In a country as obsessed with education as China, it makes sense that online teaching has huge potential. Wealthy Chinese spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to send their children abroad for what they perceive as a better education, The Wall Street Journal reports. And China’s scale means online-education companies can serve vast audiences, justifying up-front investments. There is a history of private-education companies in China, and for years the business of preparing students for exams using traditional study centers grew dramatically. About eight Chinese education companies with combined revenue of $1.5 billion last year have listed their shares in the U.S. “Everyone is looking at education as the next frontier,” said Yat Siu, chief executive at Outblaze, a Hong Kong-based mobile games and animation company. “The challenge is how do we get people to transfer to the digital side. China is not quite there yet, but it will come.” Online education has been slow to catch on in China even though the country has the world’s largest Internet user base and is the world’s largest smartphone market. Listed educational companies, facing pressure to generate steady cash flows, have been slow to invest in their online operations.
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