In Depth: New Business Comes With Old Risks for China’s Struggling Tutoring Industry
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China’s after-school education industry was caught flat-footed after Beijing rolled out a policy in mid-2021 that outlawed most after-school classes for K-12 students in an effort to reduce inequality in education.
The ban — which covered both online and in-person instruction — effectively sent the industry into survival mode as companies sought to replace the revenue they lost from classes they were no longer allowed to offer. E-commerce offered one potential path. Last year, New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., once a heavyweight in English language education in China, made headlines when it began running live-streaming sessions in English to hawk products like books and food. Other private education companies started taking their own products right to the consumer. In the year and a half since the industry shake-up, most companies that once specialized in K-12 tutoring began selling items like smart table lamps and e-printers, with many offering a line of devices called “learning tablets.”
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