The demand for Mandarin speaking Pakistani nationals has increased manifold due to rising interest of Chinese companies in the Islamic country. China has already vowed to invest $57 billion in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which is being touted as a new “silk route” for business in the troubled South Asian region. Moreover, a number of Chinese companies are investing in Pakistan in crucial sectors like cement, steel, energy and textile. All of these have not only increased demand of Chinese speaking Pakistanis but their salaries have also shot up, according to a Reuters report.
The increased interest of Chinese investors in Pakistan is reflected in many ways in the country’s financial capital, Karachi. “Rising skyscrapers (in Karachi) testify to a construction boom in the city, businesses are printing Chinese-language brochures and salaries demanded by Pakistanis who speak Chinese have shot up,” reports Reuters.
In recent times, a Chinese-led consortium of investors has grabbed a “strategic stake” in Pakistan Stock Exchange. Besides, Shanghai Electric Power has acquired Pakistan’s biggest energy producers, K-Electric, for $1.8 billion. As part of the CPEC project, China would develop road, rail and energy infrastructure to connect Pakistan’s Gwadar port on the Arabian sea with Western Chinese region. The project would be funded by China and most of the business through the project would go to Chinese firms. This is, however, expected to boost Pakistan’s economic growth. However, the country would have to sincerely crackdown on terrorism.
In the last few years, China has also invested heavily in Mandarin schools in Pakistan. PTI reported in 2013 that China then aimed for training 1000 more Mandarin teachers in Pakistan. Besides, it also wanted Chinese TV channels to show Mandarin TV dramas in the country.
However, growing Chinese activities in Pakistan has also raised several concerns. According to Reuters, more Chinese citizens are seen in Karachi these days than the westerners. Pakistani trade unions are worried over alleged “mistreatment” of local workers by Chinese firms in Africa.