Tags: zuckerberg | chinese | speech | mandarin

Zuckerberg's Chinese Speech in Mandarin Awkward But Brave

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By    |   Monday, 26 Oct 2015 01:08 PM

Mark Zuckerberg addressed Chinese students over the weekend in a 20-minute speech delivered in Mandarin described as awkward and brave.

Zuckerberg admitted to students at Tsinghua University in Beijing that it was "my first ever speech in Chinese," as he talked about what drove him to run Facebook through its most challenging times, said Forbes.

"Armed only with a gray t-shirt, a few years of language study, and what appeared to be some vocabulary notes on a screen near the floor, Zuckerberg bravely, awkwardly wrestles with Mandarin to discuss Facebook's origin story, and his belief that a company must have a strong sense of mission," said Nikhil Sonnard and Richard Macauley of Quartz.com.

"… Zuckerberg clearly exhibits the qualities most important in a successful language learner: solid work ethic, acceptance of inevitable mistakes, and irrational audacity. It bears mentioning that these are not unlike the qualities of a successful startup founder." 

Zuckerberg told the students that Facebook's business model that puts people first has made it successful, much like Chinese companies Alibaba and Xiaomi, said The New York Times.

"There were so many websites on the Internet, and you could find almost everything – news, music, books, things to buy – but there was no service to help us find the most important thing to our lives: people," said Zuckerberg. "I now see the same stories when I look at Chinese companies like Alibaba and Xiaomi."

The Times said Zuckerberg tried to relate to his audience by adding: "There is a good Chinese saying, which says that if you work at it hard enough, you can grind an iron bar into a needle. If you keep working hard, you will change the world."

Forbes said Zuckerberg was learning Mandarin so he could better communicate with his wife's paternal grandmother, but added that his efforts could help in his effort break into the Chinese market.

China's 600 million Internet users cannot get on Facebook, Forbes noted, even though Facebook opened up a Beijing ad office to focus on local businesses in May. Facebook was blocked, along with Internet access, by the Chinese government in 2009 during riots in Urumqi in northwest China.

Facebook and Twitter were not allowed back into China when the Internet was restored in the country.


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Mark Zuckerberg addressed Chinese students over the weekend in a 20-minute speech delivered in Mandarin described as awkward and brave.
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2015-08-26
Monday, 26 Oct 2015 01:08 PM
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