Isn’t it possible that Mandarin could overtake English as the global language of business? It’s possible, but unlikely. There are two reasons for this.
First, English has a giant head start. China can’t replicate Britain’s colonial history. The British Empire began embedding the English language in many parts of the world as early as the 16th century. Philanthropic work by American and British organizations further spread English, long before corporations began to adopt it at the workplace.
Second, for much of the world, Mandarin is extremely difficult to learn. It’s easier to pick up “broken English” than “broken Mandarin.” Knowing Mandarin-or any language spoken by huge numbers of people-is an advantage, clearly. But for now, Mandarin is not a realistic option for a one-language policy.