Thriving in China’s Business Landscape: How Learning Mandarin Without Immersion Made the Difference

As a Chinese teacher, I often get asked how to learn Chinese without being in a Chinese-speaking environment. If you are facing this challenge or wondering the same thing, you might be interested in Carlos’s story.

Carlos is from Brazil, and his father was a successful mining businessman who traded minerals between Brazil and China. Carlos grew up under the protection of his father and older brother, who managed the family business. He had a comfortable and easy life until everything changed.


“Life is full of ups and downs,” Carlos said, recalling the difficulties he faced. “You never know what will happen next.”

One day, Carlos’s father and brother died in a car accident, leaving him alone to take care of the family business. He soon faced fierce competition from other local businessmen who wanted to take over the family’s market share.

“They were so greedy and ruthless,” Carlos said. “They tried to force me out of the business by any means necessary.”

To protect his mother and himself, Carlos had to give up most of his mining business in Brazil and move to a small town called La Bass. There, he started to think about his future.

Learn Chinese

“I was not willing to give up so easily, but I knew I had to find a new way,” Carlos said. “That’s when I decided to establish a local Chinese team and personally travel to China to cultivate business and market relations. My father still had some connections in China, and I wanted to reclaim them in order to regain the market share that had been taken from our family’s business.”

However, he faced many difficulties and setbacks along the way. The first one was the lack of reliable and timely information from China. Business news from China often reached Brazil late and distorted after several transfers. By the time Carlos got hold of the information, other teams had already taken advantage of the opportunities.

The second challenge was the language barrier. Carlos realized that training or hiring someone who was familiar with both the Chinese and Brazilian cultures would be costly and time-consuming. He also knew that direct communication in Chinese would be essential for effective collaboration with his Chinese partners. To address this challenge, he made the decision to learn Chinese himself and gain a deeper understanding of the Chinese market.

Thus, Carlos embarked on a journey to learn Chinese with the goal of succeeding in the Chinese market. He initially sought help from the local Chinese community in La Paz, where he had relocated from Rio de Janeiro. However, he soon discovered that the Chinese-speaking environment there was limited. The community was small, and most members had integrated into the local culture, with only some of the younger generation having a basic understanding of Chinese vocabulary and phrases.

Carlos then turned to the internet, hoping to find free resources to learn Chinese. He downloaded study materials and watched instructional videos but found them ineffective and uninteresting. Without an immersive Chinese-speaking environment to provide interactive feedback, he continued to struggle with his pronunciation. His pronunciation diverged so significantly from the standard that he often left people confused or inadvertently elicited laughter.

1-to-1 class

After experiencing a period of low motivation, Carlos realized that he needed help to overcome his language learning challenges. With limited time available, he recognized the need to make the most of his fragmented schedule to rapidly improve his Chinese skills. As a result, he began searching for a professional Chinese teacher to assist him in this endeavor.

Fortunately, Carlos stumbled upon me, and I offered him a free one-on-one online Mandarin lesson to assess his level and identify any issues. Upon understanding his learning needs and difficulties, I designed a comprehensive learning plan that was tailored to address his lack of a Chinese-speaking environment while maximizing his use of limited time.

Initially, I focused on Carlos’s pronunciation training, correcting his mistakes through personalized one-on-one online Chinese courses. I guided him to reinforce the basics, starting with tones, which gradually improved his oral expression and made it sound more natural.

Next, I provided him with tailored learning materials and exercises that focused on business interactions, designing targeted courses for him. These helped him to listen more effectively, expand his vocabulary, and use authentic expressions in various business scenarios. As a result, Carlos became more fluent and competent in using Chinese for business communications.


Gradually, Carlos regained his confidence and composure. He was no longer afraid of making mistakes or speaking Chinese in public. He was ready to face any challenge in the Chinese market.

Six months later, Carlos and his team traveled to China to establish relationships with local authorities, suppliers, and customers. Carlos was able to use his language skills and cultural understanding to build trust and credibility with his Chinese counterparts.

His arrival also impressed the partners who had previously worked with his father. In every meeting, Carlos delivered speeches in Chinese, which won their respect and trust and gradually restored their cooperation.

His proactive understanding of Chinese business culture and customs helped him confidently navigate business and social events, avoiding misunderstandings caused by cultural differences. The benefits of learning Chinese were becoming clear for his business success. As his network of business partners grew, he steadily achieved his dreams.

“You have been a great help in my journey to success,” Carlos told me.

Now, Carlos continues his online Chinese courses with me. I also continue to be a reliable partner for his business growth in China.
Would you like to learn Chinese with my help, just like Carlos did? Contact me for a free one-to-one trial Mandarin class today!


You May Want to Learn More:

Navigating the Options: Annie’s Exploration for the Right Mandarin Learning Approach
Age is Just a Number: Johnson’s Inspiring Adventure of Learning Mandarin in Later Years
Mandarin on Your Terms: Is It Possible to Skip Learning Chinese Characters?

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