China Online Education Group Files IPO Paperwork with SEC

(Photo: Fabian Irsara, Creative Commons)

(Photo: Fabian Irsara, Creative Commons)

One of the leading online education platform in China, the China Online Education Group, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

The China Online Education Group (CEG), incorporated in 1998, is an online education platform with expertise in English education. As measured by gross billings in 2015, it's one of the top online education platforms, and it's the largest online English education platform in China as measured by 2015 gross billings and the number of foreign teachers available at the end of that year. In the 12 months ending on March 31st of this year, the company made $31 million in sales, reports Renaissance Capital.

The CEG describes itself as offering educational and career development:

CEG is a remarkably energetic and eynamic educational company providing ample job and career development opportunities in areas such as information technology, education counseling, program administration, corporate sales, marketing, program development, student service, as well as teaching on both undergraduate and graduate level.

At CEG, you will find a wide variety of challenging roles. You will be encouraged to make full use of your skills, and offered opportunities to learn more and advance your career. To attract and keep the best in the industry CEG nurtures our employees' talents through a culture that is open and inclusive, where people can achieve their individual and professional goals through teamwork and collaboration.

English education in China tends to focus on test preparation rather than real-world elements like English proficiency and communication skills, and the CEG seeks to rectify that problem. With the company's online and mobile platforms, students in China can take one-on-one live interactive lessons with teachers around the world at any time. The service also provides student and teacher feedback and data analytics that matches teachers to students based on their characteristics and aptitudes. Each 25-minute lesson costs only about $5.

Prospective teachers go through a selection process and training, and then have the flexibility of being able to choose their availability, reports Chris Lange of 24/7 Wall St.

According to their website, the company has partnered with universities like Stanford, Harvard, Yale, UC Berkeley, University of Iowa, and UNC Charlotte. Available courses in partnership with these universities include fully online programs, study abroad programs, Master's Degrees, and education for senior executives.

In the filing, the Beijing-based company said:

Our mission is to make quality education accessible and affordable. Recognizing the strong demand for improving English proficiency and the lack of effective and affordable solutions in China, our founders started with English education as the first step of our journey.

The CEG filed an F-1 form. No pricing details were given, but the offering was valued at up to $100 million, though this may just be a placeholder. It plans to use the net proceeds for sales, marketing activities, course development, and technology infrastructure, reports Chalida Ekvitthayavechnukul of Deal Street Asia.

The company hasn't yet decided on which exchange to list its American depositary shares.

The offering's underwriters are Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.

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