With recent crackdowns against unqualified foreign English teachers working in China, and the possibility that soon non-native English teachers might be banned completely from teaching in some regions, China’s booming English-teaching industry is becoming more open than ever for domestic English teachers with a dash of entrepreneurial spirit.
Zhu Wei is a young English teacher from China who launched his own online tutoring company in 2015. At first, Zhu live-streamed 9 two-hour courses at a cost of 799 yuan per student. After 2,330 enlisted for the courses, he earned himself a cool 1.86 million RMB ($270,000), CGTN reports. Building off that initial success, Zhu and his team have developed five further courses, including ones in Korean and Japanese, earning themselves 11 million RMB ($1.6 million). Not too shabby.
To put that number in better perspective, a teacher at an elite public school in Shanghai earns about 120,000 RMB a year ($17,000), while a public school teacher in the US earns around 394,000 RMB ($57,000) yearly. According to the Huffington Post, the highest-paid public teachers in the world are in Luxembourg. They take home 545,000 RMB ($79,000) annually, falling fall short of what Zhu and his team earn by broadcasting their classes to thousands online.
Of course, Zhu isn’t the first one to think of live-streaming his lessons for profit. South Korean “celebrity” math teacher, Cha Kil-yong, has become a multimillionaire thanks to his online “Hagwon” (the term for Korean after-school cramming sessions), which prepares students to take their university entrance exam in mathematics. According to the Washington Post, 300,000 students can take his classes online at any given time, paying $39 for a 20-hour course. This business strategy earns Cha 55 million RMB ($8 million) a year, making him one of the highest-earning teachers in the world.
Hey, maybe English teaching in China isn’t such a bad idea after all?
By Matt Bonini
[Images via CGTN]
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