Chinese has long been considered the most difficult major language but it took ShaoLan Hsueh teaching her British-born children the language for a breakthrough to be made. ShaoLan Hsueh realised the problem they faced and created her own method of learning Chinese characters – namely by placing them in simple illustrations.
Launched in 2013 with her TED talk, ‘Learn to read Chinese…with ease!’, Chineasy has experienced explosive growth and her learning materials (including books, cards and games) are available in 18 languages, from Swedish to Spanish.
“Chineasy is a return to my artistic upbringing”, says ShaoLan, “I would like to demonstrate the beauty of this deep and ancient culture with a modern interpretation.” The project is not only about learning a language, but unlocking the secrets of a culture in this complex society: “Our real agenda behind this project is to bridge the gap between the East and the West. I want to give the West a real understanding and knowledge of China and Chinese culture through their own eyes.”
Her dedication to melding tradition and modern design has been recognised by Wallpaper Magazine, the Design Museum, D&AD and Wired Japan. In addition, ShaoLan has been listed as one of the ‘21 Leading Ladies in Tech 2015’.
She believes that key to the success of a vibrant economy is to see business take more responsibility for their impact, “Business can always do more. [Everything from] the transport industry taking greater responsibility for environmental issues to healthcare companies ensuring that the poor have equal access to medicine and treatments.”