The Chinese (Mandarin) language has experienced considerable growth over the last ten years. This is largely down to the explosion of the manufacturing sector and the subsequent rapid growth of the Chinese export market. Chinese has gone from a primarily domestic language - spoken by approximately 1.4 billion people - to a desirable language of the business world. Chinese has also been adopted into the curriculum of many western schools, as education institutions realize the future value of communicating in Chinese. China has undergone huge reform, both politically and socially, which has resulted in a dramatic increase in Chinese tourism. The rise in the amount of Chinese tourists visiting the USA, UK, Australia and Europe has prompted foreign tour operators to step up their proficiency in the Chinese language. This exponential growth means that learning to speak Chinese is not just an asset when visiting China, but also puts you at considerable advantage when applying for work with multinational companies. Chinese is, without doubt, going to be one of the three dominant world languages in years to come. The advantage of learning Chinese using language software is that you can move at your own pace. Language school lessons tend to be rather regimented, and if you miss a class or two it's easy to fall behind the curriculum and become demotivated. Moreover, the thought of having to sit in a classroom-like environment is a little daunting if you have long finished school like I have. Private lessons are a great option if you can afford them, but then you have the additional hassle of arranging lesson times and possibly having to travel to meet your tutor - it can also be a struggle to find a teacher you feel comfortable with. In the modern era of smartphones and tablets, having the flexibility to learn on the go makes absolute sense. Digital language software enables you to access your lessons and audio anywhere you have a 3/4G or WIFI connection. Perhaps the best aspect of buying a course, however, is that you pay a one-off fee. Once you buy the package you have instant, permanent access to the learning tools. And because of the competitive nature of the market, language companies are giving away incredible value with their software, unrivalled by language schools or private teachers.