On 8 May 2017 (U.S. local time), the three-day ASU-GSV Education Technology Summit commenced in the Grand America Hotel, Salt Lake City, Utah, the United State. China First Capital Group Limited (“CFCG” or the “Group”; stock code: 1269), among the few Chinese integrated education group invited to the summit, gave the keynote speech. Dr. Wilson Sea, the Chairman of the Board and Executive Director of CFCG, and Mr. Victor He, the Deputy CEO of CFCG attended the event, and Mr. He participated in the discussion themed “From Silk Road to Silicon Valley, China Leading the Way” in the morning of 9 May 2017. He shared his views on Chinese, European and American teaching philosophies and forefront technology, and also CFCG’s investment strategy, relating “CFCG’s aspiration for education” to the world.
As one of the top education technology summits in the United States and the world, the ASU-GSV summit this year featured a star line-up. Apart from influential education workers, policy makers, entrepreneurs, key personnel from universities and school districts, such as Andre Agassi (former World No. 1 tennis player and founder of the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation), Arne Duncan (former United States Secretary of Education), Rick Levin (CEO of Coursera, a US renowned online learning website), Jeff Weiner (CEO of Linkedin, a world-famous workplace social networking platform), the summit also attracted CEOs of well-known education technology companies from different countries to share their thoughts on the new trends in the global education technology industry.
Dr. Wilson Sea said apart from being an avenue for learning about the most advanced education technology ideas and investment directions in the world, the summit also served as a platform to show China’s potential as a new driving force of education and CFCG’s global education strategy. This year, over 3,000 participants signed up for the ASU-GSV Education Technology Summit, which has since 2010 attracted more than 10,000 participants in all and a following of approximately 190,000 from the education sector worldwide. The 2016 summit was supported by business luminaries including Bill Gates, Condoleezza Rice (former US Secretary of State), Jim Collins (author of Built to Last) and also the founder of the Khan Academy taking part in discussions. Prominent leaders from different industries are invited to the annual event to deliberate on education technology issues for the purpose of stimulating new ideas in areas including related sciences, education itself, creativity, and business and humanity, working together to find solutions to educational issues and reshape understanding of education technologies.
During the theme discussion session, its host Anthony Chang (CEO of Global Education Learning Holdings Ltd.) raised the question of what lessons could the United States education market learn from China and Mr. He said the two markets are different each with its unique characteristics, but there are also similarities. Between China and the U.S., language assessment and training are craved in China, while the demand for after class tutoring is not that strong in the U.S. market. And, Mr. He also had interesting discussions and sharing with other participants on such topics as the difference between how much parents want to spend on tuition of their children. He stressed that “happy learning” for children is the common wish in China and the U.S. and parents in both countries want to have access to quality education services, and that those wishes are driving growth of education technology companies dedicated to providing differentiated and superb education services.
In recent years, the concept of “Education+Technology” has swept the world and been taken as a new development direction of the education industry. Keeping pace with global education technology development trend, China has kept implementing strategies that support “growth driven by innovation” and pursuit of “education reform”, which have seen her gradually emerging as a force to reckon in the competitive global education technology sector. According to the “2016 Edtech Trends” published by Edtech Europe (an education technology organisation), the global education technology industry will grow at 17% a year in worth to reaching USD250 billion by 2020. Although North America will remain the leader in education technology innovation, Asia-Pacific will record the fastest development growing at 20% a year and, by 2020, account for 54% of the global education technology market. Based on the quarterly report on global venture capital investment published by KPMG, China topped the world in the first quarter of 2017 with a total investment amounting to USD3.6 billion, and that more transactions are expected in the education industry in China. The country is no doubt the biggest growth contributor in Asia and will be a strong contender in the competition for leadership in the global education technology sector.
When asked about CFCG’s investment strategy, Mr. He said the Group has already made a number of education investments in overseas markets. CFCG is dedicated to having in place a global education industrial chain focusing on especially setting up K12 schools from English-speaking countries that have promising outlook in China. Using its extensive connections, channels and other resources, the Group pushes to combine domestic and international capital, while bringing into China overseas advanced technology and teaching materials to help the continuous enhancement of the country’s education quality. CFCG is willing and ready to be a bridge that can let the world learn more about China’s education industry.
In fact, many American companies have gained a clear grasp of China’s education market since the first ever Chinese delegation named “Future Star” was sent to join the 2016 ASU-GSV Education Technology Summit. Those companies have started to devise plans to enter the China market and are looking for Chinese partners. Such developments agree with CFCG’s strategies to “go global” and “attract foreign investment”. At the end of 2016, CFCG signed an agreement with GSV Fund, founder of the ASU-GSV Education Technology Summit and famed education and talent technology fund in the Silicon Valley, pursuant to which CFCG agreed to inject USD20 million into GSV Fund and become its limited partner. GSV Fund was founded by Deborah Quazzo, an American leading education pioneer who invests in high-growth and promising companies specialising in education technology and unleashing human potential. CFCG believes the cooperation with GSV has tremendous strategic significance in opening the education investment market in the U.S. to the Group, an integral part of its global business deployment strategy and investment in education technology.
Joining the ASU-GSV Education Technology Summit was an important step made by CFCG to let the global education sector understand its global education strategy. To enhance understanding around the world of the development potential of China’s education market, CFCG plans to host a high-level education summit in Beijing this September. Currently, CFCG has branches operating in the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore and other countries rich with educational resources. Last year, CFCG became a partner of Kingswood School (a renowned British school), invested in G8 Education (a leading early education group in Australia) and acquired 40% equity interest in Singapore Raffles Music College. It also explored possibilities of collaboration with world-famous schools, including Churchill College Møller Centre of the University of Cambridge, University of West London in the United Kingdom and Altschool, a school designed in futuristic style in the U.S. Looking ahead, the Group will speed up internationalisation of its business and continue its match towards the goal of becoming an internationally celebrated integrated platform that accommodates operation, investment and financing in relation to education, driven by “Education +Finance”.