China has always put a heavy emphasis on education. Coupled with the fact that China has the largest and fastest growing online population surpassing 649 million users, it’s no wonder that many big Chinese companies have acquired or invested heavily in online education startups, or established joint ventures with traditional private education companies. More than 100 education startups pocketed funding in the year 2014 alone, according to ITjuzi.com, a Chinese online database for startups.
Starting from Internet giants, Tencent’s QQ IM and Alibaba’s Taobao have enabled the delivery of online video courses, followed by Baidu’s investment of US$80 million into Hujiang in April 2014. Alibaba and Peking University jointly launched Chinese MOOCs, an online course platform for the global Chinese-speaking audience and Tencent launched a live video course feature on QQ IM.
TAL Education Group (NYSE: XRS), a K-12 focused Chinese education company, invested in more than 30 online education startups during the year, including RMB150 million (US$25 million) Series C funding to early education website Babytree and US$20 million in Series C funding to Guokr, provider of Coursera, edX, and Udacity courses with Chinese subtitles.
Interactive video platform YY launched 100.com, an online education platform for TOEFL and IELTS early last year and acquired two divisions of edu24ol.com, an online school for vocational education and English training.
The infographic below depicts important data points of the China’s education market. Here are the highlights: