Yi Wang of Liulishuo on Teaching English with AI


Yi Wang is the founder and CEO of Liulishuo (a.k.a. LingoChamp), China’s leading mobile learning platform for spoken English, with over 70 million users. It uses speech recognition technology to enhance the learning experience and provide learners with measurable and proven results. Within a few months of launching, Liulishuo rose to the top of the Apple app store in China, and was recently ranked by CB Insights as one of the 100 most promising artificial intelligence startups in the world in 2018.

Yi is a “sea turtle” (海归, overseas returnee) who returned to China after studying and working in the U.S. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from Princeton University in 2009 and his M.S.E. and B.E. in electronic engineering from Tsinghua University. Before founding Liulishuo in 2012, Yi was a product manager at Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, from 2009 to 2011. Yi has also worked as a product director at AdChina, responsible for its performance ads platform.

In this episode, we discuss questions such as: Why did Yi choose to leave his comfortable job in Silicon Valley to start a new venture in China? What challenges must “sea turtles” overcome to successfully start a company in China? What makes Liulishuo so engaging to its millions of users? Will AI ever replace human teachers?

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The 996 Podcast is brought to you by GGV Capital and co-produced by the Sinica Podcast. On this show, we interview movers and shakers of China’s tech industry, as well as tech leaders who have a U.S.-China cross-border perspective.

GGV Capital is a multi-stage venture capital firm based in Silicon Valley, Shanghai, and Beijing. We have been partnering with leading technology entrepreneurs for the past 18 years from seed to pre-IPO. With $3.8 billion in capital under management across eight funds, GGV invests in globally minded entrepreneurs in consumer internet, e-commerce, frontier tech, and enterprise. GGV has invested in over 280 companies, with 29 IPOs and 22 unicorns. Portfolio companies include Airbnb, Alibaba, Bytedance (Toutiao), Ctrip, Didi Chuxing, DOMO, Hashicorp, Hellobike, Houzz, Keep, Slack, Square, Wish, Xiaohongshu, YY, and others.  Find out more at ggvc.com.