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China tech

China fines SoftBank-backed ed-tech unicorn for false advertising

Zuoyebang among two industry startups slapped with $390,000 penalty

Zuoyebang, an online tutor backed by SoftBank and Alibaba, falsely claimed an association with the United Nations, according to Chinese authorities. (Photo by Shin Watanabe)

DALIAN, China -- Chinese market regulators have fined a pair of major distance learning startups 2.5 million yuan ($387,000) each for engaging in false advertising and misleading consumers on pricing.

Zuoyebang, an online tutor backed by SoftBank Group and Alibaba Group Holding, was found to have stated falsely on its website that the company is working in cooperation with the United Nations. Yuanfudao, an ed-tech startup with Tencent Holdings among its investors, claimed incorrectly that it offered "one-on-one teaching."

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