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What’s Behind China’s AI-Driven EdTech Boom?

August 8, 2018

Yiou Intelligence’s 2018 report on AIED (artificial intelligence in education) explores the role that artificial intelligence has in tomorrow’s education landscape. Part of the report describes the forces behind the recent boom of AI-driven edtech in China, identifying the key factors to be government-initiated financial investment, edtech-friendly policies, and household income growth.

Financial Investment in EdTech Policies

Increased investment in education
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the ratio of fiscal education to GDP has remained above 4% for five consecutive years since 2012. In 2016, China's fiscal education funding reached 3,139.63 billion yuan.

Strengthening education, science, and technology
From 2015 to 2017, the state has successively issued three policies to accelerate the development of China's education technology.

Increased Consumer Power

The overall living standards of Chinese residents are constantly improving, and their purchase power is rising. Parents and students are paying more and more attention to education expenditures and the quality of school teaching, increasing the demand for adaptive learning.

Increased investment in family education

According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, this figure has continued to grow from 9.9% in 2011 to 11.2% in 2016, in terms of the proportion of education, culture and entertainment expenditure to per capita consumption expenditure. The HSBC 2017 survey shows that the average educational expenditure of Chinese families, including primary, secondary and university education, is US$42,892.

Increased demand for teachers

The uneven distribution of teachers has always been a major problem in education. As Chinese living standards have improved, the demand for better teachers and extracurricular tutoring has become increasingly higher.

The need for adaptive learning has increased

With the help of education technology, students can receive a personalised learning experience according to their own individual conditions—this is known as adaptive learning. With the increase in consumer power, China’s demand for adaptive learning and edtech is only soaring higher.

Yiou Intelligence’s research makes it clear that there are multiple factors driving China’s AIED boom. Time will only tell how these changes will morph China’s education landscape in a way unique to other environments around the world.