Digital English Language Learning – China Report Released

JadeBuddha-CityScenes-RailwayMuseum 2013-06-26 077In 2013, thanks in part to government-run schools, China moved to the top position as generating the highest revenues ($323.1 million) for digital English Language Learning products and services, not only in the Asia region but across the planet. Private language learning schools and consumers did their bit also. With a 26% compound annual growth rate (CAGR), digital English Language Learning products revenues will reach an astonishing $931.8 million in 2018.

The Chinese government has boosted digital English language learning in two ways. First, by their plans to deploy massive number—over 10 million—of educational tablets and second, by establishing compulsory requirements for students to learn English in an effort to promote internationalism and be competitive in a global market place. In higher education institutions, English is compulsory and students must pass an English proficiency test twice a year. Exams foster a market for test prep, and English language learning is no exception.

There is a thriving market for online courses for specialized forms of English: business, tourism, hospitality, and aviation. Again, for China to compete in the global marketplace, these skills are important. After presenting at a conference in Shanghai last year, I can attest to the prevalence of business, tourism, and hospitality English. (And since landing and taking off safely, I assume aviation English as well).

Digital Eng_China1Digital Eng_China2International sporting events such as the Beijing Olympics and the World Cup games to be held in Brazil this year often cause a spike in English language learning.

Sam Adkins, Ambient Insight’s Chief Research Officer, reports in his deep dive into this market in China, 2013-2018 China Market for English Language Learning that “All roads lead to mobile.” True, it’s just one of the five product types for which Sam has provided revenue and growth forecasts in this report, but Mobile Learning is strong in China.

In 2013, over 350 million smart phones were sold in China and in 2014 the number sold is anticipated to climb to 400 million. In January 2014, the iPhone was offered for sale in China by China Mobile, the nation’s largest telecom, which is continuing to build out their 4G network—and this was good news for iOS content providers. Android devices, supplied by vendors such as Lenovo, Xiaomi, and ZTE that sell low-cost phones (where the country’s smartphone growth is) have the dominant share.

Telecoms are sitting in the cat bird seat in China. Not only do they have vast subscriber bases to market their Mobile Learning VAS products, but they, as other carriers do, have the advantage of direct billing.

For more on the China market, download the free Abstract for the “2013-2018 China Digital English Language Learning Market” report from Ambient Insight’s Resource Library.

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