One year of “double minus”, five struggling stories

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A year ago, if a person bought Alibaba stock, he would lose more than 40% now, which is comparable to the overall decline in Chinese concept stocks. Meanwhile, shares of New Oriental Online rose 420% and TAL rose about 22%.

Although the market value of Chinese education companies is still only one-tenth or one-tenth of what it was before the “double reduction”, the capital market is somewhat out of despair. The same is true in the education industry. One year after the implementation of the “double reduction” policy, leading companies have made every effort to transform. Many companies have changed new signs, opened new business lines, invested in new projects, changed slogans, and even changed their names. Looking back at that time, not only the capital market, public opinion, but even the education industry itself were too pessimistic about the future.

At least 100,000 people have left the online education industry in the past year. After the “double reduction” in July last year, the policy turned the subject training of primary and secondary schools into a business in which shareholders cannot participate in dividends and cannot be listed. Leading education companies such as TAL, New Oriental, Yuanfudao, and Homework Gang had to divest this main business and give up a market equivalent to one trillion yuan.

However, several education companies have enough capital to transform. Yuanfudao, Homeworkbang, TAL, New Oriental, Gaotu, and NetEase Youdao had a total of more than 40 billion yuan in cash and equivalents left before the “double reduction”. The brand and traffic accumulated during the ad wars are still of great value.

Turn around quickly hoping to get rid of the identity of the education company. Homework Gang CEO Hou Jianbin said internally that they will become a technology company next, not just around education. They replaced the slogan at the entrance of the Xierqi office area, “Making high-quality education within reach”, with “Technology for people, extraordinary achievements”. The business currently focuses on intelligent learning hardware and education informatization services. The hardware sales target for next year is billions, which is several times the sales in 2020.

Most education companies regard smart hardware and selling software to schools as the future direction of exploration. Hardware competition is fierce, requiring companies to quickly master complex design, production, and inventory management. Selling software and courses to schools requires B2B sales capabilities, not a business that can scale quickly. Neither route can be said to be a good business.

Ape Fufu’s turning posture is more distinct. In October last year, Yuanfudao decided to provide educational technology services for schools. The parent company of the group invested in down jackets, coffee shops and confinement centers. So far, two high-end confinement centers and a boutique coffee shop have opened in Beijing.

In fact, Yuanfudao has become two companies, one is Beijing Yuanfudao Online Subject Training School, which carries non-profit business. Another Beijing Kanyun Holdings Co., Ltd. carries consumption, publishing, corporate services, as well as zebra, pumpkin science, flying elephant planet and other businesses.

At the beginning of the year, the founder and CEO of TAL, Zhang Bangxin, set a transaction volume target of hundreds of millions of yuan for the live streaming business. At present, hundreds of people in the company have invested in the live streaming business of department stores and publications. At the farewell meeting half a year ago, he was still in a very low mood. After watching a video of a teacher describing his entire process from joining to leaving in the live broadcast, his eyes and nose were red. Today, its teachers play guitars and talk about the scientific principles behind the products in the Douyin live broadcast room. The other two transformation directions of TAL are “Science and Education” (quality education, overseas branch campuses, etc.), “Science and Technology” (electronic publications, educational hardware; To B business that provides teaching, research and technical capabilities for public schools, enterprises, etc.) .

New Oriental Online transformed to sell goods earlier. According to Feigua data, since August this year, the sales of Dongfang Zhenxuan may reach 610 million yuan.

New Oriental sent an internal letter in June, saying that a year ago they “suddenly plunged into the fog” and now “gradually come out of the fog”. In the second half of the “double reduction”, more than 80 new companies were established by New Oriental, and a new company was established in an average of two days. The transformation of New Oriental combines the advantages of the original study abroad and college student training, and expands the quality and wisdom education. New Oriental CFO Yang Zhihui said at the financial report in July this year that the new business will contribute 20% of the company’s revenue in the next fiscal year, and is confident that it will achieve profitability in fiscal 2023.

Behind the transformation of education companies, specific individuals are also making difficult choices. We present the thinking, action and struggle of educators in five different perspectives. Interestingly, under pressure, people’s true feelings about the industry are more revealed.

After the down jacket, Yuanfudao invested in the confinement center

Jasmine Wisdom, a confinement center invested by Yuanfudao’s parent company, is located in a high-end hotel-style apartment in Beijing. They rented some rooms in the hotel. Ming Hua, the sales manager, showed the equipment in one of the rooms: high-end diapers, a breast pump worth 5,000 yuan, silk wallpaper, and a pure wool carpet under his feet. In order to highlight the characteristics of the Internet, she focused on its distinctive positioning, “technology empowerment”. She showed a small white imported ceramic bathtub, saying that this German-imported bubble bathtub can provide babies with a multi-faceted experience of “sound and light”, which is worth 50,000 yuan. There are VR glasses in the room, “surrounded by advanced and intelligent maternal and child equipment, there is always the illusion of being in a Prometheus spacecraft.” The promotional copy of the Confinement Center reads.

One month after the “double reduction”, Li Yong, the CEO of Yuanfudao, convened executives to let everyone “accept the reality early”. In the next two months, a dozen strategic employees investigated more than 20 fields: toys, glasses, coffee, Down jackets, maternal and child products, confinement centers, school entry business, etc., the general principle is to do business with a large market and give up small ones.

The reason for investing in consumer projects, a strategy employee said, was considering the three remaining resources the company had: billions of dollars in financing, brands known to hundreds of millions of students, and traffic accumulated in advertising wars.

Financially, Yuanli Education Technology is only in parallel with Beijing Yuanman Maternal and Infant Care Co., Ltd. and Beijing Single Origin Coffee Co., Ltd., all of which belong to the companies and businesses invested by Kanyun Holdings.

Yuanfudao also deliberately avoided the relationship between the two: except for a cartoon doll of Yuanfudao placed in the room, there is no mention of Yuanfudao in other public documents; The operator will ask employees to go to the coffee stall in Sanlitun to check in, even if they post on the Moments, they cannot mention that it was invested by Yuanfudao.

In fact, Yuanman Maternal and Infant was established in December 2021, and in October last year, the strategic employees of Yuanfudao started to investigate, set up a confinement center, coffee, down jackets and other new businesses. The maternal and child care system of the Yuezi Center is built by the middle office of the group. At present, employees of several new businesses are still working in the office of Yuanfudao. The business person in charge of the Yuezi Center and many managers have all worked in Yuanfudao.

Why Confinement Center? A Yuanfudao business analyst said that the decision is based on market size: According to Frost & Sullivan, the market size of mid-to-high-end confinement centers will reach 17.8 billion yuan in 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 23%; The penetration rate of confinement centers in mainland China is less than 10%, while the penetration rate in Taiwan, China in 2019 reached 62.5%.

The industry concentration is not high, and the top 5 companies have a total market share of only 11.2%; the unit price of mid-to-high-end confinement centers is more than 50,000 yuan, and it is a prepaid model with good cash flow. These characteristics are similar to those in the education and training industry; Liu Dongmei, the head of the Yuezi Center, has previously led a team of more than 40,000 tutors in Yuanfudao, and has experience in large-scale and standardized services.

In the past, the typical image of an online big class salesman: wearing a casual T-shirt and jeans, working 10 hours a day, making hundreds of phone calls to parents to sell them a “10-point improvement in 30 days” test-taking trick course.

Today, Minghua, the salesperson of the Yuezi Center, is another image. She is exquisite and capable, good at guessing the thoughts of customers, and is extremely patient and considerate. Ming Hua, who used to work at Aidi Palace, which has the largest market share in the industry, is now trying to keep up with internet speeds. She has worked as a nurse and has been trained in many confinement centers. After contacting the Ape Counseling team, she found that “the speed of the Internet is too fast”. In just half a year, two Jasmine Wisdom stores have been established, and Aidi Palace used 14 Only opened two villa-type stores in 2018.

Jasmine Wisdom’s mode is also lighter. Traditional high-end confinement centers are heavily invested, often renting villas, renovating, and building properties with 40 to 50 million yuan of funds, while Jasmine Wisdom adopts an asset-light model, which can expand faster with less investment: Waldorf Astoria stores and five-star stores The luxury hotel cooperation and Chaoyang Joy City store cooperated with the British property, and booked rooms in advance according to the number of customers, and the two stores invested less than 10 million yuan.

Jasmine’s smart service also surpasses all the confinement centers that Minghua has stayed at. In the past, she received at least 10 customers a day, and each customer served within 30 minutes, but now she has no more than 3 customers a day. The minimum unit price of the confinement package is 108,800 yuan. She once accompanied a mother-to-be for 13 hours at the Yuezi Center store, waiting for her to make up her mind and take the order.

Minghua’s discourse system is being transformed by the Internet. In other confinement centers, she calls everyone “chief”. In Jasmine Wisdom, whether it is a leader or a colleague, she calls her “teacher”; Closed-loop business”; in order to figure out “what the rich want”, she will also go to luxury stores and high-end SPA stores to experience services to “reuse capabilities”.

Whether the Internet-backed team can transform the Yuezi Center remains to be verified. Currently, the number of customers staying in the two high-end Yuezi Center stores is still in the single digits.

Yuanfudao is currently developing an interface design tool that supports multi-person collaboration, targeting Figma for designers. Figma is currently valued at $10 billion. This winter, the down jacket invested by Yuanfudao will also launch its first product, an outdoor down jacket for adults, priced at several thousand yuan.

These new businesses all fall under Beijing Kanyun Holdings Co., Ltd. The name of the new company comes from the poems of Wang Wei, a poet in the Tang Dynasty, and it may be the state of mind that CEO Li Yong hopes to achieve: walking to the water and watching the clouds rise.

The CEO of Gaotu has gray hair for a year, but he still wants to win

Gaotu originally had more than a dozen office locations in Beijing, but now there is only one office in West Erqi, Wensi Haihui. He turned half of his hair gray within a year, but instead of lamenting aging, he insisted on education and “big scenes”, emphasizing that he was still young.

When the “double reduction” policy was implemented, Chen Xiangdong embodied the basic qualities of a CEO: to ensure that he does not collapse first. The day before the policy was announced, he saw a 16-page document circulating in the industry, read it for two minutes, and closed it. Someone doubted the authenticity of the document. He noticed the wording and systematic presentation of the document and asked, “Have you ever seen a fake document with this specification?” He knew it was true, and it was more severe than he expected.

There is no escape, he wants to “set his mind” first. He booked a good restaurant and wanted to have a quiet meal with his family. That night, the stock price of Gaotu plummeted 63%, and the stock price of TAL and New Oriental halved. The daughter has been watching the news and watching the stock price. He told her to put down the phone, but it was useless. He and his family left the dining table and went out for a walk.

It wasn’t until late at night that Chen Xiangdong opened the document, read it for an hour, and made a difficult decision. The next afternoon, he went to the company for a meeting and announced his decision: within a week, 10 of the 13 local tutor centers across the country would be closed. This is equivalent to laying off a third of the company’s employees. Mid-level employees were sent to the locality to deal with layoffs.

After doing what he should do, Chen Xiangdong began to reveal his true state when facing a sudden blow. When a person was pacing in the conference room, he suddenly felt “empty”, so he wrote an internal letter of more than 3,000 words to all the staff, using “sorry, sadness, sadness” 5 times, in the layoff communication , he “suddenly burst into tears” several times, and later saw the scene of the employees saying goodbye to each other, and he also cried.

In the following days, Chen Xiangdong tried hard to convince himself that although he was over 50 years old, his physical strength and energy were obviously not as good as four or five years ago, but Google CEO Sundar Pichai had already taken over as CEO of the parent company Alphabet. At 47, current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is 55. He draws strength from these stories and feels “young”.

He studied companies with a history of nearly 100 years such as Nokia and Hewlett-Packard. The former has experienced 4 major transformations, and the latter has experienced as many as 7 times. Gaotu, which he founded in 2014, has undergone two business transformations. “In comparison, we have transferred very little.” He regards this round of transformation after the “double reduction” as Gaotu’s “third entrepreneurship.” “.

Regarding the gain and loss of wealth, he comforted and encouraged himself: when he was a child, his family was poor, the house collapsed twice, and he and his younger brother almost died first. After the house collapsed, there was no money to repair it. In winter, the northwest wind was blowing, and the family huddled together to keep warm. “Everything I have today, even if it’s taken away, is much better than when I was a kid.” He often recalls bitterness and sweetness.

After convincing himself, he needs to convince his employees. At the employee training meeting, he analyzed himself: Once on the Forbes list, he was worth more than 10 billion US dollars, and now the stock price has dropped from 30 US dollars to 1 US dollars. “It doesn’t feel like being on the Rich List, really!” he told employees. “At a certain stage, you realize that these things are not yours, but everyone’s.”

After the “double reduction”, he persuaded employees to believe like him that now is “the best time for high road”, because there is no need to burn money and can return to the “essence of business”.

In 2020, the financing quota of China’s K12 online education industry exceeded 50 billion yuan, which is only venture capital in the primary market. In December 2020, Chen Xiangdong said, “Isn’t the education company’s subsidy courting death? I provide so many services, and I also subsidize it. What is this business?” But under the fierce competition, Gaotu also began to subsidize. In 2020, sales expenses reached 6.38 billion yuan, compared with only 1.15 billion yuan in the same period last year.

Before the “double reduction”, Chen Xiangdong tried to step on the brakes. At an internal meeting in May last year, he said that past growth has been “brutal growth, extensive growth”, and the next step is to return to profitable growth.

“We always say that we are doing education, but all the meetings are talking about traffic, ROI (return on investment), so can it be called an educational institution?” he said.

Sales pressure makes the team eager for quick success. At a morning meeting of executives, someone played a recording, a salesman called parents to sell, and his words were full of oppression, “Don’t you care about your children? You make so much money, report it to your children. What happened to the tutoring class?” A mid-level employee who joined Gaotu for 5 years recalled how he felt at the time and said, “Oh my God, why am I in such a company?”

Gaotu’s current business focus has shifted to education directions such as literacy, postgraduate entrance exams, finance and economics, public examinations, and business school courses. There are more than 30 course business lines. Recruitment standards have also changed. A Gaotu employee said that in the previous peak sales season, consultants would not restrict their professional background as long as they could place orders; now they are vigorously recruiting people with teaching backgrounds, and stop recruiting sales from real estate and insurance industry backgrounds. Avoid too much marketing.

The adult education business is much smaller than the primary and secondary school subjects. The former has a market size of 100 billion yuan, while the latter is 1 trillion yuan; the business is also more difficult to do, whether it is for public examinations, postgraduate entrance examinations or financial management, it is almost impossible for users to leave after learning. The fee will be renewed, while the primary and secondary school students may renew the fee from the first grade to the high school, and the life cycle is longer.

As a result, employees feel more pressure: each business line needs to be profitable within a certain period of time, otherwise it will be scaled down; it is calculated that investing a dollar will bring at least a five-dollar return. In the past, the return on investment of one dollar in the advertisement of primary and secondary school subjects was only 70 cents.

Chen Xiangdong believes that there will be very big scenes in the future. Although the description is still vague, “the needs of China’s 1.4 billion people for good learning are there, so don’t be in a hurry.”

Youdao CEO thinks the best opportunity has come

Youdao CEO Zhou Feng may be one of the few relatively optimistic CEOs in the education industry. The optimism was initially transmitted to him by his boss, Ding Lei. After the “double reduction” policy was officially announced, Ding Lei joked with him on the phone, “The best opportunity has finally come.”

At the next executive meeting, Zhou Feng continued to spread this optimism: the moment of greatest crisis is the moment of greatest opportunity, “Of course we must be optimists.” On the day of the “Double Reduction” landing, he even smiled and agreed with him. Employees interpret policies.

At the end of last year, he said that when the company went public in 2019, he persuaded investors that his advantage over other education companies was hardware. “They didn’t believe it,” he said. “It’s time to find out.”

“It’s easy to turn around when the boat is small,” said a Youdao executive. When they competed in online large-scale classes, they ranked sixth. Now that primary and secondary school subject training has turned into a non-profit business, when it comes to hardware technology, Youdao’s team may be better at it. .

In 2020, the number of long-term paying students in Youdao’s large class is only one-third of that of Yuanfudao and Homework Gang. The chances of winning in the frontal battlefield are not high. Zhou Feng encouraged the team to do more business, the most prominent of which is hardware, Youdao dictionary pen, Last year, the revenue of hardware such as Tingbao was nearly 1 billion yuan.

A Youdao executive summed up the reasons for the lagging behind in large-class competition: “moving too slowly”, “not used to fighting head-on”, and the company is also more stringent in cost control. Once Ding Lei walked around Youdao’s office building and asked if he needed so many security guards. After a few days, the security guards were fired. In the past, Youdao invested 1.5 billion in marketing expenses a year, while a leading company invested nearly 10 billion in marketing expenses in 2020.

After focusing on hardware, Zhou Feng became more invested in the business. In March last year, there was a shortage of chips, half of the original order volume could not be obtained, and the dictionary pen was cut off. He and several executives flew to Shenzhen and met more than ten manufacturers in three or four days. Efforts were made to convince the other party that Youdao is a company with stable demand, “it will not die, and will not bounce tickets”. After accepting a cost increase of about 10%, the supply of dictionary pen accessories has been restored.

After the “double reduction”, Youdao also launched new products such as table lamps and tablets. He devoted half of his time to hardware. “If you fall, you have to grab the sand” – this is what Ding Lei often said when encouraging his subordinates a sentence.

Not only Youdao, but Gaotu, Jobbang, ByteDance, etc. have all seen opportunities in hardware, and ByteDance, which has money and traffic, has already collapsed here. In October 2020, Byte launched the vigorously intelligent work light, using a typical Internet play method: selling at a price close to the cost, and promoting it with an internal traffic advertisement with a 20% discount. It can be calculated by deducting the advertising costs, and selling one of the lamps will lose one. However, they did not expect to make money from desk lamps, but made money through follow-up services, such as courses and tutoring services. With the implementation of the “double reduction” policy, the original business model will not work.

The “double reduction” policy also directly affects the attractiveness of the product itself. NetEase Youdao and Homeworkbang’s desk lamps have all designed the function of taking pictures and searching for questions. The cancellation of the function also means that an important selling point is missing.

It turned out that the traditional audio-visual education manufacturers such as Dushulang and BBK used to focus on education hardware. Now almost every education company wants to try education hardware. There are more copycat manufacturers in the dark, which makes the competition even more intense. Jobbang launched the Miaomiao electronic word card in March this year, and two months later, more than 60 similar products were launched on the market; it took seven months to develop the homework, and the Shenzhen Shanzhai factory eliminated the quality inspection process and only spent 4-5 months, and more pronunciation functions. A month later, Homework Gang hurriedly launched the second-generation word card with pronunciation function.

Wu Yinghui, head of NetEase Youdao hardware, said that when faced with indiscriminate competition, profits will tend to zero. Hardware companies either earn money for time lag, or earn money for special capabilities such as content and supply chains.

Youdao dictionary pen earns money for time difference and content. On the basis of the content of Youdao Dictionary, NetEase Youdao Dictionary Pen launched the second-generation product at the end of 2019. After three quarters, the revenue of hardware products exceeded the advertising revenue of Youdao Dictionary for the first time, and the revenue in a single quarter reached 163 million. Become the second largest income outside the course. Almost at the same time, iFLYTEK saw the opportunity of dictionary pens, and the company it invested in launched the Alpha Egg dictionary pen, and the current sales of the Alpha Egg dictionary pen are closely following.

A typical example of making money through the supply chain is Xiaomi. Xiaomi provides early incubation support for supply chain companies such as Huami Technology, Yunmi, Shitou, and No. 9, including investment in manpower and capital, and cooperates with supply chain companies in research and development. After the product is launched, it will be sold through Xiaomi’s channels. Supply chain companies earn money from channel sharing, patent licensing, and return on investment. The premise of all this is that Xiaomi has strong capital, technology and channel capabilities, and it is still difficult for education companies to take this road.

Wu Yinghui said that AI precision learning may become a path for education companies to form barriers in the future. By mastering the massive learning data of students inside and outside the school, it can personalize the analysis of students’ learning weaknesses. However, to collect learning information needs to enter the school system, and requires tens of millions of investment. “Once done, it can even block a company with a strong supply chain like Xiaomi,” he said.

The iFLYTEK AI learning machine provides personalized chemical analysis in addition to the synchronous course of teaching materials for primary and secondary school students, and recommends topics and content for students’ weak points. At present, the annual sales volume has reached one million units. In the first half of this year, iFLYTEK’s smart education accounted for 25% of the total revenue, reaching 2.205 billion yuan, including smart classrooms for schools, English listening and speaking classrooms, AI solutions, personal learning machines, personalized learning manuals, etc. Business – This has exceeded the revenue of TAL, a leading company in the education industry, in the most recent quarter.

In the past three years, Youdao has gradually built up its supply chain, design, and sales system, and its hardware revenue has grown from 100 million to nearly 1 billion. Zhou Feng expects revenue to grow to 10 billion. This means that for a successful product like Youdao Ci Pen, he has to make ten.

The intelligent Internet of Things is the third important opportunity that Zhou Feng encountered in his life. The first two are mobile Internet and online courses, and he did not reach the top three in the industry. Now he says to the team: Can’t go any slower.

A strategist lost his fighting spirit

After exploring new businesses for more than a year, Tian Yulan (pseudonym), a strategist from a leading education company, admitted that she had “no fighting spirit” and “admitted defeat”, and her mental state was obviously depressed. She was about to escape from this job. After getting home from get off work around 11:00 every day, she would sit on the sofa and play with her mobile phone until 1:00 a.m. She would not go out on weekends, and would hardly talk to her parents.

A year ago, she was full of confidence. After the “double reduction”, the status of “strategy” in the company has been significantly improved. In the past, CEOs mainly made decisions based on their nearly 20 years of experience in the education industry, and only came to listen to reports occasionally. After the “double reduction”, they would participate in discussions about new directions almost every day. She feels that her responsibilities have become heavier, “with a light, I want to help all my colleagues who are confused”.

In the past, she only made a report once every 2-3 weeks for her research projects. After the “double reduction”, the frequency of reporting became weekly, and the research direction changed from large classes to synthetic biology, live broadcast, Web3.0, coffee, confinement center, etc. Educational hardware, school admission, etc.

There seems to be hope in many directions: the head education hardware Youdao dictionary pen can have a revenue of 1 billion yuan a year, and if you do a few more categories, you can always find “explosive products”; the direction of entering the school is “imperative. ”, “Double reduction” just transfers the needs of students from off-campus to on-campus. The company has both photo search tools and large-scale classes. In the past, it has accumulated in the field of entering the school, so it should be possible to “seamlessly connect”.

A month before the “double reduction”, Tian Yulan and his colleagues began to prepare when they heard the wind. Within a few months, a team of more than 10 people from the Strategy Department visited more than 100 schools. Of course, almost at the same time, competitors also started to enter the school program.

The main product provided by this company’s school entry business is an automatic homework modification system, which is equipped with hardware such as a marking printer and a high-speed camera to help teachers automatically modify their homework. In the past, teachers used to judge students’ weak points based on experience. If they used their system, they could more accurately grasp each student’s weak points and assign different homework.

After entering the practice stage, problems continued to arise: the correction ability is mainly applicable to science subjects, which can only cover about 85% of the topics, and the teacher still needs to spend energy to modify the homework, which makes it impossible to comprehensively collect students’ learning data, let alone realize personalized custom homework .

In the past, Tian Yulan and his colleagues responded to C-end users with “one call”: as long as one product function is optimized, the experience of hundreds of millions of people will be immediately improved, and tens of millions of people will stay to use the product for a long time. After the service object becomes a school, the needs vary widely. For example, in the standard answer format, one school thinks that the first word under the question should be written “Solution”, while another school thinks it is “Answer”. This requires setting up different correction systems, corresponding to higher service costs.

The team has been continuously optimizing the product over the past year, and the results have also been successful: in the hundreds of schools currently in use, the frequency of teachers testing the correction system per week has increased from 3 times a week to 4 times a week.

Tian Yulan gradually discovered that the business of entering the school is essentially a business between an enterprise and the government, and the core difficulty is to establish a trust relationship.

At present, the purchasers of school entry business are mainly single schools and local education bureaus. The former has an annual education informatization budget of only hundreds of thousands, while the latter ranges from millions to tens of millions depending on the administrative level. In the early days of Tian Yulan’s team, in order to polish the product, she first found a single school to cooperate and participated in several dinner parties before she figured out the unspoken rules.

A principal brought a stranger at the dinner and introduced him as a friend who made hardware by himself. After changing the cups, the principal asked Tian Yulan to “communicate more” with this friend. Only then did she understand the meaning of the other party: In the order placed, part of the business must be distributed to this friend.

Sometimes there is more than one such “friend”. “One channel is the principal’s sister-in-law and the other is the principal’s nephew. Who do you work with?” she said.

The factors to be weighed in cooperation with the local education bureau are more complex: not only need to provide high-quality products, but also need to “contribute” to the local performance. The industry can refer to iFLYTEK. In 2021, the revenue of smart education is 6 billion yuan, and it has won many orders in Anhui Province to provide schools with educational information platforms, smart classrooms, smart scoring and other services, perhaps in return. , iFLYTEK put its headquarters in Anhui, and introduced a number of supporting enterprises, which led to employment and contributed tax revenue.

Tian Yulan’s team has considered signing the company headquarters to a province where cooperation may be reached, but after moving it once, what if it cooperates with another province for the second time? The introduction of supporting enterprises has also been considered, but the current business volume is still small and cannot give many orders to supporting enterprises.

“I’ve never played these methods before, so I’m a little scared.” Tian Yulan said.

For a long time, the education informatization market has lacked benchmarking companies, because no matter what you sell in the school, it depends on channels and relationships, which means that large-scale growth is uncontrollable, investment institutions will not dare to make heavy bets, and it is difficult for startup companies to grow. big.

Tian Yulan realizes that this is a business that requires ten years of accumulation, and that he has devoted three months of research to one topic after another, but he can’t see any effect in the short term. I don’t even believe I can do it well, how can I convince the boss?”

Many of her colleagues have left. The company has developed a new option incentive plan to retain employees: the original option takes 4 years to fully vest, and the new batch of options after the “double reduction” can be fully vested in just two years. But the company’s main business has been divested, and it is almost impossible to return to its original valuation within two years. In the end, even the head of human resources who developed the incentive plan left.

Her best memories are before 2020. Numerous startups are trying to bring innovation to the education industry. According to the statistics of Duojing Capital, the number of equity investment and financing in the education industry reached more than 300 in 2019, ranking fourth in China’s equity investment market that year, and a large number of startup companies received financing.

In 2020, more than 80% of the world’s investment in education has poured into China. Things also began to turn around at that time, capital was concentrated in leading companies, companies started advertising wars, opportunities for startups decreased, the competitive environment deteriorated, companies “deformed”, and then the well-known policies were implemented. Tian Yulan also knows that stories like this happen all the time, but this time it’s in the education industry, but this time it’s on himself.

A New Oriental executive went to Daliangshan to teach

How much a person really feels about education depends on actions in the end. Zhu Yu, vice president of New Oriental Online and former CEO of Oriental Youbo, is an activist. Beginning in February this year, he went to Apojue Village, Liangshan Prefecture to teach for a semester.

After the “double reduction”, his business line was closed by Yu Minhong, the founder of New Oriental. He remembered his desire to have a teaching support. In 5 months, he taught mathematics to 102 elementary school students, built a building for the village school, and received a realistic education himself.

He planned to bring the “excellent teaching methods, advanced educational concepts, and extreme teaching skills” that he had accumulated over the past 20 years, but when he arrived, he found that he had to be able to take care of himself first. Because he is not used to living at an altitude of more than 1,600 meters, he has a cold and fever for one-third of the five months, and if he wants to buy medicine, he has to walk 50 minutes to the nearest town.

He didn’t go to the real world to teach earlier because he was busy with online education. In 2016, he founded Dongfang Youbo, and in 2020, there will be 1 million low-cost course students, of which more than 100,000 will buy long-term courses. Zhu Yu pays attention to details, cares about the resignation of each teacher, asks about every recruitment, and works 16 hours a day.

Most of the students at that time came from second-tier cities and below, and took small classes online after auditioning the course in the offline experience store. Zhu Yu imagined: “If there is no ‘double reduction’, we have now opened the experience store of Youbo to Daliangshan.”

Half a month after the launch of “Double Reduction”, Zhu Yu took a few people to sell department stores live on Dongfang Youbo’s WeChat video account. After two weeks of trying, he discussed with Yu Minhong, hoping to transform into live broadcast delivery. Yu thinks the idea is good, but he plans to lead the team to do it himself.

At the executive meeting more than a month later, Yu Minhong set the direction of the live broadcast and said, “Weiya can sell more than 10 billion yuan a year. Can I do 10 billion yuan a year with dozens of teachers for live broadcast? “

Yu Minhong also told Zhu Yu that he was going to close Dongfang Youbo. This is also the first business that a head education company has voluntarily closed after the “double reduction”.

Zhu Yu asked why Dongfang Youbo ranked first. Yu Minhong explained that using Dongfang Youbo, a small business, to do some “expectation management” for the society. Let parents know that refunds can be made normally even if classes are suspended, so as to avoid parents running on refunds and causing a greater crisis of public opinion.

Zhu Yu had to accept it. He was depressed for more than a month, often insomnia, and sometimes only slept 3 or 4 hours a day. When he couldn’t sleep, he wondered how to lay off employees, and then laid off all 4,000 employees in one month.

On September 7, the day it was officially closed, he decided to go to Daliangshan to teach.

Zhu Yu has been a leader in the examination-oriented education system since he was a child: he scored full marks in the primary school math Olympiad, and he studied the middle school course for 6 years during his illness in the first year of junior high school. He won the competition and was recommended to Tsinghua University. When he dropped out of school to become a teacher and went to teach in the mountains today, Zhu Yu’s explanation is the same: education has changed his own destiny, and he also wants to change other people’s through education.

After being recommended to Tsinghua University in high school, Zhu Yu spent his spare time tutoring more than 80 students in the same class. One of the students who could only get 480 points in the mock exam, got 620 points in the college entrance examination and was admitted to Central South University; after joining New Oriental, he saw himself His management can affect thousands of students and make him believe that what he does can promote social development.

His ideal of educational fairness is not to let everyone be admitted to Tsinghua University and Peking University, but to let students’ performance and talent be determined by their hard work, rather than by factors such as wealth, status or ethnicity. He felt that it should start with improving basic education resources, so he went to teach, and it was Daliangshan, which needed talents most and had the most difficult conditions.

At Daliangshan Abojue Elementary School, he taught mathematics with a total of 102 students in first and sixth grades. The Internet has really changed the mountain village. To his surprise, children watch Kuaishou with their mobile phones, and use Pinduoduo and the second-hand platform Xianyu to shop.

The hardware level of schools in mountainous areas is not bad. There are electronic screens, computers and projectors donated by external donations and purchased by local governments, but many local teachers will not use them. In summer, the temperature is high, and flies are densely packed on the big screen. The teacher who supported the teaching said that the flies also participated in the teaching.

No matter how complete the hardware and technology are, teachers still need to be present. Zhu Yu said that when he came to Daliangshan, he discovered that the teaching methods he had accumulated for 20 years were “not as effective as a stick in his hand”. A half-meter-long wooden stick was always held in his hand during class. Knock on the desk.

The difference in the level of students was unexpected by Zhu Yu: excellent students, if they have the resources of Beijing students, may impact the best universities; those with lower grades can’t speak Mandarin well and can’t understand the questions.小升初的紧张时刻,他发现得给六年级学生补习一年级内容。


朱宇觉得,如果这届学生前三年不是每年换一位老师,也许基础会打得更扎实。这也是他支教后最深的体会,山村教育最关键的不是硬件、资金,而是愿意长期投入教学的人。他所在的阿波觉小学,10 个老师有4 个会在教完一个学期后离开。

今年7 月,他结束了支教。去年11 月,他新成立了一家编程教育公司,不过自己只担任董事长,不再做CEO,因为不想再抓得太细。以前一周工作60 多个小时,现在一周缩短到10 小时左右。


临走前,朱宇从新东方那里拉到60 万赞助,自己掏了84 万,盖了一座教学楼,今年秋季就会投入使用。未来,如果优秀的老师不能亲临,他希望他们能在那里通过屏幕给阿波觉的小学生们上课。


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