Caixin
Aug 03, 2018 05:40 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Online Educator VIPKid Sees World as Its Classroom

Online-education specialist VIPKid plans to open seven new overseas offices over the next three years. Photo: VCG
Online-education specialist VIPKid plans to open seven new overseas offices over the next three years. Photo: VCG

Online education specialist VIPKid, whose backers include basketball legend Kobe Bryant, detailed plans for a major expansion over the next three years, becoming the latest such Chinese firm to take advantage of internet-based learning to fuel its rapid growth.

VIPKid plans to open seven new overseas offices, complementing its existing three, and expand its services to 100 countries over the next three years, it said on Thursday, in a broader announcement of its latest product offerings.

The company said it now has 500,000 paying students in 63 countries, including Japan, France, Brazil and South Korea. Its teaching base includes over 60,000 instructors in the U.S. and Canada.

“We are confident that the unparalleled quality of the learning experience that we offer through our teachers and education products will resonate with children around the world,” said VIPKid founder and CEO Cindy Mi. “We are proud to continue providing personalized learning to the next generation of global citizens, bridging cultures and countries around the world.”

VIPKid also announced a new strategic partnership with software giant Microsoft Corp.’s China unit that will see the pair develop smart classroom technology that helps to analyze student behavior and personalize the learning experience.

VIPKid announced the deal as a new crop of Chinese education companies have rapidly expanded by using internet-based technologies to, for example, allow students in China have one-on-one classes at times of their choosing with tutors in America. Many of those firms have raised hundreds of millions of dollars through initial public offerings in New York and Hong Kong.

One of the latest saw Koolearn Technology Holding Ltd., backed by internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., file last month for a listing in Hong Kong. Another saw Puxin Ltd. raise $120 million in June through a float on the New York Stock Exchange.

VIPKid is itself no stranger to fundraising, taking advantage of recent positive sentiment to raise its own $500 million through a private funding round in June. In addition to Kobe Bryant, the company’s backers include Tencent, Sequoia Capital and Yunfeng Capital, which is a private equity investor connected to Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

Contact reporter Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

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