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02.09.03

WORLD SERVICE


BBC uses mobile phones to teach the English language in China


BBC has joined forces with China's leading media and internet services company, Sina, to launch a unique mobile phone service - teaching English to up to 200 million Chinese mobile phone users.


The new service provided by the BBC and hosted by Sina.com launched in China on Monday 1 September 2003.


The BBC is the first international educational content provider to use mobile technology in this way in China.


BBC Worldwide - the BBC's commercial consumer arm - and BBC World Service will work with Sina to provide busy Chinese learners with a convenient way to learn spoken English whilst on the move.


Users in the world's largest single mobile telephone market will receive a daily text message on their mobile containing an English phrase together with the Chinese translation.


They can then log onto Sina.com to listen to and read the phrase as part of a longer dialogue, and to read explanations about the language.


Users can choose from three strands to suit their needs: Language & Lifestyle, Work and Sport.


The messages using authentic everyday English will range from "Who's been on a spending spree?" to "Do you know how to get into this computer?" - all designed to extend the user's English language repertoire and encourage them to log on to Sina.com to expand on the material contained within the text message.


Raymond Li, Editor of bbcchinese.com, said: "We all are very excited to get the service launched. This is certainly a milestone for the BBC.


"With over 60 years of experience in English Language Teaching (ELT), it is the first time ever that we are able to provide our ELT content directly to the people in China through mobile phone platform.


"We are now looking forward to the prospect of launching more educational content services to the China market."


Alison Emmett, General Manager of English Language Teaching, BBC Worldwide, added: "We're aiming to provide the right content through media which suit people's lifestyle and purse strings, which is why SMS messages - and online - are so exciting.


"We're also launching English language learning TV, books and tapes in China this autumn to reach as wide an audience as possible."


Yan Wang, Sina's CEO and President, said: "SMS, backed by strong market demand and approval by users, has become one of the most rapidly developed businesses within Sina, as well as in the China market.


"Therefore, we are very confident of offering our users another popular service through this co-operation with the BBC.


"Being the window of the Chinese internet industry to the world, Sina has the obligation to introduce more and better knowledge, education and learning experiences to the users in China.


"This is also one of the objectives Sina is aiming at in developing its business.


"I believe that this new service is just the beginning of the strategic partnership between the BBC and Sina, and I am sure there will be more to come."


The new service can be accessed at http://sms.sina.com.cn/docs/c/bbcsms.html


Notes to Editors


BBC Worldwide Limited is the commercial consumer arm, and a wholly owned subsidiary, of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).


The company was formed in 1994 to develop a co-ordinated approach to the BBC's commercial activities: television, publishing, product licensing, Internet and interactive.


BBC Worldwide exists to maximise the value of the BBC's programme and publishing assets for the benefit of the licence payer, and re-invest in public service programming.


Turnover in the last financial year (2001/2002) was £660 million and £106 million was returned to the BBC.


BBC World Service broadcasts programmes around the world in 43 languages and is available on radio and online on www.bbcworldservice.com


It has a weekly global audience of 150 million listeners.


BBC World Service is funded through Grant-in-Aid by the Foreign Office.


SINA, a leading Chinese media and internet services company, offers internet media and entertainment services, entrepreneurial technology services, and telecom access and subscription services through its three major business lines - Sina.com, Sina.net, and SINA Mobile.


SINA global network delivers China-related information inclusive of economy, finance, business, sports, entertainment, technology, as well as Chinese success stories and Chinese dreams via multiple devices and SINA English Channel to the world's largest population group.


The network of four localised web sites is produced and updated daily by local teams in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and North America.


For more information about SINA, visit the company's corporate site at www.sina.com/corp, or regional sites at www.sina.com


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


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