A new website which is being praised as the Netflix for language learners has become a hit with expats in Taiwan. Pinyin Cinema is a movie streaming site, not unlike Netflix or Hulu, but is themed towards learning Chinese. All of the movies on the site are Chinese-speaking, and the user is able to use select multiple different subtitle options to aid their learning experience, such as Hanyu Pinyin, which is the romanized form of Chinese, which many non-native speakers of Chinese use whilst learning the so called “hardest language in the world”.
Pinyin Cinema was created by Elliott Marc Jones, and his Taiwanese partner Stephenie. The pair, who have travelled the world together came up with the idea of the site in March whilst vacationing in Malaysia, and started work a few weeks later whilst in Jakarta, Indonesia on business. The language learning streaming site later launched in April. Since arriving back home in Taiwan, they have continued to support and update the platform with new features.
Elliott, who was already well known in the Taiwan expat community for the 2015 PC release of Redactem, which now has over 100,000 owners on the Steam store and was the highest rated game on IndieGameStand for over a year, said that although progress with Pinyin Cinema has been slow, he is extremely happy with the steady increase in users over the last few months.
Elliott agreed to answer a few questions about his experience as an entrepreneur in Taiwan.
How did you become an entrepreneur in Taiwan in the first place?
“When I first came to Taiwan in 2015, I was living off the little savings I had and couldn’t legally work due to restrictions on my visa at the time. I knew I had to make money on the internet if I wanted to stay in Taiwan, and so I used my knowledge of game development to create an indie game. Looking back at the title, I get a little embarrassed at how low the production quality was, but it made me a lot of money and helped me enter the world of business. Redactem now has over 100,000 owners on Steam, which is impressive for a game which originally retailed for £3 sterling. Today I have a spousal residence certificate in Taiwan, and am on my way to becoming a naturalised citizen. Two passports are better than one!”
Are there any restrictions in Taiwan for expats looking to start a business?
“Despite government efforts to ease the process and encourage foreigners to start businesses in Taiwan, it is still extremely difficult if you don’t have a Taiwanese friend or spouse who you can register the business under. Although I love Taiwan, I currently couldn’t recommend it as a place for startups to come to, which is a shame because Taiwan really needs foreign money.”
Do you have any regrets on starting a new life in Taiwan?
“No, Taiwan is a wonderful place, and if I hadn’t of came here, I would never of met my partner, and never had the financial motivation to start any of my successful businesses.”
Visit Pinyin Cinema’s site at: https://pinyincinema.com/