Bloomberg Businessweek

When the Teacher Is An Ocean Away

VIPKid pairs Chinese students and American instructors via the web | “What keeps me up at night is not growth, it’s quality”

Instructors and kids video chat one-on-one during classes

Peter Elstrom and David Ramli

Cindy Mi loved English so much as a child that she spent her lunch money in middle school on books and magazines to practice. By 15, she was good enough to tutor other students. At 17, she dropped out of high school to start a language instruction company with her uncle. Today, 33-year-old Mi is co-founder of a startup that aims to give Chinese kids the kind of education American children receive in top U.S. schools. Called VIPKid, the company matches Chinese students age 5-12 with predominantly North American instructors to study English, math, science, and other subjects. Classes take place online, typically for two or three 25-minute sessions each week.


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