If you're looking to do business in the world's second largest economy, it helps to learn the language. And even if you aren't going into business in China, there's something intriguing about having some understanding of a language that has more native speakers than any in the world.
But getting started is a daunting task when you're venturing outside Latin script for the first time and there are more than 20,000 characters in the Chinese language.
A budding language-learning program, Chineasy, focuses on making that task a little more manageable by using simple illustrations around the characters as a mnemonic device to build up your basic Chinese reading skills. As Isabel Berwick writes at Financial Times, ShaoLan Hsueh, a successful entrepreneur in the Internet's early days and founder of Chineasy, "makes you feel that you could learn Chinese. And that’s half the battle."
The Chineasy concept was popular (and successfully funded) on Kickstarter, where it more than doubled its goal of £75,000 to reach nearly £200,000 and it's easy to see why. The illustrations are catchy, well-designed, and easy on the eyes (an important thing when you're sifting for hours through the same flash cards). And thirty minutes after watching their pitch video I still remember the symbol for person (which I consider to be a mini-miracle).
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