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VIPKid to stop selling foreign-based tutoring to students in China

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By Reuters

SHANGHAI – Tencent Holdings-backed Chinese education firm VIPKid said on Saturday it would stop selling classes taught by foreign-based tutors to students in China with immediate effect to comply with new rules announced for the country’s private education sector.

China last month issued rules barring curriculum-based tutoring for profit, aiming to ease financial pressures that have contributed to low birth rates but have left private education firms facing significant business impact.

The rules also ban companies from employing foreign-based tutors, aiming to stop long-distance lessons for Chinese students.

Beijing-based VIPKid is an online education platform that connects children in China with native English-speaking teachers in the United States and Canada for live video lessons.

The company said in a post on its official WeChat account that customers who had already purchased packages would still be able to take classes but existing customers will only be able to renew classes taught by overseas-based tutors until Aug. 9.

It added that its international business for students outside China would not be affected.

Other Chinese private education firms have also been reviewing their operations as a result of the new rules. ByteDance also plans to close some of its tutoring operations, including its online classes app GogoKid, a VIPKid rival.

VIPKid’s investors include Tencent Holdings, China’s largest gaming and social media company.