(Yicai Global) Dec. 14 – NetEase founder Ding Lei, also known as William Ding, will invest CNY100 million (USD14.5 million) in Eastedu Science & Technology, an online teaching company, to help more schools in China's impoverished areas get access to online teaching and improve the quality of online education.
Chengdu-based Eastedu, founded in 2000, is a supplier and service provider specializing in primary and secondary school teaching programs. It provides help to more than 600 remote cooperative online schools, with nearly 300,000 students, covering the provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Gansu, Shanxi, and Jiangxi as well as the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region and Chongqing municipality, public data showed.
This is not the first time Ding has invested in the education sector. NetEase and Higher Education Press jointly created an online university course platform, which works with more than 270 universities across the country to share free high-quality higher education resources with users.
Eastedu's recent attempt in Sichuan province drew Ding's interest. The company connected the classroom of a key middle school in the provincial capital Chengdu with a middle school in a poverty-stricken area in Yunnan through an online platform, thus achieving remote synchronous teaching.
"This is wonderful! But I think it's not enough to have just 200 schools on the platform. We should connect 2,000, even 20,000 schools. NetEase will invest USD14.5 million to help more schools get connected," Ding commented on his WeChat account.
Changjiang Securities, a securities firm headquartered in Wuhan, central Hubei Province, has made a simple calculation on the growth of the education informatization market (including only the software) based on the number of senior middle schools amid China's new college entrance examinations. The market is expected to grow at a rate of CNY3 billion (USD435 million) per year, with the market size over the next five years estimated to be around CNY10 billion, Changjiang said.