Beijing Beida Jade Bird Education, an online education company partly owned by Peking University, plans to raise as much as US$150 million from an initial public offering in the third quarter on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York, sources said. In addition to online courses, the company provides tutoring, mentoring and learning consulting services. It also runs a joint venture with Indian retail and corporate training firm Aptech. A Jade Bird spokesman could not be reached for comment. New York-listed mainland firms hit seven-month highs two weeks ago on positive economic data, and the mainland's five United States-listed education firms have risen an average of 21.71 per cent this year. ChinaCast Education, which delivers content and provides services to schools, universities, government and companies, has risen the most, with a 93.31 per cent gain. China Distance Education Holdings, which provides professional skills certification testing online, has risen 14.82 per cent. By comparison, the Nasdaq Composite Index has gained 6.54 per cent and the S&P 500 Index is down 2.26 per cent. 'The Chinese education sector looks really positive - it's huge and growing very quickly,' said Jeff Lee, an education analyst at Signal Hill Capital. 'While there are some possible headwinds in the short term as some of the industries that they focus on, such as accounting and finance, cut back, reducing the number of people taking professional exams, ther are also people wanting to get accreditation to make themselves more competitive,' Mr Lee said. 'You have a long-term macro trend in the shift to a knowledge-based economy as urbanisation increases and more people move from agriculture and manufacturing to white-collar jobs, which require an increasing amount of education, and you have increasing computer and internet usage, which means more people will be doing the test.' The company is part of Beida Jade Bird Group. Another of the group's subsidiaries, software developer Beijing Beida Jade Bird Universal Sci-Tech, is listed on the Growth Enterprise Market. The global market for initial public offerings has slowly begun to show signs of life after last year's dismal returns, as investors look for stocks less affected by the economic troubles. United States education firm Bridgepoint Education raised US$163 million on the New York Stock Exchange on April 14. Mainland online game developer Changyou.com raised US$120 million last month after pricing its shares at the top end of the range at which they were marketed to investors. Its shares have doubled since then. Changyou.com is the only Chinese initial share sale in New York so far this year, according to Dealogic. At this time last year, two Chinese companies had raised US$103 million.