Launched in Shanghai in 2008, the chain of schools was notable for incorporating Disney characters into the curriculum and was one of the larger chains of foreign-owned English language schools in China.
“More consumers are moving towards learning online”
“We have noticed a change in consumer preferences; more consumers are moving towards learning online, a trend which the global epidemic has exacerbated. Parents have many concerns about returning to face-to-face extra-curricular learning courses,” said the company in a statement.
“As you know, all the country’s Disney English centres have not been open since January 2020. After careful consideration, the company has decided not to reopen the centres.”
Disney initially had ambitious plans for the Chinese market. According to Sina, in 2010 the company had planned to open 148 schools by 2015.
Many large brands that were formerly mainstays of China’s ESL education market have been struggling over the last year, even before the Covid-19 outbreak.
Web International English shut down in late 2019, while earlier this year Wall Street English resorted to cutting staff’s salaries and enacting mass layoffs in an attempt to save money.
English language training centres in China are likely to continue to see a downturn in interest as people try to recover financially from Covid-19 and seek cheaper alternatives such as online learning.
Closed borders will further exacerbate the shortage of native English teachers, which centres use to justify higher fees.
Parents of students – Disney English targeted 2-12-year-olds – will be able to apply for refunds between June 26 and July 21.