In English-Crazy China, 8D World Teaches Kids To Speak In Virtual Worlds; Lands A Deal With CCTV
February 12, 2010 at 13:24 PM EST
In China, learning spoken English is giving rise to a huge and growing market. For instance, in addition to English classes in public schools, parents send their children to about 50,000 for-profit training schools around the country, where English is the most popular subject. Instead of American Idol , on CCTV, the national government-owned TV network, they have the Star of Outlook English Talent Competition . This is possibly the largest nationwide competition in China. Last year, 400,000 students between the ages of 6 and 14 took part in it. This year, the competition is adding a virtual twist, and a startup based in Massachusetts called 8D World is at the center of it. 8D World runs a virtual world called Wiz World Online for Chinese-speaking kids who want to learn English. In what is a huge coup for the startup, this year's CCTV English competition will use Wiz World Online as its official training and competition platform. Wiz World will be used to screen contestants and will be promoted to millions of Chinese viewers.