Chinese tech goes global with online teaching
By Zhao Hong

2017-03-29 18:30:41

By CGTN's Mark Niu
Globally, education has a growth space of five trillion US dollars. And an increasing portion of that is now online. 
One Chinese company, VIPKID, believes one-on-one online tutoring for children is the best way to start, and it's quickly building a global network. 
Kailey Lane works part-time as a salesperson during the day while also spending many early mornings and late nights teaching online right from her home. With the VIPKID platform, she now teaches 25 students a week, including one youngster from Beijing. The online job pays Lane 18 to 22 US dollars per hour. 
The webpage of VIPKID's online classroom. /VIPKID Photo
"VIPKID is very precise. All of the lessons are already preset. I would say the most rewarding part of this job is that I'‍m able to interact with another culture from home, I think that is so unique and unlike anything else I have done before," said Lane.
Through the platform, teachers not only give feedback to students, but also receive direct feedback and ratings from their customers. 
VIPKID has now recruited around 10,000 teachers from the US and Canada. They mostly teach English, but also subjects like math and science to 100,000 students, primarily based in China.
The Beijing-based VIPKID has just opened a new office in Silicon Valley, where its founder Cindy Mi is focused on overseeing the company's growth.
Inside an elementary school at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. It might be an atmosphere that many Chinese parents want for their children. /CFP Photo
The company has raised 125 million US dollars, with investors including basketball star Kobe Bryant and education tech venture capital firm Learn Capital.
"English language learning is one of the single largest markets in education of all, somewhere between 100 and 150 billion US dollars. The kids' segment is an incredibly important one. We all have an intuitive sense that if you learn a language when you are young, it's a lot easier to learn and it persists throughout your lifetime," said Robert Huttter, Managing Partner of Learncapital. 
To stay at the forefront of education, VIPKID is actually starting its own research institute headed by Bruce McCandliss, education professor and cognitive neuroscientist from Stanford University.
"I hope to seek out new opportunities for what we can learn in this new innovation, where suddenly 100,000 children in China are being tutored systematically by 10,000 teachers in the United States. This has never happened in history before," McCandliss said.