China's 30 Leading STEAM Education Enterprises
COVID-19 and China
Preparing for the robotics class. Photo by Ola Syrocka on Unsplash

The so-called STEAM education is actually an abbreviation of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. It has been widely praised by the education community for breaking the boundaries of disciplines and exercising the overall quality of students. STEAM education support students in understanding the world in a disciplined way. Create a world in the form of comprehensive innovation and develop their innovative ability to solve problems.

Specifically, STEAM education begins with encouraging students to learn these five types of knowledge, emphasizing that students can complete practical projects that are more relevant to their own lives, so as to apply, understand, and further learn various subject knowledge in the process of the project. At present, the mainstream STEAM education and training service institutions in China mainly adopt robot education, covering the knowledge of programming, mechanics, mechanical structure and industrial design.

China's education industry has been highly valued for its significance policies, consumers and capital and under its expansion phase in terms of industrial scale and market activity. According to estimation by Deloitte's in August 2018, China's education market will reach CNY 2.68 trillion by the end of 2018 with training organizations, K12 & STEAM education, and private kindergartens being the three biggest segments. The total scale of private education is expected to reach CNY 3.36 trillion by 2020 and close to CNY 5 trillion by 2025 with a CAGR of 10.8%.

EqualOcean has compiled a list of top 30 STEAM education companies in China. These enterprises represent the STEAM education industry of the country. 

STEAM education in China is mainly focused on programming. From the perspective of market development prospect, children’s programming education will gradually substitute Mathematical Olympiad. In the intelligent Internet era, due to the prospectiveness of programming education to the training and shaping of children’s thinking and communication abilities, the penetration of children’s programming will increase significantly with the push by young parents born in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2018 there were over 160 children’s programming companies in China. 50 companies disclosed their financing situations. Children’s programming will soon enter into the explosive growth stage in China. The unicorn companies valued at CNY 10 billion are very likely to be born in the next five years.

State Policies one of the driving force of STEAM education

It is unable to weigh how the Ministry of Education of the PRC’s policy published in 2015 that targeting at integrating STEAM education into K12 liberal education is influential to the market, but it is undeniable that K12 STEAM education institutes founded in groups in 2015. In 2017, the State of Council of the PRC published the announcement “China issues a guideline on artificial intelligence development” and encourages computer science education. The coding education market has been booming ever since while K12 STEAM education industry is developing with speed.

Last month, the Ministry of Education issued the "2019 Education Information Networking Security". The main points were the launching of information literacy assessment of primary and secondary school students and promoting the elaboration of relevant artificial intelligence courses, gradually promoting programming education. This caused great effects on society. Places like Chongqing immediately issued educational notices to strengthen the programming of primary and secondary schools. Private companies noticed this and believe that the industry has a promising future.

China has made a lot of explorations in the reform process of primary and secondary exam-oriented education. In September 2015, the Ministry of Education issued the “Guiding Opinions on the comprehensive in-depth promotion of the STEAM education” during the 13th Five-Year Plan.

In 2017, the Zhejiang New College Entrance Examination Program has incorporated information technology (including programming) into the college entrance examination. It is expected that more provinces will incorporate information technology into the college entrance examination subjects in the future.

Education systems and policies are the core elements of STEAM's education industry development, and STEAM education is currently at the forefront of policy support.

STEAM education market

Middle-class income in China is increasing, with younger parents who are aware of the importance of STEAM education. The concept of traditional test-oriented education on simple academic achievement has been affected by the increasing promotion of STEAM education. People have started to understand the concept of STEAM education, and parents are investing more than ever in STEAM education products. The penetration rate of the entire STEAM education and training industry is climbing up.

According to an article written by Iyiou in 2018, if the penetration rate can reach 4%, STEAM education will have a market size of about CNY 52 billion. At the beginning of 2017, the market size of STEAM education was only CNY 9.6 billion.

K12 education has developed for a long time in China and has formed a certain scale. With the development of AI technology, more innovative technologies will penetrate into the online education field. Applications such as big data and cloud computing can better address the needs of educated people and provide refined teaching solutions.

According to data released by Meituan Dianping (美团点评) Education Department, from 10 April 2018 to 9 April 2019, the courses that users bought most were: Music, Fine Arts, Foreign Languages, Vocational Technology, and K12 STEAM. STEAM has become a new hot spot in education.

In 2017, the market space for STEAM education and training was about 22 billion with Primary and secondary school students as the main learners of STEAM education.

According to iResearch's report, the current market for children's programming education industry, which comes under STEAM, is between 3 billion and 4 billion. It is still not enough for the 60 billion scales of the English training industry for young children. Nationally, the penetration rate of the children's programming industry is only about 1.5%.

The US Department of Education reports that the number of STEM/STEAM jobs in the United States will grow by 14% from 2010 to 2020, growth that the BLS terns as “much faster “ than the national average of 5-8 % across all job sectors.

Computer programming and IT jobs top the list of the hardest to fill jobs, according to a study done by McKinsey in 2016. Despite this, the most popular college majors are not STEAM related.

China needs to learn from STEAM education in order to improve the literacy of its citizens. With the integration of Chinese culture, STEAM education could help China reform and transform the dilemma regarding its innovative talents. In an effort to integrate STEAM education with Chinese culture, many Chinese scholars have conducted a lot of research and exploration.

In 2019, many children's programming companies raised funds. The children's programming brand, Xiaomawang (小码王) completed a CNY 100 million B+ round of financing, and the children's programming platform, Codemao (编程猫) completed a new round of financing worth approximately CNY 600 million. Pipa coding (核桃编程) also officially announced that it completed CNY 120 million of A+ round financing a few months ago. At present, there are more than 200 children's programming entrepreneurial projects and companies on the market.

According to an estimation by Deloitte (2018), in 2020 STEAM education will have a 24% share in the education market of China, followed by sectors like personal training and private kindergarten. As mentioned above in this article, the total scale of private education is expected to reach CNY 3.36 trillion by 2020 and close to CNY 5 trillion by 2025 with a CAGR of 10.8% with STEAM education being one of the biggest sectors.

With parents nowadays paying more and more attention to the children's overall quality, and the Ministry of education encouraging steam education, which is slowly moving into schools as part of the school curriculum, the development of STEAM education in China will hasten in the near future. 

Programming education which seems to be the main sector STEAM education in China, for now, is an ever-growing sector. Many developed countries have already added coding as a compulsory course in schools, colleges, and universities. China still lags behind but is at least on its way. The Problem in the industry other than the trust of parents has been the lack of talents. More and more changes at the higher education level by the ministry of education will play an important role in producing such talent.

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