our regular Links section or by clicking on the Global Business English logo. However you get there, and whether English is you first or ninth language, Global Business English can help you be a more effective writer and presenter.

The Future of Global Business is English

English is the world’s primary language for business. Because of economic, demographic, and cultural reasons, English has advantages over other languages such as Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese, French, and German.

A primary advantage in is Internet communication, which has made the world smaller and more accessible. Since English is the main Internet language, increased Internet usage means an increasing demand for English.

In the next 10 to 15 years, the number of people learning English is likely to reach a peak at around 2 billion. A significant increase will come from Chinese students, estimated now at around 250 million English learners, increasing of about 20 million per year, according to David Graddol in the British Council Publication called English Next.

It is certain that more people than ever want to learn English. Far from being news, that has become one of the few enduring facts of global modern life – a trend that began in the late 19th century when English was heralded, from Europe to Japan, as the new rising world language.

Here’s an excerpt from an economic development brochure put out by the Hong King government (emphasis mine).

With a population of seven million, Hong Kong is a busy and energetic international metropolis. A friendly and accessible city, Hong Kong thrives on its strong work ethic and can-do attitude.

Hong Kong boasts a well-educated workforce, with almost half of all students attending universities at home or abroad. This local pool of experienced and entrepreneurial talent offers an essential mix of international market savvy with an appreciation of the business culture in the fast-growing Mainland cities, and across Asia.

In offices and boardrooms, English is the usual language of business, while many in Hong Kong speak English, Cantonese and Mandarin, providing another vital link to business with Mainland China markets and consumers.

Hong Kong’s local pool of talent offers an essential mix of international market savvy with an appreciation of the business culture in Mainland China.

• Multi-lingual workforce – English is the language of business

• Highly trained, flexible and motivated population

• Experienced in travelling and working in Mainland China and throughout the region

• Familiar with the latest international business practices

• Strong work ethic – industrial action extremely rare

Welcome to Hong Kong, Asia’s Business Capital. Invest HK.

Once the number of English speakers can be used to lure investors, it is proof that English has “currency” and value. It can be monetized, and it is the fastest way to global business success.

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