51CTO, a Chinese training company in Information Technology, has closed a USD 20 million Series C round of funding led by Gaocheng Capital, soothing the nerves of millions of Chinese workers who are fearful of ‘being abandoned by the new era.’
Last October, a Python training provider’s advertisement in WeChat moments spread fast. It grasped the anxiety of modern employees over learning new computer languages precisely and has became one of the most successful marketing campaigns that year. The global IT training market grew to USD 68.4 billion in 2019. Although those who work in jobs related to IT directly are the primary students for IT training courses, general business professionals and consumers who use IT applications daily are joining as applicants to such training courses recently.
51CTO generates its revenue from the business-to-consumer (B2C) channels mainly, compared with business-to-business (B2B), the company’s founder Xiong Ping claimed. However, the company is eyeing a tremendous opportunity in B2B markets, as more enterprises are adding budgets and spending on improving employees’ IT skillsets.
51CTO sells to enterprises like the State Grid Corporation of China sets of standardized training courses priced at around CNY 100,000 (USD 14,000). It also provides customized packages (a common need when selling to large Chinese enterprises), which can include contents, tests and other services. China Telecom and Tencent are opting for the second choice, paying the company between tens of thousands to millions of yuan.
Due to the evolving nature of IT, the content must be adapted and updated to suit customers’ needs. As of now, 51CTO maintains around 10,000 courses, 40% of which were produced and uploaded in 2019.