Claire Jiang, Helen Doron’s Shanghai Master Franchisor, is a shining example of a young businesswoman who hit the ground running and successfully penetrated the highly competitive English education market in China. Before Claire discovered the world of Helen Doron, she dreamed of starting her own business. She majored in English at university, but after graduating, joined British Petroleum and worked with the company for seven years. However, her interest in English education never went away and she felt the need to do something valuable within the field of English.
“After my son was born, I decided I wanted to get involved in early education, which I found more exciting than the petroleum industry,” says Jiang. “I heard about Helen Doron and after some research, I realised it was a fantastic way for children to learn English. The methodology is wonderful. It can really improve how children in China learn to speak the language and I wanted to be involved in bringing the Helen Doron method into China.”
The quiet young woman added, “I wanted to be a real entrepreneur, and was looking for a promising opportunity that would allow me to do that. I was interested in a company that involved children: combining business and early education, because of my baby son. I heard about Helen Doron English and immediately realized that that this is my chance to join a successful, worldwide network, recently launched in China—with endless opportunity for expansion.”
Five years later, Jiang is running a successful Helen Doron Master Franchise in Shanghai, one of the biggest cities in the country. She has 10 Learning Centres operating in the area, with over 2,000 students benefiting from the courses on a monthly basis.
Additionally, Claire and the other Chinese Master Franchisor, Bob (Bin Fu), recently signed for the following new areas: the territory of East China including: Kunshan, Wuxi, Changzhou, Nantong, Xuzhou, Yangzhou, Taizhou, Zhenjiang, Lianyungang and Huaian and Nanjing in the province of Jiangsu and Shaoxing, Wenzhou, Jiaxing, Taizhou, Jinhua, Huzhou, Quzhou, and Lishui in the province of Zhejiang, China.
On the choice of these additional areas, Claire commented “These cities are the neighbors of Shanghai, and following 5 years of successful operation, we would like to bring Helen Doron to these areas and let more kids learn English in a happy, natural way with high-quality teaching. Our plan is to open at least 18 Learning Centres in these cities within 5 years.”
The successful young woman continued, “I am very proud of what we have accomplished so far. Our Learning Centres boast an 85% retention rate and most of our new students come from referrals from pleased parents.” Claire described how her territory within China is very different from the market in Europe. “In China we have a very competitive environment, with MANY competitors who have already been in the market for twelve to fifteen years, and are already very well-known. Parents understand their children must learn English to get ahead in life. Not many people had heard of Helen Doron English when we opened our first Learning Centre in 2010, although the company was already very popular in Europe. So, we are pioneers in China, and we have superior products that really work. Our challenge is to make sure that parents understand that Helen Doron English is the best choice. Our students really do learn to speak English, thanks to the mother-tongue methodology, created by an experienced linguist and educator.”
Claire went on to explain that, “In China, most of the competition offers classes for children with material originally written for adults, which is not appropriate for early English learners. Another major competitor depends mainly on high-tech, electronic media and popular Disney cartoon characters. There is no academic background, no teacher training, the classes aren’t small and specialized by age group and there is really no comparison.
At Helen Doron, the Chinese children benefit not only from the wonderful methodology, but they are also learning English culture and character. They fall in love with English which helps them learn other subjects, as well. My son has benefited from this, and thanks to Helen Doron English, he speaks fluent English.”
Claire proudly concluded, “We have a product that was carefully developed and achieves its goals. We have trained teachers, we have passive learning at home using CDs, we have unique materials and music—we have real teaching! With Helen Doron, we have an exclusive methodology that allows children to learn through play and fun.” No wonder Claire is successful at building a thriving business for herself and strengthening the Helen Doron brand throughout China.