E-Learning and Education in China

The e-learning market worldwide is expected to surpass $300 billion USD by 2025 – and China’s e-learning industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in China’s online and tech markets.

How big is the ed-tech and e-learning industry in China?

With more than 840 million people using the internet, China already holds the world’s largest online population.

Traffic and downloads for mobile tutoring apps and platforms, LMS, virtual classrooms, and language-learning platforms continue to grow rapidly in a country where over half the population (950+ million people) people regularly use a smartphone – encompassing nearly a third of the world’s total smartphone users. Overall, China’s online education market is expected to reach $99 billion USD by 2023, according to research firm Frost & Sullivan.

edtech users chart

The COVID Effect

Particularly in the wake of COVID-19, the already growing ed-tech and e-learning industry in China skyrocketed to fill the in the wide gaps created by a sudden lack of in-person instruction opportunities. While schools scrambled to find online platforms to supplant in-person lessons, parents enrolled their children in supplementary online courses to keep them from falling behind in their studies. Adults who found themselves out of work turned to e-learning as the most accessible and affordable method for vocational training, to embark on a new career or gain new certifications and skills at a time of extreme job instability and uncertainty.

In short, if you are involved in the ed-tech and online education industry, you cannot afford to ignore the Chinese market.

e-learning companies in China
A sampling of popular e-learning platforms in China

5 Steps to Conquering the Ed-Tech Market in China

If you are an ed-tech company and have an education app or platform, here are your five steps for entering the Chinese market:

  1. Secure expert legal guidance. The fast-growing demand for education has made it one of the most heavily-regulated industries in China today, with new laws and regulations targeted at the industry on an almost monthly basis. At the same time, China remains bullish on online education and its potential.

    Foreign companies entering this market should secure an experienced China-side partner who is up-to-date on the latest laws and regulations.

    For your initial research, our company hosts the only freely-available, comprehensive collection of relevant Chinese laws regarding e-learning, software publication and distribution in China – all in English translation. Check it out for the latest detailed information on everything from data security laws to regulations regarding minor access to educational games.

    Link: Official Chinese Government Policies
  2. Find a Chinese publishing partner. Foreign companies are forbidden from directly participating in China’s education industry. Even if your company has an office in China or is partly Chinese-owned, you cannot publish an education app or provide educational services without being a 100% Chinese-owned company.

    Luckily, foreign companies are able to participate in the Chinese e-learning market by partnering with a 100% Chinese-owned company like ours, while maintaining all your copyright, trademark, and IP rights through your agreement with us.
  3. Obtain the required licenses for publishing your app or platform in China. Unlike most of the rest of the world, Chinese law requires developers to apply for different licenses based on the features that your platform provides – from simple content delivery to video streaming to live chatting with users and other social components, each element of your platform may be subject to additional licenses. Education apps are treated separately from others, so you’ll also need special approvals – especially if your app is intended for use in schools.

    Also, keep in mind that any teachers on these platforms must have certifications as required by the Ministry of Education.
  4. Localize your software for the Chinese market. You need to know what kind of learning is in demand in China, and how your ed-tech offering can fill those needs. Of course your UI and content should be translated into Simplified Mandarin Chinese, and it should follow common UI conventions of apps in China.

    From a technical perspective, your platform will need to be hosted locally on servers physically located in China so that users get a better experience. The Great Firewall of China may break some of your current functionality, but we can provide you China-friendly alternative SDKs/APIs and perform extensive testing of your app in China – on Chinese networks with Chinese devices. You will also need to integrate the more common and popular WeChat Pay and Alipay platforms for collecting in-app payments.
  5. Publish and promote your platform or app through both online and offline channels. Once your app or platform is published in China, we can help you run ASO, CPD, KOL and media user acquisition (UA) campaigns to market your services and grow your customer base.

The AppInChina Advantage

Out Beijing-based company has been at the forefront of the growth of the ed-tech industry in China since 2013, and our clients include some of the most popular educational platforms in the world.

busuu case study

Case Study: Busuu

Our international, English-speaking staff will guide you through each step of your process publishing your ed-tech platform or app in Mainland China. Your dedicated account manager is always available by direct message, email or phone to answer all your questions and make your transition to China smooth.

In short, only AppInChina provides proven, enterprise-level experience, expertise, and customer service to successfully launch your e-learning platform in the world’s largest and hungriest educational marketplace.

(graphic of our educational apps)

Our Services

  • Publishing and distribution of your app, website or SaaS platform.
  • Legal compliance and licensing for China
  • China-side hosting and services integration
  • Localization
  • Monetization
  • User Acquisition (UA)

Contact us today for a quick chat about how AppInChina can bring you to China to start making money in the world’s most lucrative educational market.