Yuanfudao, an online tutoring platform based in Beijing, has raised $300 million from Chinese Internet conglomerate Tencent in a deal that values the education company at $3 billion.
Tencent led the investment, with Huaping Investment, Matrix Partners China, IDG Capital, and other original shareholders following suit.
Founded in 2012, Yuanfudao offers live tutoring services covering K-12 school subjects and courses for primary and secondary school students. Starting from a photo search engine providing academic support through photo recognition of problems set on paper, the company’s vision is to provide students with a rich bank of education resources without them having to leave the house. All students would need is an Internet connection.
Yuanfudao has, since founding, positioned itself as a technology company, investing heavily in technology research and development. The company established an AI Research Institute in 2014 and incorporated speech recognition, handwriting recognition, and other technologies to its existing photo search engine.
Using technological innovations, Yuanfudao competes against a dozen other Chinese online education platforms, to capitalize on Chinese parents’ desires to provide their children with the best education.
According to Reuters, the company offers live tutoring to over 160 million students that use its mobile apps, with about 1 million of them being paid users.