Web International English seems to be finished in China.
An internal Web memo in Guangzhou and Foshan, forwarded to This is by a source close to the situation, revealed that the “company training centers could no longer remain in operation” for lack of “funds”. Workers’ compensation schemes would be affected by the shutdown, with teachers not expected to receive their full salaries, according to the internal announcement. The memo goes on to inform former employees of resignation procedures as well as a transfer process for workers interested in seeking employment at an alternative company.
A teacher who previously taught at one of the web centers in Guangzhou said teachers and students had been led to believe that the centers in Guangzhou and Foshan were working well and would continue regardless of the centers in other Chinese cities, which have closed for the past few weeks. It was not until Tuesday evening that teachers and students became aware of the current situation of the company.
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On the Guangzhou-Foshan Web English WeChat account, two announcements were sent between 11:42 p.m. and 12:12 a.m. last night regarding the closures of Guangzhou and Foshan centers. A WeChat message for students in Guangzhou included a timetable indicating when former students can enter and request a refund, while a message for students in Foshan said the center would not be open for three days and would return in near future to release information.
Picture via @a真zhen/Weibo
On Weibo, the hashtag #GuangzhouFoshanWebEnglishStopsBusiness# (#广佛韦博英语停止营业#) started trending on Wednesday morning, with several netizens calling for the business to shut down without reimbursing students. A web student expressed her disdain on Weibo just hours after learning about the closure of training centers. She said, “Obviously this has been going on for a long time. The company gave no warning to students in advance, only saying that Guangzhou and Foshan operate independently and there would be no influence. [from other cities]. And the result, now they tell us the business is closed, WTF, what about the money I paid? Can I stop my loan? I don’t want to pay the bank without even taking a course.
The firm’s sudden closure in southern China follows the closure of its Shanghai and Beijing centers in recent weeks, leading many students to file complaints after agreeing to take out loans to pay for school fees. training center fees, according to 21st Century Business Herald.
A report of Beijing News Web’s Shanghai headquarters was virtually vacant last week, with only a handful of former workers hanging around asking for their final paycheck. A former employee says Beijing News that when staff returned on October 8 after the National Day, the police and other government agencies had become involved and headquarters staff had been asked to resign.
On October 13, Shine reported that Gao Weiyu, the company’s founder and CEO, issued a letter on Saturday, stating that Web was struggling financially due to declining performance as well as rising costs dating back to the last year. EF Education First has agreed to host some of Web’s students while the Web leadership team continues discussions with other English language training centers.
According to Gao’s profile on business credit report website tianyancha.com, cited by Shine, Gao had 95 companies with 124 risk warnings related to their practices, including consumer rights violation disputes.
The company has been operating since 1998, with more than 150 centers in 60 cities across China, according to Web’s website.
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[Cover image via @情未了2286613951/Weibo]