|By Business Wire||
|January 15, 2014 10:00 PM EST||
TutorGroup, the leading online education platform and largest online English-language learning institution in the world, has signed a long-term partnership agreement with former NBA All-Star and global icon Yao Ming. Yao will endorse TutorGroup’s suite of English and Chinese language learning products, including TutorABC, VIPABC and TutorMing, in China and around the world.
With more than 2,000 teachers in 30 countries and 60 cities around the world, TutorGroup provides real-time interactive language learning through millions of class sessions annually. Launched in 2004, with a core R&D team based in Silicon Valley, TutorGroup created the first commercially available synchronous learning portal in the world. Over the last 10 years the company has developed a proprietary online education platform that combines software, data analytics and human learning to provide a new kind of learning environment. Using the data from more than 10 years of online courses, the platform connects online learners and teachers wherever they are around the globe, and dynamically recommends the optimal class size, learning pace and content, selected from more than 10,000 hours of already-created learning material. Through this platform, TutorGroup currently offers online language-learning courses, such as TutorABC and VIPABC for English-language learning for students in the greater China region, TutorABC Jr. for English language learning students between the ages of 8 and 18, and TutorMing for Mandarin Chinese language learners internationally.
To kickstart this partnership, TutorGroup and Yao will jointly provide 30,000 English-language lessons to students of the Yao Ming Foundation free of charge, delivering quality English-language lessons across China, including rural areas where finding a quality English teacher can be more difficult. In 2014, TutorGroup and Yao will provide a scholarship program for Chinese-language students in the United States, through TutorGroup’s Chinese language-learning product, TutorMing.
“We are proud to call Yao Ming a partner in our mission to provide an education platform that teaches how people learn today,” said Dr. Eric Yang, CEO of TutorGroup. “Like Yao, we believe a better and more modern education system is critical for the future prosperity of our world. By uniting the best teachers from around the globe with students that can learn on their own schedule, with a technology platform that provides the best learning content, class size and pace, we are breaking down the barriers of distance, borders and education. Yao is excited to join us in this endeavor.”
“The greatest contribution TutorGroup makes, in support of education, is to shorten the distance between people,” Yao said. “There are many places around the world that lack teachers to provide an excellent education. They may have good classrooms and equipment, but the lack of teachers is a very serious problem. TutorGroup’s products can bring children and teachers from around the world together, whether they are in cities or in remote mountainous areas. This doesn’t just help them learn a language, but more importantly, it gives them a chance to change their view of the world, to see the world beyond where they are. This can be a source of inspiration and imagination, to gain knowledge from other nations.”
“I am excited to work together with TutorGroup to bring our world closer together through English and Chinese language education,” Yao continued. “I am a student on VIPABC and look forward to being a teacher on TutorMing later this year. Soon, you can call me Tutor Ming on TutorMing.”
Over the month of January, and through the Chinese New Year holiday period, Yao will be seen on advertising for TutorGroup’s products featured in newspapers, magazines, outdoor billboards, buses, taxi touch screens, across Shanghai. Yao will also be featured in a series of TV commercials that will run on national television, and will also appear in three “micro-movies” that will run on several of China’s leading video sharing websites.
Yao and TutorGroup both share a long history in advancing global education. Together, they plan to serve the fast-growing, online English language-learning segment within China, which TutorGroup predicts is growing at 25% annually, and will grow to a market of more than U.S. $17 billion by 2015. They will also target the online Chinese language-learning segment via TutorMing, TutorGroup’s Chinese language learning platform. Industry estimates indicate that by 2015 there will be a shortfall of 400,000 to 500,000 qualified Chinese teachers globally.
The partnership agreement with Yao is not just business cooperation. The endorsement itself reflects Yao’s deep concerns on online education, as well as TutorGroup’s global perspective and strategy, and its confidence in the future of the international language teaching market.
In 2008, Yao Ming founded the Yao Ming Foundation has raised funds and awareness for children’s wellness and welfare issues in China and the United States. Over the last five years, the Foundation has helped rebuild a number of schools in China that were destroyed in the 2008 earthquake.
As for TutorGroup, through VIPABC.com and TutorABC.com— its English-language learning platforms —the company has served more than 5 million classroom sessions, combining for more than 10,000 hours of course content, all of which is dynamically accessible for classes at any time. Students have 24/7 access to more than 2,000 tutors, most of whom are TESOL certified, native English language speakers that live in the United States.
TutorGroup is the premiere online education platform and largest English-language learning institution in the world, serving students that range from global business professionals to young children. Founded in 2004, TutorGroup has educated students in 14 countries, and hosted more than 5 million classroom sessions through its four, award-winning service product businesses, including VIPABC, TutorABC and TutorABC Jr. for English training and TutorMing for Mandarin Chinese. Visit www.tutor-group.com for more information.