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Bytedance Said to be Latest Victim of China Private Education Pressure

Teachers, sales and advertising employees reportedly given their marching orders; Pre- and post-school teaching units said to have been closed

One of the world's largest private companies, ByteDance had a valuation of about $300 billion in recent trades. Photo: Reuters
  • Teachers, sales and advertising employees reportedly given their marching orders
  • Pre- and post-school teaching units said to have been closed


Regulatory pressure put on China’s online education sector recently may have claimed another victim –TikTok parent Bytedance is reportedly laying off staff at its education business.

Reuters has reported that the Beijing-based tech company is giving marching orders to teachers, sales and advertising employees at its learning unit.

The report said the company, which is also under scrutiny by US officials suspicious of its threat to national security, has closed pre- and post-school teaching activities.

Regulators last week ordered providers of private curriculum-based teaching programmes to refocus their business models, saying they must now operate as not-for-profit firms and comply with a slate of other tough restrictions.

The diktat follows similar restrictions placed on other tech sectors, most notably fintech, which prompted Ant Group to cancel what would have been a record-breaking overseas IPO, and ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing.

Bytedance was also said to have pulled an IPO after it received warnings from Chinese regulators over its use of data.

The company offered no immediate comment, Reuters reported.

A rival to TikTok’s short-video app, Kuaishou, closed its US-only Zynn app, according to reports, without offering any explanation. The app had been the centre of controversy since it launch last spring after it was found to have paid users to watch its videos in a bid to lift the company’s online rankings.

Mark McCord and Reuters

Also on AF: ByteDance founder to step back after delivering 93% profits surge

This story was updated to amend the byline.


Mark McCord

Mark McCord is a financial journalist with more than three decades experience writing and editing at global news wires including Bloomberg and AFP, as well as daily newspapers in Hong Kong, Sydney and Melbourne. He has covered some of the biggest breaking news events in recent years including the Enron scandal, the New York terrorist attacks and the Iraq War. He is based in the UK. You can tweet to Mark at @MarkMcC64371550.


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