ByteDance Launches “Hippo Learning” App

According to Chinese media Jiemian, ByteDance recently launched the “Hippo Learning” app in the Chinese market, aimed at primary and secondary school students. The main function of the app is to take photos of questions and get answers, and provide services such as homework, oral calculation, essay correction, and Chinese and English composition and literary appreciation.

This represents the company’s exploration of the application of large language models in the field of education. For example, the “Q&A” function provides various Q&A services through the AI robot “Yan Yan”. According to the official website, the product hopes to use large model technology to help students learn adaptively, improve learning efficiency, and formulate scientific and appropriate learning plans, while also helping teachers carry out teaching. In February 2022, the Hippo Learning intelligent learning system was introduced into a middle school in Anhui Province.

This is not the first case of ByteDance’s involvement in the education photo search business. In March 2021, the company launched a photo search app called “Lightning Search”, but it is now unavailable in the app market. In January 2022, Gauthmath, an app developed by ByteDance for the overseas market, once rushed into the top ten list in the United States. The app mainly helps students solve mathematical problems and provides students with photo search services. It is understood that Gauthmath is affiliated with ByteDance’s Dali Education.

ByteDance’s Education Business Development

In 2020, on the 8th anniversary of the founding of ByteDance, the company’s founder Zhang Yiming proposed to make education a new direction for future development, and launched “Dali Education” as the first publicly released independent business brand of the sector, and took over all of ByteDance’s education products and businesses. Subsequently, Dali Education continued to expand its business map and launched a 10,000-person recruitment plan, until the arrival of Chinese government’s crackdown on the online-education industry in June 2021, which prohibits private online tutoring services based on concerns for students’ academic burden. 

In August 2021, Dali Education began large-scale layoffs, and in December 2021, the company announced that it would completely withdraw from the domestic K9 business, which covers primary and middle school students. Previously, it had proposed to open 10,000 related job positions, but after the crackdown, there was continuous news of business cuts and layoffs. 

Two months later, Dali Education’s four online education businesses “GOGOKID”, “Youpaiyi”, “Qingbei Xiaoban” and “Tangyuan English” all published suspension announcements on their official websites.

Dali Education’s Adjustment and Transformation

It was also from this time that Dali Education began to adjust its development direction, turning to intelligent learning, teacher training and overseas business. 

In addition to ByteDance, major education companies have also begun to explore new opportunities, and the overall market is showing a gradual recovery trend. Among them, the live tutoring Yuanfudao has opened up a large consumer business in addition to its existing education business, and has established new brands such as down jackets, confinement centers, and coffee. The US-listed New Oriental Education Group has transformed into a live broadcast e-commerce platform “Oriental Selection”, and has become the top live broadcast room on Chinese TikTok, Douyin. TAL Education Group is sticking to the education business while also exploring educational intelligent hardware and opening up overseas business.

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