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China’s growing EdTech market and opportunities for Australian tech exports
28 May 2021 | Minutes to read: 3

China’s growing EdTech market and opportunities for Australian tech exports

By Ruby Cheung and Vivi Chen

This article is part of an ongoing ‘Asia Pacific Insights Series’, co-authored by Vivi Chen, Cica Chen and Jim Xi  designed to give you quick and simple tips to access new markets and elevate your business.

There’s never been a better time for tech companies to take their expertise overseas. Businesses have moved from a physical world to a virtual world and now digital services are booming.

By 2030 Australia’s digital sector will be worth over $192 billion annually. EdTech in China is expected to skyrocket, reaching over $300 billion by 2024 for the online K-12 market. With the latest demands for tech services and unprecedented investment levels, there’s plenty of reasons you should be exporting on a global scale.

To help you learn more about these opportunities, we review the latest tech trends in China and how you can take advantage of them.

The demand for digital services and skills in China

With over 400M+ students in China and remote learning now widely undertaken, China is leading the way for Edtech growth and investment.

China is aiming to become a leader in innovation by 2034, as per the country’s 14th five-year plan (2021-2025).. To create a ‘tech-driven’ economy, the government is committed to achieving major breakthroughs in next-generation technologies including AI, semiconductors, cloud computing, and  other key areas including EdTech.

For the first time, the government has pledged to toughen regulatory frameworks and anti-monopoly justice in a bid to boost fair competition. The recent launch of the anti-trust crackdown targets domestic tech giants and provides a safety net for startups to compete on a level playing field.

China has the world’s largest EdTech market

The potential of the e-learning market has quickly been recognised as a lever for growth. The demand in the market is surging with everything from online tutoring, immersive technologies, blockchain, AI and automation growing in popularity. EdTech is not solely about online learning. It includes the need for digital products, tools, services and hardware.

From early childhood learning, university or technical training, Australia is recognised for providing quality education and systems, making it an attractive provider for foreign countries.

Quick facts:

  • According to EduGrowth, the Chinese EdTech market will be worth an estimated $92 billion in 2021.
  • All of Australia’s established Edtech companies are exporting; earning over a third (37%) of their revenue from exports. And for Australian late stage startups, the majority (84%) are already exporting, earning just over one tenth (13%) of their revenue from export.
  • The pandemic reshaped traditional education and made it ‘normal’ to learn remotely. In 2020, during semester two, over 90% of University of Technology Sydney (UTS) students were studying online.
  • Australia’s universities rely heavily on foreign students for growth and expansion not only domestically but also overseas, especially in research projects in which China has featured prominently. Chinese students continue to account for more than 30% of international students (according to China Daily) which creates opportunities for EdTech companies to partner with universities to build scalable learning platforms.
  • Australian universities lost an estimated $1.8billion in revenue compared to 2019, according to figures released by Universities Australia.
2021 Feb 2019 Dec Movement Movement %
# of Chinese students in AU 137,032 211, 965 -74,933 -35.35%

*Calc based on data from Department of Education, Skills and Employment

Resources to help you reach China’s market

  • Global Summit Series: China – virtual events co-hosted by the NSW Govt, NSW Global, EduGrowth and Alibaba Cloud to connect NSW EdTech companies with education audience in China.
  • Global Connections Fund aims to provide initial funding support specifically to promote Australian Researchers and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) collaboration.
  • Global Innovation Linkages offers funding of up to $A1 million per project over a maximum of four years to assist Australian businesses and researchers to collaborate with global partners from priority economies, including China, on strategically focused, leading-edge research and development projects.
  • Participants in the Shanghai Landing Pad will undertake a 90-day residency at partner space Xnode, to help them accelerate the design and development of their product or service business model and explore in-market business development, investment, mentorship and strategic partnership opportunities.
  • Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) is a key Australian Government financial assistance program for exporters.
  • Australian Edtech companies who wish to be included in the Australian EdTech Directory can contact EduGrowth.
  • Find out about the different types of Intellectual Property (IP) protection. There are laws that can guard anything from patents, designs, names or other intangible assets.

While it’s the right time for Australian tech companies to shine, your success is dependent on understanding the risks and finance that will support your export plans. In our next article we’ll cover the common risks involved in selling internationally and give some advice on how you can protect yourself.


Other articles in this series:

Indonesia’s digital health boom and opportunities for Australian healthcare providers

What’s ahead for China-Australia relations – the export opportunities for Australia businesses

China’s growing EdTech market and opportunities for Australian tech exports

Ruby Cheung

Over the past 19 years Ruby has been helping Australian SMEs, individuals and in-bound foreign entities to grow and expand their business.She provides advice on business strategy and planning, accounting solutions, outsource financial management, IPO support, global compliance and governance, taxation and commercial advice.

Read more >
China’s growing EdTech market and opportunities for Australian tech exports

Vivi Chen

For over ten years, Vivi has specialised in helping high net worth private clients build and protect their superannuation. Vivi understands how a self-managed superannuation fund fits in a large family group and their financial plans.

Read more >
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