Online tutor Yuanfudao raises $120 million from Warburg Pincus, Tencent

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese online tutoring company Yuanfudao said on Wednesday it raised $120 million from private equity firm Warburg Pincus and Tencent Holdings 0700.HK, putting it among a raft of unicorns valued at more than $1 billion in the world's second largest economy.

Warburg Pincus led the funding round, which also had Tencent, China’s biggest social network and a previous backer of Yuanfudao, among investors, Yuanfudao said in a statement. It did not say how much of a stake Warburg Pincus and Tencent got for the cash infusion.

The Beijing-based company offers live tutoring to over 160 million students that use its mobile apps, with about 1 million of them paying users, Yuanfudao added.

Previous backers of Yuanfudao also include venture capital firms IDG Capital and Matrix Partners China.

A $1 billion valuation for technology startups used to be so rare, venture capital investors used the term unicorn to describe them. The number of unicorns has soared in recent years as institutional investors poured billions of dollars looking for the next Alibaba Group Holding BABA.N or Facebook Inc FB.O.

There were 197 unicorns around the world, according to research firm CB Insights, with 47 of them from China, the second-most after the 104 from the United States.

Reporting by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman