Why global firms should master the Cantonese language

Language and cultural differences are becoming a big barrier for every firm that wants to capture the global market. These are just two of the challenges that brands will experience once they decide to expand outside the borders of their own country. It is thus safe to say that embracing multiple languages and learning about different cultures in various parts of the world can pave every company’s way to business development.


If you’ve already made a decision to capture the Asian market, particularly its East Asian region, one of the languages you need to be familiar with is Cantonese. The East Asian market prides itself for having a massive purchasing power. From a marketing perspective, one strategic move you should make is to learn as much as you can about people’s way of life and language in this area.

To help you get started, here’s everything you need to learn about the Cantonese language and why you should have a team of proficient Cantonese speakers.

Cantonese: a brief history

Cantonese was first used in the 17th century as a form of writing. The Chinese first used it for personal communication, in diary and literary writing, and for newspapers and magazines.

The Cantonese language is delivered in two ways. There’s a formal and a casual way of speaking the language. The former is closely similar to the standard Chinese language and can be understood by those who speak Mandarin to an extent. However, the informal version of Cantonese is largely different from Mandarin.


Brands would benefit greatly from having a team of call center agents who speak Cantonese. This language is spoken by roughly 60 million people across several Asian countries including China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, and Hong Kong. There are also Cantonese-speaking communities in Canada, United States, Australia, and parts of Europe.

Difference from Mandarin

Mandarin is also among the languages you need to learn if you want to capture the greater Chinese region. But to completely cover this area, you won’t go wrong with mastering Cantonese, too. Both languages depend heavily on the use of tones to convey meaning. Cantonese is a more complicated dialect since it uses nine tones whereas Mandarin uses only five.

Why you need to outsource Cantonese customer service


Partnering with a bilingual call center is a sure, hassle-free way of reaching out to your company’s Cantonese-speaking customers. This will help you generate quick commercial results from your customers in East Asia, especially in China.

There are numerous Cantonese-speaking contact centers in the Philippines, which is largely considered the world’s outsourcing capital. One advantage of taking your customer service to Philippine call centers is having a strategic location from which you can easily reach your Chinese clientele.

The Philippines is a good place to find Cantonese-proficient speakers because of its proximity to China. This convenience allows several Chinese professionals to continually flock into the country.

In a highly globalized world, embracing multiple languages is the key to capture diverse market sectors. Teaming up with a bilingual call center can help you strengthen your global presence and build lasting relationships with your customers.



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