After a Covid-led boom in 2020, what next for China's K-12 edtech?

Unicorns Yuanfudao and Zuoyebang raised more than $6bn combined last year as demand for online learning continues to grow, but some smaller players are running out of cash

Unlike many other sectors that have been hurt by the pandemic, edtech companies in China are witnessing an unprecedented boom. Nearly RMB 50bn worth of VC funding flowed into the local K-12 edtech sector in 2020 alone – more than the total raised for the entire past 10 years, data from business research firm Fastdata shows. The number of students using online tutoring platforms also surged, up 44.2% to 202m as of October 2020 from the year-ago period.

Likewise, the K-12 education sector grew in tandem: the number of new companies created in the first 10 months of 2020 rose 22.5% on-year to 340,000. Of those, 82,000 were edtech startups. According to data released by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China’s online K-12 tutoring market is forecast growing to RMB 150bn by 2022, more than doubling from RMB 65bn in 2019.

China currently has the most edtech unicorns in the world, counting

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