Naspers eyes bigger market share in educational tech

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Global Internet titan Naspers is gunning for a bigger market share in educational technology, and is strengthening the business through expansion and increased investments.

The JSE-listed company yesterday announced its full-year financial results for the 12 months ended 31 March, saying across the group, it invested R22.4 billion ($1.3 billion) to expand the company’s ecosystem and reach.

Naspers says it has set its sights on burgeoning educational technology and is investing a further combined R1 billion in Brainly and Udemy.

The news of Naspers’s foray into education comes as the COVID-19-induced lockdown is forcing students to use technology to learn and more companies are venturing into the academic cyber space, offering learning solutions.

With lockdown periods continuing in various parts of the globe, education experts believe the pandemic may lead to advances in technology that will allow more school pupils and tertiary students to rely entirely on virtual learning in future, transforming the education sector.

The World Economic Forum says there has been a significant surge in e-learning during COVID-19, and it expects the overall market for online education to reach $350 billion by 2025, as the virus has pushed up demand.

“We are increasing our exposure to the edtech (educational technology) businesses by investing a further R432 million and R760 million in our education associates Brainly and Udemy, respectively,” says Naspers.

Additionally, the company says across the group, it is expanding its footprint through expansion and investment projects like in its fintech firm PayU.

Naspers says an investment of $66 million will be channelled to Wibmo, to expand its Indian footprint in payment security, mobile payment solutions and processing services. Another investment of $163 million will go to PaySense, to broaden its ecosystem in India as it starts to offer consumer credit.

Naspers will also make “an investment of $199 million in Iyzico, a leading payment service provider in Turkey, and $48 million in Red Dot Payment, providing payment solutions in Singapore and expanding across Southeast Asia”.

In the year under review, the global Internet firm’s classifieds division acquired a controlling stake in Frontier Car Group for $320 million.

It also invested $81 million in Meesho, a social commerce online marketplace in India, with Naspers saying: “Continuing our successful track record of identifying Indian opportunities with the potential to become large businesses. In the food delivery business, we invested a further $100 million in our associate Swiggy.”

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