Mark Zuckerberg Shows Off His Improving Chinese Skills With A 20 Minute Speech

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:

I just gave my first ever speech in Chinese at Tsinghua University in Beijing -- on why you need a strong sense of mission to change the world.This was also my first real speech in any language sharing how I started thinking about Facebook's mission, what has kept me going through challenging times and what our mission means now looking ahead for our community of 1.5 billion people.This video also has English subtitles and you may find it interesting if you're thinking about building something or are interested in Facebook's history.The themes of believing in your mission, caring more deeply than anyone else and always looking ahead are relevant to anything you might build.Last year I joined the board of Tsinghua's School of Economics and Management. This is a great center of innovation and many of the students here will become global leaders in technology, business and government. It's an honor to have the opportunity to help this university and talk with its students. I look forward to coming back again next year!

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Saturday, October 24, 2015

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?