Home AI tutor apps from China are reshaping U.S. study habits

AI tutor apps from China are reshaping U.S. study habits


  • Chinese AI tutor apps like Question AI and Gauth are gaining popularity in the U.S. for their affordability and personalized assistance.
  • These apps, developed after China's crackdown on its tutoring industry, have seen millions of downloads and offer cost-effective alternatives to traditional tutoring.
  • The rise of AI in education is notable, with many students in the U.S. and U.K. using AI tools for homework and assessments, despite some resistance from schools.

AI tutor apps, particularly from China, are changing how students in the U.S. study by providing affordable and personalized assistance, as reported by TechCrunch.

SensorTower data shows that Question AI, a China-based app, has been downloaded six million times in the U.S. since its 2023 launch, while Gauth, launched by ByteDance in 2019, has seen 12 million installs. Question AI was reportedly developed by the creators of Zuoyebang, a widely used Chinese homework app that has secured approximately $3 billion in funding over the last ten years.

The image is a screenshot of a web page from ByteDance's website detailing information about the product Gauth. The text explains that Gauth is a math tool that utilizes AI to solve learning problems for users globally. It lists responsibilities for a role in the Gauth team, emphasizing tasks like leading user research, analyzing market trends, conducting competitor analysis, and ensuring research quality. The responsibilities also include collaborating with product and operations teams to enhance product offerings and user experience. The design features a clean, professional layout typical of corporate websites.
Job for AI tutor app Gauth is advertised on TikTok parent company ByteDance’s website. Credit: ByteDance

One key to the success of these AI tutor apps has been linked to their cost-effectiveness. The expense of one month of traditional tutoring could cover a year’s subscription to an AI app, according to the report.

The presence of Chinese homework apps in the U.S. market is partly due to a strategic pivot after China’s 2021 crackdown on its own tutoring industry. Many providers have shifted focus to international markets, especially the U.S., using Singapore-based entities to offer services like Question AI and Gauth.

The debate over AI’s role in education continues, but the appeal of these apps in the United States is said to be driven by their affordability and personalized approaches to teaching. Notably, a quarter of the top 20 education apps in the U.S. App Store now use AI to provide instant homework assistance.

Despite their popularity, there is resistance. Several US public school districts have tried to block access to AI platforms like ChatGPT, though enforcing such bans outside school remains challenging, as noted by TechCrunch.

AI in education

In the U.K., a survey found more than half of undergraduate students were turning to AI to complete their studies.

In a poll for the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi), 1000 students were questioned if they used AI applications for work they would be marked on. The findings revealed 53 per cent deployed AI for assessments with 25 per cent using the likes of Google Bard and ChatGPT for suggestions.

According to a Tyton Partners report, nearly half of college students in the U.S. are already using AI educational apps. GenAI writing tools such as ChatGPT, Google Gemini (formerly known as Bard), Microsoft Bing Chat, or Meta Llama 2, were among a handful of applications being used by students.

Featured image: Canva / Ideogram

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Suswati Basu
Tech journalist

Suswati Basu is a multilingual, award-winning editor and the founder of the intersectional literature channel, How To Be Books. She was shortlisted for the Guardian Mary Stott Prize and longlisted for the Guardian International Development Journalism Award. With 18 years of experience in the media industry, Suswati has held significant roles such as head of audience and deputy editor for NationalWorld news, digital editor for Channel 4 News and ITV News. She has also contributed to the Guardian and received training at the BBC As an audience, trends, and SEO specialist, she has participated in panel events alongside Google. Her…

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