Tencent cash out HK$700 million from selling its stake in the live-streaming unit of China’s biggest private tutoring group

June 21, 2022 11:10 pm

Tencent Holdings has cashed out nearly HK$700 million from selling its stake in Hong Kong-listed Koolearn Technology, as China’s biggest private tutoring group New Oriental Education & Technology shifted its focus to live-streaming shopping.

Tencent sold 35.6 million shares on June 15 and 38.9 million shares on June 16 at an average price of HK$9.62 to HK$9.68 each, according to stock exchange filings. The total amount of disinvestment worth HK$719.7 million (US$92 million). After the selling, Tencent held 9 percent stakes in Koolearn, reducing from 1.6 per cent.

Koolearn Technology, which is 55.7 per cent owned by New Oriental Education & Technology, shifted its business focus to live-streaming shopping after China last year struck the for-profit online education platforms.

Koolearn stock jumped more than sixfold from June 10 to 16 after New Oriental’s live-streaming sessions went viral on Douyin earlier this month.

Koolearn capitalized on the sudden rise to popularity of Dong Yuhui, a former English teacher who now sells books and agricultural products on Dongfang Zhenxuan, a Douyin account.

Dong’s livestreaming session cashed in 63 million yuan in gross merchandise volume on June 16, according to data compiled by Citic Securities. By far, Dongfang Zhenxuan has amassed 17 million followers for its account on Douyin.

After-school tutoring sector was hammered by China’s regulator July last year after China’s Ministry of Education issued guidance for banning for-profit off-campus tutoring.

The document detailed problems posed by extracurricular education companies, including:

1.      Excessive after-class learning institutions exist. If left unchecked, an education system outside the compulsory education system will be formed, which will raise the load on students and the financial burden on parents and disrupt teaching arrangements of compulsory education.

2.      Violations of laws and regulations occur from time to time. Wrongdoings, including misleading consumers, false advertising, and price fraud, have seriously harmed the interests of the people.

3.      The sector is seriously "hijacked by capital." In recent years, a large amount of capital has been poured into the training industry, sparking the fierce cash-burning war, violating the public welfare nature of education, and destroying the normal ecology of education.