“China, SW education craze… “Interest in robots and coding is hot” [World’s SW Education ⑥]

“China, SW education craze… “Interest in robots and coding is hot” [World’s SW Education ⑥]

Interview with Lee Soong-hoon, Director of ALUX


“In China, the base for robotics and coding education in the public and private education markets is continuously expanding under the government's leadership.”

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이숭훈 에이럭스 이사가 IT조선과 인터뷰를 하고 있다. / 에이럭스

                                                 Lee Soong-hoon, director of ALUX, is being interviewed by IT Chosun. / ALUX


China made information technology subjects compulsory education in 2001. Since then, it's already been over 20 years. According to the Korea Economic Association's report on 'Korea, the United States, and China's Artificial Intelligence Talent Acquisition Strategy and Implications' published in November last year, in China, elementary and middle schools each receive more than 68 hours of information education, and high schools take 70 to 140 hours of such classes. Additionally, since 2018, China has expanded the information education content from software (SW) to AI and is implementing mandatory AI education for each life cycle.


ALUX, an edutech company specializing in robots, viewed China as a land of SW education opportunities and established a joint venture in Beijing, China in 2017. IT Chosun met with Director Lee Soong-hoon, who is in charge of China business at ALUX, to hear about the enthusiasm and methods of SW education in China.


-I’m curious about China’s SW education method. What are the similarities and differences from Korea? 

China is currently experiencing a SW education craze. Firstly, in public education, as it is in Korea, after-school education is provided. Various forms of SW education, such as coding and robotics, are being provided to develop children's creativity, imagination, and logical thinking skills.


China's private education market is greatly influenced by government policies. There is high enthusiasm for basic education, so there are many academies. Although it slowed down for a while due to the coronavirus, it is recovering again. We are keeping an eye on the market potential.


During the COVID-19 period, many online lectures for students appeared because large groups could not gather in one space. However, most of such lectures are local content with limited connection to the global market. As channels such as Google and YouTube are not accessible, much information related to education is blocked. The biggest difference from Korea lies in the educational infrastructure.

Therefore, there is bound to be a high demand for educational products and programs that provide a high-quality learning experience even without Internet connection. Products that allow learning by simply downloading their programs, such as ALUX's educational coding robots 'PROBO Connect,' 'PROBO Technic,' and unplugged coding robot 'VINU' are attracting attention in the Chinese market.


- How is ALUX performing in the Chinese market? How were you able to successfully enter the Chinese market?

ALUX established a joint venture in Beijing, China in 2017. At the time, I felt that Korea was about 5 to 6 years ahead of China in the field of coding and robot education, so I believed teaching with Korea's systematic curriculum and certified learning methods would be very effective.

The primary target group in the Chinese market is elementary school students. In China, there is also a recent trend of exposing children to coding education from an early age, so the demand for software education is very high. Products that take into account the tendencies and developmental stages of infants and children, where brain activity is most important, such as the company's coding robot 'VINU,' are gaining popularity. The venture in Bejing is growing rapidly by securing various distribution channels, exceeding 100 suppliers within two years of establishment.


When we first entered the Chinese market, I was under the impression that the local Chinese educational robot products were lacking in overall quality control, including stability verification. At the time, Korea's coding education products had already been verified and had entered the popularization stage, so it was easy to gain international trust.


Analysis suggests the systematicity and scalability of ALUX's education product lineup, one-stop development and production system, and content production ability were the factors behind the expansion of influence in the Chinese market. ALUX conducts the entire value chain from product development to production, distribution, and training in one stop, enabling rapid product development and launch in line with market demand. Because we directly manage the system, we have strengths in quality and after-sales service. ALUX's products are compatible and connected, so they can be expanded into new forms through assembly like Lego, and at the same time, diverse and continuously expanding learning is possible in that new content can be encountered every time.


In addition, ALUX hosts the 'Global Pro Robot Championship Competition (G-PRC)' every year, instilling a spirit of challenge and a sense of accomplishment in students beyond educational product experience.


- What kind of competition is the G-PRC competition, and what is the response like in China?

G-PRC is a robot competition ALUX hosts. In Korea, it has been held since 2014, and more than 100,000 students have participated to date. Since 2019, it has established itself as a global competition by being organized simultaneously with several countries, including China and Malaysia.


The scale of the competition continues to expand, and starting in 2021, online preliminary rounds are also being held in several overseas countries. Each country holds a preliminary round for each event, and the final winner competes in a national competition online.

In particular, in China, the G-PRC competition is receiving significant attention at the national level. In China, only competitions recognized by the government can have more than 100 participants. The G-PRC competition is recognized for its symbolism and public trust and is expanding its influence by hosting up to 1,000 people in each region, including Beijing, Hebei, and Jiangxi.


In addition, the International Robot Olympiad will pilot a competition using ALUX's coding robot 'VINU' in 2023 and plans to adopt it as an official event. As it is a proposal from a credible international competition, it shows that ALUX's products have been recognized for their influence in the global market.


-What are ALUX’s future development directions and plans for the Chinese market?

Despite the global trend of low birth rates, the Chinese market is still large, and the need for SW education is expected to steadily expand. As the age group that first encounters coding robots in China has dropped significantly, we believe that we can only steadily expand our market influence by providing long-term educational opportunities while quickly delivering highly connected learning content in line with the growth curve of students by age. To achieve this, rapid new product launches are needed.


ALUX is steadily working to speed up the release of new products, including establishing an independent production system. As the operating system has become so advanced that it is possible to launch products that were not previously made available within 6 months, the company plans to introduce a comprehensive lineup including robots, coding programs, and drones in the Chinese market. Through this, ALUX plans to expand its brand influence by continuously introducing products that can be enjoyed by all age groups.



Reporter Hong Joo-yeon jyhong@chosunbiz.com






ALUX

CEO Chi-heon Lee, Da-in Lee 


Business License Number  587-81-00224
Business Establishment 

1602-ho, C-dong, Seed Cube Changdong, 61, Madeul-ro 13-gil, Dobong-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Service Inquiry  alux@aluxonline.com
Business Partnership Inquiry  02-3665-8956 · Fax 02-3665-8957 

Copyright ALUX, Inc. All Rights Reserved



ALUX

CEO Chi-heon Lee, Da-in Lee


Business License Number  

587-81-00224
Business Establishment  

1602-ho, C-dong, Seed Cube Changdong, 61, Madeul-ro 13-gil, Dobong-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Service Inquiry

alux@aluxonline.com
Business Partnership Inquiry 

02-3665-8956

Fax 02-3665-8957 


Copyright ALUX, Inc. All Rights Reserved