Where do Chinese Students Study English Online?

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 16:00

Ten years ago, Chinese students learned English in traditional ways like reading books, listening to tapes and going to English corner. It’s the digital era now! The way that Chinese students learn English has changed greatly! They are now much more inclined to learn English online.

In addition to the cheap price, the most important advantage of online learning is convenience. With a computer or mobile phone, everyone is ready to learn English, and the quality of learning isn’t much different from offline learning.

Mastering English can be regarded as an investment. Students invest in themselves so that they can become more competitive. I’ll introduce a variety of platforms and methods for Chinese students to learn English online, broken down by budget range.

VIP ABC's Chinese ad for English training online


0 - 500 Chinese Yuan

Most high school students and college students don’t have a lot of money to invest in learning English. They prefer to use free courses on the Internet, watch TV shows and use free Apps. They rely on their own learning abilities and get less support.



1. 百词斩 (Baicizhan) An app to memorize words by pictures

This app provides interesting pictures and sentences for each word, making memorizing words a pleasure. It contains high school, CET-4/6, IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, GMAT, GRE and other English test vocabulary. It’s completely free to download and use this app, very suitable for students who are preparing for English exams.

2. 英语流利说 (Liulishuo) A spoken English learning app

This app mainly focuses on oral English learning. They push out new American dialogue daily. With real-time speech scoring technology from Silicon Valley, they change learning English into a fun, addictive dialogue game. Users can easily practice oral English with Liulishuo and it’s free.

Recently they launched a paid course called "Dongni English" for 99 Chinese Yuan per month. The course teaches oral English and assigns courses according to your test results. The learning process is easier and more interesting than their free courses.

 "Dongni English"

3. 千聊 (Qianliao) A live streaming platform via WeChat

People from any field of learning can set up their own studio and start a live stream on Qianliao to share their professional knowledge and experience. Of course, there are a lot of English courses on it.

Qianliao supports audio, text and pictures. Teachers can interact with students in real-time. Students can use their WeChat account to login directly. Teachers can promote themselves by posting their WeChat official accounts, websites and apps. Currently Qianliao is in a growth stage, so most courses are free.

Qianliao’s deep integration with WeChat makes it a great option for marketing campaigns, which is why we’re already in the process of launching online training campaigns that make use of Qianliao and WeChat.

4. Watching TV shows

Watching TV shows and movies to practice listening and speaking English will always be a popular learning style. TV shows and movies can create a language environment which is very helpful for improving English listening comprehension.

Most Chinese students’ American drama career began with "Friends" and "The Big Bang Theory”!

5. WeChat & QQ groups

It is very difficult to keep on learning English alone, so many students join groups on WeChat & QQ built by influential English language trainers. They share with others, learn together and supervise each other.

At Nanjing Marketing Group, we often create and moderate groups for education marketing, both for online training and for higher education institutions.


500-5,000 Chinese Yuan

This price range is suitable for some college students as well as workplace newbies.

In order to further enhance their workplace competitiveness, many people choose to take their English language skills to an even higher level. They’re often willing to invest some money to learn English more efficiently. One of the most common ways to do so is through paid online courses.



1. 沪江网校 (Shanghai River School) A paid platform with a community-style approach.

Shanghai River School covers many different fields. They opened up a special section for language learning. They have a variety of paid & free English courses that students can choose according to their needs.

At Shanghai River School, students are put in classes where they learn together. They can share their study experience and results.

At the end of 2015, there were 3 million students that spent over 30 million learning hours on Shanghai River School.

2. 腾讯课堂 (Tencent Class) A platform to combine students and teachers via QQ

Tencent Class has free and paid courses. They also work with off-line educational institutions.

Tencent Class features smooth, high quality audio and live classes. It also supports PowerPoint presentations, screen sharing and other teaching modes.

Students can contact the course instructor and course sales staff through QQ and access the course’s official QQ group. In the group, students can communicate with teachers freely. Some even add teachers as QQ friends to receive one-to-one tutoring online.


Over 5,000 Chinese Yuan

Those with a more urgent need to master English and those who are preparing for exams are more inclined to participate in some more expensive, faster ways to learn English. For example, white-collar staff that just entered a foreign company or IELTS / TOEFL candidates.

They don't have much time and are willing to spend more money to achieve the highest efficiency. 1-to-1 is the main mode for them. They hire foreign teachers or excellent Chinese teachers.



1. 51talk A 1-to-1 English learning platform with lots of excellent foreign teachers

51Talk has teachers from North America, Europe, Philippines and other regions. They have a bachelor degree or above, and have professional backgrounds in English, finance, law, architecture, tourism, media and other areas. Teacher selection is very strict, with an enrollment ratio of only about 3%.

Each teacher will receive at least 100 hours of professional training. Mainly aimed at helping them better teach oral English to Chinese students. Teachers and students communicate through real-time video chat. Course prices are set according to individual circumstances, and are generally very expensive.

2. Vipabc 24 hours/day 365 days/year English teaching institution

Vipabc’s teaching style is similar to 51Talk’s. They spend lots of money on promotion, including online and off-line advertising, especially subway advertising, light box advertising. They hired Yao Ming as their representative.

3. ChangeView A foreign teacher English learning platform

Recently, many foreign English learning platforms begun to enter the Chinese market, such as ChangeView. At ChangeView, each of their teachers and trainers has more than 10 years of experience. They focus on providing great quality service to students. Their students come from lots of countries. It’s suitable for students with some basic English  and the price of their courses are cheaper.

They’re a client of Nanjing Marketing Group’s.

4. Vipkid An English-learning platform for children

This kind of platform is very popular in China now. Chinese parents think it will be easier for their children to learn fluent English if they start early. This platform mainly focuses on 1-to-1 English learning for children. Foreign teachers sing English songs, tell English stories and play games with students. Lovely and interesting pictures and PowerPoint presentations are used.




Good day. I am an English teacher and I teach Chinese children online. Over the years I have worked for quite a few online schools in China. I am often frustrated by the content I have to teach as it is sometimes irrelevant or written clearly by a non native English person, fought with errors. I decided to create my own content and open a school myself. I would like to market it in China. I would like to know on which sites the Chinese online schools are advertising so I can offer my school services to the Chinese public.
Kind Regards

Chinese online schools really use a wide variety of platforms. For a business with a well-defined model, we'd look at advertising on search engines (like Baidu) and social platforms (like Weibo) at first. The entry fees can be high though.

If it were me starting up a new small business, I'd probably use organic marketing methods first. I'd find the relevant groups and forums then try to provide some real value to readers. I'd drive them towards my brand so that they could follow on social media or join a group that I setup. Then I'd get tons of feedback from them, especially by trying to sell them my services so that they give me honest feedback. It would take time to learn and form the right model.

Does that make sense?

Caroline Booth,
Did you ever locate a website for your teaching? If you have could you let me know? ziotech@gmail.com
Ron Stephens

I have a Chinese friend who is asking me to help her find a website that can provide reading practice in English for her junior middle school level student. I sent Kahn academy but she cannot open that website in China. Do you have any suggestions?

She could try using a VPN to access it. Has she tried that?

Is the use of a VPN illegal in China?

Individuals that use VPNs shouldn't get in trouble. I can't say for sure. A VPN is just a necessary part of life for people in China that want to use social networks or other resources outside of China.

Thank you for this infomative article!)

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