The online education market is one of the hottest in Chinese tech, and the tech giants haven’t missed out on this. After Alibaba launched an online education market ‘Taobao Tongxue’ in 2013, Tencent introduced a live video course feature to QQ IM last year. Within QQ, however, is Tencent’s secret weapon which has been showing exponential growth. BLUEPIN‘s flagship app KidsWorld is a mobile children’s education platform with 30 million downloads and currently over 3 million monthly active users across Asia.
BLUEPIN has also found favor with Samsung, securing a lucrative partnership with the Korean giant. Their relationship has now gone a step further, with BLUEPIN managing Samsung’s e-learning service. Currently the app is pre-installed on Samsung Galaxy mobiles and Xiaomi phones manufactured in China. The Chinese version of KidsWorld, as co-developed with Tencent, and six apps that include KidsWorld co-developed with Samsung have recorded 12 million downloads in 28 app stores, since launch in 2012.
How did BLUEPIN draw the attention of Tencent and Samsung?
The company came up with a BMA tool that dramatically reduces the development cost and time for content providers. The content can be optimized as interactive or VOD (Video on Demand) and can be consumed across all mobile platforms using a compatible viewer. “Content providers see this as a huge benefit for engaging with our platform. Accordingly, we were able to attract top content providers, who leverage our technology to further develop their content and then bring it to a wider audience,” BLUEPIN CEO Jung Soo Kim said.
Tencent realized the potential of BLUEPIN’s service for the Chinese market and made a US$3 million investment, as well as signing a service partnership in 2011. The internet giant wanted a platform for children’s education and recognized that BLUEPIN’s e-learning solution would fit. Now Tencent operates the service and marketing, while BLUEPIN focuses on managing the platform and content. The partnership has enabled BLUEPIN both to maintain the Chinese service platform and retain content development.
Partnership with Samsung was possible due to Kim having ten years’ experience as an engineer with the company. “I was lucky that I was able to build relationships as an employee. I know how the company operates and many of its key people. This has helped me find success with what I know can be a challenging partner for startups,” he said.
Kim had received awards while at Samsung that would have fast tracked him to become an executive. However, he knew the potential of combining hardware and software into a single, seamless experience, and left the company to pursue the innovation he dreamed of.
KidsWorld now has over 12,000 unique content items ranging from interactive stories to puzzles and educational games. According to Kim, the next step for the company is to enter the adult education market. Supported by a Korean government agency, Born2Global, Kim will be pitching at a demo day in Los Angeles in February to meet U.S. investors.
Image Credit: BLUEPIN
Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)