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How to choose between learning Mandarin and Cantonese:

Mandarin is the official language of China, and is what most people are referring to when they say that they want to "learn Chinese". Mandarin is recommended if you're traveling throughout China or Taiwan, doing business in those countries, or learning Chinese for academic/career purposes. Free Mandarin Chinese Lessons
Cantonese is the official language of Hong Kong and is also spoken in mainland China's Southeastern region. Because most of China's emigration has been from that region, Cantonese is the dialect you'll most often hear in the U.S., U.K., and other Western countries. Cantonese is recommended if you're heading to Hong Kong, or if you want to communicate with Chinese at home (outside of China). Free Cantonese Chinese Lessons

Other information from Wikipedia:

  Mandarin Cantonese
Spoken in: People's Republic of China, Taiwan China; Vietnam; Malaysia; and countries with overseas Chinese originating from Cantonese-speaking parts of China 
Region: Most of northern and southwestern China (and some overseas Chinese Communities, such as Los Angeles and Sydney) The Pearl River Delta (central Guangdong; Hong Kong, Macau); eastern and southern Guangxi; parts of Hainan; Singapore; Malaysia (Sandakan, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur)
Total speakers: 885 million 97 million
Language family: Sino-Tibetan
Official language in: China and Taiwan Hong Kong and Macau