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Robot coding for kids hot in China

By Wu Yong | China Daily | Updated: 2017-05-29 08:25

 Robot coding for kids hot in China

Contestants play Lego robot football, at a robot competition in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. Wang Jianzhong / For China Daily

Educational technology companies that aim to serve 180 million children are the most active players in the Chinese market, attracting more than half of the total investment in the sector.

An estimated seven out of top 10 investment deals in educational investments go to educational technology in China, according to Angela Bao, a senior investment manager at Beijing-based venture capital company Sinovation Ventures.

"Wonder Workshop is a world-leading company that has very good products, software and team. It already has more than 10,000 school users globally," Bao said.

"We believe the company can provide a whole set of systems, from curriculums to hardware, which is easily accepted by schools," she added.

Listed company Beijing Shengtong Printing Co Ltd recently announced it spent 14.21 million yuan ($2.1 million) taking a five percent stake in a newly founded children's coding company.

Last year, Beijing Shengtong also invested 430 million yuan in acquiring 100 percent of another children's robot coding company in Beijing.

Analysts say that the children's robot programming sector is hot, both internationally and in the mainland, with investors lining up to provide funding.

Educationalists say that some parents worry that learning coding - a booming market that starts with kids as early as 3 years - is vital in the early years and that by high school teenagers who haven't done courses have missed the boat.

"Children's programming provides logical thinking and a sense of regularity," says He Xuan, a computer researcher at Dongbei University who is also a mother of two. "This is helpful for their daily lives and education."

She currently plays Kodable, a popular kid coding app with her 5-year-old son.

Liu Ling, a professor of child psychology at Shenyang Normal University, suggested that parents should balance computer studies and outdoor activities to ensure their children's health, both physically and psychologically.

After seeing the positive change that Dash had on Duoduo, her classmates want to join in the fun and Duoduo's mother says she is thinking of organizing a programming team for them.

Li Haoran contributed to the story.

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