Online education a new frontier in China
Updated: 2014-05-03 11:14
By Meng Jing (China Daily)
Experts predict content will be enriched to include vocational skills, personal interests.
Xie Kan, a former TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) tutor at New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc, had never delivered a lesson to more than 200 students.
But in late April he set a personal record by teaching 1,500. And the venue was not your typical classroom but the 31 year-old's apartment.
Instead of standing at the front of a classroom at New Oriental's Hangzhou branch, Xie taught from his bedroom via a computer, camera and microphone.
"It was a very productive session. The Internet can help bring the teacher's power to the next level by giving lessons to a great number of students at the same time wherever they are," he told China Daily. It was the main driver for him to take part in online education.
Xie, had eight years experience at New Oriental, a provider of private educational services in China. He is one of the first teachers to establish an online teaching business, at 100.com - an online education platform, from YY Inc, a Chinese live video-streaming platform.
Nasdaq-listed YY offers a video platform to its 600 million registered online gamers and singers. At a press conference in Beijing in February, the company said it would branch out into online education. 100.com is a separate platform dedicated to online education and held its first teaching session on April 22.
"Tapping the online education sector is our company's top priority for future development," CEO Li Xueling said at 100.com's launch: "Through introducing innovative products and services, the Internet will revolutionize the traditional education sector, as it has retail, finance and other sectors for years now," YY is not alone.
Investors, including China's e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, put $100 million in February into TutorGroup, a language-learning platform popular with Chinese learning English. It's the largest investment in China's online education sector.
According to Beijing-based venture capital and private equity firm Zero2IPO Group, at least 25 online education startups received a total of nearly $2 billion investment in 2013. It compares with $17 million invested in eight companies in 2012.