EdTech Firm fires 60,000 employees in just a year

Seems like edtech industry is already seeing its fall even before rising.

Tens of thousands of people were laid off by New Oriental Education and Technology Group, the largest layoffs reported since China began a broad assault on private businesses more than a year ago.

According to a report, following Beijing’s restructuring of the $100 billion after-school education market last July, Yu Minhong, the firm’s founder and chairman, claimed in a WeChat post over the weekend that the company laid off 60,000 people in 2021 and saw income drop by 80% after eliminating all K-9 tutoring services. Yu noted in a separate tweet Monday that the company still has roughly 50,000 employees and teachers following the downsizing.

The revelation highlights the extensive devastation caused by Beijing’s unusual decision last summer to criminalize profits in large swaths of the after-school edtech business, upending a $100 billion market at its peak.

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The three largest players in the field, including New Oriental and TAL Education Group, employed over 170,000 people at one time, although overall numbers are estimated to be in the millions due to the hundreds of private companies competing for students in a fragmented and unregulated market.