New Oriental Education and Technology will invest in education-focused startups through a fund backed by fellow corporates 51Job and Sunlands Education.

China-based educational services provider New Oriental Education and Technology formed a RMB1.5bn ($220m) investment fund last week that will target education-focused companies, China Money Network has reported.

Educational services firm Sunlands Education and recruitment platform 51Job have also backed the fund, as have financial services providers Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Citic Trust, Noah Group and Gaodun Finance.

Municipal government-owned fund manager Zhangjiagang Industrial Capital Center is also a limited partner.

The vehicle will focus on early-stage startups based in China, and plans to make up to 30 investments sized between $3m and $15m.

The firm also intends to launch a separate US dollar-denominated fund next month that will also be $220m in size, and which will pursue a similar investment strategy.

New Oriental was first reported to be exploring an investment fund in October 2017, with the target estimated to be about $304m. Media reports suggested New Oriental could also launch a $1.5bn growth-stage fund but no such vehicle has yet been announced.

The corporate has already backed a range of startups including online education provider Yixue Education, cross-border e-commerce platform Yamibuy and property services provider Uhouzz.

Yu Minhong, chairman of New Oriental, said: “The education industry will have a good industrial chain layout in the future. We will do a good job in industrial investment by the way of investment cooperation, which is a good thing for the development of the entire education industry.

“We hope New Oriental will play a pivotal role in innovation and entrepreneurship in the industry. With the experience, resources and funds accumulated over the past 25 years, the company will truly empower the entire education industry and promote the transformation and development of the entire industry.”