Part III – III Development Trend of the Online English Learning Industry
I. Traditional training institutions now actively shifting towards the Internet
From 2013, the online education industry has developed with the endless emergence of startups and maker companies. The online education developed well in the first half as online and offline training institutions actively cooperated with each other for common benefits. In the second half, online education entered the “period of market integration” at a gallop, but no one was willing to give up this beautiful cake.
Online English training institutions seek for an appropriate development model and spend much money building their brand awareness in a lot of ways from the earliest distribution of leaflets in institutional schools and wider enrollment by New Oriental to today’s common invitation of stars such as LI Na and YAO Ming to act as spokesperson by online English schools such as 51Talk, VIPABC and others to improve their brand recognition. In another way, online English industry develops well, but the competition is still very fierce.
It can be seen from the above chart that some offline institutions cannot resist the “offline loneliness” and have begun to get engaged in online teaching. They only have a share of 4% in the market, but which is the forerunner of a trend. Three percent of training institutions have chosen to import some of their classical video courses onto transaction platforms, e.g. Chuanke, KE.QQ, Jiaoyu.taobao V.QQ and others with an aim to improve their reputation and increase enrollment. They include Hunger’s center, Agan English, EF, Shangxue Edu and so on. Moreover, 1% of large offline English training institutions have opened a few online classes on their own websites, such as Irwin Foreign Language Institute and so on. Many online English training institutions place their focus on IELTS, TOEFL and others.
II. Many branches of online English education products and different development sizes
- With the focus on PC website, online teaching, course/courseware, online assessment/question bank and others placed at the top
A diversity of online training products have appeared and a sea of branches of segments have existed due to the audience’s particularity in the English training industry – great age span and most mature and semi-mature users. As shown above, 88% of training institutions still mainly rely on PC websites, on which products regarding online teaching (classroom lessons), online teaching (one-to-one) and course/courseware are the bigger player. It is not strange as the source of online education is content (course etc.). The number of companies operating online assessment/question bank cannot be ignored, given that enormous listening and oral English materials are necessary for learning English.
- APP ranking the second and mainly for practicing oral English and vocabulary learning.
The rapid technological development great facilitates communication equipment. Novel APPs come in great numbers with a sharp increase in the number of users. Sure, English training will not ignore this special channel for communication users.
According to statistics, 9% of online English training products are APPs. They publish new oral English training tests and reciting tasks on a daily basis so as to “urge” users to insist on learning English each day. Some APPs even adopt the model of passing words to stimulate users’ enthusiasm to learn. For example, English Show APP is designed with the concept of learning language while seeing a movie. “ZhiMi”, which obtained the initial first round of financing of millions of US dollars this May, makes it easier to remember abstract words by making use of words and phrases and setting scenes for use.
This April, 51Talk also launched a free mobile oral English product — Speaking English More. With it, users can exchange the service of scoring oral English by a real foreign teacher with accumulated gold coin. In another view, “testing” is also an important link among “teaching, testing and learning” for online education. A good “testing” tool not only brings in considerable users, but also constitutes the basis of personalized coaching.
- A new series – public WeChat number, in favor of resources for postgraduate exam and studying abroad.
Public WeChat number is a communication platform backed by Tencent in 2013 to realize the comprehensive communication and interaction of special group’s character, picture, voice and video, thus gradually forming a mainstream online and offline interactive marketing way via WeChat. In recent years, the development of WeChat marketing is like the sun at high noon as an increasingly number of users prefer to it with the functions of mass texting and interaction. Furthermore, an amount of companies are attracted to register their own public WeChat number. Some English training institutions release information about exam and course using this tool. Even though English training institutions that have such a public account only account for about 1% of total English training institutions, yet there are a lot of people using it and most of them are people who want to take the postgraduate or doctoral or overseas study entrance examinations.
- Part III – II Features of the Online English Learning Industry
This is a series of articles from Blue Book of China’s Online Education Industry, authored by our partner China Online Education Research Institute (COERI). Each post is a chapter from the blue book.