Beijing-based online education platform Huohua Siwei has raised USD 100 million in its Series E2 round led by Tencent (HKSE: 0700), and joined by Carlyle Group as well as edtech company Yuanfudao, 36Kr reported on Monday.
The latest round brings Huohua’s total fundraising to USD 440 million since the company was founded in 2017. Huohua closed its USD 150 million Series E1 round led by KKR in August and received an investment of USD 30 million from China’s second largest short video platform Kuaishou in April.
This new funding comes at a time when online education received a boost from the COVID-19 pandemic in China as classrooms were shut for more than eight months so that students had to learn at home. Huohua went live with its online math-teaching courses in March 2018, launched Chinese classes in August 2019, and English this August.
The company has gathered 85,000 daily learners on its various learning apps, including Huohua Siwei Ketang, featuring math classes delivered by human teachers via livestreaming, and XiaoHuohua AI Ke, providing AI-enabled math courses. The number of Huahua’s total learners has reached 250,000.
Huohua is among a slew of companies that are gaining investors’ support to compete for hundreds of millions of students in China. Beijing-based iHuman, also known as Hongen in China, has just raised USD 84 million in its initial public offering, KrASIA reported on Friday. iHuman features several educational apps, including iHuman Chinese, which teaches 3 to 8-years-old kids Chinese characters with cartoons and games, Magic Math, and English World. The company has gathered 10.3 million monthly active users by the second quarter of 2020.
Shanghai-based education company Zhangmen recently raised USD 400 million from investors including SoftBank and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. The company boosts an app called Zhangmen Yiduiyi, allowing students from kindergarten to high school to receive one-on-one tutoring on all school subjects from English to Math online. So far, the app has reached more than 40 million users located in more than 600 cities in China.
Huohua’s new investor Yuanfudao itself was reportedly raising USD 1.2 billion of fresh money in September, following a USD 1 billion round in March. The company owns AI-powered English and math-teaching tutoring app Banma AI Ke, the all-subject education app Yuanfudao, and operates Fenbi, a learning site for adults who aim to pass entrance exams to be national civil servants.