Chinese-American Higher Education Institute
A project by: Bao Lei
Xingzhi project is a Non-for Profit organization that is dedicated to establishing a high quality and interactive content sharing web community for students who are interested in studying abroad. Xingzhi project won the “10th Chunhui Cup entrepreneurship competition” that was jointly hosted by theMinistry of Education, and Ministry of Science and Technology of China, and obtained support from various authorized organizations such as Consulate General of People’s Republic of China in New York. Xingzhi commits to create a social and informative platform that allows “studying abroad” related groups including prospective students, current students, parents, and professionals, to acquire comprehensive, updated, authentic, and reliable information for free utilizing. Moreover, we utilize high tech methodologies and tools such as artificial intelligence and data mining to provide scientific solutions for students and universities to match with each other. Xingzhi serves to enhance theeducational exchange, communication, and cooperation between China and America.
We are currently operating in Nanjing, China under the entity of Nanjing Bailuhengjiang Education&Technology LLC. Xingzhi will further create a legal entity in New York and then apply for not for profit status. We are in the early stage of development.
According to the report from Institution for International Education, over 400,000 Chinese students are studying abroad in 2015 including over 304,040 of them choosing United State, and the growth has continued for years. These changes had created a 200 billion studying abroad economy every year. Comparing to the previous populations who chose to study overseas, current population is more diverse in terms of their ages and demands. As a generation who born in Internet era, students nowadays are used to obtain information online and through various channels. Therefore, traditional agents and service providers who used to take advantage and benefit from asymmetry of information are not the top and only choice for current students. Students and parents realize the possibility of self-application; however, they do not have enough effective and efficient tools to gather information to conduct and DIY school application processes. In fact, there is no third party or organization offering service to fulfill the market with sufficient and unbiased information and to truly stand for the stake of students.
Xingzhi is dedicated to connect dots and explore the energy of all studying abroad related parties to help students achieve their goals. Xingzhi generates three main categories of service, including information section, online Q&A community, and offline events. These three sections support and interact with each other and all together enforce our service as a whole, sustaining and expanding our user bases.
Xingzhi focuses on establishing a vertical Q&A Zhihu and Quora. Xingzhi aims to penetrate into diverse perspectives of life of studying abroad, invite proper parties to answer specific questions raised by others, collect and transfer comprehensive information to whom may concern, and assemble both students in China and America to share their real stories. In this way, Xingzhi is able to transfer the updated and first hand information to vast groups of users. Through engaging in our online community, prospective students can directly communicate with local students and Chinese Students Scholar Associations, and make acquaintance before even physically arrive on campus. Current students who are studying abroad can generate conversations with alumni and professionals who may be career mentors for them. At the same time, organizations and associations such as Chinese Students and Scholar Association at each university can public and promote their events and announcements on Xingzhi website, and even absorb new members prior to school start. Overall, Xingzhi encourages interactive communications among all parties.
Information section covers American major schools’ core application information, including school introduction, campus culture, geographical location, job outlook, alumni association, tuition and academic system, acceptance rate, and major setting. Xingzhi categorizes schools based on the past acceptance status and the uniqueness of campus culture; Xingzhi delivers officially authenticated information with attached source document links for users to confirm. Using open edit information systems, we allow verified or school authorized users to edit and complete school information, further helping users to understanding source information. Our user-friendly interface provides visualization of data conducive to comprehension. Moreover, Xingzhi applies concepts and methods of artificial intelligence, such as data mining, deep learning, and machine learning to analyze individual students case by case, generating reports to suggest them about “matching” universities and majors. Through scientific process, Xingzhi removes human factors and bias that could potentially affect the objectiveness in consulting. Xingzhi plans to bring the most advanced technology into this aging industry.
Events section mainly serves for students who are currently studying in the U.S. Xingzhi builds a platform for associations such as CSSA, alumni associations and other local organizations to post their latest online and offline events. Xingzhi divides all events according to their locations and target marketing groups, assisting hosts to deliver the messages to larger number of users. Moreover, Xingzhi serves as a third party that not only assists American universities to host recruiting and introductory sections in China but also facilitates Chinese major firms and state owned entities to recruit excellent graduated students in U.S. Xingzhi devote to act as a bridge and expedite educational exchange programs between two sides.
Internet and high tech combined together drive majority of industries to change, and Xingzhi follows these social and scientific trends to reform and upgrade studying abroad industry. The daily updating high tech applications improve the power of data. Xingzhi will cooperate with national institutions to process valuable and statistical data efficaciously. Furthermore, the vast usage of Internet set up the foundation for Xingzhi in terms of distribution and promotion strategies. Xingzhi treats Internet as a main tool to deliver information and pass messages to users at almost zero cost. Additionally, Xingzhi agglomerates ample local resources including CSSA, alumni associations, social organizations, and universities to serve at the best interests for students.
There are three major players in the market and they are all for profit entities. (1) Traditional agents: Charge $5,000 to $20,000 per student; take over the whole process of application, from choosing the schools to apply for students to write the essays and personal statements for students, to connect with schools’ admissions. Students may not even be able to participate in the process. (2) High quality tailored agency service: charge from $50,000 to $70,000 per student; service starts from helping students to plan for study abroad. Providing comprehensive service that covers all stages of the application process including. (3) Online agents: Free at the beginning, but pay hourly when ask for specific consulting service; the hourly payment rates range from $20 per hour to $500 per hour.
According to data from Baidu, more than 5 million people who are interested in topics related to study abroad have generated more than 360 million messages online. Considering the general financial conditions of families who can afford study abroad, target specific advertisements potentially carry enormous economic resources. Overall, the demands of studying abroad are rising year over year, while the development of mobile and Internet industries even further accelerates the high growth of market size.
Based on our nationwide research, applicants frequently search for general information regarding universities and application requirements. The level of transparency of information has risen by the usages of Internet and other diverse channels. Consequently, the traditional agents face challenges in this Internet era. In another word, there is a trend of self-apply instead of agent service. As the first mover and leader, we will make great economic contribution and profound social impact to the communities.
Xingzhi, as an outstanding project that won “10th Chunhui Cup Entrepreneurship Competition,” gains support from Consulate General of People’s Republic of China in New York that has a high reputation and is in charge of CSSA of many top American Universities and one third of total students and scholars. Xingzhi reaches out to CSSA and alumni associations across the country, and is able to deliver messages and information to vast users. Xingzhi is currently in Alpha test and will officially launch to market soon. In fact, Xingzhi operating team has broken into market, accumulated over 4.1k initial users, shared for more than 257k times by 210k people, and prepared for explorative promotion in near future. The first office of Xingzhi locates in Nanjing, which has abundant educational resources including several top universities and institutions. We will open our second office in New York, and ally with other influential organizations.
Xingzhi team comprises members from University of Michigan, Yale University, University of Indiana, Tsinghua University, and Nanjing University. Xingzhi operating leaders and web developers are experienced and dedicated to their work. Moreover, Xingzhi is honored to have several top level experts in different positions formed an intelligent and integrated consulting group.
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