Regulations Forced China’s Tutors Out of a Job. Will TikTok Save Them?

Those who can, teach. Those who can’t go on TikTok.

ZHEJIANG, East China – Standing in some 10 square meter room crowded by piles of colorful scarves with logos that strikingly resemble Gucci and Louis Vuitton, Chen Huajing pitches one of them to viewers over 7,000 kilometers away in the UK via livestreaming on short video platform TikTok.

“You have a good taste … you deserve it!” she repeats in English.

The next day, she would turn to a bright room of a similar size, praising her live audience of primary school children in a similar tone: “I will give you a flower!”

“Commending others, even if they make just a little progress, is a skill engraved on my bones by tutoring,” the 25-year-old, who has been an English tutor for three years with the YES Tutoring Agency in Tonglu County, outside the city of Hangzhou, tells Sixth Tone.

Chen never planned on going into sales. She just wanted to be a teacher.

She says she planned on teaching from childhood, and realized her dream after graduating in 2018. But last year, regulators suddenly turned on the tutoring industry with a sweeping set of restrictions known as “double reduction.” These decimated the industry, forcing many companies out of business and cutting Chen’s monthly earnings by 2,000 yuan ($295).

YES is trying to build a new business with its roster of enthusiastic, positive English speakers: helping the social media giant ByteDance take China’s livestream shopping fad global through short video platform TikTok. Tech giants from Beijing to Seattle are counting on streamers like them to build what many believe will be the world’s next huge online market. Continue to read the full article here

– This article originally appeared on Sixth Tone.