Jingdata, a financing and investment activity information provider, said the sector's market penetration was 1 percent in China this August, and the average spend on coding classes totaled 6,000 yuan ($866) per person per year. As such, the current market size has topped 10 billion yuan. The company predicted the market will top 50 billion yuan in next five years.
Industrial entrepreneurs hold an even more optimistic view, forecasting the market will double in size over the same period.
Yuan Zhedong, founder of online coding education company All-dream, launched his brick-and-mortar coding school for young kids in Shanghai in 2014. After two years of leading a struggling business, he realized the market was not yet mature enough for the traditional education model, he said.
"We started early, but at that time market awareness of such education was far too low," he said. "For a brick-and-mortar education institution, it was hard to turn passers-by into clients."
Yuan turned his company into an online school in 2016, realizing the internet offered more possibilities.
"The number of young parents born between the 1970s and 80s is growing. When it comes to their children's education, they will take time and cost into consideration, so they are the demographic seeking online coding classes," he said.
"In mature markets such as the United States, the acceptance of such education is wide, while in China, we have observed promising growth in market awareness of young children's coding programs," he said.
"It is also the only subject that the government is paying significant attention to right now. Our country needs high-tech talents. We believe coding will soon become a compulsory subject in middle and high schools, and will develop into a 100-billion-yuan market in the next three years," he said.
The industry's profound potential has attracted interest from the capital market. The first nine months of 2018 saw seven major financing deals involving coding education startups, including a 130 million yuan investment in Nanjing, Jiangsu province-based Xiaoma and 120 million yuan invested in All-dream.
Wang Gang, an investor behind ride-hailing platform Didi, said this particular education market is highly likely to become the next big thing.
"As artificial intelligence technology is developing fast, there is a huge possibility that coding will become a mainstream subject in schools," he said.
(Source: China Daily)