Education is of signal value in China. The industry is both open to virtually limitless opportunities and subject to special regulation. In fact, unlike most other business sectors, education is more often than not deemed a public benefit sector under PRC law. As such, the size, challenges and potential value of the market are often underestimated, especially by foreign parties.
Many of China’s biggest businesses owe their success to two powerful Chinese characteristics: high levels of personal investment in education and widespread openness to innovative learning. China has recently seen more schools established, course materials supplied, hours spent in tutoring, certifications developed and related technical and other support services engaged than anywhere else. And China, with more high-tech-connected students and parents than anywhere in the world, continues to revolutionize EdTech – such as augmented reality and AI-assisted learning experiences – and open entirely new avenues in education.
The rapid rise of such developments is achieved only through successful navigation of the volumes of legislation and regulation aimed at any business even tangentially involved in education and the watchful eyes and strict disciplining of regulators and industry groups. Multi-dimensional investment restrictions or requirements, local licensing and other approvals, content controls, constant supervision and recurring regulatory campaigns are just some of the legal challenges faced by businesses operating in China’s education industry. Foreign parties in particular must often rely on bespoke arrangements to legally operate in the education market. At the same time, the revolutionary nature of the industry, especially in China, implicates a variety of laws and regulations geared more towards other industries – such as telecoms, big data, artificial intelligence and robotics – and calls for not only interdisciplinary but also cutting-edge legal counsel.
As a foundational cornerstone of our practice, DaHui has always regularly assisted local and foreign business in all facets of this unique industry. We have advised many foreign educational institutions and service providers on their market entry, structure and cooperation with local partners, including governmental approvals, enrollment, tuition fee collection, campus construction, granting credit/diplomas, curriculum management and foreign staff employment. We have also represented local educators and investors in an array of contexts, including academic and non-academic, K-12 and higher, offline and online education.