(Yicai Global) July 8 -- An artificial intelligence-based English-language teaching app, Liuli Shuo (meaning to speak fluently), is poised to take the place of real-life tutors.
The app, developed by Shanghai Liu Li Shuo Information Technology Co., went live three years ago and has since acquired more than 30 million users. It is designed to conduct English conversations with the user like Apple Inc.'s intelligent personal assistant Siri, and can analyze and rate the user's pronunciation.
All members of the teaching app development team are technical specialists without any prior experience in language training. Founder Wang Yi is a computing PhD graduate from Princeton University.
"Our teamwork gene dictates that we're a company driven by technology, enabling us to assess the education business from a fresh perspective. We have been thinking if technology can play a key part in education, and if we can create a disruptive business model," said Mr. Wang.
In his opinion, the entire online English education industry is a low efficiency market, where education companies spend most of their money on marketing and talented teaching professionals are discouraged by low salaries.
The start-up has completed second round fundraising with financing provided by venture capital firms such as IDG Capital Partners and GGV Capital.
Over the past 150 years, Chinese people's enthusiasm for learning English has never dampened despite regime changes. Several Chinese companies specializing in English teaching, including New Oriental Education and Tech Group [NYSE:EDU] and China Online Education Group [NYSE:COE], have successfully listed on the global capital market.