Education technology is what most entrepreneurs are talking about these days. When it comes to Edtech, China is stuffed with the latest innovations and inventions. AI, coding and programming are being integrated into all aspects of education. The digital revolution is transforming the industry landscape. Global education technology (edtech) sector is expected to be worth $252 billion by 2020, according to EdTechXGlobal.
During the two-day annual 2019 Global Education Technology (GET) summit which kicked off on Nov. 25th, industry leaders, innovators, decision makers, educators, practitioners from over 40 countries and regions gathered in Beijing, all driven by the same passion, to discover new opportunities and cutting-edge AI technology in the dynamic and lucrative Chinese education market. China’s EdTech and AI unicorns that worth over $3 billion invested capital including VIPKID, iFlytek and SenseTime all unveiled their promising prospect of AI-empowered education at the summit.
For a long time, China has a reputation of copying products, brands and business models from the West. For example, Baidu is known as the “Google of China”, and Alibaba as the “Amazon of China”, just to name a few. Once derided as good only for producing counterfeit products, is today challenging those Western companies, and producing leaders in innovation and building models for others to follow.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become the biggest domestic game player. The Chinese government has set an ambitious goal to become the world’s AI leader by 2030. To reach there, it laid out a series of sine qua non to complete by 2020, including research contributions, being a favored destination for world’s talents, and having an AI industry that rivals global leaders in the field. The second day of the global summit was particularly revolved around this topic.
“AI era has officially arrived,” said Dai Juan, general manager of SenseTime Education Business Unit, “AI will power all industries and professions like basic energy sources”. The company is one of the world’s most valuable AI unicorns with a current valuation of $4.5 billion. Advocating a comprehensive access of AI education, SenseTime co-edited the first ever AI textbook introduced into China’s secondary education system along with East China Normal University in Shanghai and released the first edition last April.
According to global AI industry whitepaper published by Deliotte, AI is expected to worth $6 trillion by 2025, lifting an estimated total global GDP growth of 14%, while China and North America are expected to see the biggest AI gains.
“All teachers will have AI assistants in the future schools”, said Wang Zhuo, vice president of iFlytek Education Divisions. “It helps teachers to reduce stress from repetitive preparation work for classes and leaves more room for personalized student tutoring.” The voice recognition company that has a market valuation of $9.2 billion, has a goal to re-establish teacher’s status as “the engineer of the human soul”, through AI’s power.
The idea of AI empowered education is essentially to achieve personalized education, said Ling Qiang, associate professor at University of Science and Technology of China.
Many speakers have talked about how technology has changed education, particularly English education in China. One of the biggest transformations is perhaps the localization and universality of learning, which has made education more penetrable than ever.