What EdTech Startups Can Learn for Growing in China?


Today, I believe the major challenge lying in front of every aspiring nation with great EdTech potential is ‘how to stand yourself in the crowd.’

Right now there is a lot of confusion regarding the expectations from the 4th Industrial Era and such confusions at a time of any new renaissance period is inevitable. However, all nations must strive for building a strong foundation, taking care of digital citizenship and responsible use of technology as they are the foundation to the new sway of education revolution. In this regard, China’s initiative to boost the EdTech market is both praiseworthy and exemplary.

China is by far one of the fastest growing nation to have strengthened its EdTech Industry in a span of just 5 years. Taking into consideration that in China itself there would be about 195 million graduates by 2020 and very few skilled teachers to train the future ready students for the 4’TH Industrial era, the call for immediate action to strengthen their education market was indeed important.

The Chinese government has been really supportive along with the Private entities into taking steady steps at the right moment. Reports had reflected that the Chinese Government had spent a record investment of 1.07 billion USD in the EdTech start-ups in the year 2015. Predictions are, the Government in China would further invest about 30 billion USD in the venture capitals in Startups by 2020. The pictorial representation explains better China’s Fiscal education expenditure till 2015.

What the other nations need to learn from China is their unfailing dedication and determination to progress as situation calls for it. The other again pertinent factor is of course the fact that Chinese attach great importance to education. Factors such as abundant venture capitals, active entrepreneurial activities, consumption upgrade have all contributed to the fast growth of EdTech in China. With this regard, JMDedu partner Sophie Chen says ‘Localisation, Partners and Patience’ have been the key facets for EdTech expanding into China.

Estimations are that the global EdTech market is worth $59.9 Bn and in 5 years down the line, Asia will be seen as one of the largest regional market. And as China is already a leading player, it would surely want to continue its position in the future too. It started off from the very scratch and its primary objective is to make all its schools and educational institutions sound with broadband coverage to achieve the digital transition. This is why, most of the funding has been allocated in this area to speed up the development of ICT infrastructure, broadband internet connection. And by 2020, estimations are that almost all the schools in China will have sound broadband coverage.

At the moment, what has increased more than double in just a year is the M&A cases in EdTech China. It was 20 in 2015 and by 2016 it had jumped up to 65, reaching 4.48 billion USD. Investors in China area also indicating a greater interest in the M&A activities and in the premium valuation of China’s education assets. Further, the EdTech Start-ups in China have attracted 54 funding deals in 2017 Q1 which totaled to about 390 Million USD or 2.68 Billion RMB. Visit EdTech China to know more.

The primary reason why tech dominance in China is impressive is because of their education. Make a note that, China is fast moving ahead from manufacturing economy to a service-based one. The Chinese government had also announced a state-owned $30 billion VC fund to be invested in start-ups.

EdTech Trends in the China Market

  1. Digital transformation in China has helped in bringing together the public and private education sectors. Both the public and private funding groups in China are right now working towards STEM education and their target is to produce OECD 37% of STEM degree holder by 2030.
  2. The Chinese Government is betting on educating at scale with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) for K12 and this is why they have plans to train about 13 million teachers to get ready for the task. It is believed, that with MOOC in operation in the higher education, bridging the gap between college and careers would get easier.
  3. Looking up to strengthen MOOC for K12 indigenous to the Chinese Market and not an expansion of US- based platforms. Marginal work in this area has also started with the advent of Chinese MOOCs that are platforms unique to China.  
  4. Another emphasis is on working towards Gamification and this is why major emphasis is on learning the in and out of Gamification. The NetDragon Education is one platform through which games at all levels can be learned right from k12 to workforce training.
  5. Building a strong network into becoming the World’s first nation to focus entirely on building AI teachers Instead of doing online tutoring. Also, the two-teacher system is the new model for education training market in China. This is amply explained here.

The start-ups must pay a heed into diverse factors if they wish to grow up in the EdTech Space in China. Investor groups also need to have a global influence as has been rightly pointed out by JMDedu partner Chujiu. To know more about what he emphasized, click here.

Suggestions for the EdTech Start-ups Aspiring to Grow in China

The rate at which, China EdTech Market is expanding, it poses enormous opportunities for the International Education Service Providers. So given below are few tips to help EdTech Start-ups to grow in China.

Stick to what you want to develop

Often edupreneurs miss out on what product they wish to develop. Stick to your vision and mission behind the product development and before directly introducing it in the market, make a detailed study about the product and seek for reviews on the product.

Look for a trusted and professional local partner

This point applies for edupreneurs who are not local and are new to china. As it is known, most of the cofounders of companies in China are from Hong Kong, Taiwan and somewhere in Southeast Asia. So after partnering with a local expat team, one can understand the competitive advantage of the product and formulate it in the sales pitch as a much as they could.

Bring the Good of West with You

With the market being open, it is important to consider the advantageous areas of the west and amalgamate it with the core values of Chinese EdTech space. However, it is important to not try out everything of the West and ignoring the local needs. China has its own requirement which is very unique of them and this is why the product or service has to qualify those. But for global space, good things of west must also be included in the product.

Attain Domain Knowledge

Last but very important point which is not typical for the China EdTech start-ups is to attain domain knowledge. As the market is growing rapidly, so there are chances that many companies will be mushrooming but not all will succeed. So for the any edupreneur to succeed, it is extremely important to have in-depth understanding of the product that they have designed. Understand who the target audience is and how will the product resolve issues. If one is right on this area, the product is bound to stay for long.

To conclude, the number of successful entrepreneurs in China is although growing yet it has not reached the benchmark fully. So if you want to make it big, you surely have to consider factors that mold EdTech market in China. And in this regard, we had just thrown enough light on the present and future trends of the market and to know more on it, click here.

We would also love to hear you views on the topic or if you wish to throw some more light on the topic just discussed, please feel free to write to us.

About the Author
Author: Ananya DebroyWebsite: http://edtechreview.in
Ananya is currently working as the Content Manager at EdTechReview. She has a keen interest in Ed Tech and the ways in which it is strengthening the education sector as a whole. She is an avid reader and loves to meet relevant people & unleash new updates on various innovations in the EdTech world as it indirectly helps her pen down well-researched blogs on the niche. Follow her @AnanyaDebRoy

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