February 10, 2011
A recent Yahoo! Japan article reported on a number of online English-learning companies in Japan that are slashing the cost of private lesssons with an English teacher, with two services offering 25-minute lessons for less then ¥100. Video chat techonology using Skype, non-native teachers and teachers located in the Phillipines are enabling these low-prices, along with the Gym business model and cross-selling and upselling.
Writeup Co. launched its WorldTalk service this January providing video chat lessons using Japanese teachers. Many of these Japanese teachers are based outside of Japan, often as spouses of executives posted abroad, and teach in their spare time. The company notes that the use of Japanese teachers allows the beginners to freely ask questions during the lesson.
Idea Interface, a venture company created at Tsukuba University, uses Skype with teachers based in the Phillipines through its Langrich service. It charges an initial monthly fee of 2,980 yen, rising to 4,980 the second month. Students can take up to 31 25-minute lessons per month. The service, launched in July 2010 has 1600 students, suggesting monthly revenues of over 7,000,000 yen.
The "online eikaiwa" market grew from around $23 million in 2005 to $35 million in 2009 according to Yano Research.
Reported by: Russell Willis
• World Talk
• Yahoo Japan
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