Digitalizing English education fast
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
VIPkid’s ad appears prominently on a Beijing subway train.