Mark Zuckerberg celebrated the Chinese Lunar New Year by recording a special message to his followers in Mandarin Chinese.
“Happy Lunar New Year 春节快乐!” he posted. “This is a moment of renewal and celebration each year. I hope you have a wonderful time surrounded by friends and family, and I hope that the Year of the Sheep brings you health and happiness.”
Zuckerberg’s confidence has significantly improved since October 2014 when he hosted a 30-minute Q&A entirely in Mandarin at Tsinghua University in China.
The billionaire is entirely self-taught and was inspired to learn the language by his wife, Priscilla Chan, whose family speaks Chinese.
“Evidently Chan’s grandma was ‘very shocked’ when Zuckerberg told her in Chinese that the two of them were getting married,” Business Insider’s Drake Baer reports.
Studying Mandarin has also helped Zuckerberg better understand Chinese culture.
Despite its 1.3 billion citizens, 45.8% of whom are currently internet users, China remains an untapped market when it comes to Facebook. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter are currently blocked by the government over fears that the sites will stir up conflict.
Zuckerberg’s foray into the language appears to be well received, however.
“Wish you and your family as well as Facebook a prosperous year of sheep or goat or ram whatever called!” Facebook user Ellen Kwok posted.
“You take your time to care about different cultures, I respect you more than I already did,” writes Santiago Agudelo Alzate.
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