Acadsoc, a Chinese-based Online ESL courses provider.
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Acadsoc has a Dream of Global Education.
阿卡索外教网的两位品牌联合创始人王志彬（Anson Wong）与陈晔莹（Alice Chen）是夫妻关系，均持有英国著名学府帝国理工学院的硕士学位，2011年6月两人创办了阿卡索资讯有限公司。
Co-Founder Anson Wong and Alice Chen, an ambitious couple and classmates graduated from a master degree in Imperial College London founded the brand ‘Acadsoc Information, Ltd.’ In July 2011.
Though Acadsoc is only 5 years old, she gains board and common acknowledgement in the market via her unique operation mode and our journalist was, fortunately, to meet the co-founders on June 15.
Amazingly speaking, they are really young and passionate. Anson was born in 1982 and he performed with full self-contain like a gentleman. Alice is quite a complementation with a determined and outgoing first impression.
J: Since both of you hold a master degree in Imperial College London and had lived in London for a long time. Who raised the idea that launches your own business in China and why did you choose online English education?
Alice：回国创业是我的想法，其实在帝国理工学院读书的时候我就已经开始网上创业，开网店卖衣服，生意还挺好，毕业后我在中国驻伦敦大使馆工作，后来离开大使馆去到伦敦一家公司，在公司做一个全球化活动期间认识了很多牛人，包括前联合国秘书长科菲·安南（Kofi Annan），英国十大首富之一的维珍品牌创始人理查德·布兰森（Richard Branson）以及诺贝尔和平奖得主德斯蒙德·图图(Desmond Tutu)这些名人，同时也认识了很多有想法的年轻人，跟他们学到了很多东西。
Alice: I first brought up the idea to start a new business in China. When I was studying in Imperial College London, I ran my own online shop selling clothes and it was quite a success. After graduation, I worked in the Chinese embassy in London first and then decided to join a famous company in London. The company launched a globalized activity and I luckily got to know many celebrities, including Kofi Annan, the ex-secretary general of the United Nations, Richard Branson, one of the top 10 Rich in Britain and the founder of Virgin Group, Desmond Tutu, the winner of Nobel Peace Prize and many other thoughtful people. I really learned a lot from them.
Then there was a spark came up to my mind: What if we create a platform for all mankind to share and learn knowledge across the globe!
After discussing with Anson, we began to blueprint the knowledge-sharing structure with no discrimination on your nationality, social status, wealth, religious, age and gender.
I came to Shenzhen 5 years ago with only a tiny office and 4 employees. We were the earliest company doing C2C public e-learning, which was even 2 years earlier than Google Education. However, Chinese market was not ready to take such concept in yet and it would be really costly if we created our own marketplace.
Why we chose online English Education?
We have no choice but to turn our eyes to online English education as a sub-education of E-learning. After doing market research, we gained the conclusion and prediction that the potentiality of Chinese online English market is very big because of the imbalance in education resource division and shortage.
Anson: I can still recall that when we launched our C2C platform, Alice was working full time for it while I was only working part-time. I have to keep working from 5am to 1am the other day for my full-time work, financing and a part-time one, tactical research and plan for Acadsoc.
I was in charge of attracting the very first Angel Capital for Acadsoc.
Additionally, there are several more reasons why we select online English education. First of all, our targeted audiences were not yet able to accept the concept of C2C; Secondly, it requires huge amount of investment if we are going to build a platform that contains all sorts of knowledge. Finally, we believed that English is a transition to better education to Chinese students because most of famous academic works or announcements are in English.
J: How is Acadsoc currently operating?
Alice: Anson can answer this question (Smile).
Anson: OK. The revenue of the first 6 months this year is 6 times as the one we had in the first 6 months last year. The scale of our team has expanded by 3 times. We have more than 1000 tutors employed and 31 million RMB as A-Round Capital. Overall, this company is quite good and healthy so far.
How Acadsoc differentiates from other online ESL companies?
J: What is the difference of Acadsoc if compared with other competitors? What is your featured advantage?
Alice: We lead the path in combing online English teaching with studying abroad consultation. Other company would prefer to provide either English teaching or studying abroad consultation alone. From my point of view, it is possible to provide a package with both of them. In our IELTS studying chain, a student will firstly take IELTS preparation courses here, and then get the score. Afterwards, Acadsoc can do customized study abroad plan for the student because we know pretty well how is his/her English level, school preference and future planning.
Anson: We have more than 400 schools or education facilities as our partners and we are the sole agent for some of them.
J: The lowest cost to take a class in Acadsoc is only 8.7 Yuan and it is very low level in this industry. Will others question about the quality and take it as low-grade goods? How do you solve such problem when promoting your products?
Anson: Nowadays many other companies will set the price of each class according to the nationality of tutors. I.e. a class has given from Philippines teacher can be 20 RMB whilst another given by USA or UK teacher can be 100 RMB or even more. This may lead to a misunderstanding and misjudgment on tutor’s teaching skills merely based on nationality.
In Acadsoc, we have strict evaluation and selection of tutors no matter where they are from. We focus on their teaching experience and skills instead of nationality. We want to let as many people as possible to get in touch with online English teaching so we do not set our profit margin high. We have two packages now in Acadsoc: International package or customized package. International package serves general studying request while customized package aims at customizing suitable study plan for different needs.
Alice: All in all. It is our very first wish to let more people learn more.
J: The competition in online teaching industry is getting more fierce and professional when new entrance entering into new market territories. What is your strategy in facing such situation in the future? How can you fulfil more professional need from different customers?
Anson: Our top priority will be offering more professional English teaching from general English education, for example, English for studying abroad. What’s more, we will develop our academic and business English courses such as accounting English, finance English, law English and so on. We are interested in engaging in K12 education as well. Subsequently, Acadsoc teaching mode will be accepted worldwide as an international company.
J: Can you talk about your prediction on how this industry will develop in the future?
Alice: E-learning will still be the focus in the future and it will keep attaining more investments and more new entrance. There are several detours found in the development of E-learning. Education is not a technical industry but instead a service industry. We should stick to our initial goal anytime to provide our clients with a helpful and useful learning experience.
Anson: E-learning is an organic complementation to traditional education. In China, there is only 40% of the population ever tried E-learning, which means the rest 60% had never tried or accepted E-learning. In the coming 5-10 years, E-learning will be commonly accepted and acknowledged and our mission is to accelerate such process.