ChinaBang 2014 was officially underway last night in Beijing. Liulishuo, an oral English practice app, is one of the winners for best software/consumer app award. TechNode got a chance to talk backstage with Ben Hu, co-founder of the company, who has shared with us the latest development of the company.
Growing popularity of smartphones has disrupted the traditional language learning experiences. Liulishuo, which literally means “speaking English fluently,” integrates gaming factors into the commonly boring language learning process in a bid to motivate users to practice their oral English. Powered by voice recognition technologies, the app can compare the sentence spoken by native speakers and the language learners, and then, give scores as well as tips for improving pronunciations. Similar to the gameplay of other popular games, Liulishuo users have to accomplish certain missions so as to upgrade to another level.
The content of Liulishuo is based on real-life communication scenarios, like checking in, shopping etc. and the practice sentence are usually very short, facilitating the learners to make the best use of their small time slots. Supported by homegrown contents, the company planned to strengthen the content team and has established cooperation with advisory institutions from the U.S. and Britain, like TEASL (Teaching English As Second Language). The app mainly focused on domestic market and has recorded more than 7 million downloads as of present, Hu said.
Presently, the contents of Liulishuo are all in standard American English and the company planned to release and British accent version in this year due to the rising demand of users, Hu disclosed. But the company will focus on English learning sector in the near future.
To compensate for the miss of interactivity in the service, Liulishuo planned to added new features which allow language users to communicate with each other. This feature will be soon released on its WeChat account.
In addition to Liulishuo, the Shanghai-based startup also launched another similar app King of Vowels globally in cooperation with Cambridge University Publisher. The app adopts the licensed contents of a popular oral English material by the publisher “Clear Speech”, said Hu, adding that they planned to roll out new apps based on the authorized material. This app witnessed nearly 200K downloads within the first week of its launch, according to him. The company now has around 30 employees.