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IBM is pushing big data software to Chinese universities, by way of an agreement with China’s Ministry of Education.

Under a program called IBM U-100, IBM is donate a whole mess of big data and analytics software worth $100 million and provide support for 100 Chinese universities, according to a statement IBM issued earlier this week. Among the offerings are IBM’s InfoSphere and SPSS software.

“The concept is we basically help design courses based on our big data analytics technologies,” an IBM spokesperson said in an interview with VentureBeat. “The focus is not using IBM software. The focus is to train the students with big data analytics knowledge or skills. “Of course, we use some of our software to help design the courses, but the point is really the courses, the training.”

Seven universities across China have participated in the pilot program. IBM wants to get 40 new universities on board by the end of this year. The goal is to cover 100 universities by the middle of next year.

And should Big Blue achieve that goal, IBM’s software could become more of a standard in the Chinese education market. At the same time, the IBM brand could grab mind share among budding data scientists from the country.

IBM’s war plan is to roll out undergraduate and graduate degree programs in 30 universities. IBM will help design big data-focused courses delivered partly by IBM researchers and engineers.

If you aren’t lucky enough to take these courses, you’ll have the massively open online course option. IBM has joined up with Kaikeba.com, a Chinese online education service, to offer online courses under the banner IBM Zone of Big Data and Analytics.

If everything works out according to plan, 40,000 students per year will have access to IBM’s big data software, and 1,500 students per year will be able to get validated through the degree programs.


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