Roblox targets China with Tencent education partnership
Joint venture will run educational programmes at first, with Chinese launch of Roblox "the ultimate goal"
Roblox has formed a partnership with Tencent that will ultimately lead to the hugely popular creation platform launching in China.
Together, the two companies will establish a joint venture company with an early focus on education, and a remit to teach, "coding skills, game design, digital citizenship, and entrepreneurial skills."
In a joint statement, actually launching Roblox in China was described as "the ultimate goal" of the Shenzhen-based venture.
"We believe technological advancement will help Chinese students learn by fuelling their creativity and imagination," said Steven Ma, senior vice president of Tencent. "Our partnership with Roblox provides an engaging way to reach children of all ages across China to develop skills like coding, design and entrepreneurship."
The first act of the joint venture's education initiative is a scholarship fund that will sponsor 15 young people from China to attend Roblox "creator camps" at Stanford University.
Working with the China Association for Educational Technology (CAET), Tencent and Roblox have started taking applications from Chinese students aged 10 to 15, and will continue to do so until June 14. The chosen students will be notified on June 28, and the creator camps will take place on one week in July, and another in August.
The joint venture will be a "multi-year investment," however, and it will eventually run local coding camps and training programmes for educators interested in using Roblox with their students. Roblox already provides support in Chinese, and has localised its coding curriculum for China.
Roblox reached 90 million monthly active users in April this year, and it has programmes to promote both education and online safety within its community.
The company raised $150 million in series F funding in September, 2018.