South-Western - Management  
Blackboard Expands Reach in Deal to Set Up Chinese Colleges With Its Software
Topic Entrepreneurism
Key Words Global, technology
News Story

Just six years after being founded, Blackboard Inc. has announced a partnership with the Chinese public-private education company Cernet, to create a software platform that will allow professors to post course materials, conduct discussions, and administer tests online. This is a significant deal for Blackboard, expected to bring in $3 to $5 million in revenues the first year of the China deal, with revenues increasing as the user base grows.

Blackboard already has a prominent Asian presence, and is widely used in Australia. The Blackboard platform was chosen in China because of its ability to accommodate large numbers of users and because of its ease of use. It fills a market niche that has few competitors. Chinese universities are evolving from one-way, teacher-to-student interaction to putting more emphasis on students' involvement and creativity, and Blackboard facilitates this kind of interaction. Blackboard hopes to also capture other education markets in China, such as its 600,000 elementary schools.


Blackboard has had a lot of success getting its product into global markets, something that is difficult for many start-up companies. What reasons does this article give to explain this success?


The partnership with Cernet is a joint venture. What does this mean, and how does Blackboard benefit from it?

Source "Blackboard Expands Reach in Deal to Set Up Chinese Colleges With Its Software," New York Times September 1, 2003.
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