China smart education market overview


Smart education, a concept that comes from smart planet, completely changes the form and method of traditional education. Smart education allows learners to access digital resources through wireless networks, allowing for greater flexibility and efficiency in teaching. This article discusses the Smart Education concept, four-tier architecture, evolution, market size, key players, challenges and future opportunities.

The concept of smart education

Smart education, also known as informatization of education, refers to the use of modern information technology to promote educational reform and development. This will lead to a new form of education – computer-based education.

The technical characteristics of smart education are digitization, networking, intelligentization and multimedia. The fundamental characteristics are openness, sharing, interaction, collaboration and ubiquity. The ultimate goal is to promote the modernization of education through the computerization of teaching and to change the traditional mode of information technology.

Four-level architecture of intelligent education

The four-tier architecture of intelligent education is essential, including the Internet of Things, cloud computing, big data and ubiquitous network.

  • Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT supports education in three aspects: classroom instruction, extracurricular learning, and education management. Typical applications include smart classrooms, smart physical health monitoring systems, self-adaptive push systems for learning resources, education security monitoring, and smart facility equipment management. education.

  • Cloud computing. The cloud computing application focuses on sharing educational resources (hardware, platform, software and learning resources). In addition, cloud computing can also be used to create a cloud-based learning environment where students can enjoy various learning services anytime and anywhere through a terminal. The learning process data will be stored in the cloud in time to ensure that the learning data will never be lost and provide data support to analyze learning behaviors.

  • BigData. In the smart education system, big data can be used to monitor public opinion in education, assess the level of informatization of education, adjust education provision and funds, evaluate student development and conduct scientific research based on big data.

  • Ubiquitous network. The ubiquitous network is the supporting technology for the Internet of Things, big data, cloud computing and other technologies. It is the basis for full connectivity and seamless access to the smart education system. This allows users to enjoy high-quality network services across multiple networks unhindered.

The evolution of smart education

Smart education can be divided into two eras: the era of computer-based education 1.0 and the era of computer-based education 2.0.

At this stage, schools mainly purchase hardware, which is the hardware popularization era. The main goal is to realize that every school has a broadband network, every class shares high-quality resources, and every person has an online learning space. At the same time, a public service platform for education resources and a public service platform for education management are built. Classroom teaching mainly uses tapes, VCRs and other auxiliary equipment, and the penetration rate is low.

At this point, multimedia equipment used in teaching has become dominant in education. Multimedia central control system, all-in-one touch screen computer, tablet and other multimedia devices have become the main teaching equipment in the field of education. The network teaching recording system is also integrated in the education field.

Smart Education Market Sizing and Key Players

From 2015 to 2020, China’s smart education spending has been relatively stable, with an annual growth rate of 7% to 8%. According to ASCKI, education informatization spending in China is expected to reach 343.6 billion yuan by 2022.

Smart education has grown rapidly in China, growing from CNY 98.4 billion in 2011 to CNY 274.4 billion in 2020, up 8.72% year-on-year. It can be seen that the smart education market is currently showing a steady growth trend.


In 2020, China’s smart education market will reach CNY 274.4 billion, including CNY 65.04 billion of smart campus investment, CNY 102.76 billion of smart classroom and other investment, and CNY 106.6 billion investment in online education. It can be seen that the proportion of investment in online education is increasing significantly, and the development of smart education in the future may center on online education.


The smart education market has four main segments: enrollment marketing, education management, enrollment management, and education management. The main companies are shown in the figure below.

  • Marketing of listings. Many educational institutions advertise enrollment through short video platforms (TikTok, Quick Hand) to accurately target customer groups. At the same time, specialized institutions are focusing on the online marketing of educational brands (Youzan Education, Xiaoe Tech).

  • Pedagogical management. Many companies specialize in educational business management. Xiaobao Online has helped more than 110,000 educational brands realize information management. NewCapec is a solution and service provider focused on software applications and smart terminals for campus, government and enterprise, committed to building a smart campus. Xiaoyang Group is a leading provider of full-stack smart education products and services, and builds a smart education ecology covering all scenarios, programs and services.

  • Registration management. Some companies use technology to help students complete voluntary applications and balance high-quality educational resources. Ipoweru is committed to providing high-quality digital educational resources and comprehensive support services, providing schools with personalized solutions for talent training. Beijing HQ Education Technology has always been committed to digital assistance to individualized education. Optimal Volunteer is a big data platform focused on college entrance exams.

  • Pedagogical management. Teaching management can be divided into student end and teacher end. The student side mainly refers to online course guidance institutions such as NYSE: TAL, New Oriental, etc. The teacher side mainly includes live broadcast platforms (POLYV, BAIJIAYUN, talk-cloud), teacher work development platforms (GuoGuo Technology) and online educational tools (Plaso).


Application case

Smart education has a wide range of application prospects, including converting the offline education scene to online and integrating more smart devices into the offline education scene. Some application scenarios are as follows:

  • Smart class. Internet of Things technology has already been used in the classroom. Chalkboards are gradually transforming into electronic whiteboards that can demonstrate through touch and other means. Classroom air conditioning, lighting and curtains can be adjusted automatically by the temperature and humidity sensor. Smart speakers can broadcast school announcements. Cameras were also used to manage student attendance.

  • Immersive interaction. With the help of VR/AR technology, a simulation environment and hands-on training can be built so that students can learn in an immersive way. In the future, there may be a holographic projection of the classroom, and the experience will be even more amazing.

  • Online teaching. Online teaching includes live teaching implementation platforms and educational resource management platforms. Online education mainly relies on audio and video codecs and cloud computing.

  • Pedagogical help. The intelligent teaching platform can be used for lesson planning management, homework management, exam management, attendance management, etc.

Challenges and future opportunities

With the promotion of smart education, schools have been equipped with large smart screens, multimedia equipment and other materials, but the utilization rate is low. Intelligent education hardware products have reached maturity, so upgrading content resources should be one of the main directions of future development. At the same time, the continuous development of intelligent education has changed the emphasis from hardware to application. Manufacturers must not only provide hardware equipment, but also integrate the overall IT solution.

The core of future intelligent education effectively integrates the application of information into teaching and learning. Intelligent education should be carried out with focus, reflection and flexibility according to the conditions of different regions. In the future, teachers will be able to provide systematic guidance in the classroom and students will be able to explore more personalized learning areas online, forming a seamless closed-loop teaching structure.


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