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ALO7's EVP Andrew Shewbart interviewed on CNBC: Learning English online in China is big business

Reporter: So, joining me now to talk more about online education and that of English language long-distance learning, is Andrew Shewbart of ALO7. He’s the Executive Vice President. A very good morning to you, Andrew, and thank you for joining us today. What we know is that your company was founded in 2004. You have fifteen million registered users and over one thousand training school partners. Now, online education learning English is a very big market, something like $24 billion in China and expected to grow 20% annually. What is your outlook on the business?

Andrew: Children ages 0–14 in China already number more than 240 million and with the relaxation of the one-child policy in 2016—they introduced a two-child policy—I think that the market’s only going to expand. As parents are more willing to have their children study online, I think the market is very, very rosy. You have parents that are quite savvy and really care about education and are willing to invest money into their children’s education and their future.

Reporter: Now ALO7 isn’t the only player in this market, of course. It’s very crowded. You have a competitor rival, VIP Kid. What they do is they have live-streaming English language courses taught by teachers in North America. What kind of courses, or curriculum, do you guys have to offer?

Andrew: So, we offer our own proprietary curriculum as well as do some customization for our clients as well. We’re a B2B player, so there are about fifty thousand different training institutes here in China, dominated by regional players, and those are my customers. So, I actually offer online classes to my regional customers in order for them to compete with those B2C offerings that you’re talking about.

Reporter: Now we’re here in a TMT (Technology, Media & Telecoms) conference: how is technology going online—we’re talking about artificial intelligence and virtual reality—how is that changing what you do in education? Is there a part in that?

Andrew: What you find with those regional players, as I mentioned before, is that they’re really good at teaching, but they don’t really have a big technology or an R&D (Research and Development) department, and so that’s what we do. We have more than three hundred people based in Shanghai. Many of them are engineers or content developers, and we leverage AI for computer adaptive assessment testing. You know, not every seven-year-old child—I heard you speaking about your son earlier, his English level is probably different than someone else’s, right? So, the assessment allows you to properly place them in the content that they need. And speaking of content, our content was nominated for a CODiE AWARD, which is one of the internationally-renowned education and technology awards, and we’re the first—and only—Chinese company that’s ever been nominated for that. So, I think we have a strong position to help our offline partners to increase and to grow.

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