On June 1, Facebook announced the winner of its annual “FBStart Apps of the Year Awards. Among more than 1,000 competitors, VoiceTube, an English-learning app from Taiwan, was named the most promising app and awarded US$100,000 — half in cash and half in Facebook Ad Credit.

The website was established in 2012, with the VoiceTube app making its debut in mid-2014. Today, the app counts more than 1.5 million users in Taiwan and 1.8 million worldwide; 65% of them use portable devices. Improvements made by VoiceTube to the app, and the rising user uptake, are believed to be the main reasons for the award.

VoiceTube allows users to watch English videos with the caption translated into Chinese. Video links on VoiceTube are sourced from YouTube and users. While the VoiceTube team selects and translates about four to five videos each day to be uploaded to the app, almost 70% of the videos shared on the platform are uploaded by users - the team translates the content for users.

Users can also improve their speaking abilities by recording their voice and uploading it to the platform where other users provide feedback. To improve user engagement, people are awarded after watching a certain number of videos and taking quizzes.

Smart strategies for steady growth

Halu Hsieh, co-founder and COO of VoiceTube, explained the company’s business model to The News Lens International. He says the team chose to launch VoiceTube after seeing a potential market in language learning.

“In terms of globalization, there is much room for development,” Hsieh says.

According to Hsieh, there were several reasons for the award, among them the fact that the number of registered users has grown by about 20% annually.

VoiceTube’s integration tools are also unique. For example, users can link their accounts with their Facebook page. Hsieh says that as most Taiwanese are hooked to Facebook, it very convenient to register for a VoiceTube account. The team also links Facebook advertising with the app, so ads appear on both platforms, which promotes the efficiency of native advertising.

Taiwan is the fastest-growing market for the company. VoiceTube is now launching the app in Japan, where the team has identified a similar opportunity. More than 2,000 videos have already been translated into Japanese. The team has launched side projects in Hong Kong where traditional Chinese characters are also widely used.

Keeping track of user feedback

“I think a very important point is that we keep improving the user experience, including launching the notification service,” says Hsieh. “This is meant to keep users connected with our app.”

“We track our user feedback closely and never stop optimizing the functions in our app, so we can keep the users active while attracting more,” he says.

Although VoiceTube is currently focused on English-language learners, it expects to expand its business to a second language after the English-language market grows more mature.

“We’ve also talked with several Facebook executives,” says Hsieh. “There will be some future cooperation to promote our visibility around the globe.”


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International Business Times: Meet VoiceTube: Facebook’s 2016 App Of The Year That Teaches English With Video-Based Lessons

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