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Beijing top edtech city – Navitas Ventures

Beijing is the world leader in supporting the edtech industry, according to a report on the maturity of 20 cities’ sectors, launched at the EdTech Asia Summit in Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the US’ Bay Area and New York closed out the top three.

Close race! Beijing just manages to take top spot for global edtech. Image: Navitas VenturesClose race! Beijing just manages to take top spot for global edtech. Image: Navitas Ventures

Ninth-placed Tel Aviv and tenth-placed Stockholm created a thriving environment through trade.

The Global EdTech Ecosystems report, compiled by Navitas Ventures, the education venturing arm of global education provider Navitas, looked into five dimensions of each city to determine its rankings: the number of businesses, funding available, incubators, government support, and connection to the local education sector.

“The one thing [the US] doesn’t have is a population of a billion people”

Beijing, which received 86 out of 100 possible marks, came in first due to the breadth of its industry – it hosts 3000 companies – and the community and government support available.

Tim Praill, chief executive of Navitas Ventures, said while the US had invested significant personal wealth and San Francisco and the Bay Area had become a global centre for venture capital and tech-based businesses, China’s population propelled Beijing to the top.

“The one thing [the US] doesn’t have is a population of a billion people. And when you look at China, China has a population of over a billion people, and they spend a significant percentage of their personal wealth… to access quality education,” he said.

Praill told The PIE News, however, that a strong sector was not dependent on population density, adding that emerging cities, such as ninth-placed Tel Aviv and tenth-placed Stockholm, created a thriving environment through trade.

“When you look at a lot of those emerging cities, they are often export-minded. They are centres for innovation that realise that you need to immediately move outside of your country’s borders in order to access students and customers,” he said.

Chief executive of EduGrowth David Linke said the report provided a benchmark for other cities looking to build their sectors.

Linke, whose edtech incubator was one of the first investments of Navitas Ventures, added that the report also provided a guide for traditional providers to play a role in education innovation.

“The education providers themselves can be part of innovation if they are connected into the ecosystem deeply,” he said.

“Then they’re part of the innovation as well, and I think that’s a really important role that universities, TAFEs, RTOs, schools themselves can play in that story.”

Boston, London and Shanghai were identified as the three cities most likely to challenge for the top spots.

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