Shares of GSX Techedu (NYSE:GOTU) were tumbling almost 17% in morning trading Wednesday after the education company confirmed it was part of an SEC investigation into whether it had inflated its sales and user accounts. It also reported second-quarter earnings.
The Chinese online education company reported that revenue more than quadrupled in the quarter to 1.65 billion renminbi (about $233 million) as enrollment in its K-12 online course increased more than 300% year over year. But investors might be taking those numbers with a grain of salt after it disclosed it was cooperating with an SEC investigation into its finances going all the way back to 2017.
Short-sellers have been targeting GSX for a good part of the year, contending its claim of being able to acquire customers more cheaply than its competitors is due to the Chinese company using shell companies to hide expenses. They also claim most of its customers are fake.
Several Chinese stocks have been caught up in similar accounting scandals, including Luckin Coffee and iQiyi, the video streaming unit of Chinese search giant Baidu.
GSX Techedu says it has launched its own internal investigation, but investors might not put any stock into its findings when results are eventually released.