ByteDance is scaling back its online education businesses and laying off half of its in-house Pre-K tutors, according to a report by Late Post (in Chinese) on Thursday. 

Why it matters: ByteDance is grappling with the fallout from recent regulations that impose strict limits on edtech companies’ business operations and financial activities, and completely ban online tutoring for pre-school children. The company is scaling back its Pre-K focused-businesses and focusing more on other sectors such as vocational education.

  • The new rules are seen as an attempt to ease pressures on school children, who have suffered from China’s highly-competitive education system, and boost birth rates by reducing living costs for families in the country’s major cities. 

Details: The layoffs affect employees of Dali Education, ByteDance’s standalone edtech brand that runs the short video giant’s education products, including Pre-K education platform Guagua Long and one-on-one English tutoring app GoGoKid, Late Post reported. 

  • Guagua Long will suspend sales of all its online trial courses by mid-August and lay off  half of in-house tutors by the end of August, according to the report..  
  • GoGoKid, the company’s English tutoring app targeting kids up to 12 years old, had been removed from app stores in China on, TechNode found on Thursday. ByteDance will shut down the platform completely, according to Late Post.
  • TechNode was unable to independently verify the report. A ByteDance spokeswoman declined to comment on the matter when contacted by TechNode on Thursday.
  • Discussions around ByteDance’s layoffs have also circulated this week on professional networking platform Maimai. Maimai user Kunlun Dizi, who identified himself as an employee of Dali Education, said he had been laid off.

Context: In an internal meeting held in June, Chen Lin, CEO of Dali Education, said that the company management is “very confident and patient” about its education business and will continue to invest without any layoffs, according to Chinese media outlet Pingwest.

  • Chinese edtech giants including Zuoyebang and Yuanfudao are also rumored to be laying off staff, as Chinese officials tighten regulation governing the private tutoring market.
  • In October 2020, ByteDance launched edtech brand Dali Education to host all its education businesses. The unit had 10,000 employees after launch.

Zhanhang Ye

Zhanhang Ye is a Shanghai-based reporting intern for Technode, covering the content and entertainment industry. Reach out to him at 295227325@qq.com.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.