China fines online education companies for false advertising


The city of Beijing has fined four online education agencies $76,988 for misleading customers with false advertising, the local market regulator said on Sunday.

GSX Techedu, TAL Education Group, Koolearn Technology and Gaosi were fined the maximum for falsely claiming that the price of its online courses before the discount was much higher than it actually was, said the regulator.

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Chinese authorities are catching up on regulating e-learning platforms. Earlier this month, the Department of Education banned online education companies from offering live lessons and games to minors at night, to ensure children get enough sleep.

Investors have increased their bets on China’s online education sector, which has seen growing interest after the coronavirus outbreak prompted a widespread shift to remote learning.

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Leading startups in the space include GSX, Tencent-backed Yuanfudao, and Alibaba-backed Zuoyebang.

China has also stepped up efforts to regulate the online gambling industry, citing concerns over potentially violent and addictive games, putting pressure on companies such as Tencent and Netease.

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