Beijing : Everyone knows the internet is a useful place to conduct business. The Chinese have gone a step ahead. They are now swapping their skills on the web to learn new ones.
Resourceful Chinese internet users are saving money, as they exchange skills like English language for piano lessons and driving for cooking.
Offers like that have become common on many Chinese social networking websites. Many users have successfully exchanged skills for free, earning the name “skill swappers”, according to the Global Times.
A leading skill-swapping Chinese website, jnjhw.com, has about 50,000 offers under various categories.
Most registered users are students or professionals, according to Hao Yi, a 27-year-old who founded the website in 2007.
To locate an exchange partner, internet users only need to type in their desired skills and location.
Wang Xuyang, a student at Beijing’s Central Conservatory of Music, learned about this kind of barter from a friend who learnt French after exchanging piano lessons.
Wang said skill swapping was a very “economical way” of learning languages after a commercial English language training course worth 20,000 yuan left him disappointed.
“I won’t charge someone a cent for piano lessons if they teach me some English,” said the music student.
Skill swappers say the system has a variety of benefits.
Skill exchanges can provide a “more natural and effective way” for people to make friends than some match-making websites, which are too purpose-oriented, said Yan Wenhua, associate professor of psychology at the East China Normal University in Shanghai.