Chinese on-demand delivery giant Meituan has launched a live-streaming toolkit for private educational institutes such as tutoring centres, expanding further into an online education space that is booming amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Relatively high prices and the importance of teaching quality make people extremely cautious when making purchasing decisions [relating to educational products],” Meituan said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Live-streaming gives consumers an intuitive understanding of the content and the quality of educational products, and is gradually becoming a common way for potential customers to make decisions.”
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While it is primarily known as a food delivery company, Meituan has been broadening its offerings, giving customers the option to order everything from Huawei phones and Sephora beauty products to books on its app in recent months. It also has an online education channel with 200 million annual users, 1.21 million educational and training institutions and more than 40,000 teachers registered on its platform, according to the Beijing-based company.
The toolkit launched on Tuesday aims to help educational institutions level up their digital marketing capabilities and precisely target potential consumers within a 5km radius based on the company’s location-based technology, Meituan said in its statement.
The move comes amid a boom in the online education sector due to lockdowns and school closures during the coronavirus pandemic. In June, there were 380 million online education users in China compared with 232 million in the same month last year, according to a report by the China Internet Network Information Centre.
Other internet giants such as Alibaba Group Holding, Tencent Holdings, ByteDance and Huawei Technologies have also been developing their own e-learning tools, stepping forward to offer free online classes when schools shut due to the pandemic earlier this year.
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China’s online education market is projected to be worth 453.8 billion yuan (US$64 billion) by the end of this year, according to a report by iiMedia Research, which also estimated that the number of K-12 – or from kindergarten to high school – e-learning users in the country will reach about 37.7 million by this year.
More from South China Morning Post:
- Live-streaming e-commerce is the fastest-growing area of China’s internet, but buyer’s remorse is common
- Hungry for the new iPad? Ele.me can deliver it to customers within an hour of going on sale
- As coronavirus shut Hong Kong schools, Education Bureau failed pupils with hands-off approach on e-learning
- Coronavirus boosts fortunes of e-learning providers, while Hong Kong’s private tutoring industry struggles
- TikTok-owner ByteDance eyes expansion in online education with help of AI dragon ‘tutor’