Baidu, one of China’s largest tech companies has a new battleground to defend its position as the B in China’s BAT oligopoly (Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent) against upstart ByteDance—K12 English education. K12 education refers to education for children from kindergarten through to the twelfth grade.
The Beijing-based search giant recently participated in QKids’ Series C funding round as the lead investor, according to 36Kr. The companies did not disclose the size of the investment.
QKids is an online English tutoring platform that provides small group classes, usually with one North American tutor for every two to four Chinese students. Though Baidu had previously invested in other K12 education projects such as coding education and homework database, QKids was their first investment in K12 English education.
Baidu’s rival ByteDance set up a similar online English tutoring platform as early as last year. ByteDance, the company behind viral short-video app TikTok, has also reportedly tested a new English learning app called Tangyuan English.
Baidu’s foray into K12 English education came only weeks after ByteDance launched a direct challenge to Baidu’s core business by setting up its own search engine.
Last week, ByteDance bought a 22% stake in Baike.com an online encyclopedia platform and Baidu Baike’s longterm competitor.