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Blackboard Nabs CerBibo, Ups Stake in Chinese Education
Blackboard has acquired CerBibo, a provider of higher education and K-12 online learning software and services in China. The move is designed to expand Blackboard's presence in Chinese education and to "simplify the process for bringing new products and investments to Chinese institutions."
Blackboard had already held a stake in CerBibo. The organization was created in 2003 as a joint venture between Blackboard and CERNET, the China Education and Research Network, which launched in 1994 to provide a nationwide network backbone for the country's academic institutions. In the intervening years, the investment has allowed Blackboard to bring its technologies to more than 270 primary through post-secondary academic organizations, according to information released by Blackboard.
Current customers in China include Beijing Normal University, Northeastern University, Peking University, Renmin University of China, the Shanghai Education Commission, Sun Yat-Sen University, and the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.
"Given the effort's success and the growing demand for education technology in China, Blackboard wanted to have a more direct investment in the region as institutions explore options for online and distance learning to meet the needs of rapidly expanding enrollments," Blackboard reported today. "The company expects the acquisition to simplify the process for bringing new products and investments to Chinese institutions."
Blackboard indicated that the move will allow it to bring its latest flagship learning management system, Learn 9.1, to Chinese schools, along with its collaboration, mobile, and notification tools--Blackboard Collaborate, Blackboard Mobile, and Blackboard Connect. As part of the move, Blackboard will also open its Blackboard Building Blocks program to Chinese institutions, allowing developers to create extensions for Blackboard's software.
"We've had a great partnership with CERNET and Blackboard to date, but joining Blackboard gives us much greater flexibility in the kind of investments we can make as a company to support Chinese institutions," said David Sun, Cerbibo COO, in a statement released today. "Operating as part of Blackboard we'll be able to bring a new mix of the latest and greatest education technologies to institutions in China more quickly than we could have otherwise."
Additional details can be found on blackboard.com and cerbibo.com.