I was mildly surprised last week to hear that Tencent is pulling out of a funding deal with edtech darling Vipkid, known for one-on-one remote tutoring. Sources close to the deal told Reuters that Tencent had already given verbal agreement, but changed course after stricter regulations for online education came into effect. Reuters reported that Vipkid was seeking funding at a valuation of $4.5 billion. The company’s previous round valued them at $3 billion.

The new regulations, issued in July, mandate that not only must all teachers on a platform have teaching qualifications, the platforms must also publish them along with teachers’ work experience. On top of that, over the last year, key management personnel as well as a large number of foreign staff have left as the company struggles to turn a profit.

Companies like Vipkid, however, represent only a small fraction of the edtech market. Similar to verticals like “medtech” and “proptech” (property), edtech is less a known market than a lot of entrepreneurs trying to figure out how to apply existing technology to profit in education. Early learning, K12, STEAM, professional development training, corporate training, as well as schools and classrooms, all look like fertile grounds for disruption. But in many cases, it’s still “solutions searching for a problem.”

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

John Artman

John Artman is the Editor in Chief for TechNode, the leading English information source for news and insight into China’s tech and startups, and co-host of the China Tech Talk podcast, a regular discussion...