[lg policy] Mandarin Becoming the Second Language of Luxury

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Mon Apr 16 14:53:27 UTC 2012

Mandarin Becoming the Second Language of Luxury
Published: Sunday, 15 Apr 2012 | 8:28 PM ET

By: Paul O'Donnell, Special to CNBC.com

Mandarin is slowly becoming the second language of business, according
to not one, not two, but three articles in The New York Times over the
weekend. A front-page story in Sunday’s paper noted that high-end
retailers have begun to employ salespeople who speak Chinese to handle
the rising numbers of well-funded tourists from the People’s
Republic.The average Chinese visitor, the article says, drops $6,000
during his or her stay. Due to taxes their government puts on luxury
goods, Chinese shoppers can get more for less in the United States and

Some Chinese come to these shores for longer stays, making Mandarin a
growing necessity for real-estate agent in New York’s Long Island
suburbs, adds an article in the Times real-estate section.  The forces
that are keeping home prices depressed here don’t pertain to buyers
from booming economies like Russia's, Brazil's, and, of course,
China's. Wealthy Chinese are drawn to Long Island particularly for its
abundance of upscale single-family homes, usually set in school
districts that regularly appear near the top of the national rankings.

Shawn Elliott, a realty agent cited in the story, has added
“translate” tabs to pages on his website and installed a separate
phone line for Chinese callers. Next week he’ll travel to China to
address a conference about luxury homes in the New York area.
Meanwhile, agents of Asian extraction who speak Chinese are finding
that business is up. Lastly, in a special section on education, the
Times reports on efforts by German teachers to restore the language’s
popularity among high-school and college students. The story cites a
Department of Education study showing that only 14 percent of American
high schools offer German language instruction, down from 24 percent
in 1997.

German’s decline has coincided, according to a report by the American
Association of Teachers of German, with the rise of Chinese. “China
pursues a very active policy of subsidies, with the avowed goal of
anchoring Chinese instruction in the U.S. educational landscape,” the
report reads.
The German teachers do admit that China’s recent boom may also have
something to do with Mandarin’s popularity: “A large majority of the
population do not see foreign-language skills as relevant for their
own economic, intellectual and social progress,” the association said.

Put simply, some kids see a bright future in luxury retail and
high-end real estate.

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