US high-end early education firm Kids 'R' Kids International Inc is expected to open two facilities in Beijing and Shanghai respectively this September.
美国高端早教公司Kids 'R' Kids国际股份有限公司预计今年9月在北京和上海分别开设两家教育机构。
The move by the company, based in the US state of Georgia, is due to the easing of China's one-child policy, which serves as a major boost to its decision to enter the Chinese market, said Lena Wang, general manager of Kids 'R' Kids China.
Kids'R'Kids公司中国区总经理王莉娜称，总部位于美国乔治亚州的Kids 'R' Kids有此一举动，是因为在中国计划生育政策开始松动，而这一政策的转变推动了该企业进入中国市场的决定。
China's poorly developed preschool education market, the increasing maturity of Chinese parents and their ability to judge the quality of preschool education had propelled the introduction of its brand to China, Wang said.
王莉娜表示，中国的学前教育市场发育不完善，而中国父母成熟了起来，有能力鉴别学前教育的质量，这都推动了Kids 'R' Kids的品牌进入中国。
According to a family education consumption survey conducted by this year by iResearch Consulting Group, a leading organization focusing on in-depth research of China's Internet industry, parents born after 1970 are now the majority of consumers in the children's education industry, or 63 percent, with children aged between 7 and 18 years old. About 29 percent of parents were born after 1980－the first generation of single child families, with children aged under nine. Parents who are born after 1980 are more academically advanced and have preferences in terms of online and high-tech products, according to the research.
Kids 'R' Kids plans to open 10 facilities in China over the next five years, with a mix of direct operation and chain outlets.
Kids 'R' Kids计划未来5年内在中国开设10家教育机构，包括直营店和连锁店。
"Education is not an instant business," said Wang. Usually it takes two to three years before it can make a profit. A kindergarten generally involves a total investment of 5 million yuan. Most of that money is spent on renting premises, but Wang said that more should be invested in finding the best teachers.
Chinese parents are keen to invest in their child's education. Among families with a monthly income below 5,000 yuan, nearly half of them spend less than 300 yuan on education. But those with a monthly income of more than 15,000 yuan spend more than 1,000 yuan a month on education. Among families with an income exceeding 30,000 yuan, more than 38 percent of them spend 2,000 yuan per month on education.
Among families with children aged under 6, around 76 percent of them purchase early education books and audio materials, 58 percent of them enroll their children in early education classes, 49 percent of them buy electronic toys for educational purposes, and 37 percent of them purchase online education applications.
The research has shown that 83 percent of surveyed parents have acquired parenting knowledge online, particularly from online communities, applications and WeChat accounts.
Despite the booming market opportunities, the repetitive formats of early education institutions and high rents in shopping malls have resulted in the closure of many English-language schools for children.
Liu Dongmin, an analyst with iResearch, said that the online preschool education market remains relatively small as children aged under 6 are not encouraged by their parents to use electronic devices.
The lack of people-to-people interaction in digital applications is also a major obstacle in terms of children accessing online education programs.
According to iResearch, parents use online education products for an average of five minutes per day.
Liu said the parents－the major users of online education products－are very reluctant to pay for such products, despite the fact that applications such as those teaching foreign languages or ancient poetry actually charge quite small fees.
But Liu said there are opportunities for further growth in this section of the market as younger parents have more access to the Internet and online education products.