The rivalry between China's top online learning apps has become even more intense this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The latest company to land a significant round of funding is Zuoyebang, which announced today (link in Chinese) that it has raised $ 1.6 billion in Series E + from investors such as Alibaba Group. Other attendees included returning investors such as Tiger Global Management, the SoftBank Vision Fund, Sequoia Capital China and FountainVest Partners.
Zuoyebangs The latest announcement comes just six months after the announcement of a $ 750 million Series E led by Tiger Global and FountainVest. The latest funding brings Zuoyebang's total to $ 2.93 billion. The company didn't disclose its latest value, but Reuters reported in September that it had made a valuation of $ 10 billion.
One of Zuoyebang's main competitors is Yuanfudao, who announced in October that it had reached a valuation of $ 15.5 billion after completing a $ 2.2 billion round led by Tencent. This put Yuanfudao ahead of Byju as the most valuable ed-tech company in the world. Another popular online learning app in China is Yiqizuoye, which is powered by Singapore's Temasek.
Providing online courses, live lessons and homework help for kindergartens for 12th grade students, Zuoyebang claims there are about 170 million active users attending monthly, of which about 50 million use the service on a daily basis. By comparison, there were around 200 million K-12 students in China in 2019, according to the Ministry of Education (link in Chinese).
In the fall of 2020, the total number of students in Zuoyebang's paid live stream classes topped 10 million, setting an industry record, the company said. While much of the growth was driven by the pandemic, Zuoyebang founder Hou Jianbin said in the company's funding announcement that it expects online education to continue growing in the longer term, investing in K-12 grades and expanding its product categories.