Codemao, a Chinese online education platform that offers coding classes to kids, announced on Monday that it has secured 400 million yuan ($57 million) in a Series C round of financing led by the Russia-China Investment Fund.
The round was joined by Hillhouse Capital; Asia-focused private equity firm SAIF Partners; Everbright New Economy USD Fund, a $483-million investment platform of Hong Kong-based financial services company China Everbright Limited; and Chinese state-owned Guangdong Technology Financial Group.
Codemao’s existing shareholders, including Chinese internet-focused venture capital firm Crystal Stream, Beijing-based mobile apps developer Cheetah Mobile, and China’s GreenPine Capital Partners, also participated in the investment.
Startups providing programming classes continued to rake in capital in 2018 despite an overall economic slowdown. Nearly $116 million was poured into this track across 33 deals, according to the Blue Paper of Education 2018, valuing the market at about $580 million.
The increasing enthusiasm for coding education in China comes as the country moves to become an artificial intelligence (AI) powerhouse by promoting the development of domestic high-tech industries including robotics, aerospace, smart manufacturing, and autonomous vehicles.
China’s State Council issued a statement in July 2017, recommending AI curriculum development in primary and secondary schools. In 2018, a pilot project in eastern China’s coastal province of Zhejiang included coding – the computer language used to build software, websites and apps – as part of college entrance examinations.
Codemao, founded in March 2015 and operated by Shenzhen Dianmao Technology Limited, delivers online coding education to 31.47 million students and 11,500 public schools across 23 cities, provinces and autonomous regions in China.
The company has booked over 200 million yuan ($28 million) in corporate income in the first three quarters in 2019, according to a statement.
Russia-China Investment Fund is a private equity vehicle established by sovereign wealth funds in China and Russia in June 2012 to promote the economic cooperation between the two countries. The investment platform, with $2 billion in assets under management (AUM), injects 70 per cent of its capital into companies in Russia and 30 per cent into Chinese firms.