This year witnessed a cut-throat competition between top Chinese online learning apps due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Zuoyebang recently became the latest company to score a notable funding round. On Dec. 28, the company announced that it has raised a $1.6 billion Series E+ from several investors including Alibaba Group. Returning investors such as FountainVest Partners, Sequoia Capital China, SoftBank Vision Fund, and Tiger Global Management also participated.
Just six months before making this announcement, Zuoyebang had announced a $750 million Series E led by FountainVest and Tiger Global. The latest financing increases Zuoyebang’s total raised so far to $2.93 billion. Although the company kept its latest worth under wraps, Reuters reported in Sept. that it was raising at a $10 billion valuation.
Touted as one of Zuoyebang’s main competition, Yuanfudao announced back in Oct. that it reached a $15.5 billion valuation after closing a Tencent led $2.2 billion round. As a result, Yuanfudao dethroned Byju as the world’s most valuable ed-tech company. Yiqizuoye is another popular Chinese online learning app, which is backed by Singapore-based Temasek.
Zuoyebang offers online courses, besides, live lessons and homework help for kindergarten to 12th-grade students. It has nearly 170 million monthly active users, with about 50 million using the service daily. In comparison, there were 200 million K-12 students in China last year, according to the Ministry of Education.
The total number of Zuoyebang’s paid live-stream classes surpassed 10 million in fall 2020, setting an industry record. While a majority of this growth can be attributed to the coronavirus pandemic, Zuoyebang founder Hou Jianbin said during the company’s funding announcement that it expects online education to continue growing in the longer term.
Jianbin said the company plans to expand its product categories and invest in K-12 classes. Watch this space for the latest business news.