• Ernie Diaz

The Class is Half Full

Chinese students are back in class (mostly), but China is still backing online education as the way forward, a cornerstone of the CCP’s vow to ‘completely modernize’ its education system by 2035.

Secondary shares of online education unicorn Yuanfudao are going faster than free samples at the Shanghai Costco. Bytedance, Tencent, and other tech empires are throwing billions at digital learning platforms, and the resources necessary to make them profitable, at some point.

“This whole online learning gold rush is definitely bigger than the COVID crisis,” explains Jimmie Jeremejev. “It’s seen as a way to solve a lot of the problems that China faces in its quest to bring quality education to a much broader base of students, to scale and distribute resources.”

As may be expected, opportunity abounds for foreign companies with content to license, brands to build, and software to integrate.

“We’re seeing the usual spate of foreign companies who can profit from China’s latest hot industry, but with the usual concerns over infringement,” says Edward Lehman. “Fortunately, the players are high-profile unicorns with transparent platforms, as opposed to fly-by-night academies xeroxing and distributing books without royalties. The terrain should be much more familiar to international education companies.”

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