Beijing-based Grand Education, which runs an app and also bricks-and-mortar training schools to help individuals pass civil servant tests in China, raised RMB 200 million (nearly USD 30 million) in its Pre-Series A equity financing round, 36Kr reported Wednesday.
Since 1993, the Chinese national government and provincial governments hold annual entrance exams for those who want to be civil servants. The second hurdle is a face-to-face interviews. If you pass both, you can finally be enrolled.
More than 1.37 million individuals applied in 2018 to take the 2019 national entrance exams, competing for a mere 14,500 positions.
The fact that there are many more applicants than positions available has led to the flourishing of a training sub-sector, with Offcn as the largest player.
The company was set up as early as 1999 and listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange in 2018 via a backdoor listing. It focuses mainly on offline training and predicted early this month that its net profit in the first half year will be nearing RMB 500 million (USD 34.3 million), up 135.5% year-on-year.
Grand Education is a newcomer in this sector, but its founder Weihua is not. Before setting up Grand in 2018, Wei was vice president of Huatu Education, another established player, according to training-focused media outlet Duozhi.com.
Wei revealed that by the end of June, Grand has opened 10 offline training schools and made a revenue of more than RMB 10 million (USD 1.45 million). He expected revenue to reach RMB 100 million with 15 to 20 schools by year-end.
Grand’s mobile app now sells online live-broadcasts or pre-recorded courses between RMB 199 (USD 29) and RMB 8,000 (USD 1,165) and also offers online testing for free. Wei says Grand’s app acquired 100,000 users since last September. The app allows each user to customize their learning plan.
Unlike other online courses that last 2 hours, Grand allows its online learnings to make full use of their fragmented time.
“Learners can watch the courses in 30 minutes when on a metro train and answer ten exercise questions when having lunch,” Wei said in an interview with Duozhi.com.
36Kr is KrAsia’s parent company.