China is No 2 market for online course provider Coursera with over 1 million users

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 June, 2015, 12:08pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 June, 2015, 1:26pm

Over one million Chinese users have signed up with online education start-up Coursera, making the country its second largest market after the United States, according to a senior executive at the company.

Coursera CEO Rick Levin said the California-based company’s quick user growth shows how high-quality education can cross cultural and geographical boundaries, in an interview given to Chinese site 36kr. 

Currently, the start-up boasts 13.6 million users and is the largest provider of mass open online courses (MOOC). It also offers exams and helps its partner universities tap new revenue streams.

China has a strong demand for high-quality education, and many Chinese users are attracted to famous universities that offer courses with Coursera, Levin said.

Levin, who was the longest serving president at Yale University before he took over the reins at Coursera, said there are many resources the company has yet to provide to the Chinese market. 

READ MORE: Andrew Ng, who co-founded Coursera, driven by desire to improve world

The company is now working closely with 10 Chinese universities to create localised courses targeting Chinese users, he added.

In 2013, Coursera teamed up with Chinese internet company NetEase to distribute Coursera’s MOOC content on a Chinese portal.

Some of its content has been translated to Chinese.

In May, Coursera launched its online iMBA programme in conjunction with the University of Illinois. At $20,000, the tuition costs are about one-third of those charged by similar universities.

Other online education start-ups have not met with such success. 

A recent survey by Techweb found that only 5.5 per cent of respondents turned to online education to help their children prepare for the gruelling college entrance examination, known as gaokao in Putonghua.