Biz / Tech

Shanghai AI-driven LAIX surges 28% on share trading debut on NYSE

Zhu Shenshen
LAIX, which attracted 83.8 million registered users by June, will use the IPO funds to invest more on research, marketing and overseas expansion.
Zhu Shenshen
Shanghai AI-driven LAIX surges 28% on share trading debut on NYSE
TI GONG / Ti Gong

Wang Yi (center), co-founder and CEO of LAIX, attends his company's IPO ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

LAIX Inc, or Liulishuo, a Shanghai-based AI-driven online English language platform, opened 28 percent higher Thursday on the first trading day on the New York stock market.

The company, founded in 2013, Thursday unveiled the pricing of its initial public offering of 5.75 million American depositary shares at US$12.50 per ADS, which came up to US$71.9 million. By 10:20pm Beijing Time, its shared surged 28 percent to US$16.

“LAIX and its tools have greatly lowered the entry threshold of English learning and popularize English learning,” Wang Yi, founder and chief executive of the company, said during a webcast interview.

LAIX, which attracted 83.8 million registered users by June, will use the IPO funds to boost investment on research, marketing and especially overseas expansion, Wang added.

In 2016, LAIX’s revenue totaled 12.3 million yuan (US$1.8 million) before jumping to 165.5 million yuan in 2017 and 232.3 million yuan in the first half of 2018. The company, however, is still losing money as it made a loss of 182.3 million yuan in the first half of this year.

Hujiang, another Shanghai artificial intelligence-driven online education platform, has applied for an IPO in Hong Kong.

China has an online English learning market of 450 million people, with half of them adults and they are the current targets of LAIX.

Shanghai aims to develop AI into a 100-billion-yuan industry by 2020 — a big jump from 70 billion yuan last year.

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