Ed-tech startup Coursera has partnered with Chinese internet company NetEase, in an effort to bring its services to users in China, it was announced on Monday.
The partnership will bring Coursera's free online courses to NetEase users by launching Coursera Zone, which is a Chinese-language portal to Coursera.org that will be hosted on NetEase’s open education website: open.163.com.
"The aim in creating Coursera Zone is to help Chinese-speaking students more easily find and engage with content from Coursera’s partner universities and institutions," the company wrote in the announcement.
"Specifically, Coursera Zone will feature translated course synopses, a Chinese-language orientation to the Coursera platform, Chinese-language discussion forums, and student testimonials."
In order to help translate its courses into Chinese, Coursera is going to be working with two services: the Chinese social networking site Guokr, and the volunteer translator community Yeeyan.
In addition, Coursera also announced that it was partnering with a number of Chinese univerisites, including National Taiwan University, Peking University, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
So why China? The answer is simple: it is one of the most highly populated countries on the planet. And Coursera sees a big opportunity there.
"We believe that hundreds of millions of people living in China stand to benefit from access to the free online courses offered by our partners," said Coursera.
"Our primary goal at Coursera is to help students overcome the barriers to a quality education — whether these barriers stem from tuition costs, geographic location, or language. We strongly believe that our partnership with NetEase helps us better achieve this goal in China."
Mountain View, California-based Coursera was founded by Stanford professors Andrew Ng and Koller in the fall of 2011. It is a social entrepreneurship company that partners with universities in order to offer courses online for anyone to take for free.
Coursera, which focuses on bringing university classes to Web users around the world. Its mission is to educate millions of people by offering classes from top universities and institutions online for free.
Since launching in April 2012, the company has registered more than 4 million students, from every country in the world.
In February, Coursera launched in 29 new universities from 13 different countries from around the world, including Hong Kong, the Netherlands and France. The company now works with 83 educational institutions, and offers around 400 free college-level courses.
The company has raised a total of $65 million in funding, including $16 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) and New Enterprise Associates (NEA) and $43 million Series B funding from GSV Capital, International Finance Corporation, Laureate Education Inc, Learn Capital, and entrepreneur and venture capitalist Yuri Milner in July.
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