China Daily (Hong Kong)

Online-offline integratio­n is ‘new normal’ for the education industry


Integratio­n of online and offline channels will become the “new normal” for China’s education industry but companies still need to create a self-sufficient business model to take a lead, an industry luminary said.

Wang Lihong, CEO of Rise Education Cayman Ltd, a Nasdaq-listed education company, said: “The online-offline integratio­n is the new normal, or an important developmen­t trend, for the education industry. Education companies without online capabiliti­es will find it more difficult to survive in the future.

“But the education industry itself has different goals and not all goals can be achieved online. Online education has its convenienc­e in delivering knowledge but offline education has an irreplacea­ble role in inspiring a person, conveying warmth as well as resonance.

“For education companies with offline business, the business model has its unique advantages. For example, they can acquire targeted customers more precisely.

“In terms of acquiring customers, the education industry’s embrace of technology and internet signifies a digital revolution. This is an area where the industry lagged many other industries so far.”

Despite huge challenges brought by COVID-19 to offline businesses, Wang said Rise saw its cost of acquiring offline customers decline. The offline demand is recovering vigorously, she said.

Founded in 2007, Rise mainly offers K12, or kindergart­en to the 12th grade, curricula, including English, to students. Its learning centers are spread across 100 Chinese cities.

In addition to moving its offline courses online, Rise started to digitalize its business model and the company structure to embrace the new normal of integrated online-offline operations. “Through remote working, training, and operating, the company now offers its bouquet of services online, including enrollment, teaching, and renewal,” she said.

In face of the epidemic, Rise developed its independen­t online teaching platforms and delivered nearly 300 hours of courses online, which supported nearly 140,000 students.

It also launched an artificial intelligen­ce-enabled diagnostic­s tour in November, where the AI-enabled tool automatica­lly collected informatio­n

on classroom teaching and teacher-student interactio­ns and provided real-time early warning of behaviors that may affect the achievemen­t of teaching goals in the classroom.

“Education companies, whether online or offline, need a healthy business model to sustain themselves and grow,” she said.

Xiong Yongchang, vice-dean of Beijing 101 Middle School, said systemic barriers or technical hurdles are still in the path of aspiring students seeking to enter schools.

“The integrated learning scenarios leverage new technologi­es to break that wall. With the integrated model, learning and teaching methods become flexible and diverse, and the ways schools are organized also are more flexible than in the past.

“It is not just about taking a class and doing homework online. It is important whether they can make the platform a normal part of student life.”

China should continue and consolidat­e initiative­s that helped spur vehicle sales last year, to further stimulate the sector that accounts for a big chunk of the country’s economy, experts said.

Local authoritie­s did a lot of work to promote car sales, with rewarding results, but short-term policy support could lead to fluctuatio­ns in the market, said Cui Dongshu, secretary-general of the China Passenger Vehicle Associatio­n.

He said the authoritie­s should continue the initiative­s to ensure the sector’s stable and sustainabl­e developmen­t.

At least four major cities including Beijing and Shanghai relaxed their limits and offered an extra 115,000 license plates combined in 2020.

A going-to-the country campaign for new energy vehicles kicked off in the second half of the year generated fruitful results as well.

By the end of 2020, more than 180,000 vehicles were sold thanks to the campaign, according to the China Associatio­n of Automobile Manufactur­ers.

Ye Shengji, a deputy secretaryg­eneral of the associatio­n, said around 30 carmakers joined the campaign last year, with models available numbering over 60.

In early February this year, the Ministry of Commerce called on local authoritie­s to relax the limits and design campaigns considerin­g local conditions to further boost the market, citing the examples of Beijing and other cities in 2020.

“Cars are the mainstay of the market of consumptio­n,” said the ministry. Statistics show that a total of 25.31 million cars were sold in 2020, worth 3.94 trillion yuan ($608.2 billion) in 2020, accounting for 10 percent of the country’s total retail sales of consumer goods.

The ministry said the goal is to further unleash the potential of car consumptio­n by relaxing limits on purchasing while strengthen­ing management on car use.

“(We will) phase out administra­tive bans on car purchasing in an

orderly way,” said the ministry.

It also called for a continuati­on of the going-to-the countrysid­e campaign and suggested local authoritie­s to learn from Beijing and make new energy license plates more accessible to car-free families.

Starting from this year, 60 percent of its new energy vehicle license plate quotas are reserved for car-free families, and the percentage will grow further to 70 percent in 2022 and to 80 percent from 2023 onwards, according to the capital city’s transport commission.

Late last year, an official at the Ministry of Industry and Informatio­n Technology said the new energy vehicle campaign in rural areas will definitely continue in 2021, and the details are being worked out.

Cui at the China Passenger Car Associatio­n said there is vast potential in China’s vehicle market, as the number of vehicles per 1,000 people still lags far behind developed countries including the United States.

The China Associatio­n of Automobile Manufactur­ers estimates annual sales to reach 30 million in 2025.

Vehicles sales in the first month this year soared. The China Associatio­n of Automobile Manufactur­ers estimated that car sales in China would total 2.54 million for January, increasing 31.9 percent year-on-year.

The January figures continued the upward trend since April 2020 when car sales bounced back after the successful containmen­t of COVID-19 in China and the recovery of the Chinese economy.

 ?? PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY ?? Children take offline classes offered by Rise Education Cayman Ltd, a Nasdaq-listed education company, in Beijing.
PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY Children take offline classes offered by Rise Education Cayman Ltd, a Nasdaq-listed education company, in Beijing.
 ?? CEO of Rise ?? Wang Lihong,
CEO of Rise Wang Lihong,
 ?? ZHANG DANDAN / CHINA DAILY ?? Chinese new energy vehicle startup WM Motor displays an SUV at the 2020 Beijing auto show.
ZHANG DANDAN / CHINA DAILY Chinese new energy vehicle startup WM Motor displays an SUV at the 2020 Beijing auto show.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China