For­eign lan­guage apps find a larger fol­low­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - BUSINESS - ByWANG HONGYI in Shang­hai wanghongyi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

There has been a surge in the use of for­eign lan­guage apps ac­cessed by smart­phones, ac­cord­ing to a survey, with­wom­enin­par­tic­u­lar­keen to be taught via their hand­set. The study, car­ried out jointly by the coun­try’s lead­ing In­ter­net ed­u­ca­tion provider Hu­jiang. and the on­line ed­u­ca­tion plat­form of Baidu Inc, shows the most popular cus­tomers are the fe­male, col­lege stu­dents or white-col­lar work­ers, un­der the age of 30 — a pro­file which ac­counted for 80 per­cent of users of the ser­vices.

In a size­able snap­shot of 25,000 users of In­ter­net­based ed­u­ca­tion prod­ucts, 58.4 per­cent were women.

“The young peo­ple are gen­er­ally keen to im­prove them­selves through mul­ti­ple ways and re­sources,” said Dong Xiao­liang, di­rec­tor of mo­bile business depart­ment of Hu­jiang.

Some 44.7 per­cent of mo­bile ed­u­ca­tion users were based in sec­ond-tier ci­ties, 26.5 per­cent came from first­tier ci­ties, and nearly 30 per­cent sub­scribed from thir­dand fourth-tier ci­ties.

The survey found that lap­top or com­puter-based on­line ed­u­ca­tion was preva­lent in ci­ties through­out the coun­try and in­cluded a wider cross-sec­tion of so­ci­ety, said Dong.

“Com­pared with other ar­eas,

PAY­MENT OP­TIONS first-tier ci­ties on the whole have more abun­dant ed­u­ca­tional re­sources avail­able, both on­line and off­line.

“Re­sources in sec­ond-, third- or fourth-tier ci­ties are ac­cessed from more sources.”

For­eign lan­guage stud­ies were by far the most popular type of course, with a dom­i­nant 89.3 per­cent of re­spon­dents, fol­lowed by those ac­cess­ing cour­ses in life­style and hob­bies (13.8 per­cent), and ca­reer cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and ex­am­i­na­tion (13.5 per­cent).

The re­port also re­vealed many were not de­terred by cost, with nearly one-third of those sur­veyed say­ing they would hap­pily spend 500 yuan($82) or above, while 27.3 per­cent chose free of­fer­ings.

“In­re­cent years peo­ple have got into the habit of mak­ing more­pay­ments for us­ing their smart­phones, helped by the in­creas­ing pop­u­lar­ity of e-com­merce apps,” Dong said.

About half of those sur­veyed said they used their ed­u­ca­tional apps be­fore they went to bed, with 38.8 per­cent gain­ing ac­cess to their course rid­ing in an au­to­mo­bile and 37.6 per­cent dur­ing their lunch break.

The av­er­age weekly time study­ing on their mo­bile de­vice was five hours, the re­port said.

A 26-year-old woman re­spon­dent namedQiNa was in­cluded in the study.

“Smart­phone-based ed­u­ca­tion has made stud­ies more con­ve­nient and ef­fi­cient,” she said.

“For ex­am­ple, I can read English news through my mo­bile phone when I wait for a bus or take a break from work. And I don’t have to take a book with me ev­ery day.”

Li Xuhui, founder of the non­profit on­line ed­u­ca­tion web­site Kux­u­exi, said smart­phone-based In­ter­net ed­u­ca­tion is ap­peal­ing es­pe­cially to peo­ple who need to study at frag­mented times.

“The in­no­va­tion of In­ter­net tech­nol­ogy and the preva­lence of PC and smart­phones al­low peo­ple to learn when­ever they want and wher­ever they are,” Li said, adding that mo­bile In­ter­net ed­u­ca­tion will be­come more common.

Ac­cord­ing to the China On­line Ed­u­ca­tion Re­port 2013-14, re­leased by In­ter­net con­sul­tancy iRe­search Group, the on­line ed­u­ca­tion mar­ket in China was worth around 84 bil­lion yuan in 2013, a 19.9 per­cent in­crease on the pre­vi­ous year.

The lat­est in­dus­try es­ti­mates sug­gest the num­ber of on­line learn­ers is ex­pected to grow to 120 mil­lion over the next three years.

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