TutorABC, an online English-learning platform under Taiwan’s TutorGroup, recently received a combined investment of US$100 million from China’s largest e-commerce group Alibaba, Temasek and Qiming Venture

TutorABC points way for cross-strait internet economy




Shen Pei-hun, CIO of TutorABC, demonstrates TutorMobile on a tablet. (File photo courtesy of TutorABC)

TutorABC, an online English-learning platform under Taiwan’s TutorGroup, recently received a combined investment of US$100 million from China’s largest e-commerce group Alibaba, Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and China’s Qiming Venture Partners.

With the capital injection and Alibaba’s experience in e-commerce, TutorABC’s online learning functions are expected to expand, bringing a new type of business model integrating the internet economy of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

TutorGroup was established in Taiwan in 2004 by Eric Yang, CEO and the company has built a global online education platform. TutorABC connects English-language learners and teachers from mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Silicon Valley. Retired NBA star Yao Ming has now become the global spokesman for TutorGroup with the aim of providing rural areas in mainland China with high-quality English classes.

In addition, TutorGroup is also expected to add an online Mandarin education platform, after which Taiwan can expect to become a stronghold for Chinese language learning around the world.

Eyeing the enormous demand in mainland China, TutorGroup is expected to improve its services with the company offering online education services, Taiwan providing talent and creative ideas and China contributing to the capital and e-commerce platform.

With its fast and convenient services and reasonable prices, an e-commerce business model allows manufacturers to seize business opportunities even when they are not close by the market.

In online education for example, learners can access teachers around the world by simply logging on to a computer at home. Additionally, Taiwan’s leading online women clothing seller Mayuki drove its sales from NT$28 million (US$925,000) to NT$2 billion (US$66 million), while China’s Taobao offers a wide variety of products for sale to consumers in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Taiwan does not have a large market so companies have to physically operate there when they want to tap into the overseas market. But an e-commerce platform allows global markets to be just around the corner.

Taiwan’s government has sought to boost the economy and the services sector, as well as target the vast potential of the mainland China market. In the meantime, if it can make good use of e-commerce to draw the global market to Taiwan, this will bring a further boost to Taiwan’s economy.

Inspired by TutorABC’s success, the government should consider how e-commerce can benefit Taiwan’s economy and improve the telecommunications industry, increase bandwidth, raise speed and lower the cost of usage. Further, it should reduce obstacles to connecting to the network on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and create an environment that is conducive to the development of e-commerce.


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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