Ramblings: Business Chinese Test (BCT) by Hanban (Confucius Institute Headquarters)

It was exactly one month ago when I took the Business Chinese Test (BCT)

Developed by Peking University under the entrustment of Office of Chinese Language Council International (“Hanban” for short), the BCT is a state-level (China) standardized test designed to assess the Chinese proficiency of non-native speakers engaged in business activities. From what I gathered, the BCT test is not only popular in Korea and Japan but also around the world).

Featuring practicality and communicativeness, the BCT assesses the communicative ability of test takers using Chinese in a wide range of business-related career occasions, daily life and social interaction.

While the  test consists of two relatively independent tests: BCT (Listening & Reading) and BCT (Speaking & Writing), I chose only to undertake BCT (Listening & Reading) and BCT (Speaking). The reason why I didn’t take the Writing component is simply because I have not written anything meaningful in Chinese (other than my name) since I completed Secondary School (and that was a long time ago).

So how did I fair in my test? Well, the results came in today and I am glad to share that I was placed on Level 4. So what does Level 4 means? Well, there are a total of 5 levels:

  • Level 1 – Incapable of communication in Chinese in business activities.
  • Level 2 – Capable of basic communication in Chinese in business activities.
  • Level 3 – Capable of fairly effective communication in Chinese in business activities.
  • Level 4 – Capable of fairly skilful communication in Chinese in business activities.
  • Level 5 – Capable of appropriate communication in Chinese in business activities.

As you can see, Level 4 isn’t that bad and more so for me since I rarely converse, read or listen to anything in Chinese (the only real opportunities I have is when I am communicating with friends or business associates from China and Taiwan and even that is rare as they usually want to practice their English).

So why did I choose to take the test? Well, I did it in order to present my ability to speak good Chinese as a skill-set, which is in demand these days.

Most people claiming to be proficient at Chinese actually possess low-level competency – yes, they can buy a loaf of bread in a Chinese supermarket but that doesn’t mean they can communicate effectively in a business setting!

The tricky part is, the decision makers looking to hire this skill-set often do not process a mastery of Chinese (which is why they are hiring people who do) and cannot identify the real deal. To mitigate this barrier, I chose to take the BCT test.

The results I received also includes a training recommendation program – the Advanced course, where I will learn 1500 business phrases and advanced expressions with good grammatical control.

While it sound daunting, I reckon I will sign up for the Advanced course, after all, it does sound exciting!


  1. rebecca says:

    May I know which book(s) did you use to polish your business Chinese?

  2. Adam Chee says:

    Hi Rebecca, I didn’t use any materials.
    I was already proficient in Chinese (Putonghua) before I took the test – I am ethnically Chinese and we have a bilingual education system in Singapore with English as the first language and the student’s mother tongue as a second language, this couple with an environment where there are lots of Chinese, including mainland Chinese, Taiwanese etc. made it somewhat easier to learn the lingo used in business Chinese.
    Hope this helps.

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