Today we decided to feature a WeChat Chinese Mandarin Class platform. In the same way that Uber matches you with a driver, this service (yoil Mandarin) matches you with a Chinese teacher. But it works entirely through WeChat. Read on to find out how it works and how to try a free WeChat Chinese class yourself. In the 2nd part of this article we’ll explore why we believe it’s one of the most innovative services on WeChat.
To start a class all we had to do was go into the yoli Mandarin WeChat account, press Start Class and then Start Now. That’s it!
You choose your Chinese level, currently 3 options. They then start looking for a teacher to match you with.
They say it can take up to 5 mins to find a teacher. When we tried this morning it took less than 1 min. The whole interaction takes place in a normal WeChat chat thread. The class is 15 mins long.
Once you finish the WeChat Chinese lesson there is the opportunity to rate the teacher and get a PDF of some the key vocabulary and phrases around the lesson topic.
Long press the QR code below to add the yoli mandarin account and try it out a free class.
More about yoli
yoli is a Beijing based startup founded by 3 China based Americans (above). Yoli runs almost entirely inside WeChat with all their revenue and payments processed through WeChat’s mobile wallet. The startup is to date the only non-local Chinese startup on the platform to be featured by the China WeChat team. We caught up with them to ask a couple of questions.
ChCh: Why did you start yoli?
yoli began as a WeChat-first platform, with the aim of integrating lightweight, easy-to-use services directly into WeChat. After launching yoli English (see picture below) in the first quarter of 2016, we found that the trend of services moving increasingly toward messenger platforms instead of building standalone apps was not only a successful way to launch a credible MVP (minimum viable product), but also a viable business model that could generate revenue from day 1.
English and Chinese are complimentary languages in that many of our Chinese students studying English can teach foreigners Chinese and many of our English tutors want to learn Chinese. This makes for a very healthy and accessible language-learning ecosystem, all run within WeChat. As Chinese becomes an increasingly important language to learn worldwide, we wanted to get a head start on offering the language in addition to English. We were able to launch yoli Chinese (from curriculum creation, to product testing, to launch) in just 2 months. We proved that the yoli model is flexible and scalable as both a product and a service, across multiple languages.
Above: Scan the code to check out Yoli English
ChCh: What’s the future of yoli?
Moving forward, yoli aims to launch on Facebook Messenger. We plan to integrate an inner platform strategy. A chatbot will handle basic conversational user commands (like “Start Class”). The Facebook browser acts as an easy GUI for user controls and access to yoli’s premium content.
Above: Yoli Mandarin prototype on Facebook Messenger
As people across the world increasingly spend more time within messenger platforms, we hope to build a product experience that seamlessly integrates as a communication layer within any major messenger. It shouldn’t matter which messenger you prefer. Both students and tutors outside of China could use Facebook to connect with students and tutors within China on WeChat.
Connecting Students on Facebook with teachers on WeChat!