Selling an online course in China can be challenging. This article will show you a proven method WITHOUT jumping through Chinese internet firewalls or various payment hoops. After months of research, this option remains the cheapest, most effective way to sell online courses in China.
Please note: without Chinese citizenship, permanent residency or work visa, or an established company recognized in China, it’s nearly impossible to open bank accounts, send and receive payments in China.
With that said, online courses can be very helpful and beneficial to the students in China, as well as to a teacher or an organization like yourself outside of China. Dare I say, the results can be lucrative, too.
Chinese people are known to spend a lot on education in general – both on their children and on themselves (as adults, Chinese workers are encouraged to take classes, pursue an advanced degree in order to advance their careers)
Here’s how it works
The easiest, cheapest and safest option to sell an online course in China without WeChat, AliPay, without the use of VPN to get through the firewall is to leverage a learning platform Teachable.com or Thinkific.com
This is the easiest integration because Teachable and Thinkific both integrate with Stripe. Stripe (https://stripe.com/docs/sources/wechat-pay) integrates with WeChat Pay. You do NOT need to set up WeChat Pay separately. Instead, Stripe handles the payment using their own official WeChat Pay account, and you’ll collect revenue through Stripe without the need to establish your own WeChat Pay account. This is a major time-saver and game changer for western businesses and educators who hope to sell content and courses in China.
I have worked with a client (classical music teacher) who travels to China often. He was able to verify the use of Teachable with local students WITHOUT a VPN. Most of his content is video-based. In most places in China, people have access to high-speed internet and watching videos from Teachable and Thinkific has not been an issue. However, in schools and districts where the internet is slow will pose issues for video-based content.
As with every purchase in and outside of the US, there’s a transaction fee with Stripe integration with WeChat Pay (similar to other payments through Stripe): https://stripe.com/pricing
It’s challenging and unpredictable to get around the firewall in China. So far Teachable and Thinkific have been free from it, but we can’t say this will be the case indefinitely (which can be frustrating for companies and people who invest in this effort)
For Chinese consumers to access content through Teachable and Thinkific still means that they are accessing content through foreign websites. Hence the download speed may vary. As mentioned above, the majority of Chinese households have high-speed internet.
How fast can they access content in mainland China, and what types of content? According to people’s feedback via this Quora article (https://www.quora.com/How-good-is-the-internet-speed-in-China), “It depends on what you are trying to access. It is blisteringly fast if you are surfing Chinese content – typically around 100Mbps for a wired connection and about 50Mbps on LTE. On the other hand, if you try to access, for example, American content, even if it is not blocked, it can be painfully slow.” (Reply written in July 2017)
Teachable.com starts at $29 per month if paid annually
Thinkific.com starts at $39 per month if paid annually (with a free version available as well).
If you have questions or you want help to set up your course and launch it in China, feel free to reach out to me at anytime!