Chinese online English tutoring service 51Talk announced today that it has acquired rival 91Waijiao.

English training, exam preparation and professional qualifications are booming areas in China’s online education market. 51Talk, 91Waijiao and a number of other online English tutoring services all do the same thing: connecting Chinese users and native English speakers via online video chat services.

Other major players in the sector include VIPABC, which announced a US$100 million round of funding from investors including Alibaba Group in early last year.

51Talk’s low price strategy has attracted 50,000 paying users since opening for business in 2011. 51Talk has 2500 tutors on its platform while 91Waijiao has about 200.

Venture-backed 91Waijao was founded in late 2012 by Gong Haiyan, founder and former CEO of China’s leading online dating service Jiayuan. After 91Waijiao, Ms. Gong’s team has built two web services for K-12 eduction which have since closed, with the company having burned through the money raised, according to an email from Gong to all employees in last September.

51Talk has announced four rounds of funding, with angel investment from ZhenFund, Series A from DCM, US$12 million in Series B, and US$55 million Series C led by Sequoia Capital.

Editing by Mike Cormack (@bucketoftongues)

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at

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