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Startup Business Chinese

A Series for Professionals
by Dr. Jane C. M. Kuo

In today's highly competitive Chinese market, knowing the language and culture can mean the difference between success and failure for foreign business ventures. Designed for learners with no prior background in Chinese, Startup Business Chinese provides a strong foundation in all four language skill areas, with special emphasis on interpersonal communication skills. In addition, cultural notes throughout the series impart knowledge of Chinese social customs and business practices essential to communicating effectively in Chinese business environments.

Situational dialogues using workplace-specific vocabulary and expressions help learners feel comfortable interacting with Chinese colleagues, employees, and clients right away. Over the three-volume series, learners follow a foreign executive as he conducts a business trip to Beijing, relocates to southern China, and adjusts to life there. By Level 3, the executive and learners alike are ready to start conducting real business in Chinese, like writing memos, negotiating prices, and managing sales distribution!

Free audio downloads corresponding to all three volumes provide learners with a yardstick for pronunciation and intonation. All dialogues are presented in characters and pinyin to allow users to concentrate on their personal goals for language learning, making Startup Business Chinese a flexible resource for professionals, business majors, and anyone interested in doing business in or with China.

Level 1 is in simplified characters only, while Levels 2 & 3 include traditional characters in the textbooks' vocabulary lists.


  • Level 1 features an introductory chapter on the basics of spoken and written Chinese, with exercises that teach proper pronunciation.
  • Dialogues cover interactions learners are likely to have while living and working in China, such as greetings, introductions, arranging meetings, communicating with colleagues, social events, expressing gratitude to hosts, and discussing future plans.
  • Sentence patterns highlight commonly used expressions and sentence structures, with clear examples and related drills.
  • Pinyin is included throughout both textbook and workbook for learners who want to focus on the spoken language.
  • Level 1 offers a separate workbook containing listening, speaking, and writing exercises.

The perfect book for businesspeople who need to get up to speed with the Chinese language quickly to prepare for doing business in China.

— Dan Marshall, Business Unit Executive, IBM Americas

Startup Business Chinese provides more than quick results; it also lays a comprehensive and systematic foundation for continuous learning. Kuo embeds culture in language lessons in a way that benefits learners . . . in no small measure.

— Qinghai Chen, Ph.D., University of Michigan

Anyone who desires to develop language proficiency in Business Chinese and its culture should use Startup Business Chinese.

— Mien-Hwa Chiang, University of Pennsylvania
About the Author(s)


Professor Jane C. M. Kuo is the former director of the Chinese language program at the University of California San Diego, and Professor Emeritus of Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. During her tenure at ASU, she developed a business-focused Chinese language curriculum and directed Thunderbird’s summer program for MBA students in China, as well as winter programs to Taiwan and Singapore. Over the years, she also conducted numerous seminars on business-specific Chinese language and cross-cultural communication skills for Fortune 500 executives.

Dr. Kuo is widely recognized as a pioneer of business Chinese instruction and has authored the best-selling Open for Business: Lessons in Chinese Commerce for the New Millennium and New Pathways. She also co-authored Business Negotiation: Theory and Practice. She has served as a board member of the national Chinese Language Teachers Association-US and was a founding board member of CLTA’s Southern California regional chapter.

Her research interests include the study of theories and pedagogy in language teaching and acquisition, as well as the development of curricula and instructional materials for college and post-graduate level courses. She is a frequent presenter and keynote speaker at national and international conferences in her areas of expertise.