The K-12 After-School Education Market in China

The after-school education market in China is huge!  The two biggest factors that contribute to this huge and growing market are: big population and Chinese’s propensity for higher education.  In China, as in many other Asian countries, every graduating high school student has to take a college entrance exam.  In China, this is called the “National College Entrance Exam,” or “Gao Kao” in Chinese, and it’s uniformly administered by the Department of Education in China. 


The score on the exam will determine which university the student will attend.  In 2017, there were 9.4 million graduating high school students taking the exam.  79.9%, or 7.5 million, of the examinees has qualified for higher education (after high school).  36.6%, or 3.7 million, of the examinees has earned entrance qualification to accredited colleges with degree program.  12.6%, or 1.2 million, of the examinees will attend tier-1 universities.  Only 2%, or 200K, of the examinees will be eligible to attend China’s 985 universities (equivalent to Ivy League).  As one can see, the competition is fierce!


The exam usually last three days, and spans many different subjects.  The three core subjects are: language arts, mathematics, and foreign language.  Other examining subjects include: political science, geography, history, chemistry, physics, biology, and information technology.  Maximum possible score is 750 points.


This exam is a big deal!  Many parents would accompany the students to the exam site and camp out for the entire duration.  Not having the score to attend college will be devastating; it’s almost like all the education up to high school has instantly evaporated.  Nothing to show for.  And with China’s long-standing one-child policy, parental focus and pressure on the exam is enormous.  To make the only child in the family more academically competitive, Chinese parents would enroll students to after-school programs.  In China’s tier-1 cities, the rate of enrollment is about 50%.  This rate is modest and has a lot of room for growth when compared to other Asian countries.  For instance, in Hong Kong, the enrollment rate is over 80%!  The enrollment rate is even lower in tier-2 and tier-3 Chinese cities.  This presents a great opportunity for K-12 after-school education industry.

In 2019, China is spending $69.9 billion (USD) per year on K-12 after-school education.  This figure is projected to rise to $89.9 billion (USD) in 2022.  This figure is just for the standard K-12 after-school education and does not include other types of extracurricular education programs such as art, technology, etc.

After-School Education Market in China (Billion USD)

In the K-12 after-school market, there are mainly three different class sizes: 1-to-1, 2-10, and Over 10.  The 1-to-1 and 2-10 class sizes are usually termed as “elite” sector while over 10 class size is called the “common or general” sector.  In 2016, the elite sector has a 23.2% market share with an approximate $8.5 billion (USD) in value while the general sector has a 76.8% market share and an approximate $28.1 billion (USD) in value.  The elite sector is projected to have a 15.5% CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) all the way to 2022.

After-School Education Class Size

As of 2016, K-12 after school educational expense was 4.4% of the average median income for an average Chinese middle-income family, as more and more Chinese families cross the threshold to become middle-income, this education market is bound to explode.

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