Baidu Invests in Qkids, Restructures Education Arm

Baidu invested in AI-driven English education provider, betting on young Chinese learners ages 4 to 12.

Belinda Zhou
    Aug 23, 2019 6:00 PM  PT
Baidu Invests in Qkids, Restructures Education Arm
author: Belinda Zhou   

Baidu Inc. (Nasdaq: BIDU) has backed online education institute Qkids in its Series C round Friday.

The Xiamen-based online English education provider announcing the fundraising today, though it did not specify the amount of the investment. 

Qkids said it will use the proceeds from the funding in talents, product development and marketing. Those strategies includes improving teaching experience and service quality as well as accelerating the layout of emerging markets, according to a statement by Xutian Fu, the chief executive officer of Qkids.

"As a Chinese search engine giant, Baidu is a key entry for customers to access information and services efficiently and conveniently," Fu said, "The cooperation between Baidu and Qkids can help more children to gain growth in the valuable learning process."

Qkids wad launched in early 2015, providing online teaching services from North American English speaking teachers for children aged 4 to 12. The company has a customer base of more than 600,000 paying students and more than 15,000 English speaking teachers.

The company has scored a 5 million yuan investment from a Xiamen-based gaming company G-bits in March 2015. In round A, it raised 30 million yuan from Guojin Capital and Woofoo Capital in October 2016 and obtained 50 million in Series B from IDG Capital in May 2017.

Baidu's Cloud and Artificial Intelligence Platform have been exploring applications in the English language education field. Baidu's DuerOS, a voice assistant for the Chinese language released by Baidu, can be applied in the education field with enhanced infrared-enabled voice control, according to Fu. Baidu said in its earnings release this week that its AI developer base has grown to 1.3 million developer accounts in the first six months of this year. 

Shares in Baidu dropped 3 percent to $101.85 apiece Friday.