English is a lingua franca or a common language that allows people who do not share a dialect to communicate. While standard Chinese and Spanish have the most native speakers globally, English is the most-used official language and the most widely spoken second language. In addition to the large population speaking English, it has become the most widely used language in the world of trade and commerce over the past decade or two. As a result, having excellent knowledge of English for business has become vital for success in any employee’s career. Enhanced communication skills in English can result in an improved social life and better job opportunities in the future. Communication skills are crucial from job interviews to the actual professional world, and being proficient in English means communicating clearly and effectively.
According to Babbel GmbH (Germany), in 2021, out of the world’s approximately 7.8 billion population, 1.35 billion speak English. About 360 million people speak English as their first language. Also, in Europe, it is estimated that more than 212 million English speakers are present, and in India, there are approximately 265 million speakers of English. English is spread throughout the Americas, making it hard to tabulate exactly, but it is likely around 350 million. Most native English speakers live in the U.S.— about 297.4 million. Another 30 million native English speakers reside in Canada.
Proficiency in the language has also made it a vital part of success in the highly competitive corporate world. Many reputed organizations worldwide rely on English as a means of communication in everything from emails to corporate documentation to even popular and well-read business resources in print and electronic media. Fluency in written and spoken English is critical in many aspects of corporate life, from securing employment to communicating with clientele and achieving cohesive business partnerships worldwide. English is the dominant business language if a person wishes to be a part of the global workforce. Research worldwide shows that cross-border business communication is often conducted in English, and many international companies expect employees to be fluent in English. For instance,
- Global companies such as Airbus SE (Netherlands), Mercedes-Benz Group AG (Germany), Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. (Japan), Nokia Corporation (Finland), Groupe Renault (France), and Microsoft Corporation (U.S.) have mandated English as their official corporate language. Further, it is estimated that over 50% of the pages on the Internet are written in English, which means that more online information is available to people who can read English.
- In ITT Motion Technologies Gmbh (Italy), an engineering company, every senior employee is expected to speak English, and most communications are delivered in English. Although it is not considered an official corporate language, it is the only language that everyone can generally speak in common.
Apart from this, English has become a global language for business worldwide to such an extent that it is also the standard official language in certain industries, such as shipping and airline. It has resulted in the knowledge of English becoming a near-mandatory requirement for critical jobs such as airline pilots, naval officers, etc. Apart from having an impressive command of spoken English, today’s competitive corporate culture also demands an equally impressive command of written English. It is mainly because almost all forms of business communication, such as emails, presentations, sales & marketing, and even corporate legal documentation, are now carried out in English. The rising importance of the English language increases the number of startups through investments to accelerate the English language learning platforms. For instance,
- In 2020, MyBuddy.ai, a U.S.-based ed-tech startup, received an investment of USD 1 million from the Venture capital firm LETA Capital. This investment has been done to improve further the mobile application developed by the company whose AI-voice virtual tutor is teaching spoken English to children and launching the application in new regions.
- In 2020, Bengaluru-based ed-tech startup Multibhashi received an undisclosed amount in funding from Inflection Point Ventures (IPV), Param Capital, and Cactus Communication to invest in building new tech features to expand the Personalized English Learning Platform.
- In 2020, Gurugram-based WhizKidz Media, an ed-tech startup operating for the kids-focused learning platform OckyPocky, received USD 400,000 from Lead Angels. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company had to face the crashing of their servers due to increased traffic and downsizing the product, but with the investment, the company will improve the OckyPocky platform and help kids to learn English.
- In 2020, Palfish, a Chinese online English learning platform, raised USD 120 million in a Series C funding round to enhance its educational products and services. The funding will be used to continue cultivating children’s English and creating more product forms that meet user needs.
Also, in some places where there is a shortage of native English speakers, English teaching robots have been in high demand. In 2020, robots became an effective way for students and teachers to work together in a safe environment while observing social distancing. Many players are developing English-teaching AI robots, such as the Elias Robot by Utelias Technologies Oy (Finland), which includes ready-made courses designed by experienced teachers for several languages and skill levels. Elias Robot's voice user interface allows students to learn languages by having conversations with human-like robots. Thus, all such initiatives, investments, and penetration of advanced technologies, including robots, make English learning solutions more accessible and highly adopted.
The global English language learning market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.5% to reach USD 69,623.1 million by 2029, according to Meticulous Research.
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