Chinese Edtech Platform New Oriental Skirts Regulatory Ban by Selling Steaks

A popular Chinese edtech platform has found a clever workaround to continue offering tutorial services amid the government’s regulatory ban on private education.

Credit: New Oriental's Facebook

New Oriental, one of the largest private tutoring companies prior to Beijing’s crackdown, has tried to pivot to new ventures unaffected by the new regulations, such as drawing and dance classes. The platform also dabbled in selling goods online via live streams, some of which include agricultural products. These sessions would sometimes even be hosted by the platform’s founder Yu Minhong.


Despite sales not being so good, the online selling venture seems to have birthed a new idea that would allow the platform’s teachers to continue doing their job without outright breaking the law – combining tutoring with selling.


A recent video, which, according to Reuters, has since gone viral on Chinese social media, features one of the platform’s hosts promoting steaks before pulling out a small whiteboard, where he wrote "steak" and "seasoning" in English. He then explains how to use the words he wrote in sentences as he pushed his products to the viewers.

New Oriental Founder Yu Minhong. Credit: Reuters

After the video was shared multiple times online, New Oriental’s online sales went from less than 1 million yuan a day to a whopping 15 million yuan on Friday.


Additionally, shares in New Koolearn Technology, the company behind the platform’s e-commerce business, jumped 54.2% on Wednesday. Shares listed in Hong Kong in New Oriental also surged 22.5% on Wednesday and 54% on Friday. Reuters, however, notes that the edtech platform is still only worth about a third of what it once was before the crackdown.


Beijing last year introduced a policy that would restrict private education companies from prioritising profit or raising foreign capital. It would later pass more regulations that would allow the Chinese government more control over the education sector, blocking foreign entities from setting up shop in the country. This was all part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s campaign to clamp down on after-school programs and private tutoring services, which he deemed as burdensome.

 
  • New Oriental, a Chinese edtech platform, has found a clever workaround to continue offering tutorial services amid the government’s regulatory ban on private education – combining tutoring with online live selling.

  • A video, which has since gone viral, features one of the platform’s hosts promoting steaks before pulling out a small whiteboard, where he wrote "steak" and "seasoning" in English. He then explains how to use the words he wrote in sentences as he pushed his products to the viewers.

  • After the video was shared multiple times online, New Oriental’s online sales went from less than 1 million yuan a day to a whopping 15 million yuan on Friday.

  • Despite this, the company's value likely won't reach the same highs it did prior to the crackdown.




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