China Edtech Startups Yuanfudao, Zuoyebang Raise Billions in Fresh Funding Rounds

Chinese online education platform Yuanfudao has raised $300 million in a new funding round, bringing the overall funding of the Beijing-based company to $3.5 billion this year.

This is Yuanfudao’s third funding round in 2020, with investment from Yunfeng Capital, a venture fund co-founded by Alibaba’s Jack Ma, according to tech media outlet 36Kr and later confirmed by the company.

In October, the edtech startup announced it had raised $2.2 billion in two rounds of funding that gave the company a valuation of $15.5 billion, already making it the world’s biggest edtech unicorn. The new funding will take the valuation of Yuanfudao to around $17 billion.

The first round of investment in March was led by Tencent Holdings with participation from Hillhouse Capital, Boyu Capital and IDG Capital. The second round in October was led by DST Global.

The company previously said it intends to use the funds for technological innovation, expansion of its services, and to accelerate product and curriculum development.

Founded in 2012, Yuanfudao offers students online courses and homework plans in the Chinese K12 segment. Its wide range of mobile apps – including Yuanfudao, english tutoring app Zebra AI Class, question bank Yuantiku, question search app Xiaoyuan Souti, and mathematics problem checking app Xiaoyuan Kousuan – provide students with live tutoring and homework support.

The company said it has accumulated 400 million users as of January 2020.

China enjoyed an edtech boom fueled by lockdowns and e-learning trends amid the coronavirus outbreak. The online education market is projected to grow by 12% to $61.5 billion this year, according to Caixin Global Intelligence.

Between January and mid-March, Yuanfudao ranked first in in-app purchases on Apple’s Chinese app store’s education category, according to Reuters citing data from App Annie.

Major rival Zuoyebang raised $1.6 billion in its second funding round of the year, according to Chinese media Late Post on Monday. The online tutoring startup secured the investment from Alibaba, Tiger Global, Sequoia, SoftBank Group and FountainVest Partners.

In June, the company raised $750 million from FountainVest Partners, Tiger Global, Qatar Investment Authority and others.

SEE ALSO: Yuanfudao to Possibly Become World’s Most Valued Online Education Unicorn

Zuoyebang, which was founded by search engine giant Baidu in 2014 and spun off in 2015, said it has more than 50 million daily active users and over 12 million paid users.

China’s K-12 online education industry has raised more than 50 billion yuan ($7.6 billion) in 2020 — more than the industry’s total financing in the previous ten years, according to Fastdata.

In June, major rival Zuoyebang secured $750 million from FountainVest Partners, Tiger Global, Qatar Investment Authority and others.

Meishubao Education, a Tencent-backed Chinese online art education platform, announced on Thursday that it raised $210 million in a series D funding round led by US-based private equity firm TPG Capital’s Rise Fund.

Founded in 2014, Meishubao applies artificial intelligence and augmented reality to provide online art lessons for users aged between three and 18 years old. The company said it currently has over 5 million registered users and a total of 500,000 paying users globally.