Pineapple Online, also called Boluo Zaixian, a tutoring platform in China focused on teaching international school subjects at a high school level, has closed its Series A round with tens of millions of yuan in funding, according to a report by KrASIA’s parent company 36Kr.
Founded in 2016, Pineapple Online provides one-on-one online lessons for IB, AP, A-Levels, and the US National High School curriculum, tapping a growing trend in China where international schools are viewed as a stepping stone for students who wish to attend universities overseas.
In 2018, China had more than 800 international schools, which had around 550,000 students, according to data cited on 36Kr.
These schools are big businesses. Average tuition ranges from RMB 100,000 to 200,000 a year, and opting for after-school tutoring services add as much as RMB 60,000.
Pineapple Online charges students RMB 500 to 800 per class hour.
Shengli Investment, which led this fundraising round, says China’s international education market has grown rapidly in the past two years, and it expects the trend to continue owing to the relative scarcity of high-quality educational resources paired with rising consumer purchasing power, as well as the growth of first-tier cities and increasing awareness in second-tier cities about international schools.
A number of startups are looking to capitalize on the space. Last month, international curricula tutoring company Weixun also completed a Series A round worth tens of millions of RMB. Other players in the field include Mota, GrowAlong, and Pebble Education, all of whom have been highlighted on 36Kr previously.
Pineapple Online will use its new funds to polish its teaching and research products, streamline internal operations, and provide greater teacher training, said founder Ge Siqi.