How have key participants adapted to after-school tutoring reform in China
"1.4 billion Chinese people have the demand for high-quality education. It's important not to rush."
One year ago, China rolled out the after-school tutoring reform, or the "double reduction" policy, to ease the burden of excessive core-subjects homework and off-campus tutoring faced by middle and primary school students. The private education industry in China suffered a major blow after the policy was unveiled.
A year after the introduction of the policy, though only 10 or 20 percent of the original market value before the "double reduction" policy, Chinese listed educational tutoring institutions and the capital market have found new directions. Leading educational pivoted. Many explored new businesses and new projects, changed slogans, and even renamed themselves.
According to LatePost, a business news outlet, at least 100,000 people quit the online education business in China last year. After the "double reduction" policy released last July, shareholders can no longer receive dividends from companies in the tutoring business (core school subjects tutoring for primary and middle school students), and tutoring institutes cannot go public either. Companies such as TAL Education Group 好未来, New Oriental 新东方, Yuanfudao 猿辅导, and Zuoyebang 作业帮 had to cut their main business, giving up a market worth over a trillion yuan.
However, these education companies have sufficient capital for transformation. The cash, cash equivalents, and funds from the previous financing of Yuanfudao, Zuoyebang, TAL Education Group, New Oriental, Gaotu 高途, and NetEase Youdao 网易有道 combined topped 40 billion yuan (around 5.77 billion U.S. dollars). Besides, there exists great value in brands and traffic from the previous "ad war".
Education companies are pivoting, and so are the individuals in the business.
In today's post, GRR offers you four stories about how CEOs and other key participants in the private education industry adapt to the after-school tutoring reform.
The first, second and fourth stories are from the piece titled "Struggles in the year after the ‘double reduction’ policy" posted on Aug 29 on the WeChat account of LatePost 晚点, cofounded by Caijing Magazine, one of the most influential financial news publications in China. LatePost’s official WeChat account reaches an audience of 1 million readers per month who seek the news and information critical to their business. Another 15 million readers read their stories on other Chinese social platforms.
The third story is from the piece titled "Why some people still stayed in the educational tutoring institutions" posted on Aug 25 by Daily Figure 每日人物, a WeChat account that documents ordinary Chinese people's lives.
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01 CEO of Gaotu – hair turned gray in one year, but ambition for success remains
Gaotu (NYSE: GOTU) [a technology-driven education company providing online large-class tutoring service] used to have a dozen offices in Beijing, but now only one left at the Pactera building in Xi’erqi. Chen Xiangdong 陈向东, CEO of Gaotu, saw his hair turning gray within a year. But instead of lamenting, he believes that education still "possesses great prospects", and that he is still young.
Chen exhibited a basic quality required of a CEO when the "double reduction" policy was introduced: to ensure that he doesn't crash first. The day before the policy was released, he noticed that a 16-page document was circulating in the industry, but he shut the document after skimming through it. People questioned the authenticity of the document, but Chen noticed the discrete wording and systematic expressions. He asked, "Have you ever seen a fake document this perfect?" Chen knew it was real, and the situation was more serious than he expected.
As there was no escape, he wanted to "calm down" first. He made a reservation at a good restaurant for a quiet meal with his family. That night, Gaotu's share prices plummeted by 63 percent, while those of TAL and New Oriental were halved. His daughter couldn't stop checking the news and share prices. Chen asked her to put away the phone, but to no avail. Later on, he and his family went out for a walk.
It wasn't until midnight that Chen finally opened the document, read it carefully for an hour, and then made a tough decision. The next afternoon, he made an announcement at the company's meeting: to shut down 10 out of the 13 local tutoring centers nationwide within a week, which means laying off a third of the company’s employees. Middle-level managers were sent to local centers to handle layoffs.
After completing what should be done, Chen showed how a man faced devastation. He suddenly felt "empty" while pacing up and down in the conference room, so Chen wrote an internal letter with over 3,000 Chinese characters to all his staff. "Sorry", "sad", "heartbroken" were used five times in that letter. When communicating with employees about the layoff, he couldn't hold back his tears. When seeing employees saying goodbye to each other, he also cried.
In the following days, Chen tried hard to persuade himself that though he is now over 50 years old and his physical strength and energy has declined significantly compared to four or five years ago, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, was 47 years old when he took over Google's parent company Alphabet. Microsoft's current CEO, Satya Nadella, is also 55 years old. He feels "young", with strength drawn from these stories.
Chen studied companies that survived for almost 100 years, such as Nokia and HP. Nokia underwent four major transformations, and the latter underwent seven. Gaotu, founded by him in 2014, underwent two business transformations. "In contrast, we didn't undergo that many transformations." He regards Gaotu's transformation under the "double reduction" policy as "starting a business for the third time".
As for the gain and loss of fortune, Chen consoled and encouraged himself: his family was poverty-stricken when he was a child. Their house collapsed twice, nearly killing him and his younger brother. After the house collapsed, they could not afford to repair it. In winter, the family huddled together to keep warm in the bitter wind. "Even if losing everything I have today, I am still in a better place compared with my childhood," he said in reminiscing of the past.
After convincing himself, he needed to persuade the employees. At an employee training event, he did a self-analysis: He made it to the Forbes list before, with personal wealth exceeding 10 billion U.S. dollars. However, the share price has plummeted from 30 U.S. dollars to one U.S. dollar. "Truly, it makes no difference to me whether I am on the list or not!" He said to employees, adding "when you reach a certain stage, you will find that the fortune belongs to everyone, not just to you."
After the implementation of the "double reduction" policy, he persuaded employees that this is "the best time for Gaotu" because they don't need to burn money anymore and get back to "the essence of business", as Chen believed himself.
Gaotu’s roadside ads poster
In 2020, China's K12 online education industry raised over 50 billion yuan through financing, and this is merely the venture capital investment in the primary market. "Aren't educational companies insane in giving out subsidies? We provide so many services, and we have to hand out subsidies. What kind of business is it after all?" Chen said back in December 2020. However, Gaotu also began handing out subsidies due to fierce competition. Sales expenses stood at 6.38 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, but the figure was 1.15 billion U.S. dollars a year earlier.
Chen tried to put on the brake before the "double reduction" policy. At an internal meeting held in May last year, he said that previous growth had been "savage and extensive" and that the company must return to profitable growth.
"We always call ourselves people in the education business, but all we talk about at meetings is traffic and ROI. Can such a company be called an education institution?" he added.
The team had grown impatient under the pressure of boosting sales. A recording was played at a morning meeting of executives. In a phone call to a parent, a salesman said in an oppressive manner. "Don't you care about your children? After making so much money, what's wrong with you that you don't even sign your children up for a tutorial class?" A middle-level manager who had worked at Gaotu for 5 years recalled his feelings at the time: "Gosh, how come I work for a company like this?"
The focus of Gaotu's business is now on quality education, tutoring for postgraduate entrance exams, qualification exams in finance, civil service exams, business school courses, etc. It has more than 30 sectors providing different courses. Recruitment criteria have also changed. An employee of Gaotu said that sales consultants would be recruited regardless of professional background as long as they could secure orders in the peak season in the past. Now, they mainly hire people with teaching experience, instead of former salespersons from real estate or insurance companies, in case penitential customers are annoyed by marketing.
The adult education business is far smaller than that of primary and secondary school subject tutoring. The former has a market size of billions of yuan, but the latter exceeds trillions of yuan. Business is also trickier with adult education. No matter whether customers sign up for tutoring in civil service examinations, postgraduate entrance exams or financial management courses, they will not renew contracts after the courses are over. While younger students may require tutoring from the first grade to high school, thus the life circle is much longer.
Therefore, employees are under greater pressure nowadays. Every business unit must achieve profitability within a given period of time. Otherwise, it will be downsized. An investment of one yuan is required to yield a return of at least 1.5 yuan. However, for school subjects tutoring courses in the past, one yuan of investment only needed to bring 0.7 yuan of revenue.
Chen still believes in the great future of the education business. Though the vision is vague, "1.4 billion Chinese people have the demand for high-quality education. It's important not to rush."
02 CEO of Youdao sees the best opportunity coming
Zhou Feng 周枫, CEO of Youdao Inc (NYSE: DAO), may be one of the few optimistic CEOs in the education industry. He got the good feeling from his boss, Ding Lei 丁磊, CEO of NetEase, Inc. (NASDAQ: NTES and HKEX: 9999). After the official announcement of the "double reduction" policy, Ding said jokingly on the phone, "The best time has finally arrived."
In the subsequent meetings for executives, Zhou shared the optimism. The best opportunity is born in a deep crisis. "Of course we have to be optimistic," he discussed the policy with the employees with a big smile, on the day when the "double reduction" policy was out.
He said that when the company went public in 2019, he tried to convince investors that Youdao's advantage over other education companies lies in hardware. "They didn't believe it" he said, "now the situation is clear."
"It is easier for a small boat to turn round," an executive of Youdao said that they ranked sixth when the industry focused on online large classes. After the primary and secondary school subject tutoring turned into a non-profit business, Youdao's team may have a bigger advantage as the battleground shifted to hardware technology.
In 2020, the number of students signing up for Youdao's long-term paid class services was only one-third of those of Yuanfudao and Zuoyebang. There was little likelihood of success if they were going head-to-head. So, Zhou encouraged the team to try different businesses, and the hardware business stood out. Last year, Youdao dictionary pen, Tinglibao (a device designed for practicing English listening) and other devices created revenue of nearly 1 billion yuan.
An executive of Youdao concluded the reasons for lagging behind in the competition for large-class business as "moving too slowly" and "not used to head-to-head competition", and the company kept a tight control over cost. After a walk at Youdao’s office building, Ding asked employees whether they need so many security guards. A few days later, some security guards were laid off. In the past, Youdao spent 1.5 billion yuan in marketing expenses every year, while the marketing expenses of a leading company invested reached nearly 10 billion yuan in 2020.
Refocusing on hardware, Zhou Feng became more dedicated to the company. Due to the chip crunch in March last year, the production of dictionary pens ground to a halt as chip manufacturers couldn't fulfill half as many orders. He and several executives flew to Shenzhen, where he visited more than a dozen manufacturers in a few days, and "went on a binge drink" with them. At those dinner parties, they strived to convince chip factory owners that Youdao is a company with stable demand, "a company that survives and will uphold contracts". The supply of dictionary pen accessories resumed after Youdao accepted a 10 percent increase in cost.
Youdao rolled out more products, such as desk lamps and tablets, after "double reduction." Ding devoted half of his time to hardware. "Even if I fell, I'd grab a handful of sand instead of being empty handed," Ding said to motivate his subordinates.
Not just Youdao, other companies such as Gaotu, Zuoyebang, and ByteDance all set eyes on the opportunity in hardware. ByteDance, with the money and traffic, has tried and failed in this area. In October 2020, ByteDance launched Dali smart desk lamp and adopted the typical online marketing model. Bytedance sold the desk lamp at a price merely above the cost and used internal traffic for advertising, which gave the product a 20 percent discount in ads. After deducting ad costs, the Dali desk lamp was still sold at a loss. They never expected to profit from selling lamps, and the stake was on providing follow-up services, such as courses and tutoring. However, the existing business model went south with the "double reduction" policy in place.
The "double reduction" policy also weakened the attractiveness of products. NetEase Youdao and Zuoyebang all designed desk lamps with searching functions. When customers take a photo of the homework with the lamp, the lamp will search for answers online. But the "double reduction" policy has banned the function, which means an important selling point is gone.
In the past, only several electronic device suppliers targeted education hardware, such as Readboy 读书郎 and BBK 步步高. Now, almost every education company wants a piece of the pie, not to mention copycat manufacturers, so the competition intensifies. Zuoyebang launched Miaomiaoji electronic flash card in March this year. Two months later, over 60 similar products were available in the market. Zuoyebang developed the product after seven months of research and development, while Shenzhen copycat factories took only four or five months since they didn't have the trouble for quality inspection. The copycats even added a new function for pronouncing the words. A month later, Zuoyebang scrambled to launch the second-generation flash card with the pronouncing function.
Wu Yinghui 吴迎晖, head of hardware business at NetEase Youdao, said that profits approach zero in indiscriminate competition. Thus hardware companies make profits through time differences or special advantages in content or supply chain.
Youdao Dictionary Pen had a winning hand in time differences and content. At the end of 2019, NetEase Youdao unveiled the second-generation Dictionary Pen based on the company's digital dictionary. Three quarters later, the revenue from devices exceeded Youdao Dictionary's advertising revenue for the first time, reaching 163 million yuan in a single quarter. Youdao Dictionary Pen has become the second largest source of income for the company, right after income from online courses. iFLYTEK 科大讯飞 caught the opportunity for dictionary pens almost simultaneously and invested in a company that rolled out Alpha Egg Dictionary Pen. The sales of Alpha Egg Dictionary Pen are catching up quickly with Youdao's products.
Xiaomi's (HKG: 1810) advantages lie in the supply chain. It provides early incubation support for Zepp Health 华米科技, viomi 云米, Roborock 石头, 九号 Ninebot, and other suppliers, including human resources and funds. Xiaomi also cooperates with them in research and development. And the final products will be sold through Xiaomi's channels. Xiaomi profits from suppliers in distribution, patent authorization, and investment returns. A premise of Xiaomi's success is the company's strong capabilities in capital, technology, and channels, which is difficult for education companies to reduplicate.
Wu said that AI-based precision learning might become a path for education companies to put on some defenses. They might be able to individualize services like analyzing every student's weakness if the companies have massive learning data of a student inside and outside the school. However, gathering data requires access to the school system and investing tens of millions of yuan. "Once achieved, strong competitors in the supply chain like Xiaomi would be blocked," Wu said.
In addition to providing textbook-based courses, iFLYTEK's AI-based learning tablets also provide targeted academic performance analysis for primary and secondary school students and recommend related learning content. The company now sells over one million AI-based learning tablets annually. From January to June, iFLYTEK's Smart Education realized revenue of about 2.21 billion yuan, accounting for 25 percent of the total revenue. Its business covers smart classrooms, English listening and speaking classes, AI solutions for schools, learning tablets for students, personalized learning manual, etc. Last quarter, iFLYTEK's operating revenue overtook that of TAL, the leader in the education industry.
In the past three years, Youdao has gradually established a system with the supply chain, design and sales.The revenue from hardware increased from 100 million yuan to nearly one billion yuan. But Zhou Feng expects the revenue to reach 10 billion yuan, which means the company needs to put forward 10 products as successful as Youdao Dictionary Pen.
The Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT) is the third biggest opportunity Zhou Feng has in his life. And the first two were mobile internet and online courses. His company didn't make it to the top three in any of them. "We cannot go any slower," he said to his team.
03 Find a way out
"When I quit the tutoring business, I never thought that I would come back one day," said Huazi, adding that it's hard to find a job after leaving the tutoring industry.
Huazi used to work at a top K12 education institution in China, with a monthly salary of 8,000 to 9,000 yuan. During the contract renewal period, he even earned a monthly salary of up to 20,000 yuan. Back then, company perks included afternoon tea, yogurt, fruit, snacks, and staff meals. They also had days off during festivals and holidays.
After resigning from the institution, Huazi tried to become a live streamer. However, he found out that there is only one day off per week for most live streamers, and in most small-sized enterprises, "the workload is heavy but the wage is meager." He added "after deducting insurance fees, I can only get 3000 yuan."
In June, Huazi saw an ad on WeChat that Yuanfudao was recruiting class monitors. Although he knew the workload would be heavy during the contract renewal period in the summer vacation, he submitted his résumé without hesitation and came back to K12 education business.
According to Huazi, about a dozen of his colleagues joining Yuanfudao at the same time had worked in the industry before. "However, this is temporary. Most of them decided to use the free time to prepare for teacher qualification exams. After all, working at tutoring institutions is not a long-term plan. Taking the teacher qualification exams [and becoming a teacher in public schools] are more stable."
Zhang Jie is also preparing for the teacher qualification exams. After adjusting her expectations for the salary, she found that although many public schools give a monthly salary as low as 2,000 to 3,000 yuan, they offer various bonuses. They bring the annual salary up to nearly 80,000 to 100,000 yuan, and public schools provide teachers with better insurance plans. Moreover, teachers get three months of vacation every year. After taking all these factors into account, Zhang decides to take the teacher qualification exams in her hometown.
The dream is rosy while the reality is dire. According to China Education News, over 10 million people signed up for the teacher qualification examinations in 2021, and the figure has been skyrocketing for years. In some popular cities, the teacher recruitment ratio reaches 1000:1.
Therefore, Zhang decides to be a temporary teacher at first. "Although temporary teachers are merely 'contract workers', they do sign contracts with schools, they get to live at the school and enjoy some benefits."
However, if you search "temporary teacher" on Xiaohongshu [a popular social media platform in China], you will find many posts about "instability" and "age anxiety" other than posts sharing successful experiences as temporary teachers. Therefore, the road to a temporary teacher is also a bumpy one.
Apart from positions of temporary teachers and regular teachers, some tutors chose to work in the housekeeping services industry. In housekeeping companies, former tutors provide services of "tutoring + house keeping", with a monthly salary of 10,000 to 30,000 yuan.
Vicky became a housekeeper after leaving Gaotu. She started taking orders after signing a contract with a housekeeping agency. "I am responsible for fixing two meals a day for the customer, and providing after-school tutoring for the kid, who is a primary school student. The monthly salary reaches 18,000 yuan."
Vicky doesn't need to do other chores, and gets off work at 8 p.m. every night. "I have a happier life now,” she said.
According to Vicky, highly educated housekeepers with teaching experience are very popular in the current housekeeping market. Many families with two or three children will hire a tutor. The tutor should take the kids to schools and accompany them on trips. It's a new housekeeping service.
In Shanghai, the monthly salary of live-in housekeepers who prepare meals and clean the rooms generally ranges from 4,000 to 8,000 yuan, while the monthly salary of tutoring housekeepers with specialized skills ranges from 15,000 to 30,000 yuan. Foreign language skills and teacher qualification certificate are the basic requirements, and it's better to have a driver's license and play a musical instrument such as piano. "It is not easy to become a tutoring housekeeper," said Vicky.
Back to the tutoring industry, taking teacher qualification exams, or working in the housekeeping industry…Tutoring people are moving towards different directions. They might be in a transition period, chasing a steadier life, or finding a way out.
Whatever the choices are, tutors are still fumbling forward.
04 A New Oriental executive went to Daliang Mountains to become a volunteer teacher
What a person does will show whether or not he has a real passion for education. Zhu Yu 朱宇, vice president of Koolearn Tech 新东方在线 and former CEO of Orient Youbo 东方优播, is such a doer. Since February, Zhu began working as a volunteer teacher in Abojue Village in Liangshan Prefecture (in southwest China's Sichuan Province) for a semester.
After "double reduction", Zhu's business line was the first to be cut by Yu Minhong 俞敏洪, the founder of New Oriental, so he picked up his dream of being a volunteer teacher. Over five months, he became a math teacher for 102 primary school students, built a building for the school, and learned a lot himself.
He intended to introduce the "excellent teaching methods, advanced educational ideas, and ultimate lecturing level" he had amassed over 20 years to the local school, but it turned out that he had to take care of himself first. Not used to living at an altitude of over 1,600 meters, he suffered a cold and fever one third of the time during five months of volunteering. But the nearest pharmacy in the town was 50 minute walk away from the village he lived in.
He didn't engage himself in volunteer teaching earlier because he was busy with online education. In 2016, he founded Oriental Youbo. Till 2020, the service attracted one million students for low-cost courses, including more than 100,000 students who signed up for long-term courses. With attention to detail, Zhu Yu cared about the resignation of every teacher, and every recruitment. So he worked 16 hours a day.
At that time, most of the students were from second tier cities and below. They enrolled in small online classes after having pilot classes offline. Zhu envisioned, "were it not for the 'double reduction' policy, we would now have experience store of Orient Youbo in Daliang Mountains."
Half a month after the "double reduction" policy was implemented, Zhu led a few employees to sell goods through livestreaming on the WeChat video account of Orient Youbo. Two weeks later, he discussed with Yu Minhong about his wish to engage in livestreaming commerce. Yu agreed that it was a good idea, but he planned to do it with his own team.
At an executive meeting a month later, Yu decided to dive in livestreaming. "Wei Ya [a former top live streamer on e-commerce platform Taobao] can sell products worth more than 10 billion yuan a year through livestreaming, maybe I can do the same with dozens of teachers."
Yu also told Zhu that Dongfang Youbo would be shut down. It was also the first business line that a leading education company cut on its own after the "double reduction".
Zhu asked why Orient Youbo had to be the first. Yu explained that shutting Orient Youbo, a small-scale business, could help society to do some "expectation management". It sent out a message to parents that fees could be refunded when classes were suspended, so a run on refunds would be prevented, thus avoiding a greater crisis of public opinion.
Zhu had to accept the reality. He was depressed for more than a month. Troubled with insomnia, he only slept for three or four hours a day sometimes. When he couldn't get to sleep, he pondered over what to say when laying off employees. He then spent one month laying off all 4,000 employees.
On September 7, the day when the business was formally closed, he decided to go to Daliang Mountains to serve as a volunteer teacher.
Zhu Yu had always been a star performer in the exam-oriented education system: he got full marks at the Math Olympiad in primary school, then he studied six-year middle school courses by himself when he was ill in the first year of junior high. Later on, he was sent to Tsinghua University on recommendation for his competition achievements. Then, he pursued graduate studies at Peking University, and dropped out of school to join New Oriental. When asked about why he dropped out of school to become a teacher and why he went to Daliang Mountains, Zhu gave the same explanation. education fundamentally improved his life, so he hoped to change the lives of others through education.
Zhu Yu as a volunteer teacher in Daliang Mountains
After he secured a place at Tsinghua University in high school, Zhu spent his spare time tutoring more than 80 classmates. One of his classmates only got 480 marks in the simulated exam, but got 620 marks in the college entrance examination, and was admitted to Central South University. After joining New Oriental, he realized that his work influenced tens of thousands of students. He believed all the more that what he did could promote social development.
To Zhu, the education in his envision was not about getting everyone admitted to Tsinghua University or Peking University. It was about letting hard work and talent decide the grades, rather than factors such as wealth, status or ethnicity. He believed that promoting basic education resources was a starting point. Therefore, he became a volunteer teacher in Daliang Mountains, where talents are badly needed and where the living conditions are the hardest.
At Abojue Elementary School in Daliang Mountains, he was a math teacher for a total of 102 students in the first grade and the sixth grade. The Internet has indeed changed villages. To his surprise, the children watched short videos on Kuaishou 快手, bought products on Pinduoduo 拼多多 and the second-hand product platform Xianyu 闲鱼 on their mobile phones.
The school was equipped with fairly good education hardware, such as electronic screens, computers, and projectors donated by the society or purchased by local governments, but many teachers did't know how to use them. In the hot summer, the big screens were covered with flies. Volunteer teachers joked that flies were also involved in teaching.
Regardless of modern devices and technology, teachers are still needed at the school. In Daliang Mountains, Zhu found that the teaching methods he had amassed over 20 years were "not as effective as a stick in hand". In class, he often had a half-meter-long wooden stick in his hand. He would tap at the desk with the stick when students' attention drifted away.
Zhu was also surprised by the differences between students. excellent students would get into the best universities if they had the resources that students in Beijing have. Students at the bottom can neither speak Mandarin properly nor read the exam questions. Before the junior high entrance exams, he had to teach sixth graders first-grade knowledge.
The dilemma in front of Zhu was that boosting the exam scores was important, but arousing students' curiosity in math was equally important. He wanted both of them. He hoped that children with excellent academic performance would get a better life outside the mountainous area, while children lagging behind would help their parents with some small businesses, as least they would get the accounts right. At the end of the semester, the students who ranked bottom had made great progress and got a score not far from the average score.
Zhu thought that the students would have a more solid foundation in knowledge if teachers had not been changed every year in the first three years of the primary school. This is the most profound conclusion he got from volunteering. What is most important to village education is not devices and funds, but teachers willing to dedicate themselves to teaching in the long term. At the primary school he volunteered to, four out of ten teachers will leave after a semester of teaching.
His volunteer teaching ended in July. He established a new company focusing on teaching computer programming last year in November. Zhu was the Chairman but not the CEO, because he doesn't want to get involved in daily operations this time. He used to work more than 60 hours a week, now he works about 10 hours a week.
He plans to back to Abojue Elementary School to teach for another two or three years after the company’s new project runs smoothly. Half a year's volunteer teaching can hardly bring about changes. He is actually one that got some education.
Before leaving the school, Zhu got a sponsorship of 600,000 yuan from New Oriental and donated 840,000 yuan himself for the construction of a teaching building, which will be put into use this autumn. If good teachers cannot come to the school, he hopes that they will teach the students online through big screens in the new building.
Now, Zhu has no intention of committing himself to any business because he is exhausted. He does not want to make a foray into a new field and have the same experience again after a year or two. "I’ll wait, until the dust settles," he said.