Saying it wanted to “enhance the friendship” between the Philippines and China, the online education group presented its plans for cooperation with the PH government, academe, and the business community over the short term in a press conference in Taguig City.
With the theme “Road to 100k Online Filipino Teachers,” the presscon also presented 51Talk’s current status and development in the Philippines and its future strategic planning to core mainstream media from the Philippines and China.
The firm—whose name is pronounced “five-one talk” and not “fifty-one talk”—also discussed its plans on spurring and supporting the development of the English as a Second Language industry in the Philippines through in-depth alliances and cooperation with local stakeholders.
About 16,000 Filipinos already work as English teachers for 51Talk, but the firm said in a statement it “aims to jointly promote the Filipino teachers’ influence in China. It also hopes to make Filipino foreign teachers a new trademark of the internationalization of the Philippines.”
Crucially, Chinese children tend to get along well with Filipino teachers, whom they often see as easygoing and passionate, 51Talk said.
It also helps that Filipino English teachers and Chinese children share some cultural common ground and the same time zone, making online classes more comfortable and convenient to schedule, it added.
According to Jack Huang, the founder and CEO of 51Talk, there is a strong demand for online English lessons for children and teenagers in China, since the household investment in education and English requirements for students have been on the rise.
Based on its experience working with Filipino teachers, 51Talk said the Philippines ranked among the best English-speaking countries in Asia.
“The Philippines has maintained its top two ranking in the IELTS English test in Asia over the years. It has also been rated as the country with the highest level of business English in the world,” the firm said in a statement.
Given all that, 51Talk has deployed a leading curriculum development team in the Philippines to provide a quality learning experience to Chinese children.
Those who are hired undergo training in these centers before embarking as home-based teachers.
Applicants should have a college degree and can speak English well, and should have the capability to do home-based teaching by having a reliable Internet connection and a good computer setup.
51Talk’s Philippines lead Sue Ting observed that the company has been cultivating its operations in the country for seven years, building up seven centers in Manila, Davao, and other places and employing a team of 1,000 people. Its selection processes are stringent, however, ultimately passing only the top 3 percent of Filipino teachers.
Now, 51Talk employs over 16,000 Filipino teachers in total, and 10 million registered learners taking 3 million one-on-one classes every month.
51Talk touts itself as a leading brand of online English education with the greatest number of foreign English teachers from the Philippines.
Established in China seven years ago, 51Talk began its Philippine operations in 2012, and now provides lessons to more than 10 million learners in China.
A report from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences shows that China has a large English consumer group of 300 million people. The English training market in China is as large as 500 billion yuan ($72 billion).
The number of online English learners has reached 19.689 million in China, but vacancies for online foreign teachers has exceeded 500,000, the firm said.
51Talk was established in 2011 and was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in June 2016 with COE as its stock code. It is currently the No.1 brand for online English education in China and is the first Chinese online education company listed in the United States.
51Talk is headquartered in Beijing and has branches in seven cities: Shanghai, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Jinan, and Suzhou in China, and Manila, Baguio, and Davao in the Philippines. At present, the company has over 4,000 employees worldwide.