The latest project by Wang Zhidong, founder and former CEO of Sina, turns out to be an online education service. It began beta testing in late 2012.
Named Xiaoneiwai (XNW.com), it is a social sharing platform for kids, parents and teachers. Teachers can share educational materials, send group messages to students and parents, organize online activities such as polls, among others.
It supports sharing images, videos and voice messages, and is available on iOS and Android platforms. Other widely-used communication or social services like Weibo, WeChat, QQ Groups, Feition groups and e-mail services have been integrated into Xiaoneiwai. Students and teachers can also log in with their accounts with the National Public Platform of Educational Resources, a state-run online education platform that was launched at the end of 2012.
The idea of Xiaoneiwai sounds a lot like what Ms. Gong Haiyan, founder and former CEO of online dating service Jiayuan, released last week. We expect more such platforms to emerge in China as having all the students, teachers and parents on a single platform is a huge business. Such a platform in online education will be like where Tencent in online communication that users always stick around and monetizing the huge user base is just a matter of time.
Wang is one of the iconic figures in China’s Internet industry. He founded his first company developing PC software in early 1990’s. In 1998 the online news portal of his company, born as a sideline project, was merged with US-based Chinese-language news site Sinanet.com. The new company, named Sina, would have Wang as CEO and president, and go public in the U.S. in 2000.
But Wang was ousted in 2001. Before Xiaoneiwai, Wang founded Dianji which is focused on collaboration and instant messaging software. It is reported that Lava-Lava, the instant messaging service developed by the company, has some millions of users — In China it’s not a big number at all. Later Dianji launched an online game portal Lava Games.