ByteDance has announced the creation of a new independent brand named Dali Education, which will cover all of ByteDance’s existing education businesses, the company behind short-video apps TikTok and Douyin announced at a press conference on Wednesday.
The tech giant, which entered the education sector in 2016, launched Gogokid in 2018, a one-on-one online English teaching platform. However, about 70% of Gogokid’s employees were laid off in April 2019.
Chen Lin, former head of ByteDance’s entire education businesses, will be the CEO of the newly established firm, which already counts over 10,000 employees, according to ByteDance. The firm plans to develop hardware as well as continue offering lessons through Gogokid, Qingbei and Open Language among others.
In 2019, the company acquired Qingbei, an online platform targeting K-12 learners, and Open Language, a platform featuring pre-recorded videos for adults to learn intercultural skills and speak better English in the workplace.
So far, ByteDance has also unveiled an AI-powered smart light, called Dali Zhineng Jiajiao Deng T5, priced at RMB 799 (USD 119), which is the first hardware product from the firm. The light, which can monitor how well a user is seated in terms of posture, is priced at RMB 1,099 (USD 164).
The light, equipped with cameras and a phone-sized display screen, can also recognize text and pictures on textbooks to help students with homework.
“Our exploration of the education industry is still in the early stage,” said founder Zhang Yiming at the press conference. He added that “the brand independence of Dali Education is just the beginning of a long journey in the industry.”
Zhang had previously emphasized the importance of the education sector in 2020 to ByteDance’s staff in a letter penned on the eighth anniversary of his company, on March 12.
ByteDance’s pivot toward education comes at a time when the edtech sector is booming in China, boosted by the pandemic, and the company is seeking growth outside its short video and news business.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in China in the first half of this year, Qingbei served as an online education platform for nearly a thousand schools in China for teachers to deliver courses, Chen said.
The edtech sector in the country is estimated to have reached a market value of RMB 453.8 billion (USD 63.6 billion) in 2020, a 12.3% increase from 2019, according to a recent report from iiMedia Research.