Dig­i­tal­iz­ing English ed­u­ca­tion fast

China Daily (Latin America Weekly) - - Reviews - By FAN FEIFEI fan­feifei@chi­nadaily.com.cn V.I.P.-kid), (pro­nounced

VIPkid

a four-year-old Bei­jing-based Chi­nese startup that pro­vides on­line English­language cour­ses for chil­dren glob­ally, said it will in­crease in­vest­ments, in­tro­duce more teach­ers from North Amer­ica and use ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence or AI to ex­ploit the huge po­ten­tial for growth.

“We hope to change the way Chi­nese chil­dren learn English and of­fer them op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pe­ri­ence na­tive English teach­ing styles,” said Mi Wen­juan, founder and CEO of VIPkid.

“We will con­tinue to in­tro­duce teach­ers from North Amer­ica, pro­mote Lingo Bus, a new plat­form for chil­dren to learn Man­darin on­line, as well as ap­ply ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and big data to high­qual­ity, per­son­al­ized ed­u­ca­tion.”

The firm has been in­no­vat­ing English-lan­guage ed­u­ca­tion by fo­cus­ing on one-onone video cour­ses, con­nect­ing teach­ers in North Amer­ica with Chi­nese chil­dren aged be­tween 4 and 12.

The com­pany of­fers a pro­gres­sive ped­a­gogy based on the United States Com­mon Core State Stan­dards. It serves a com­mu­nity of over 200,000 pay­ing stu­dents from 32 coun­tries and over 20,000 teach­ers in the US and Canada.

A fresh round of fi­nanc­ing in Au­gust brought in $200 mil­lion, the largest such fund ever in­vested at one go in a firm in the K12 on­line ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor.

Ac­cord­ing to con­sul­tancy iRe­search, by 2018, on­line ed­u­ca­tion in China is ex­pected to gen­er­ate an­nual sales rev­enue of 200 bil­lion yuan ($30 bil­lion), with an an­nual growth of nearly 20 per­cent.

Mi is even more op­ti­mistic. “There is a huge growth po­ten­tial for the on­line ed­u­ca­tion mar­ket. The pen­e­tra­tion rate was only 2 per­cent in the past two years. Its an­nual growth rate will come up to over 20 per­cent in the next few years,” he said.

China is ex­pected to be­come a key on­line ed­u­ca­tion mar­ket in the wake of the sec­ond-child pol­icy — mar­ried cou­ples can now have two kids in­stead of one. Also, third- and fourth-tier cities in China are ex­pected to see a

ZHU FENG / CHINA DAILY

VIPkid’s ad ap­pears promi­nently on a Bei­jing sub­way train.

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