China’s leading online education platform Yuanfudao has announced the completion of its $2.2 billion Series G round with an additional funding of $1.2 billion in the ongoing round.
The latest round of $2.2 billion includes the previous $1 billion, which the company has raised in March earlier this year. While the Series G1 round was led by Tencent and Hillhouse Capital, with participation from Boyu Capital and IDG Capital, the latest G2 round was led by DST Global, with participation from CITICPE, GIC, Temasek, TBP, DCP, Ocean Link, Greenwoods and Danhe Capital, according to a press statement.
Meanwhile, Yuanfudao’s latest funding has pushed its total valuation to $15.5 billion, making it become the world’s most valuable company in the education technology space. Yuanfudao’s post-round valuation surpassed Indian edtech giant BYJU’s, which is valued at $11.1 billion. The company’s valuation was $7.8 billion when it closed its Series G1 round in March.
Founded in 2012, Yuanfudao provides K-12 after school tutoring, pre-school enlightenment and adult education services to over 400 million users across China. It offers a suite of education products and services, including artificial intelligence-enabled virtual classes, live tutoring, a databse of exam problems, online question bank (Yuantiku), question searching app (Xiaoyuan), and arithmetic problem checking app (Xiaoyuan Kousuan, among others.
Yuanfudao is the leading brand for China’s primary and secondary school online courses, while its Zebra AI Class is the largest online course platform for pre-school education in China. Currently, these two major online course platforms serve approximately 3.7 million students, who use their regular-priced courses, making Yuanfudao the largest online education company in China by number of students. Yuanfudao is also ranked first in China in-app purchases in the education category between January and mid-March, according to mobile app performance tracker App Annie.
According to a press statement, the new funding will allow Yuanfudao to further capitalize on its educational technology innovation, accelerate new curriculum product development and expand its online education service system.
Yuanfudao has established a number of teaching and curriculum development centers and branches across China, including in Wuhan, Xi’an, Zhengzhou, Nanjing, Chengdu, Jinan, Changsha, Tianjin, Chongqing, Shenyang, Changchun, and Hefei, with more than 30,000 employees.
The Beijing-headquartered company has also set up a research institute for artificial intelligence, Yuanfudao AI Research Institute, in 2014, becoming the first online education service provider that runs its own AI research institute and top-notch technology laboratory. According to reports, Yuanfudao AI Research Institute currently has approximately 100 members from a number of top-tier educational institutions and corporates such as Tsinghua University, Peking University, Chinese Academy of Sciences and Microsoft.
China’s online education sector is keeping its momentum going in terms of funding, raising hundreds of millions of dollars. Just earlier this month, Zhangmen, a Shanghai-based online tutoring platform, has raised $400 million from a host of investors, including SoftBank, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Genesis Capital, and CMC Capital. In June, Yuanfudao’s close rival Zuoyebang has raised $750 million in fresh funding round, valuing at $11 billion, led by FountainVest Partners and Tiger Global Management.