How China’s New Ban On Harmful Apps From Entering Schools Will Affect Koalareading?
COVID-19 and China
Koalareading logo. PHOTO: Credit to Koalareading.

China’s tighter controls over apps used in primary and middle schools will eliminate certain harmful apps including inappropriate contents and negative affect certain fee-charging apps. Koalareading (考拉阅读) might survive from this as it has connections with several education departments at province and city level and free of charge and advertisement. However, it will pose a challenge to its revenue-generating    model as advertisement and paying options are highly restricted.

Koalareading is an education technology startup, providing students with suitable reading materials. To decide which materials are suitable in terms of difficulty level and readers’ interests, Koalareading will track and analyze users’ reading behaviors by a larger amount of manual work and a sophisticated AI and machine learning system.

It aims at creating a Chinese text measurement standard, like Lexile Measures for English text. To achieve this, it set up its ER Framework which provides quantitative measurement ranging from 200ER to 1300ER, the easiest to the most difficult. Under its grading framework, 200ER is generally K1 students can achieve, 900ER is average k6 students can understand and rarely it will go over 1200ER.

According to ZHAO Zichun, supposedly, Koalareading could accurately access students’ reading level, customize reading materials for students, monitor students’ reading behaviors dynamically, and eventually improve students’ reading abilities.  

At the earlier stage, in order to expand market, Koalareading approached individual schools and tried to achieve agreements with them but the results were not very satisfying. Later, it started to approach education departments at province level. In 2018, it works with Gansu Education Department monitoring and grading students’ reading behaviors, firstly starting with 4 counties within Gansu. Zhao explained the reason why cooperation can be reached is they are the only company in the market is able to access and monitor continuously such large scale of students’ reading data at a lower cost.

However, since in-app ads to students are banned, it will compose a challenge to Koalareading. Analysts think its future revenue could be made from attracting students/parents paying for premium reading materials or working with local schools or education departments.

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