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Education company employs more tech

By Cheng Yu | China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-17 13:17

Chinese online education company Zuoyebang aims to incorporate more technology into its products this year to benefit not only students from major Chinese cities but third and fourth-tier ones as well.

"Online education is the best way of promoting high-quality resources to cities across the country including third and fourth-tier cities as internet and advanced technologies can traverse time, space and region," said Hou Jianbin, founder and CEO of Zuoyebang, in an exclusive interview with China Daily.

"We cannot ignore that teachers gather in major Chinese cities and students from third and fourth-tier cities find it hard to access high-quality education resources," Hou said, adding that this bottleneck is what their products are scrambling to tackle.

The company, as an afterschool mentoring platform, allows students to take a picture of their questions and search for answers as well as mentoring. It now opens a new chapter by launching its latest livestreaming course product Zuoyebang Yike.

While it usually takes eight or nine seconds for a common system to capture and search for the engine, it takes Zuoyebang's products less than one second to do the same thing.

The Beijing-based company has also made considerable investments in establishing its own database-China's first online education platform where all questions and answers have been well considered and proved by experts.

The company raised $150 million in its latest round of financing last year, with H. Capital, Sequoia Capital, Tiger Fund, Legend Capital, GGV and Xiang He Capital among investors.

Steven Ji, co-founder of Sequoia Capital, said: "We are optimistic about the prospect of Chinese online education and we think that the country is expected to generate a group of education companies valued at several billion dollars."

According to a report by iiMedia Research, the market scale of China's online education is expected to hit 348 billion yuan ($55.4 billion) this year.

"It's not an easy task to grab users from the huge cake," Ji said, adding that Zuoyebang is strong at gaining users and that's why they invest in the company.

His words align with Zuoyebang's own figures, which show that the company has accumulated 300 million registered users as of now, meaning that two in three primary and middle students online is using the company's products.

To further improve its services, the company is expanding its businesses to products such as livestreaming courses and one-on-one mentoring covering almost every procedure of studying including teaching, learning, testing, exercising and grading,

"We will put livestreaming courses at the top of the agenda this year where we invite not only teachers but also celebrities from a variety of fields to join in teaching online," he said.

Hou added that the cost of Zuoyebang's live classes is much lower than that of other livestreaming courses in the market.

"Imagine there are some thousands of students taking classes in front of their computers at home and some classes cost one yuan, which will provide great convenience for students, especially those from third and fourth-tier cities. Isn't it a good thing?" Hou asked.

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