Mark Zuckerberg has been learning Mandarin for some time, and it seems like the Facebook founder and CEO’s language skills are picking up after he showed them off with a twenty-minute speech spoken entirely in Chinese.
Zuck answered a Q&A session in Chinese in October of last year, but things seem to have developed considerably since then. Zuckerberg’s previous efforts, while impressive for someone not living in China and coping with the demands of running a multi-billion dollar public company, were described as being akin to a seven-year-old child. This time around though, Zuckerberg pulled off more advanced linguistic gymnastics, explaining to an audience at Tsinghua University — he joined the board last year — how he remains motivated by Facebook and its mission.
I’m not a Chinese speaker myself, but I talked to a number of people who are and the general consensus is that Zuckerberg’s progress is impressive — in particular his vocabulary is wide-ranging given his stage of learning — but his tones need some work. Zuck isn’t about to step into a Chinese boardroom soon, if he could, but the fact that he can find the time to become suitably proficient with a challenging language like Chinese will give other would-be language learners a boost in their own quest.
It also shows just how motivated he is to understand China… and perhaps even bring Facebook into the country legitimately.
Here’s the speech with English subs for the rest of us:
Given the Chinese government’s increased crackdown on methods for climbing its Great Firewall internet censorship system, I wonder what VPN Facebook’s CEO uses to get Facebook to work in China?