NetDragon, a Chinese mobile and game developer, raised a $52.5 million Series A for its online education subsidiary Best Assistant Education, valuing it at $477.5 million. Investors include IDG Capital Partners, Vertex Venture and Alpha Animation.
Founded in 1999 NetDragon is behind the popular MMORPGs Eudemons Online and Conquer Online and runs China’s leading online gaming portal 17173.com. In 2013 NetDragon sold its smartphone app store 91 Wireless to Baidu in the biggest Internet M&A at that date.
After expanding its game network globally in 2003, NetDragon started to develop content in the online education space. With the new funding the company is planning to build Best Assistant Education into a lifelong learning education ecosystem, covering K-12, vocational, non-academic credential and lifelong educational products. At its core the educational products will be made for mobile users and incorporate gamification elements to make learning fun and engaging.
“We believe the education industry is ripe for a major change. There is a strong and ever-growing need for a mobile educational platform that creates true educational value and makes people want to come back to learn more. We at NetDragon are fortunate to be in a very unique position to build such a product with our proven world-class mobile internet and gaming expertise, large-scale technology resources and team infrastructure that we have built out of scaling several successful businesses over the many years since our inception.”
states Dejian Liu, Chairman and Executive Director of NetDragon in the press release.
Though classic brick and mortar education and tutoring are still predominant in China, a growing number of students shows interest in web based alternatives which are perceived as less strict and costly. China is the second major market for US-based MOOC juggernaut Coursera and domestic MOOC platforms like Kaikeba or mobile learning startups like Kuailexue attracted significant funding in 2014.
- NetDragon Online Education Subsidiary Raises US$52.5 million in Series A Funding | PR Newswire
- Online learning is becoming more popular | The Economist