Chinese tech people are not missing out on the online education revolution. Over 100 online education startups have emerged. It’s a business easier to justify than those such as group-buying: in such a big country where quality education resources are concentrated in bigger cities, well-recognized teachers or for-profit schools can reach more students and make more profits through the Internet.

Some existing educational organizations or online services have tasted the sweetness. New Oriental Education’s online business, Koolearn which was founded ten years ago, has its revenues increased 50% for the six consecutive years, and the margin, at the same time, are higher than that of offline classes, according to its CEO (article in Chinese). Hujiang, a language-learning site founded in 2001, claims it has made 100mn yuan ($16mn) in revenue this year from 15mn registered users (source in Chinese).

Different from other copy-to-China businesses, most online education services, though there still are MOOC-like or Shareskill-style ones, are in very Chinese ways, 1) most online classes are for pre-exam training, 2) teacher is the key resource to attract users, 3) most founders are from tech background, not education background, 4) most courses are not for free.

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Tracey Xiang

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com