China-based English e-learning site 91 Waijiao lands $4m from the CEO of Internet firm NetEase

China-based English e-learning site 91 Waijiao lands $4m from the CEO of Internet firm NetEase

The CEO of Chinese Internet company NetEase has pumped RMB24 million (about $4 million) into English-tutoring site 91 Waijiao, according to media reports from China (via Tech in Asia).

91 Waijiao is an online-learning platform that offers face-to-face video classes with native English speakers for students in China to practice their spoken English.

William Ding has effectively bought a 20 percent stake in the site with his investment, according to a report from a local newspaper that primarily caters to the Hunan province in China. 91 Waijiao founder and CEO Gong Haiyan confirmed to the newspaper that the $4 million amount is “not too far off,” though the report noted that when contacted, NetEase spokespeople said they had not been told of such news.

According to various media reports, 91 Waijiao has about 20 investors knocking on its door — among them angel investors Xu Xiaoping and Charles Xue.

Gong said that she will invest a total of RMB10 million ($1.6 million) into 91 Waijiao, after having already invested RMB4 million ($650,000) in the first two months of the site’s operation. She expressed confidence in the e-learning market in China, saying that “in five to eight years, there will be huge progress in the online learning market.”

Next up for 91 Waijiao will be to focus on hiring people and raising capital over the next few months — and as the founder, Gong has said she will remain the controlling shareholder of the company.

Gong was also the founder of Chinese online dating site Jiayuan, which listed on the New York Stock Exchange (DATE) and was reported to have raised as much as $100 million with its offering.

Headline image via Thinkstock

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