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CCHATTY: combining AI technology with Chinese learning content for online Chinese lesson

05-22-2018 05:01 PM CET | Science & Education

Press release from: CCHATTY HK LTD

According to the statistics released by the Confucius Institute Headquarters, Currently, there are about 100 million Chinese learners around the global. This number will hit 130 million by 2020. For instance, in South Korea, around 10 million people are studying Chinese; Russia and Finland have listed learning Chinese as examinable courses, either as a first foreign language or a second foreign language. Therefore, Chinese learning worldwide has become an incremental market. However, at present, the demand for teaching Chinese as a foreign language is still a highly fragmented one, which is not very professional and lacks large institutions.
Meanwhile, online language training companies in China, led by VIPKID, are becoming bigger and bigger. And less and fewer people in the market are voicing their doubts about the effectiveness of studying a new language online because face-to-face interaction in the process of learning languages cannot be replaced, neither by learning software nor by any other tools. Therefore, future language learning process is very likely to be face-to-face and online.

The standard features of these two trends are what CCHATTY is working on. They aspired to teach foreigners Chinese in small classes and face-to-face. And combining AI technology with Chinese learning content (textbooks, courseware, dictionaries, exams and paid courses), they will build a smart Chinese learning platform. On the one hand, they will attract online traffic through free content and then unify the market. On the other hand, they will strive to improve the quality of teachers’ courses.

Now CCHATTY’s website has been online for three months and begun the training for teachers. 30 teachers have already signed to the site. CCHATTY has also signed a training order with a Korean company in China. CCHATTY believe that their first, and most important, objective at present is to develop basic courses, which serves as preparations for rapid market gain in the future; their second objective is to perfect the training system for teachers of Chinese as a foreign language.

The majority of the teachers who teach Chinese to foreign languages didn’t major in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. They tend to teach foreign students as though they are teaching Chinese to Chinese students. For example, when teaching foreigners the phrase “一边……一边……”, it is not enough for the teachers to simply translate it into English (“at the same time”). It is difficult for people not living in a Chinese language environment to understand the usage of this phrase in real contexts. Teachers who have been trained in teaching Chinese, on the other hand, will use formula and situational decomposition, which allow foreign students to describe two things occurring at the same time and then encourage them to use “一边……一边……" to connect the two actions in a sentence. In this way, the students would master the real usage of the phrase. VIPKID faces problems of teachers in English-speaking countries not being able to teach Chinese students English right away. Likewise, CCHATTY also needs to develop a large number of multi-media courseware to train teachers and assist teaching.

Actually, VIPKID is also conducting businesses of online Chinese training, but they mainly target families with foreign nationalities who live overseas. The parents in these families want their children to maintain a connection with their ancestors’ land both in culture and language. Therefore, their demands are bigger than ordinary learners in English-speaking countries. So to avoid direct competition with VIPKID, CCHATTY’s target clients are mainly adults.

For foreign adult users, CCHATTY's products are divided into two parts: 1) Most Chinese learners are only learning by interest, so the willingness of these people to pay is not strong. For them, CCHATTY will only offer a wide variety of free, basic, and recorded courses related to culture and language, making them interact with the brand. 2) For users with actual application requirements, CCHATTY not only utilizes 1-on-1 live courses, but also offers more application-oriented CSP courses (Chinese for a specific purpose); Live courses can better guarantee the learning effect, and also enable the users who have rigid demands to pay higher prices.

However, even in the field of teaching Chinese to adult foreigners online, there have been other players in the market, but the size of their business did not grow much. The reasons are twofold. On the one hand, the former business model is mainly based on full-time employment teachers, which is more expensive than the free part-time system. On the other hand, market demand may not have reached the point of outbreak.

VIPKID is in a time when the anxiety of Chinese parents who are born in the 1980s about "dumb English" broke out. But it is hard to say whether there will be explosive growth in the demand for online Chinese teaching; CCHATTY argues that much depends on whether "Made in China 2025" can lead the world market. Now, CCHATTY does face a problem of acquiring a steady stream of customers and finding channels. Currently, they primarily seek opportunities from foreign companies in China or overseas colleges and institutions which are in need of learning Chinese. South Korean companies in China are an example since their promotion mechanisms for employees in China are directly linked to Chinese proficiency. CCHATTY can provide training for Chinese teachers, Chinese teaching courseware and CSP online Chinese courses.

Although CCHATTY has yet to find an efficient way to get customers at the moment, they believe that they should first protect their business through free basic, courses and teacher training. As for the team, the founder and CEO have more than 10 years of work experience in SONY and Baidu, and the teaching supervisor has over 10 years’ work experience in teaching Chinese as a foreign language. They are seeking the VC for further development.

CCHATTY HK LTD - Making Chinese learning and teaching easier through AI technology.

CCHATTY HK LTD

CCHATTY BEIJING : RM 2014, BUILDING 2, UNICORN HOUSE, CHAOYANG DISTRICT, BEIJING

CCHATTY HK : UNIT 04, 7/F, BRIGHT WAY TOWER, NO. 33 MONG KOK ROAD, KOWLOON, HONGKONG

Presscontact: jacob ren (jacobren@cchatty.com)

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