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Bilibili becomes an official provider of online classes in Shanghai

Students in Shanghai will be able to attend free livestreamed classes on Bilibili starting March 2.

Photo: KrASIA

The Shanghai Municipal Education Commission has designated Bilibili an official platform for online education in Shanghai, local media outlet 36Kr reported on Wednesday. The firm joins other tech companies, including DingTalk and WeChat Work, in facilitating online classes in the city amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Starting from March 2, students from primary and secondary schools in Shanghai will be able to watch free livestreamed and recorded classes on the platform, as authorities require all students in the city, from Grade 1 through Grade 12, to officially start the 2020 spring semester online next week.

Founded in 2009, Shanghai-based Bilibili is a video-streaming platform known for its entertainment-focused content, with thousands of popular TV shows and movies, especially anime and fantasy series, on the site. According to the company, the majority of its users are Gen Z, or individuals born between 1990 and 2009, citing market research firm QuestMobile.

Bilibili has set up a special section, named Kongzhong Ketang (Classroom On-Air in English), for this initiative, which can be accessed via the platform’s study section.

After entering Kongzhong Ketang, students can choose their grade and watch the livestreamed classes according to a preset curriculum for the day. A handful of teachers selected by the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission will teach each class, which will be open for the general public as well. The classes will also be recorded and later uploaded.

People can visit Kongzhong Ketang via the banner on top of the screen.
Source: Screenshot of Bilibili app

Chinese authorities have postponed the new semester due to the coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan at the end of 2019 and has spread to other parts of the country. The Ministry of Education in China has issued a statement on January 29 encouraging schools and teachers to explore online education options while the new semester is delayed.

Other areas in China have also launched similar measures. Alibaba’s video-streaming site Youku has become an official platform for students in Wuhan to watch livestreamed classes since February 10, with over 700,000 students tuning in on the first day, according to local media outlet youth.cn.

Bilibili has been already been betting on the education market, with millions of education-related videos uploaded by its users ranging in subjects such as computer science, psychology, finance, foreign languages, and Adobe Suite skills.

Recently, during the coronavirus outbreak, it also started streaming free recorded courses by well-known institutions, such as Tsinghua University and Peking University for older students, as well as livestream classes from online education platforms like TAL Education.

Study-from-home content on Bilibili has been watched more than 140 million times this month as of February 19, and over 400 classes have been livestreamed, local media Yicai Global reported, citing the platform.

36Kr is KrASIA’s parent company. 

Update: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the founding year of Bilibili. It should be 2009 instead of 2019.