ByteDance to invest in education technology business

BEIJING (Reuters) – A senior executive at TikTok owner ByteDance said the company plans to invest “a huge amount” of capital into its newly-established education technology business but warned that the unit will be unlikely to profit in the next three years.

Beijing-based ByteDance has made education technology one of its top priorities alongside short video app TikTok, which is facing scrutiny in Washington over suspicions China could force the company to turn over user data.

Chen Lin, senior vice president at ByteDance, said in an internal speech that the company entered the education technology sector in 2016 via investments and trying out various projects, according to a transcript published by the company on social media.

ByteDance operates one-on-one English tutoring app GoGoKid and online course livestreaming app Qingbei.

Eight-year-old ByteDance’s revenue mainly comes from its Chinese short video app Douyin and news aggregator Jinri Toutiao. The company is a late entrant to China’s education technology market, as industry leader Yuanfudao was founded in 2012 and rival Zuoyebang started up in 2013.

The industry was one of a few sectors that saw its fortunes shine during the coronavirus pandemic as widespread lockdowns in China and school closures forced students to take online classes from home for many months.

(Reporting by Yingzhi Yang in Beijing and Brenda Goh in Shanghai, editing by Louise Heavens)

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