Cialfo, a Singapore-based education technology startup has opened its first China office in Shanghai. The company has also appointed a country head to oversee its China operations and has inked over 10 new strategic partnerships with China-based education consultancies. The announcement follows a successful fundraising in September that saw top angel investors, including Koh Boon Hwee (a Singapore Airlines and Temasek board member), back the company.
Jack Cui, Cialfo’s newly appointed Director of China, will be based out of the Shanghai office. He was formerly the China Operations Director for Gabbitas Education, a U.K.-based educational consulting firm. He also brings extensive local relationships with education consulting firms and agencies in China to drive Cialfo’s operations and expansion in the country.
“I’m delighted to come on board Cialfo, an innovative startup in the edtech space, to spearhead the China operations. I’m here to engage all our different stakeholders – from students to consultancies – and help Cialfo really make sense of the entire China education model,” said Cui.
Cialfo’s first strategic partners in China
Additionally, the startup has also signed ten new strategic partnership agreements, including with Shanghai Dingshi Education and with Randian Consultant. Shanghai Dingshi Consultant is an education consultancy based in Shanghai, which sends its students to universities in the U.K. and U.S. every year. Randian Consultant, meanwhile, is an investment and operations company in the education sector with operations in Beijing, Tianjing, and Heibei.
Yanqun Shao, CEO of Shanghai Dingshi Education, said:
“Cialfo’s white label solution really takes care of the college admissions process end-to-end. Our students love the features, such as how simple it is to track their admissions status and priority tasks, all in one easy-to-use platform. It’s really what’s missing from the education ecosystem, and we can see adoption among consultancies in and around Shanghai – and further afield – really ramping up in 2017. It’s not just our students, but our consultants, too, that love what Cialfo has done.”
Cialfo explains that both companies will now be able to take advantage of its SaaS platform to achieve higher acceptance rates for their students. Beyond its 10 newly inked partnerships, it is looking to collaborate with more education service providers and after-school enrichment programs to be able to connect with existing consultancies on the platform, opening up richer profile-building opportunities for students.
“Cialfo’s vision is to help a million students find their dream college through our platform by 2020. Key to this is to partner with the right education consultancies to tap into edtech opportunities in Asia, particularly in China and India where opportunities are most apparent,” said Rohan Pasari, Co-founder and CEO, Cialfo.
“The new generation of middle-class want their children to benefit from a good, solid education. They want them to attend the best colleges in the U.K. and U.S. With competition for places so high, they look to us and our partners to give them the edge in the admissions process,” he added.
Deloitte estimates the overall size of China’s education industry to grow from 1.6 trillion yuan (US$237.4 billion) in 2015 to 2.9 trillion yuan (US$430.6 billion) by 2020. According to the Chinese Ministry of Education, there were 62,582 Chinese students who went abroad to study in 2005. This number has since increased by over eight times, with 523,700 outbound Chinese students in 2015.