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CEDU Media CEO Dialogue: Chairman of Wendu Group, Feng Xiaoping

Chairman of Wendu Group Feng Xiaoping: “I believe that students are the main body of study. Internet is just a learning tool and its ultimate goal is to improve students’ learning efficiency. How to satisfy students’ needs? I think it calls on a systematic and comprehensive project. The biggest difference between Wendu Group and other corporations lies in its systematicness, which utilizes tools and methods to design a whole set of learning program centering on students, and this learning program not only shows some understanding of new technology, but also has insights into education. ”

Dialogue Guest: Feng Xiaoping, Chairman of Wendu Group

Interlocutor: Xia Weifeng, Editor-in-Chief of CEDU Media
In the trend of surging "Internet+", for those hidebound enterprises that refuse to make changes, development may reach the “ceiling". But some progressive and intelligent enterprises can still find out the opportunity. They clarify the idea of sustainable development for enterprises and take advantage of “Internet+”, a kaleidoscope, to explore the oddly-shaped and colorful new world. Wendu Group is one of them.

Wendu Group is committed to creating Wendu wisdom education with Wendu education big data, intelligent learning system and education ecology as the core and adopting business models of "direct operation+ franchising" and "online + offline" as well as bringing ecological market model into being in the form of internationalization of the whole industry chain, which ultimately enable more people to share high-quality education resources in a more convenient and low-cost way and achieve educational equality.

Besides, making corporation culture to be recognized and pursued by over 600 franchised institutions, over 20 direct operation companies and more than 10 million students requires companies to put user first, which is an undisguised exchange principle but precisely tells the essence of business world. Feng Xiaoping had a deep understanding of that. Recently, Chairman of Wendu Group Feng Xiaoping talked about his corporate management concept in the front of camera: how to run business to earn money and make your business bring boundless beneficence to people in a decent way?

Breaking Restrictions of Traditional Teaching, Embracing New Technology
Xia Weifeng: Wendu Group is committed to developing and establishing an internationalized wisdom education industrial platform of the whole industry chain. It deserves to be awarded as a well-known education brand of China given its large business scale and profound corporate mission. Please tell us the most impressive experience you had in the development process of Wendu Group.

Feng Xiaoping: Wendu Group was founded by chance, but its establishment should also be attributed to market demands. At the very beginning when I was preparing for postgraduate entrance examination, I found that many students who planned to sit for postgraduate entrance exams could not find related exam preparation materials nor an instructor to ask for advice.

Later when I was studying in Renmin University of China as a graduate student, many students from other provinces asked me to help them buy learning materials and look for tutorial class. It was how I discovered the business opportunity, then I started to hire teachers to give lessons and open tutorial class. In 1996, Wendu Group started to issue the first publications and began classroom teaching with thousands of students after 1998.

There are a lot of memorable experiences in the development history of Wendu Group, but what impressed me the most was the application of new technology. At that time most people could not accept such a change. Wendu Group did not have projectors until 1998. Projectors at that time were regarded as luxurious and advanced technological products and were rarely used for their high price in the market. In 1998, Wendu Group had more than 1000 students enrolled in math class. Wendu has enough space for teaching activities, but the problem in urgent need to be addressed was how to solve issues in teaching by applying new technology. Whereupon I thought of projection teaching method I got to know before. Wendu Group broke the boundaries of traditional teaching and took the lead in applying projection technology into teaching, which not only increased the number of students enrolled in our class from original 300 to more than 1000, but also improved the sharing of high-quality education resources.

Xia Weifeng: Nowadays many companies involved in online education business put forward the ideas of “overthrow” and “revolution” from technical point of view. What are the differences between Wendu Group and them?

Feng Xiaoping: Enterprises differ in their management ways. Some technology-orientated companies tried to replace human resources with internet attempting to make a difference, but failed after investing lots of money. And some traditional education businesses were confronted with many difficulties in applying internet.

I believe that students are the main body of study. Internet is just a learning tool and its ultimate goal is to improve students’ learning efficiency. How to satisfy students’ needs? I think it calls on a systematic and comprehensive project. The biggest difference between Wendu Group and other corporations lies in its systematicness which utilizes tools and methods to design a whole set of learning program centering on students, and this learning program not only shows some understanding of new technology, but also has insights into education.

The application of technology in practice must respect the law of education, so that the experience of learners will be different. The mission of Wendu Group is to make great efforts to enable more people to share high-quality education resources in a more convenient and cost-effective way. This requires a breakthrough in educational technology and is also another purpose of achieving education equality for Wendu Group.

Establishing Internationalized and Integrated Wisdom Education Industrial Group of the Whole Industry Chain

Xia Weifeng: Starting from postgraduate examination training service, Wendu Group has become an enterprise involved in diversified lines of business. How many business segments are there and what products does each segment have in Wendu?

Feng Xiaoping: From the content point of view, the current business fields of Wendu Group consists of three parts: firstly Wendu postgraduate entrance examination training; secondly the vocational education, including Medical Examination, Civil Service Examination, Vocational Qualification Test for Constructors and Teacher Certification Test; thirdly the international education, which is constructed from this year and covering overseas study, language training, international study tour, Sino-foreign cooperative education services. In fact. What Wendu Group needs to do is to take roots of these three major business fields deeply in its existing undergraduate students. Wendu Group is also planning to probe into K12 education field and will make layout plans and develop in the form of the whole industry chain in the future. Besides, Wendu Group will also open subsidiary in Canada this year, which will connect through international education both home and abroad and enable students to enjoy one-stop services. According to the presence of product forms, Wendu Group operates in five forms: books, face-to-face teaching, multimedia distance learning, online classroom and mobile internet classroom. Based on business model, Wendu Group adopts business modes of “direct operation + franchising” and “online + offline”.

Xia Weifeng: Wendu Group is building Wendu Wisdom Education with education big data, intelligent learning system and educational ecology as the core. Would you please introduce construction measures in detail?

Feng Xiaoping: Wendu Education big date includes SIS evaluation system, Quan question database and other subject-related teaching, practice and assessment. Intelligent learning system of Wendu is established based on big data and the application of new technology, which gives learners favorable experience in an easier, more efficient, more relaxed and more interesting way, therefore this system will become the competitive power of Wendu Group in the future; Wendu Educational Ecology adopts “online + offline” business mode in terms of product marketing and “direct operation+ franchising” in terms of market operation. It brings ecological market mode into being in the form of the internationalization of the whole industry chain and enables more students to share education resources in a more convenient and low-cost way. Wendu Wisdom Education is constructed and carried forward based on Wendu intelligent learning system and education ecology, which builds a more efficient and sustainable life-long learning system by extensively applying big data and new technology in educational field.

Actually we had detailed construction measures. At all times and in all places, teaching students in accordance with their aptitude, as a basic educational principle, has enjoyed popular support. This required teachers to diagnose personality and thinking mode of each student in specific practice because students showed differences in their performances and learning capabilities in different learning stages. How to improve learning efficiency of different students? To solve the problem, Wendu Group has begun to explore the prescription style of teaching students in accordance with their aptitude since a dozen years ago. At that time evaluations were done by human labors, but now they can be finished by new technology, for example, the SIS online assessment system of Wendu Group can make preliminary judgment on the strengths, weaknesses of students after testing their disciplinary knowledge, memory capacity and comprehensive ability, and then a personalized study plan will be enacted by professional teachers of Wendu Group. In addition, Quan question database of Wendu Group can also analyze mastery degree on knowledge points of students as well as their limitations through questions practicing so as to improve students’ learning ability. Apart from that, Wendu Group had a variety of periodical assessments, which also required formulation of learning proposals and plans.

From the First to the Fifth Generation, the Long-Term Stable Development Lies in Culture Support

Xia Weifeng: The market competition in postgraduate examination training business is fierce, so what makes Wendu Group to fight, stand out majestically and develop prosperously in such a competitive market environment?

Feng Xiaoping: I think Wendu Group always keeps robust development. During the period when Wendu was doing business of postgraduate entrance examination tutorial class, lots of its peer companies failed or switched to other industries. Yet Wendu Group went through from the first to the fifth generation. Why Wendu Group could stay on? Firstly it is due to Wendu Group’s strong affection for education and secondly it should be attributed to the favorable corporate culture of Wendu Group. Over ten years in the past, many companies in the field of postgraduate entrance exam tutoring developed in a biased as well as being over commercial way, which was manifested by their backward teaching quality and product quality. They aimed at making ultimate profits, which violated the original intention of education. Education is not only about imparting knowledge, but more importantly educating people. Wendu Group was determined to abandon excessive utilitarianism objectives, but to become a respectable enterprise. Although good products, services and management are costly, in order to maintain the features of “good teaching staff, good products and good services”, Wendu Group never haggled over providing comfortable seats, capacious teaching venues so as to offer high-quality product experience for students. Because of this, at some stages Wendu Group received profits not as many as expected, but its development was never impeded. Its contributions to the market and recognition from cooperative partners as well as favorable feedback of students on experience effect led to steadfast development of Wendu Group, all of which in fact were derived from profound understanding of corporate culture of Wendu Group and inheritance of essence of education.

Xia Weifeng: How did Wendu Group set up over 20 direct operation companies, attract over 600 franchising institutions and thereby create a huge-scale win-win development pattern?

Feng Xiaoping: The short-term development of an enterprise probably relies on products or technology, but its long-term development must rely on its culture. The construction of corporate value, concepts and working style is a process from superficial layer to profound level. The reasons why Wendu Group developed smoothly without costing much effort lies in its culture and the corporate value hidden behind the culture.

Wendu Group has always been developing with a steady pace and giving consideration to benefits of its cooperative partners and students. For example, teachers in cooperation with Wendu Group are stable, but it does not mean they require more payment. Every teacher expects to get return with equal value of their efforts, which can be realized in Wendu Group and is a sound development. Besides, the profit margins of a company should be appropriate, not the higher the better because high profit margin indicates the damage of the teachers’ or the students’ benefits. Given all these factors, Wendu Group is able to run in a healthy way even though it is a large system.

In order to stay competitive, a company should be equipped with powerful product research and development ability to make sure the leadership of its products and the popularity of these products among customers as well as give instructions to and keep communication with marketing and services departments. What Wendu Group done was like “roses given, fragrance in hand”, which not only helped to earn money for the company, but also brought boundless beneficence to people in a decent way. Undoubtedly, Wendu Group will also infuse key elements such as product and service innovation into its business skills. On the premise of improving service and product quality as well as dividing profits in a fair way, the company will certainly last long.

The Company Will Be More Transparent in Its Governance and Undertake More Social Responsibility after Shareholding Reform and Being Listed
Xia Weifeng: According to related news, recently Wendu Group has made formal application for listing in NEEQ. How would listing in NEEQ influence the development of Wendu Group? Which way it will go next with mergers and acquisitions?

Feng Xiaoping: The most valuable things for being listed are that the company can improve management structure and becomes more standardized and transparent as well as has stronger sense of social responsibility after shareholding reform. Besides, more investment will be attracted. The financing will undoubtedly promote more rapid development of the company even though we do not lack of money. Being listed also plays a good role in boosting development of the company. After listing, the company will gain unlimited opportunities and re-allocate resources as well as get connected with lots of cooperative partners and cooperative channels.

The future mergers and acquisitions of Wendu Group still target at education enterprises. According to Wendu Group’s current layout plans of the whole industry chain, we are going to buy out some enterprises specialized in K12 business field. Except for the development of such fields as exam-oriented education, vocational education and technical education, we will expand business on a large scale based on learning demands of people, which will not be restricted to what we are doing now. We will also buy out enterprises involved in education industry, which will push forward and promote the development of Wendu Group.

Xia Weifeng: What is your development plan for Wendu Group for the next ten years?
Feng Xiaoping: Since 2008, in order to make the company healthier, Wendu Group has been planning to construct “theme year” devoting to solve one targeted issue each year, such as Brand Construction Year(2012), Learning Organization Construction Year(2013), Quality Development Year(2014), Cooperation and Development Year(2015) and Wisdom Education Construction Year launched in 2016.    

  Quoted from CEDU Media: original headline: CEDU Media CEO Dialogue | Chairman of Wendu Group Feng Xiaoping: From the First to the Fifth Generation, 20 Years of Steady Development Was Rooted in Our Strong Affection for Education

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