Beijing-based ByteDance announced on Thursday that Dali, an independent educational technology (edtech) brand for the Chinese market, has become another major technology company seeking to capitalize on the industry boom driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dali CEO Chen Lin said at a press conference in Beijing that Dali means “powerful force” in Chinese. It will host all education businesses of ByteDance and already has 10,000 employees.
Zhang Yiming, founder and CEO of ByteDance, said in a statement: “We have been interested in the education industry very early. The brand independence of Dali Education is only the beginning of a long journey.”
During the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for educational technology continues to grow due to widespread lockdowns and school closures in China forcing students to take many months of online courses at home.
ByteDance entered the education field in 2016 by investing in edtech startups and developing educational products on its own. The company operates many education-related applications, from English tutoring to live courses.
On Thursday, the company also launched an artificial intelligence-based camera product that can help parents tutor their children. The price is between 799 yuan (approximately 8,800 rupees) and 1,099 yuan (approximately 12,100 rupees) and is currently only sold in China.
Compared with the short video app TikTok, ByteDance made education technology one of its top priorities this year. As Washington fears that Beijing may force the company to hand over user data, the app is under pressure to be separated from its owners.
The eight-year-old ByteDance’s income mainly comes from its Chinese short video app Douyin and news aggregator Jinri Toutiao. Chen said in July that the education business will not be profitable for three years.
The company is a late entrant in China’s online education market. Industry leader Yuan Fudao was established in 2012, and Baidu-backed Zuo Yebang was established in 2013. Yuan Fudao completed three rounds of financing this year. Social media and gaming giant Tencent led the way in two rounds, bringing Yuan Fukushima’s market value to 15.5 billion US dollars (approximately 1155.4 billion rupees).
© Thomson Reuters 2020