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Baidu invests in test prep site as China’s internet giants vie for quality education content

wanxue

Chinese search giant Baidu made another step into the online education sector over the weekend with an investment of “millions of dollars” into cloud learning portal Wanxue, according to Yicai.

Shortly after receiving its series C round of funding, Wanxue moved to a new domain name under Baidu’s existing education portal: wanxue.jiaoyu.baidu.com.

Wanxue specializes in prep courses for post-graduate entrance exams and civil service exams, which it offers in 25 provinces, regions, and municipalities across China. It has 535 professors on its network.

The company received US$20 million in its previous round from DCM, Sequoia Capital, Lenovo, and Phoenix in 2011. In 2008, it also received US$20 million from Sequoia Capital and Lenovo.

Baidu has been in the online education game for a couple years now, and is fighting for quality content against Tencent and Alibaba to add to its elearning portal.

Tencent touts QQ classrooms, a feature built into the popular QQ Messenger desktop applications that allows for live sessions with video, text, and presentations. Those courses can be found on the company’s education portal.

Alibaba sells online courses on the educational arm of ecommerce marketplace Taobao. It also participated in a US$100 million funding round in TutorGroup, an English-language learning service.

See: Coursera picks up steam in China as more students take MOOCs on mobile

All three companies are racing to amass the broadest and highest quality library of educational courses. Yicai cites iMediaResearch, saying China’s online education market will maintain annual growth of 30 percent for the next few years, surpassing RMB 160 billion (US$26 billion) next year.

Editing by Steven Millward

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