My experience is that I could acquire a good Chinese knowledge only by learning the characters. It is said that an average Chinese person uses about 2-3000 characters in every day life. In fact, nobody knows how many characters are there, there are only approximations. The UTF-8 coding uses something like 80.000 characters and the list is not complete. This number might sound enormous, so I have collected the 20 most frequent Chinese characters, that are used in business related articles.
My data source was the people.cn website, I have analyzed 50 articles and extracted 1785 characters. This also implies that after mastering approximately 2000 characters, you can read a fairly difficult article. The fact that the characters that are responsible for grammatical connections, such as 可，是，能, etc. are used more then the ones that are business related ones, makes the analysis difficult.
Chinese characters outside of China
Moreover, the positive way of thinking of the writers is also reflected by this study. For example if you have a look at 增, which means some kind of increment, ended up on the 8th place. Plus if you try to understand the collective meaning of the first 20 characters, you can figure it out, that they represent some kind of advancing trend. Namely, everything will change in the future, there will be more money in the system, the financial situation will get better and there will be endless opportunities.
The 20 most frequent Chinese characters in business Chinese
Furthermore it is interesting that the character of a „net“ or „network“ has ended up on the 7. Place, which means that as anywhere else in the world everything happens on the internet nowadays. The second character of the internet: 上 has been neglected, because it is very common and it would poison the dataset.
Here is the list, the pinyin reading with the tones and the reading: