Since raising more than double the funds pledged on kickstarter in 2013, Chineasy has definitely gained its position as an innovative leader in creating a new way to learn Chinese – but can it actually help?
Known as one of the most difficult languages to learn, Chinese requires more than 2000 hours of learning to truly gain a grasp and just enough to get you conversing.
Founder and entrepreneur of Chineasy, ShaoLan, hopes to make the learning process easier. A London based venture capitalist, traveler and dreamer, she began to teach her British born children Chinese and realised early on the complexity of learning Chinese for native English speakers.
“After years of searching, I realized that none of the methods out there were engaging or efficient enough. So I did what any entrepreneur would do, I created my own method to learn how to read Chinese characters: Chineasy. And you know what? It works.”
— ShaoLan, Chineasy founder
Using a building blocks concept, Chineasy aims to teach learners how to read basic Chinese characters for both traditional and simplified Chinese. By creating colourful pictures which incorporate Chinese characters, it attempts to boost learning by encouraging an easier and more fun way to learn.
Does it work?
A quick Google search shows not everyone is convinced with this new learning method. Like all new concepts, they get their fair share of criticism and in Chineasy’s case, this criticism is most likely more magnified due to the Chinese language’s ancient history and thousands of years of tradition.
If you’re looking at getting started and understanding the concepts and culture of the Chinese language, then Chineasy is a great start. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a full fledged Chinese course with someone to mentor you and teach you specifics in speaking, reading and writing in Chinese business for example, then Chineasy is probably still a good start before you commit your energy to a course.
In my opinion, based on attempting to learn Chinese through Chineasy and reading the countless posts on other people’s experiences and reviews – I think it works and does exactly what it promises. It’s a major feat by ShaoLan and most likely only the beginning of changing the way people learn Chinese.
It is also worth mentioning the design of Chineasy is beautiful, simple and functional - I can only imagine the countless hours and attention to detail that went into it.
About ShaoLan Hsueh
Born in Taipei and now living in London, ShaoLan is an entrepreneur, investor, writer, traveller and dreamer. ShaoLan has had several dramatic changes of career in the past. While studying for an MBA she wrote four best-selling books on software, awarded “book of the year” in Taiwan. In her second semester she co-founded her first venture, pAsia Inc. Under her leadership pAsia became a major player in the internet sector in the Greater China area in the late 1990’s. After moving to London she began investing in and advising young technology companies through Caravel Capital, which she founded in 2005 whilst studying at the University of Cambridge. She has also been a director of five UK-based technology companies.
Chineasy, is “a visual based learning system that teaches Chinese characters, simple stories & phrases. Our aim is to bring down the great wall of Chinese language” ShaoLan describes.