Next Big Online Move for Internet Companies: Colleges

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jack ma speaking

Online retailers like Alibaba and JingDong, are now spreading beyond just offering an online platform for the selling of goods. They are now considering starting their own colleges as a way to ensure they are getting talented workers who know about the industry. The goal of these colleges would be to not only ensure that students were being trained in the latest technology to help with the online shopping platform, but that these students could also learn what it means to start-up on these platforms.

Alibaba has established the Lakeside University that has Jack Ma, the Alibaba founder, teaching a class on failure for those who are looking to start-up their own business. So far, 30 people have enrolled in the class. But, with Ma teaching this, it is estimated that the class will see even more enrollments as people learn more about these universities that the company is offering.

Lakeside University requires that students who attend are in class 5 days a week, once every two months. IN addition, students have to pay a tuition of 280,000 yuan per year.

An Alibaba employees, Zhang Zhenyi, stated why Alibaba has started such a college:

“There aren’t enough universities focused on entrepreneurs in China.”

This is a situation in which Ma is hoping to remedy.

Jingdong has started the Jingdong Zhongchuang College, where founder Liu Qiangdong, servers as the president of the university. The goal of Jingdong Zhongchuang College is to be a gate way of resources and trust for those who are looking to start-up on the online platform. They want to provide the resources that start-ups will need in order to succeed on the market. Unlike, Lakeside University, there is reportedly no fees for using Jingdong Zhongchuang College.

When talking about the start-up challenges that new businesses face, the founder of Jingdong, Liu Chengcheng stated:

“At tech media 36Kr.com, for instance, 3,000 – 4,5000 start-up proposals are put on the platform a month, seeking funding support.”

This has brought about numerous businesses in China that are dedicated to helping start-ups succeed on the market. What JingDong and Alibaba are doing, are simply expanding their interests on the market. And by doing so, they are also working to expand their online offerings to keep the companies competitive on the market.

The two firms are competing on the market for consumers and start-ups, thus these colleges are just one of the ways they are putting themselves ahead of the competition. In terms of finances, JingDong is seeing less losses than Alibaba, but Alibaba is still performing better overall.

Chart courtesy of Yahoo! Finance

Chart courtesy of Yahoo! Finance

Chart courtesy of Yahoo! Finance

Chart courtesy of Yahoo! Finance

Though both companies may have closed their previous week out on slight losses, the college idea they are bringing to the market may be just the one thing that increases the success rate of these online platforms. The expertise that they are offering is not advice or lecturers that regular colleges can offer. This is one of the methods that the companies are utilizing to draw in crowds.

About Author

Social Brand Watch (SBW) is a collection of experts in digital, mobile and social media in China. SBW was created to complement Resonance's China Social Branding Report, a bi-weekly report focusing on modern marketing methods of the world's top brands in China.

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