Hit by pandemic, Disney English pulls the plug on business in China
Disney English, the immersive training business for children of the Walt Disney Company, on Monday decided not to reopen its operations at its 26 learning centers in China and to cease offering free online courses from June 22 as consumers lean toward online learning especially amid the spreading pandemic.
"Over the past few years, we have noticed a shift in consumer preferences toward online learning experiences…This trend has been accelerated by the global pandemic as families are hesitant to resume in-person supplemental learning classes," according to the company's statement on its website.
All centers have remained closed since January this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak, offering online classes from March 19 as a temporary measure, and the difficult decision was made after careful consideration, it noted.
According to the statement, the company is set to offer refunds and handle other related matters from June 26 through July 21. At the same time, all the free online courses for its learners came to an end on Monday.
Every one of the affected teaching employees will also be taken care of, it cited.
First introduced in China in 2008, the firm specializes in English language training for young learners, ages 2 to 12, in China using Disney characters and now is distributed in six cities across the country with more than 100,000 learners.
According to previous research by Frost & Sullivan, the scale of China's young children's English extracurricular tutoring market increased from 43 billion yuan (about 6 billion U.S. dollars) to 85.2 billion yuan from 2012 to 2016, at a compound annual growth rate of 18.6 percent, with the market size in 2021 estimated to reach about 239.8 billion yuan.