The State Administration for Market Regulation in China has fined ed tech giants Zuoyebang and Yuanfudao the maximum penalty of 2.5 million yuan (£275,500) each for false advertising and misleading marketing campaigns, The South China Morning Post has reported.

Zuoyebang, which is backed by Baidu and Alibaba Group Holding, and Yuanfudao, backed by Tencent Holdings, were found to have falsified teachers’ work experience and advertised misleading discounts to increase sales, in contravention of China’s unfair competition and pricing laws.

In addition, Zuoyebang was found to have claimed falsely to be a partner of the United Nations on its website and fabricated user comments.

On microblogging site Weibo, Zuoyebang said it accepted the punishment and will “take active and comprehensive rectification of the improper publicity content and pricing signs, strictly comply with relevant laws and regulations, optimise business processes and serve the users with heart.”

On Weibo, Yuanfudao said it has “started self-review and examination of products and channels” and corrected its advertising material.

Date published: 11 May 2021

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