Classes take place online, typically for two or three 25-minute sessions each week. Mi is capitalizing on an alluring arbitrage opportunity. In China, there are hundreds of millions of kids whose parents are willing to pay up if they can get high-quality education. In the US and Canada, teachers are often underpaid－and many have quit the profession because they couldn't make a decent living.
Growth has been explosive. The three-year-old company started this year with 200 teachers and has grown to 5,000, now working with 50,000 children. Next year, Mi anticipates she'll expand to 25,000 teachers and 200,000 children.The scale is huge. Online and offline tutoring is already big in the US. It's a simple step to take it global.
If US won't pay its teachers, China's tiger moms will
It starts with the idea that children must be trained early to prevail over robots in the workforce. Then it snowballs from there－$3,000 a year for tuition, $350 for a Lego robotics set, and $7,300 to test the newly acquired engineering skills at a competition in the United States.
That's what Zhuo Yu is spending on her 10-year-old son for a so-called STEM education in China－a problem-based approach to learning that combines knowledge in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The concept created in the US is now stirring a craze across China, where about 10 million students are being fast-tracked for STEM success.
That number is poised to swell to 50 million by 2020 as parents seek to give their children a head start in computer coding and robotics, according to consultant JMD Education. It predicts the demand will create a $15 billion STEM-learning industry in China that's already attracted companies such as text-book publisher Pearson Plc, Lego Group, and Sony Corp.
"I don't have a cap on my budget," said Zhuo, who works in the internet industry in the eastern city of Hangzhou. "Yes, I'm investing a lot in his robotics education right now, but you have to take a long-term perspective and look at what opportunities it can bring him after he turns 18."
Her son, Wang Yizhuo, will enter one of the most competitive job markets on the planet after he finishes college. By 2030, China is predicted to have as many as 200 million graduates－more than the entire US workforce. As it is now, 40 percent of tertiary students in China obtain a STEM qualification, compared with less than 20 percent in the US and France.…Parents mired by hefty costs for tech-focused education