Strong-minded and adventurous might be the best way to describe Dixon Dai, the CEO and co-founder of China’s leading O2O platform Juesheng.com. This attitude is in the very DNA of his company.
His thirty-four trips to Tibet since 2004 say something about Dai. Every time he went he designed a different travelling route, putting himself in touch with nature and challenging his limits. He calls all the trips thrilling even when they put him in dangerous situations.
“I like to break my limits, because this can give me a good sense of controlling my life,” Dai told AllChinaTech.
This attitude is reflected in Dai’s adventurous business journey. Prior to 2011, Dai was the vice-president of online travel information provider Qunar. When Chinese search engine giant Baidu became the largest shareholder of Qunar, he resigned from his position to build a startup.
“I had got what I wanted from Qunar and it was meaningless to stay there any longer, so I quit my post to do a startup where I would challenge myself by using Qunar’s business model,” Dai said.
Founded in 2012 in Beijing, the online to offline (O2O) platform “Juesheng” or “full victory” in English, aims to provide full-scale education services. Its products include early education, K-12 realtime counseling, non-K-12 education and vocational education to students aged 3 to 22, as well for parents and teachers through its official website and subsidiary mobile applications.
“Medicine, education, travelling, and on-demand services are profitable industries with Chinese people, but the last two already have classified listings platforms and I don’t know medicine, so I chose the education industry,” Dai said.
“With my expertise in IT, we aim to build an Internet ‘plus’ education company to make strides into the flourishing online education realm,” he added.
China is definitely seeing a robust market in the online education sector. According to a report titled China Internet Education Trend Report released by Chinese search engine giant Baidu last Wednesday, the online education market in China will reach RMB 280 billion in 2017, with an annual growth rate of 30%, ranking third out of all industries, with information technology and the e-commerce industry taking the top spots.
Who are the backers?
Juesheng.com has closed four rounds of financing to date. Their most recent, last December’s Series C round, saw the company land over RMB 200 million from Tangel Publishing Company and individuals from China’s biggest tech companies, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent. The company is valued at RMB 899 million.
Dai said that the Series C funding will help the platform find more talent and grow further.
Four listed companies are now Juesheng.com shareholders, including the U.S.-listed educational services provider New Oriental Education & Technology Group and IT training firm Tarena International Inc; and the domestically-listed Tangel Publishing and China Equity Group Inc.
With strong support, Juesheng.com listed on China’s New Third Board in March, which is a national over-the-counter stock exchange, allowing SME enterprises with investable funds of no less than RMB five million into the capital markets.
Dai said that there are as many as 1.4 million education companies and their platform aims to help them to solve problems in promotion and marketing. The platform has over 250,000 registered merchants and more than 20,000,000 registered users to date.
The company currently makes a profit from operational service charges and commission fees from the educational institutions on its platform.
The platform is also building a powerful search engine which will help customers find education services and products with the goal of helping customers locate the most suitable and reliable educational institutions.
“We will integrate more resources from different industries to build an internet education empire,” Dai said.
(Top photo from chuansong.me)