Education is one of the biggest markets in China. One of the most talked-about start-ups is an education company valued at an estimated $3 billion. More specifically, the education industry is showing a lot of promise. Online English tutoring is said to grow to an $B billion-dollar industry next year.
An overview of the market
In China, families are willing to spend more than a third of their combined income on good education for their children. Chinese society puts education on a pedestal and English instruction is becoming a priority. This necessity has created a gap in the market, as there are not enough English teachers available.
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A good example of a company tackling this gap is Chines education start-up VIPKID, a Chinese education tech company valued at $3 billion. It has capitalized on this trend by connecting fluent English-speaking teachers with Chinese students through its online platform. Earlier this year, VIPKID raised $500 million at a valuation of over $3 billion. It’s very rare for any start-up, but particularly so for one in the education technology sector, but a possibility in China.
The country’s middle class continues to grow and become increasingly affluent, therefore the number of families with the money to afford quality education has increased.
English speaking ability is a major focus of Chinese education, as it has become an important asset in the job market and for future business opportunities. However quality English teachers are difficult to find in China, particularly outside first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai, and lessons in traditional schools can cost an arm and a leg.
VIPKIDS has plenty of competition. iTutorGroup, began raising $300 million at a valuation of $2 billion. Dada ABC and 51Talk, are also big players with 51Talk being publicly traded. Meanwhile, New Oriental Education & Technology Group, a public company founded in 1993, has seen its market value triple in three years to nearly $14 billion.
China definitely has the potential to become the biggest market for online education. Several factors are the reason for this trend, such as the rising of Chinese spending power, the two-child policy, and the undersupply of education resources. Those encouraging facts make specialists expect a growth of 20% per year and the reaching of RMB 270 billion of revenue in 2019.
Challenges with educational companies
In China, credibility is what stands between the success and the failure of a company. The lack of a viable website, a platform to interact with potential clients, and positive reviews is the downfall of many businesses. There are many competitors so a deep study of the market is needed. Alliances and partnerships with local companies can be a great way to enter the market quickly and to benefit from their image so that customers are more likely to trust you. But this is not enough to be successful; you should market and advertise your company by using Chinese digital marketing.
Solutions to help enter the market
Visibility and reputation are what every business in this sector needs to focus on in order to get the attention of prospective students and parents. This is how we can help:
Student recruitment begins online
China now boasts a 65% online penetration rate with almost 900 million « netizens » online. Chinese society has embraced digital and the web unlike anywhere else in the world. Users spend on average 3 hours per day browsing online and will research extensively for everything, including various education options.
The Great Chinese Firewall has resulted in a completely unique online eco-system when it comes to student recruitment with international businesses having to adjust and be tailored to Chinese specific platforms. All content needs to be created in Mandarin within the mind that you are talking to a Chinese reader.
A quality Chinese website
A quality mandarin version of your website is necessary. Having a mandarin website allows you to optimize your SEO for search engines. For a better SEO and faster loading, your website also needs to be hosted on a local server in China (.cn). The site also needs to be optimized for Mandarin character searches and should include QR links to your WeChat page.
All sites in China need to be optimized for mobile phones as the vast majority of online users browse on their smartphones, there are now 550 million smartphones in China. Mobile content can also be optimized for Wechat, China’s largest social network.
Influencing the ranking of your foreign institution
China’s largest search engine is Baidu. It is vital to increase the ranking of your school on this platform. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a strategy that works to rank a University or College’s official website in the natural search results over time. This is where the highest quality student prospects are found
Growing your academic reputation and communication in social media platforms
Coverage on China’s top social media platforms is vital for attracting Chinese students. There are over 850 million users on Wechat and over 300 million on Weibo.
Social Media in China are perhaps the most active in the world with an average use of 50 minutes per day browsing.
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