Learning Chinese is now made easy by Skype. Stephanie Xu from Beijing has been teaching Chinese for over a month now and lauded the high sound quality of the VoIP application. Xu charges 80 renminbi for her online tutorial sessions or 20 renminbi less than what her offline students pay. The reason: it saves her an hour of commuting from her home in the city’s suburbs to downtown Beijing, where she holds her face-to-face classes.
Language schools in China have also turned to Skype to shore up their business. Beijing-based eChineseLearning, which was founded last year, provides 50-minute daily lessons for a subscription fee of $100 per month. The online sessions are handled by teachers from Beijing Language and Culture University and other schools who are serving eChineseLearning on a part-time basis. In addition to Skype, the tutors use the voice chat features of Google Talk, Yahoo Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and Windows Live Messenger. Michael Zhong, a sales executive for the school, said, at present, eChineseLearning’s students number about a hundred, most of them hailing from the U.S.