Chinese market has tongues wagging

Chinese market has tongues wagging

Summary: Melbourne language learning application developer Native Tongue will chart a new course in its global expansion, prompted by an excursion to Beijing to exhibit at the first international TechCrunch Disrupt conference.

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Melbourne language learning application developer Native Tongue will chart a new course in its global expansion, prompted by an excursion to Beijing to exhibit at the first international TechCrunch Disrupt conference.

Native Tongue was one of over thirty nascent businesses from around the world selected to exhibit in the "Startup Alley" at Disrupt Beijing, which is attended by entrepreneurs, investors and developers.

At Disrupt Beijing, Huynh and co-founder Matthew Ho are demonstrating a beta version of the game Mandarin Madness, where people learn to identify Chinese characters using visual and audio gaming elements, less than five months since the idea was first conceived at the start-up building event Startup Weekend Melbourne.

Huynh said that the game is targeted at children and travellers, and employs "agnostic learning" methods to teach the most 200 commonly used words to people without any prior experience.

The company has already experienced a "mini pivot", according to co-founder Kym Huynh, and will accelerate plans to release an English language learning game in a bid to tap into the Chinese education market.

"We always knew we wanted to do one but it wasn't until we were here to see the market that we realised how important and big the demand is," Huynh said.

"The fact [that] every single person that walked up to us [in Startup Alley] and asked us for an English version, is very compelling."

An Android version was launched at the conference yesterday. The full version will be launched in the next six weeks on iPhone, Android and iPad, Huynh said, and the English-language version targeting the Chinese market will be launched just before Christmas.

Topics: Apps, Software, Start-Ups, China

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