In the 1980s, the first wave of Mathematical Olympiad fever appeared in China. Mr. Zhou Guozhen, a math teacher, believed traditional math competitions did not help the majority of students learn mathematics – rather, they actively discouraged the students’ interest in learning mathematics. These math competitions were dull and tedious, when what would actually pique students’ desire to further explore learning mathematics would be competitions that were modeled more closely to day-to-day learning to test their abilities. With this reflection on the Mathematical Olympiad, Mr. Zhou Guozhen, together with colleagues from various mathematics and educational circles, initiated the Hope Cup National Mathematics Invitational Competition in 1990. At that time, there were five sponsors: the Popularization Department of the China Association for Science and Technology; China Optimal Method, Coordination Method, and Economic Mathematics Research Association; Higher Education Press; School Work Department of China Youth Daily; and Hua Luogeng Laboratory.

At that time, the Hope Cup was only for students in Grade 7, 8, 10, and 11. In just the first year, it became beloved by educators and students alike, with over 70,000 participating students from more than 30 cities all across China.

The Hope Cup has always been recognized and included in the list of national competitions approved by the former State Education Commission. Throughout the years, an increasing number of mathematicians and mathematics educators enthusiastically supported the Hope Cup. By its tenth edition, there were over 500 participating cites and over 1 million participants each year, totaling 5.98 million participating students overall. The “Hope Cup” Mathematics Invitational Competition became one of the largest and most influential extracurricular event amongst middle school students in China.

After a special trip to China in 1996, the Japanese Mathematical Olympic Committee were completely inspired by the Hope Cup. Upon returning to Japan, they organized Japanese middle school students to participate in the Hope Cup and have participated since.

Since 2000, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan joined in succession, organizing local middle school students to participate in the Hope Cup Invitational Competition.

In 2003, the first Primary School Hope Cup was successfully held and expanded to grades 4-6 of primary schools.

In 2010, the Hope Cup’s international expansion developed rapidly, holding engaging and fun activities and competitions in more than a dozen Language such as the United States, Canada, Singapore, Bulgaria, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam, Egypt, Australia, Indonesia, and Brazil.

In 2020, the Hope Cup extended grade-oriented applications to first grade primary school students, adding more age-appropriate training content to its curriculum.

Since its inception, the Hope Cup has greatly stimulated the enthusiasm of primary and secondary school students in both China and all over the world, injecting new vitality into the mathematic educators’ lesson plans and research.

Hope Cup firmly believes that every progress should be recognized and encouraged as children grow up. Hope Cup is willing to help every child who loves mathematics.