Company Quick10K Filing
ATA
20-F 2019-12-31 Filed 2020-04-28
20-F 2018-12-31 Filed 2019-04-18
20-F 2017-12-31 Filed 2018-04-12
20-F 2017-03-31 Filed 2017-06-29
20-F 2016-03-31 Filed 2016-06-24
20-F 2014-03-31 Filed 2014-06-26
20-F 2013-03-31 Filed 2013-06-26
20-F 2012-03-31 Filed 2012-06-06
20-F 2011-03-31 Filed 2011-06-15
20-F 2010-03-31 Filed 2010-07-07

ATAI 20F Annual Report

Item 17 O Item 18 O
Part I.
Item 1. Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers
Item 2. Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable
Item 3. Key Information
Item 4. Information on The Company
Item 4A. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects
Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees
Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions
Item 8. Financial Information
Item 9. The Offer and Listing
Item 10. Additional Information
Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Item 12. Description of Securities Other Than Equity Securities
Part II.
Item 13. Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies
Item 14. Material Modifications To The Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds
Item 15. Controls and Procedures
Item 16A. Audit Committee Financial Expert
Item 16B. Code of Ethics
Item 16C. Principal Accountant Fee and Services
Item 16D. Exemptions From The Listing Standards for Audit Committees
Item 16E. Purchases of Equity Securities By The Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
Item 16F. Change in Registrant's Certifying Accountant
Item 16G. Corporate Governance
Part III.
Item 17. Financial Statements
Item 18. Financial Statements
Item 19. Exhibits
EX-4.15 a12-11360_1ex4d15.htm
EX-8.1 a12-11360_1ex8d1.htm
EX-12.1 a12-11360_1ex12d1.htm
EX-12.2 a12-11360_1ex12d2.htm
EX-13.1 a12-11360_1ex13d1.htm
EX-13.2 a12-11360_1ex13d2.htm
EX-23.1 a12-11360_1ex23d1.htm
EX-23.2 a12-11360_1ex23d2.htm
EX-23.3 a12-11360_1ex23d3.htm

ATA Earnings 2012-03-31

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

20-F 1 a12-11360_120f.htm 20-F

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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 20-F

 

(Mark One)

 

o         REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

OR

 

x      ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012

 

OR

 

o         TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

OR

 

o         SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

 

Date of event requiring this shell company report . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

For the transition period from                          to                         

 

Commission file number: 001-33910

 

ATA Inc.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

Not applicable

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

 

Cayman Islands

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

8th Floor, Tower E
6 Gongyuan West Street
Jian Guo Men Nei
Beijing 100005, China

(Address of principal executive offices)

 

Benson Tsang
Chief Financial Officer
ATA Inc.
8th Floor, Tower E
6 Gongyuan West Street
Jian Guo Men Nei
Beijing 100005, China
Telephone: 8610-6518-1122
Facsimile: 8610-6517-9517

(Name, Telephone E-mail and/or Facsimile Number and Address of Company Contact Person)

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.

 

Title of each class

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

American Depositary Shares, each representing two common shares, par value $0.01 per share

 

NASDAQ Global market

 

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act. None

 



Table of Contents

 

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act. None

 

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report: 45,962,376 common shares.

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

o Yes  x No

 

If this report is an annual or transaction report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

o Yes  x No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

x Yes  o No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).

x Yes  o No

 

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer. See the definitions of “accelerated filer and large accelerated filer” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):

 

Large accelerated filer o

 

Accelerated filer x

 

Non-accelerated filer o

 

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 

 

U.S. GAAP x

 

International Financial Reporting Standards as issued
by the International Accounting Standards Board
o

 

Other o

 

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow:

Item 17 o  Item 18 o

 

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

Yes o  No x

 



Table of Contents

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Page

Introduction

1

Item 1. Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisors

2

Item 2. Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable

2

Item 3. Key Information

2

Item 4. Information on the Company

24

Item 4A. Unresolved Staff Comments

43

Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects

43

Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees

60

Item 7. Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions

68

Item 8. Financial Information

70

Item 9. The Offer and Listing

71

Item 10. Additional Information

72

Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

78

Item 12. Description of Securities Other Than Equity Securities

79

Item 13. Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies

81

Item 14. Material Modifications to the Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds

81

Item 15. Controls and Procedures

81

Item 16A. Audit Committee Financial Expert

83

Item 16B. Code of Ethics

83

Item 16C. Principal Accountant Fees and Services

83

Item 16D. Exemptions From the Listing Standards for Audit Committees

83

Item 16E. Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

83

Item 16F. Change in Registrant’s Certifying Accountant

84

Item 16G. Corporate Governance

84

Item 17. Financial Statements

85

Item 18. Financial Statements

85

Item 19. Exhibits

85

 

i



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INTRODUCTION

 

Except where the context otherwise requires and for purposes of this annual report only:

 

·                  all references to years are to the calendar year from January 1 to December 31 and references to our fiscal year or years are to the fiscal year or years ended March 31;

 

·                  “we,” “us,” “our company,” “our,” and “ATA” refer to ATA Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliated PRC entity as the context requires;

 

·                  “China,” “Chinese” and “PRC” refers to the People’s Republic of China, excluding, for purposes of this annual report only, Taiwan and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau;

 

·                  all references to “Renminbi” or “RMB” are to the legal currency of China, and all references to “U.S. dollars”, “dollars”, “$” or “US$” are to the legal currency of the United States;

 

·                  “U.S. GAAP” refers to generally accepted accounting principles in the United States; and

 

·                  “PRC GAAP” refers to generally accepted accounting principles in the People’s Republic of China.

 

This annual report on Form 20-F includes our audited consolidated statements of operations for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and audited consolidated balance sheets as of March 31, 2011 and 2012. Each of our ADSs represents two common shares. Our ADSs are listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under the symbol “ATAI.”

 

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

 

This annual report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements that are based on our current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections about us and our industry. All statements other than statements of historical fact in this annual report are forward-looking statements. In some cases, these forward-looking statements can be identified by words and phrases such as “may, “ “should,” “intend,” “predict,” “potential,” “continue,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “plan,” “believe,” “is /are likely to” or the negative form of these words and phrases or other comparable expressions. The forward-looking statements included in this annual report relate to, among others:

 

·                  our goals and strategies;

 

·                  our future prospects and market acceptance of our technologies, products and services;

 

·                  our future business development and results of operations;

 

·                  projected revenues, profits, earnings and other estimated financial information;

 

·                  our plans to expand and enhance our products and services;

 

·                  competition in the computer-based testing, educational services and test preparation and training markets; and

 

·                  Chinese laws, regulations and policies, including those applicable to the education industry, Internet content providers, Internet content and foreign exchange.

 

These forward-looking statements involve various risks, assumptions and uncertainties. Although we believe that our expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, our expectations may turn out to be incorrect. Our actual results could be materially different from our expectations. Important risks and factors that could cause our actual results to be materially different from our expectations are generally set forth in Item 3.D. of this annual report, “Key information — Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this annual report.

 

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The forward-looking statements made in this annual report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report. All forward-looking statements included herein attributable to us or other parties or any person acting on our behalf are expressly qualified in their entirety by the cautionary statements contained or referred to in this section. Except to the extent required by applicable laws and regulations, we undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

 

PART I.

 

ITEM 1.                                                IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 2.                                                OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 3.                                                KEY INFORMATION

 

A.                                    Selected Financial Data

 

Selected Consolidated Financial Data

 

The following selected consolidated statement of operations data for the fiscal years ended March 31, 2010, 2011 and 2012 (other than ADS data), and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of March 31, 2011 and 2012, are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report and should be read in conjunction with these consolidated financial statements and related notes. Our selected consolidated statements of operations data for the years ended March 31, 2008 and 2009 (other than ADS data) and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of March 31, 2008, 2009 and 2010 are derived from audited consolidated financial statements not included in this annual report. The following information should also be read in conjunction with Item 5. “Operating and Financial Review and Prospects.” Our audited consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

 

 

 

For the Year Ended March 31,

 

 

 

2008

 

2009

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

 

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

US$

 

 

 

(In thousands, except for share and ADS data)

 

Selected Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Net Revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Testing services

 

78,198

 

137,046

 

187,158

 

243,103

 

290,881

 

46,190

 

Test preparation and training solutions

 

36,908

 

25,071

 

11,149

 

15,427

 

26,996

 

4,287

 

Other (1)

 

56,982

 

55,428

 

46,725

 

45,374

 

34,208

 

5,432

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total net revenues

 

172,088

 

217,545

 

245,032

 

303,904

 

352,085

 

55,909

 

Gross profit

 

105,141

 

124,937

 

115,497

 

154,688

 

193,267

 

30,690

 

Total operating expenses

 

81,713

 

98,549

 

145,552

 

133,796

 

128,781

 

20,450

 

Income (loss) from operations

 

23,428

 

26,388

 

(30,055

)

20,892

 

64,486

 

10,240

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreign currency exchange gains (losses), net

 

(236

)

665

 

(284

)

1,138

 

3,633

 

577

 

Income tax expense

 

(7,321

)

(6,638

)

(5,742

)

(3,312

)

(14,339

)

(2,277

)

Net income (loss)

 

20,170

 

22,810

 

(35,350

)

19,754

 

55,841

 

8,867

 

 

2



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For the Year Ended March 31,

 

 

 

2008

 

2009

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

 

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

US$

 

 

 

(In thousands, except for share and ADS data)

 

Basic earnings (loss) per common share

 

0.79

 

0.50

 

(0.79

)

0.44

 

1.22

 

0.19

 

Diluted earnings (loss) per common share

 

0.53

 

0.49

 

(0.79

)

0.44

 

1.19

 

0.19

 

Basic earnings (loss) per ADS (2)

 

1.58

 

1.00

 

(1.58

)

0.88

 

2.44

 

0.38

 

Diluted earnings (loss) per ADS (2)

 

1.06

 

0.98

 

(1.58

)

0.88

 

2.38

 

0.38

 

Weighted average ordinary shares outstanding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic

 

25,442,650

 

45,376,008

 

44,789,512

 

44,469,182

 

44,713,418

 

 

 

Diluted

 

37,761,561

 

46,431,518

 

44,789,512

 

44,469,182

 

45,664,887

 

 

 

 


(1)           Includes net revenues from test-based educational services of RMB48,594,550, RMB42,545,536, RMB31,786,398, RMB25,727,038 and RMB12,614,294 in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.

 

(2)           Each ADS represents two common shares.

 

 

 

At March 31,

 

 

 

2008

 

2009

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

 

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

US$

 

 

 

(In thousands, except for share and ADS data)

 

Selected Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash

 

332,197

 

310,503

 

213,874

 

268,058

 

257,168

 

40,836

 

Accounts receivable, net

 

63,502

 

71,077

 

82,900

 

47,052

 

81,845

 

12,996

 

Total current assets

 

403,309

 

399,002

 

309,074

 

325,491

 

355,069

 

56,383

 

Total assets

 

436,634

 

471,245

 

428,503

 

435,447

 

460,720

 

73,159

 

Deferred revenues, current

 

36,708

 

40,238

 

25,837

 

19,101

 

27,333

 

4,340

 

Total current liabilities

 

66,530

 

85,189

 

78,223

 

67,448

 

91,066

 

14,461

 

Deferred revenues, non-current

 

7,026

 

5,626

 

4,674

 

3,824

 

3,100

 

492

 

Total liabilities

 

73,556

 

91,004

 

83,028

 

71,384

 

94,305

 

14,975

 

Accumulated deficit

 

(114,912

)

(92,102

)

(127,452

)

(107,698

)

(51,857

)

(8,234

)

Total shareholders’ equity

 

363,078

 

380,241

 

345,475

 

364,063

 

366,415

 

58,184

 

 

 

 

For the Year Ended March 31,

 

 

 

2008

 

2009

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

Key Operating Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Number of tests delivered (1)

 

12,787,470

 

5,063,379

 

5,760,147

 

7,162,462

 

8,529,095

 

 


(1)                                 Includes Microsoft royalty tests overseas and tests delivered through our test delivery platform and tests using our Dynamic Simulation Technology. Also includes free tests delivered for business development purpose. The number of tests delivered excluding the free tests in the fiscal years ended March 31, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 was 3,632,285, 5,063,379, 5,760,147, 6,907,158 and 8,026,639, respectively. We delivered 9,155,185 free tests in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2008 for the on-line nationwide accounting knowledge contest.

 

Exchange Rate Information

 

We conduct our business primarily in China and a substantial majority of our revenues and expenses are denominated in Renminbi. The conversion of Renminbi into U.S. dollars in this annual report is based on the noon buying rate in The City of New York for cable transfers of Renminbi per U.S. dollar certified for customs purposes by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as set forth in the H.10 weekly statistical release of Federal Reserve Board. Unless otherwise noted, all translations from Renminbi to U.S.

 

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dollars in this annual report were made at a rate of RMB6.2975 to US$1.00, which was the noon buying rate in effect as of March 30, 2012. The noon buying rate on June 1, 2012 was RMB6.3692 to US$1.00. We make no representation that any Renminbi or U.S. dollar amounts could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. dollars or Renminbi, as the case may be, at any particular rate, the rates stated below, or at all. The Chinese government restricts or prohibits the conversion of Renminbi into foreign currency and foreign currency into Renminbi for certain types of transactions.

 

The following table sets forth information concerning exchange rates between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar for the periods indicated. These rates are provided solely for your convenience and are not necessarily the exchange rates that we used in this annual report.

 

 

 

Renminbi per U.S. Dollar Noon Buying Rate

 

 

 

Average (1)

 

High

 

Low

 

Period-end

 

Fiscal year ended March 31, 2008

 

7.4197

 

7.7345

 

7.0105

 

7.0120

 

Fiscal year ended March 31, 2009

 

6.8684

 

7.0185

 

6.7800

 

6.8329

 

Fiscal year ended March 31, 2010

 

6.8268

 

6.8319

 

6.8180

 

6.8258

 

Fiscal year ended March 31, 2011

 

6.5645

 

6.5743

 

6.5483

 

6.5483

 

Fiscal year ended March 31, 2012

 

6.3980

 

6.5477

 

6.2935

 

6.2975

 

 

 

 

Renminbi per U.S. Dollar Noon Buying Rate

 

 

 

Average (1)

 

High

 

Low

 

Period-end

 

Most recent six months:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

December 2011

 

6.3482

 

6.3733

 

6.2939

 

6.2939

 

January 2012

 

6.3119

 

6.3330

 

6.2940

 

6.3080

 

February 2012

 

6.2997

 

6.3120

 

6.2935

 

6.2935

 

March 2012

 

6.3125

 

6.3315

 

6.2975

 

6.2975

 

April 2012

 

6.3043

 

6.3150

 

6.2790

 

6.2790

 

May 2012

 

6.3242

 

6.3684

 

6.3052

 

6.3684

 

June 2012 (period through June 1)

 

6.3692

 

6.3692

 

6.3692

 

6.3692

 

 

Source: H.10 weekly statistical release of the Federal Reserve Board

 


(1)                                  Annual averages are calculated using the exchange rates for the last day of each month during the relevant year. Monthly averages are calculated using daily exchange rates during the month.

 

B.                                    Capitalization and Indebtedness

 

Not applicable.

 

C.                                    Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

 

Not applicable.

 

D.                                    Risk Factors

 

Risks Relating to Our Business

 

A limited number of our clients have accounted and are expected to continue to account for a high percentage of our revenues. The loss of or significant reduction in orders from any of these clients could significantly reduce our revenues and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

 

Our two largest clients in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012, the Securities Association of China, or SAC, and the China Banking Association, accounted for 37.3% and 10.5%, respectively, of our net revenues for that period. We provide computer-based testing services and online test preparation services to the SAC. We generated RMB110.3 million and RMB21.1 million from provision of computer-based testing services and online test preparation services, respectively, to the SAC in the fiscal year ended

 

4



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March 31, 2012. In 2009, we participated in a bid to provide computer-based testing services for the SAC and won the right to service the SAC for a term of three years from 2010 to 2012. We enter into an annual contract with the SAC each year providing detailed terms of our engagement. We are currently delivering tests for the SAC under our 2012 contract, which was entered into in May 2012. Since December 2011 the SAC has been in the process of assessing the feasibility to run its online training program internally rather than outsourcing its operation to us. In place of our previous contract under which we operated the online training program on behalf of the SAC, we have entered into a contract through March 2013 under which we will provide technical and services support during the assessment period. After March 2013, if the SAC decides not to recommence outsourcing the operation of its online training program, we expect to no longer provide such services to the SAC.

 

Our top five clients for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 accounted for 63.8% of our net revenues for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012.

 

Due to our dependence on a limited number of clients, any one of the following events, among others, could cause material fluctuations or declines in our revenues and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations:

 

·                  a reduction, delay or cancellation of contracts or product or service orders from one or more of our major clients;

 

·                  a decision by one or more of our major clients to award contracts or orders to one of our competitors; and

 

·                  a decision by one or more of our major clients to significantly reduce the price they are willing to pay for our services or products.

 

Any of these events could occur due to causes outside of our control, such as macro-economic conditions, changes in a client’s management or the personnel with whom we interact, changes in technology, the actions of our competitors, changes in governmental regulations and policies and changes in a client’s budgeting or financial prospects.

 

Our financial results are subject to fluctuations and seasonality related to the revenue cycles for our products and services, our relatively long and unpredictable sales cycle and other factors beyond our control, any of which may decrease our revenues in a particular period. As a result, it is difficult for us to predict our results of operations and you should not rely on our historical operating results as an indication of our future financial performance.

 

Our results of operations have varied in the past from period to period, and are likely to vary in the future, due to the fact that a substantial portion of our sources of revenues are seasonal. We have experienced seasonality and expect in the future to continue to experience seasonality in net revenues and accounts receivable related to our test delivery services, with the quarters ending June 30 and December 31 typically having higher net revenues from testing services and the quarters ending September 30 and March 31 typically having lower net revenues from testing services. This is primarily because the tests from which we derive substantial revenues are mostly delivered in the quarters ending June 30 and December 31. Test timing can be a major contributing factor to quarterly fluctuations of financial results. For example, we had RMB33.3 million in revenues in the quarter ended September 30, 2010 as compared to RMB135.9 million in revenues in the quarter ended December 31, 2010 primarily because our major test sponsors, the SAC, chose to hold tests during the third quarter instead of the second quarter for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011.

 

In addition, our sales cycles are generally long and unpredictable. A client’s decision to purchase our products and services often involves a lengthy evaluation process. Throughout the sales cycle, we often spend considerable time educating and providing information to prospective clients regarding the use and benefits of our products and services. Moreover, budget constraints and the need for multiple approvals within large enterprises, governmental agencies and educational institutions may also delay purchasing decisions. As a result, the sales cycle for our services may last a year or longer. Such a lengthy sales cycle, and any future increases in our sales cycle, could lead to higher sales and marketing expenses and adversely affect our cash flow from operations. In addition, the lengthy sales cycle has made, and may continue to make, our financial results prone to fluctuations or decrease our revenues in a particular period.

 

If our revenues for a particular quarter are lower than we expect, we may be unable to reduce our operating expenses for that quarter by a corresponding amount, which could negatively affect our operating results for that quarter. As a result, you should not rely on our quarter-to-quarter comparisons of our operating results as indicators of likely future performance. Our operating results may be below the expectations of public market analysts and investors in one or more future quarters. If that occurs, the market price

 

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of our ADSs could decline and you could lose part or all of your investment. Fluctuations of our quarterly financial results may also lead to increased volatility in the market price of our ADSs.

 

The Chinese market for our services is still emerging and evolving rapidly. If market acceptance of our products and services declines or fails to grow, our revenue growth may slow or we may experience a decrease in revenues.

 

As the Chinese market for our services is still emerging, our success will depend to a large extent on our ability to convince our clients that our technologies and services are valuable and that it is more cost-effective for them to utilize our services than for them to develop similar services in-house.

 

We must address the following concerns, among others, with our clients as they decide to implement our computer-based testing and career-oriented educational services and to use our technologies and services:

 

·                  concern over the commitment of time, personnel and funding necessary to implement our computer-based testing services and career-oriented educational services;

 

·                  ability of clients to develop their own computer-based testing services or career-oriented educational services;

 

·                  possible perceived security and academic integrity risks associated with computer-based testing services and third-party curriculum providers;

 

·                  reluctance of the academic community to adopt computer-based learning materials and computer-based tests; and

 

A decline in the demand for computer-based testing services by test sponsors could negatively affect demand for our computer-based testing services and technologies. Even if demand for computer-based testing services continues to grow, this demand may not grow as quickly as we anticipate.

 

The services offered by our HR Select employee assessment solution are relatively new and market acceptance of this innovative testing product is uncertain. Furthermore, we only generate revenues from a small amount of our HR Select customers for now. If we are unable to increase or maintain customer demand for this product, in particular demand by paying customers, our revenue growth may slow or we may experience a decrease in revenues.

 

If we are not successful in achieving market acceptance for our new service offerings, our revenues and operating results will be adversely affected.

 

In order to increase our revenue sources, we have allocated, and intend to continue to allocate, time, effort and capital to expand our service offerings, including our HR Select employee assessment solution, distribution and administration of the Test of English for International Communication, or TOEIC exam in China, all of which we launched in 2009. We generated RMB29.8 million, RMB54.5 million, and RMB88.0 million from the HR Select and TOEIC of business in 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively. As the markets for these offerings are relatively new for us, we cannot assure you that we will succeed in adapting to client needs in these markets or effectively addressing risks associated with this expansion. It may be difficult for us to accurately predict demand for these and other new service offerings we develop. Furthermore, the PRC government may enact unforeseen regulations and policies that could limit our ability to provide or expand certain services, such as prohibitions on foreign-invested entities engaging in certain businesses. Additional risks which we face expanding in this market include the following:

 

·                  we may underestimate the amount of capital, personnel and other resources required to carry out our expansion plans, which may affect the success of our expansion and/or negatively impact the quality of our other product and service offerings;

 

·                  if we are unsuccessful in the relevant new market, it may negatively affect our reputation and the status of our brand in our other markets;

 

·                  we may fail to develop sufficient payment collection, technical support and other administrative capabilities necessary to successfully develop and manage our new service offerings on an increasingly large scale.

 

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The success of our new service offerings going forward also depends on our ability to gain and maintain relevant business relationships, such as our relationship with Educational Testing Services, or ETS, in relation to our distribution and administration of TOEIC exams in China, and our relationship with Saville Consulting in relation to psychometric tests for our HR Select employee assessment solution. If our new service offerings are ultimately unsuccessful or do not grow as rapidly as we expect, our net revenues and profitability will be adversely affected.

 

Breaches or perceived breaches of our security measures relating to test collection, scoring and storage or unauthorized disclosure or misuse of personal data through breach of our computer systems or otherwise could cause us to receive negative publicity, and lose clients and expose us to protracted and costly litigation.

 

As part of our service offerings, we collect, process, transmit and store highly confidential information, including personal information and test questions, answers and scores. Maintaining the security and confidentiality of the information we handle as part of our testing services is essential to protecting the integrity and accuracy of the test taking process and retaining our client base. Any breach or perceived breach in our security measures pertaining to the collection, processing, transmission or storage of such information as a result of third-party action, employee error, and malfeasance or otherwise could result in liability claims and have a negative impact on our reputation. Additionally, we could be subject to liability claims or regulatory penalties for misuses of information collected from clients or students or for the unauthorized disclosure or unauthorized or inappropriate use of such information. Any such negative publicity or liability claims could have a significant negative impact on our future business, cause us to lose clients and expose us to costly litigation.

 

Reductions in public funding available to our clients that are governmental agencies could adversely impact demand by these agencies and institutions for our products and services.

 

We have derived a significant portion of our total net revenues from licensing and service fees from Chinese governmental agencies. Demand and ability to pay for our products and services by these agencies are affected by government budgetary cycles, funding availability and government policies. Funding reductions, reallocations or delays could adversely impact demand for our products and services by our clients or reduce the fees these clients are willing to pay for our products and services. For example, in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010, NTET sales decreased significantly relative to the previous fiscal years, due to a delay in the government’s implementation of the national NTET certification requirement and the associated cuts in relevant government budgets. We had no NTET sales in the fiscal years ended March 31, 2011 and 2012.

 

A significant portion of our revenues are dependent on market acceptance of our E-testing platform and other computer-based testing technologies, and if we are unable to anticipate and meet our client’s technological needs and challenges from new technologies and industry standards, our products and services may lose market acceptance or become obsolete, and our margins and results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

Our advanced technologies for the creation and delivery of computer-based tests, including our E-testing platform and our performance-based testing technologies, are a key factor in growing and maintaining our relationships with test sponsors, educational institution clients and educational program content providers. Our future success depends on our ability to upgrade our systems, develop new technologies and anticipate and meet the technical needs of our clients on a regular basis. The emergence in the market of new test creation and delivery technologies or substitute products and services could reduce the competitiveness or result in the obsolescence of our current technologies and services. Moreover, if other companies develop similar technologies offering functionality comparable to that of our technologies, pricing pressure may increase and our margins and results of operations may be adversely affected. Additionally, industry standards such as standard interfaces and data exchange protocols may be developed for testing technologies, and if these industry standards are incompatible with our technologies, demand for our technologies, products and services may decline significantly. To the extent we are unable to maintain our market leadership position in key testing technologies or anticipate and respond to technological developments and changes in industry standards in a timely and cost-effective manner, our products and services may lose market acceptance or become obsolete.

 

Technical errors or failures in relation to computer-based tests delivered through our test delivery platform could result in negative publicity, loss of clients, liability claims and costly and disruptive litigation.

 

Due to the complexity of the technologies we have developed and use to create and deliver computer-based tests for our clients, there is a risk that technical errors or failures may occur in relation to these services. These may include errors, failures or bugs in our self-developed software applications and test security technologies, breakdowns or failures of our servers and computer networks, and connectivity failures between our networks. While we have not experienced major problems to date due to errors,

 

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breakdowns, failures, bugs or defects, we cannot assure you that we will not experience such problems in the future. If such a problem were to occur, it could disrupt or compromise the integrity of the test taking process or of test content and results, which could lead to negative publicity and loss of clients and may subject us to liability claims. Although we have established a formal crisis management system to respond to technical problems, it has never been tested in a real crisis situation. Any litigation or negative publicity resulting from an error or failure, with or without merit, could result in substantial costs and divert management’s attention and resources from our business and operations.

 

If we fail to maintain a strong brand identity, our business may not grow and our financial results may be adversely impacted.

 

We believe that maintaining and enhancing the value of the “ATA” brand is important to attracting clients. Our success in maintaining brand awareness will depend on our ability to consistently provide high quality, value-adding, user-friendly and secure products and services. As we expand our product and service offerings, we are increasing our efforts to establish a wider recognition of the “ATA” brand. To establish a wider recognition of our “ATA” brand among test takers, test sponsors and companies, we may need to spend significant resources on advertising. As we have limited experience with advertising and other activities required to establish a widely recognized brand, we cannot assure you that we will effectively allocate our resources for these activities or succeed in maintaining and broadening our brand recognition and appeal. If we fail to maintain a strong brand identity, our business may not grow and our financial results may be adversely impacted.

 

Actions by our authorized test centers could lead to damage to our brand and reputation, which could cause us to incur substantial costs and strain our relationships with our clients.

 

As of March 31, 2012, we had contractual relationships with 2,462 authorized test centers. We do not own these centers and their employees are not our employees. Under our contracts with these test centers, we require them to provide sufficient facilities to properly administer computer-based tests and to follow prescribed guidelines for facility maintenance and test administration. We also conduct regular reviews of their facilities and operations and provide consulting services on test administration. However, our contractual arrangements with the test centers provide us with only limited ability to oversee their activities, and most test centers engage in other activities, such as serving as classrooms, when not administering tests. If a test center were to engage in unauthorized or unlawful conduct, whether related to administering computer-based tests or otherwise, our clients, prospective clients and the general public may associate this conduct with our brand, and negative publicity associated with this conduct could harm our reputation and lessen overall demand for computer-based testing services. Furthermore, our business may also be adversely affected if our authorized test centers do not maintain their premises, administer our computer-based tests, or hire qualified personnel and train them properly in a manner consistent with our standards and requirements. In addition, a liability claim against an ATA authorized test center or any center personnel may result in unfavorable publicity for us, our products and services and our other test centers, and could damage our brand and reputation, whether or not the claim is successful. While we may terminate our contracts and relationships with our authorized test centers if any of these events were to occur, we may not be able to identify problems or take action quickly enough to prevent harm to our reputation.

 

We may face increasing competition from international and domestic Chinese competitors. If we fail to successfully compete, our revenues and market share may decrease, and our results of operations may be adversely affected.

 

We anticipate that as our business and markets continue to expand, we will face increasing competition, including competition from new entrants, both domestic and international, who will try to gain market share from us. In the future, competitors may introduce new technologies, products and services that have better performance, offer lower prices and gain broader acceptance than our technologies, products and services. Such new products may reduce the overall market for our products and services.

 

In the computer-based testing services market, we compete primarily on the basis of technology, price, management experience and established infrastructure. In the future, as more companies enter this market, we believe pricing may become increasingly competitive as well. For our HR Select employee assessment solution, while there are other companies providing services to corporate human resources departments, we are differentiated by our focus on offering more professional testing services with proprietary testing technologies. Traditional Chinese test preparation material providers, such as publishing companies, indirectly compete with our test preparation and training solutions. Increased competition could cause us to lose clients or make it necessary for us to reduce our prices in order to retain our clients, which may negatively affect our revenues and results of operations.

 

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We depend on our key personnel and our business may be severely disrupted if we lose their services and are unable to replace them.

 

Our future success is dependent upon the continued services of our key executives, as we rely on their industry experience and expertise in our business operations. In particular, we rely heavily on our co-founders Kevin Xiaofeng Ma, our chairman and chief executive officer, and Walter Lin Wang, our president, for their business vision, management skills, technical expertise, experience in the testing, IT and education industries and working relationships with many of our clients, shareholders and other participants in the testing, IT and education industries. If either Mr. Ma or Mr. Wang was unable or unwilling to continue in their present positions, or if they joined a competitor or formed a competing company in violation of their employment agreements, we may not be able to replace them easily and our business may be severely disrupted. We do not maintain key-man life insurance for Mr. Ma or Mr. Wang or for any of our other employees.

 

Because competition for highly skilled employees is intense, we may not be able to attract and retain the highly skilled employees we need to support our planned growth.

 

Due to intense market competition for highly skilled workers, we have faced difficulties locating experienced and skilled personnel in certain areas, such as administration, marketing, product development, sales, finance and accounting. In particular, we have had difficulty finding personnel with experience in the relatively new computer-based testing services market. We cannot assure you that we will be able to attract or retain the key personnel that we will need to achieve our business objectives. Even if we can find qualified candidates, they may be subject to non-competition agreements with their prior employers that prevent us from hiring them. In addition, we cannot assure you that we will be able to retain our current skilled personnel. According to our contracts with our employees, all of our employees are prohibited from engaging in any activities that compete with our business during the period of their employment and for two years after termination of their employment with us. Furthermore, all employees are prohibited, for a period of two years following termination, from soliciting other employees to leave us and, for a period of five years following termination, from soliciting our existing clients. However, we may have difficulty enforcing these non-competition and non-solicitation provisions in China because the Chinese legal system, especially with respect to the enforcement of such provisions, is still developing.

 

Many of our contracts with governmental agencies and public educational institutions take the form of framework agreements and offer little contractual or legal protections, and it may be impractical for us to pursue or obtain legal remedies against these clients.

 

Many governmental agencies and other public sector entities in China require the use of simple framework agreements for the procurement of products and services from us that lack many of the detailed aspects of our business arrangement. For example, the terms of service may lack the clarity we would normally have in our contracts with commercial enterprises, or contract terms protecting our intellectual property may not be as clear and detailed as we would normally have in our contracts with commercial enterprises. Moreover, it may not be feasible or practicable under current Chinese law for us to take legal action against our government and public sector clients to enforce our contractual rights. As a result, we may lack the same contractual or legal protections, or ability to enforce such protections, that we would normally have under the contracts we typically enter into with our other clients.

 

If Microsoft exercises its contractual option to acquire the source code of our Dynamic Simulation Technology, or DST, Microsoft or a company to which Microsoft licenses or sells such technology may be able to more effectively compete with us.

 

Under our Simulation Technology License Agreement with Microsoft, Microsoft has the right to acquire for $3.0 million a perpetual royalty-free license to the source code of our Dynamic Simulation Technology, or DST, along with the right to freely sell, license or sublicense the DST source code to third parties. The contract does not restrict which entities to which Microsoft may sell, license or sublicense the DST source code. While Microsoft’s exercise of this option would generate $3.0 million in revenue to us upon exercise, it may materially adversely affect our future revenues if Microsoft or any company to which Microsoft sells or licenses the technology uses it to directly compete with us.

 

In addition, Microsoft has the right to obtain more limited rights to the source code in the event ATA is in continuing breach of any of its obligations regarding technical support and correction of programming errors. Upon the occurrence of a continuing breach, Microsoft would obtain the right to freely install, make, use, reproduce, copy, modify, translate, edit and otherwise create derivative works of the DST source code and to sublicense any of the foregoing rights to third parties, excluding certain of our competitors in the computer-based testing services market.

 

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Unauthorized use of our intellectual property by third parties, including infringement of our “ATA” brand, and the expenses incurred in protecting our intellectual property rights, may adversely affect our business.

 

Our copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets and other intellectual property are important to our success. In particular, we believe that our “ATA” brand name represents a valuable asset as we have sought to gain a reputation for high quality and secure testing services and advanced testing technologies within our markets. Unauthorized use of any of our intellectual property may adversely affect our business and reputation. We rely on trademark and copyright law, trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements with our employees, clients, business partners and others to protect our intellectual property rights. Nevertheless, it may be possible for third parties to obtain and use our intellectual property without authorization. The unauthorized use of intellectual property is common and widespread in China and enforcement of intellectual property rights by Chinese regulatory agencies is inconsistent. Moreover, litigation may be necessary in the future to enforce our intellectual property rights. Future litigation could result in substantial costs and diversion of our management’s attention and resources, and could disrupt our business, as well as have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Given the relative unpredictability of China’s legal system and potential difficulties enforcing a court judgment in China, there is no guarantee that we would be able to halt the unauthorized use of our intellectual property through litigation.

 

We may be subject to intellectual property infringement claims, which may force us to incur substantial legal expenses and, if determined adversely against us, may materially disrupt our business.

 

We cannot assure you that our software and other technologies do not or will not infringe upon patents, valid copyrights or other intellectual property rights held by third parties. We may become subject to legal proceedings and claims from time to time relating to the intellectual property of others in the ordinary course of our business. For example, we have been unable to register our “ATA” trademark with the China Trademark Office due to similarity with other marks. Although we have not received notice of trademark infringement claims since we began using the mark in 1999 and believe that the risk of litigation is remote, we may be subject to such claims in the future. If we are found to have violated the intellectual property rights of others, we may be enjoined from using such intellectual property, and we may incur licensing fees or be forced to develop alternatives. In addition, we may incur substantial expenses, and may be forced to divert management and other resources from our business operations, to defend against these third-party infringement claims, regardless of their merit. Successful infringement or licensing claims against us may result in substantial monetary liabilities or may materially disrupt the conduct of our business by restricting or prohibiting our use of the intellectual property in question.

 

Because there is limited business insurance coverage in China, any business disruption or litigation we experience might result in our incurring substantial costs and diverting significant resources to handle such disruption or litigation.

 

The insurance industry in China is not fully developed. Insurance companies in China offer limited business insurance products. While business disruption insurance may be available to a limited extent in China, we have determined that the risks of disruption and the difficulties and costs associated with acquiring such insurance render it commercially impractical for us to have such insurance. As a result, we do not have any business liability, disruption or litigation insurance coverage for our operations in China. Any business disruption or litigation might result in our incurring substantial costs and the diversion of resources.

 

We may face challenges and risks in connection with possible acquisitions, including identifying suitable opportunities and integrating acquired businesses and assets with our existing operations, which could interrupt our business operations or adversely affect our results of operations.

 

As part of our business strategy, we may seek to broaden our service offerings, obtain additional clients and strengthen our service quality by acquiring other companies or businesses. However, our ability to implement our acquisition strategy will depend on a number of factors, including the availability of suitable acquisition candidates at an acceptable cost or at all, our ability to compete effectively to attract and reach agreement with acquisition candidates or joint venture partners on commercially reasonable terms, and the availability of financing to complete acquisitions or joint ventures as well as our ability to obtain any required government approvals or licenses. In addition, we cannot assure you that any particular acquisition or joint venture transaction will produce the intended benefits or synergies. For example, we may not be successful in integrating acquisitions with our existing operations and personnel. Moreover, the acquisitions we pursue may require us to expend significant management and other resources, which may result in interruption to our business operations.

 

There are other risks associated with acquisitions, including:

 

·                  unforeseen or hidden liabilities, including exposure to legal proceedings, associated with newly acquired companies;

 

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·                  failure to generate sufficient revenues to offset the costs and expenses of acquisitions;

 

·                  integration of the management of the acquired business into our own;

 

·                  potential impairment losses or amortization expenses relating to goodwill and intangible assets arising from any of such acquisitions, which may materially reduce our net income or result in a net loss;

 

·                  potential conflicts with our existing employees as a result of our integration of newly acquired companies; and

 

·                  possible contravention of Chinese regulations applicable to such acquisitions.

 

Furthermore, raising capital to finance acquisitions could cause earnings or ownership dilution to your shareholding interests, which in turn could result in losses to you. Any one or a combination of the above risks could interrupt our business operations and adversely affect our results of operations.

 

We may need additional capital and any failure by us to raise additional capital on terms favorable to us, or at all, could limit our ability to grow our business and develop or enhance our product and service offerings to respond to market demand or competitive challenges.

 

Capital requirements are difficult to plan in our rapidly changing industry. We believe that our current cash and expected future cash flows from operations will be sufficient to meet our anticipated working capital and capital expenditures for the next 12 months and the foreseeable future beyond that point. We may, however, require additional cash resources due to changed business conditions or other future developments, including any investments or acquisitions we may decide to pursue. If our sources of liquidity are insufficient to satisfy our cash requirements, we may seek to sell additional equity or debt securities or obtain a credit facility. The sale of additional equity securities could result in dilution to our shareholders. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased debt service obligations and could require us to agree to operating and financing covenants that would restrict our operations. Our ability to obtain additional capital on acceptable terms is subject to a variety of uncertainties, including:

 

·                  investors’ perception of, and demand for, securities of computer-based testing and education companies;

 

·                  conditions of the U.S. and other capital markets in which we may seek to raise funds;

 

·                  our future results of operations and financial condition;

 

·                  Chinese government regulation of foreign investment in China;

 

·                  economic, political and other conditions in China; and

 

·                  Chinese government policies relating to the borrowing and remittance outside China of foreign currency.

 

We cannot assure you that financing will be available in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all. Any failure by us to raise additional funds on terms favorable to us, or at all, could limit our ability to grow our business and develop or enhance our product and service offerings to respond to market demand or competitive challenges.

 

We may be unable to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, and as a result we may be unable to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud.

 

We are subject to provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that we include a report from management on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in our annual reports on Form 20-F. In addition, our independent registered public accounting firm must attest to and report on the operating effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. While our management concluded that our internal control over financial reporting is effective as of March 31, 2012, and our independent registered public accounting firm reported on our internal controls over financial reporting, our management may conclude in the future that our internal controls are not effective. Our failure to maintain effective

 

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internal control over financial reporting could result in a loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our reporting processes, which could materially and adversely affect the trading price of our ADSs.

 

Our reporting obligations as a public company will continue to place a significant strain on our management, operational and financial resources and systems for the foreseeable future. Our failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could result in the loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our financial reporting processes, which in turn could harm our business and negatively impact the trading price of our ADSs.

 

Our independent registered public accounting firm’s audit documentation related to their audit reports included in this annual report may include audit documentation located in China. The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board currently cannot inspect audit documentation located in China and, as such, you may be deprived of the benefits of such inspection.

 

Our independent registered public accounting firm that issues the audit reports included in our annual reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as auditors of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (“the “PCAOB”), is required by the laws of the United States to undergo regular inspections by the PCAOB to assess its compliance with the laws of the United States and professional standards.  Our operations are conducted in China, a jurisdiction where the PCAOB is currently unable to conduct inspections without the approval of the Chinese authorities. Accordingly, any audit documentation located in China related to our independent registered public accounting firm’s reports included in our filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is not currently inspected by the PCAOB.

 

Inspections conducted by the PCAOB outside of China have identified deficiencies in those firms’ audit procedures and quality control procedures, which may be addressed as part of the inspection process to improve future audit quality.  This lack of PCAOB inspections in China prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating audit documentation located in China and its related quality control procedures. As a result, investors may be deprived of the benefits of PCAOB inspections.

 

The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections in China makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our auditor’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to audits outside of China that are subject to PCAOB inspections. Investors may lose confidence in our reported financial information and procedures and the quality of our financial statements.

 

We may be classified as a passive foreign investment company, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. holders of our ADSs or ordinary shares.

 

We believe that we were not a passive foreign investment company, or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes for our taxable year ended March 31, 2012, and we do not expect to be a PFIC in any future taxable year. However, PFIC status is tested each year and depends on the composition of our assets and income and the value of our assets from time to time. Since we currently hold, and expect to continue to hold, a substantial amount of cash and other passive assets and, since the value of our assets is to be determined in large part by reference to the market prices of our ADSs and ordinary shares, which is likely to fluctuate over time, there can be no assurance that we will not be a PFIC for any future taxable year. If we are a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. investor held our ADSs or ordinary shares, certain adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences would apply to the U.S. investor. See “Item 10. — Additional Information — E. Taxation — United States Federal Income Taxation — Passive Foreign Investment Company.”

 

Risks Relating to Regulation of Our Business

 

Substantial uncertainties and restrictions exist with respect to the application and implementation of Chinese laws and regulations relating to Internet content distribution. If the Chinese government finds that the structure for our online test preparation services and other services we provide through the Internet do not comply with Chinese laws and regulations, we could be subject to penalties and may not be able to continue those businesses.

 

The Chinese government regulates internet access, the distribution of online information, the conduct of online commerce and the provision of online services through strict business licensing requirements and other government regulations. These laws and regulations also include limitations on foreign ownership of Chinese companies that provide Internet content. Specifically, foreign investors are not allowed to own more than a 50% equity interest in any Chinese company engaging in Internet content provision.

 

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Because we are a Cayman Islands company, we and our Chinese subsidiaries and their branch companies in China are treated as foreign or foreign-invested enterprises under Chinese laws and regulations. To comply with Chinese laws and regulations, we conduct our online businesses in China through a series of contractual arrangements entered into among ATA Testing Authority (Holdings) Limited, or ATA BVI, ATA Learning (Beijing) Inc., or ATA Learning and ATA Online (Beijing) Education Technology Limited, or ATA Online, which is a domestic Chinese company incorporated in the PRC and owned by Kevin Xiaofeng Ma, our co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer and Walter Lin Wang, our co-founder, director and president. Our contractual arrangements with ATA Online include a technical support agreement and a strategic consulting service agreement. These contractual arrangements also include an equity pledge agreement entered into with each of the shareholders of ATA Online and a call option and cooperation agreement entered into with ATA Online and its shareholders. Under PRC law, a pledge of equity interests can only be valid after such pledge is registered at the relevant agency. Upon such registration, we may enforce the pledge by foreclosing on the pledge equity interest to recover amounts due in the event of breach by ATA Online of the technical support agreement, strategic consulting service agreement or covenants under the equity pledge agreement. The equity pledges under the equity pledge agreement were registered with the relevant local authority, Haidian Branch of Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce, on April 25, 2012.

 

In or around September 2011, various media sources reported that the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the CSRC, had prepared a report proposing pre-approval by a competent central government authority of offshore listings by China-based companies with variable interest entity structures, such as ours, that operate in industry sectors subject to foreign investment restrictions. However, it is unclear whether the CSRC officially issued or submitted such a report to a higher level government authority or what any such report provides, or whether any new PRC laws or regulations relating to variable interest entity structures will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. In addition, the Notice on Establishing a Security Review System for Merger and Acquisition of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, which was promulgated by MOFCOM and became effective on September 1, 2011, require acquisitions by foreign investors of PRC companies engaged in military related or certain other industries that are crucial to national security be subject to security review before consummation of any such acquisition. According to Industry list of Security Review System for Merger and Acquisition of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, industries relating to our business, such as other storage, telecom and other information transfer services, may fall under the purview of the national security review rules.

 

ATA Online holds a Telecommunications and Information Services Operating License, or ICP license, issued by the Beijing Telecommunications Administration Bureau, a local branch of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or MIIT, which allows ATA Online to provide Internet content distribution services. This license is essential to the operation of our online test preparation and training services business.

 

The relevant Chinese regulatory authorities have broad discretion in determining whether a particular contractual structure is in violation of Chinese law. If our ATA Online corporate and contractual structure is deemed by MIIT to be illegal, either in whole or in part, we may have to modify such structure to comply with regulatory requirements. However, we cannot assure you that we can achieve this without material disruption to our business. Further, if our ATA Online corporate and contractual structure is found to be in violation of any existing or future Chinese laws or regulations, the relevant regulatory authorities would have broad discretion in dealing with such violations, including:

 

·                  revoking our business and operating licenses;

 

·                  levying fines on us;

 

·                  confiscating any of our income that they deem to be obtained through illegal operations;

 

·                  shutting down a portion or all of our servers or blocking a portion or all of our web site;

 

·                  discontinuing or restricting our operations in China;

 

·                  imposing conditions or requirements with which we may not be able to comply;

 

·                  requiring us to restructure our corporate and contractual structure;

 

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·                  restricting or prohibiting our use of the proceeds from our initial public offering to finance ATA Online’s business and operations; and

 

·                  taking other regulatory or enforcement actions that could be harmful to our business.

 

The occurrence of any of these events could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

Our contractual arrangements with ATA Online may be subject to scrutiny by the Chinese tax authorities and create a potential double layer of taxation for our revenue-generating services conducted by ATA Online.

 

We could face material and adverse tax consequences if the Chinese tax authorities determine that our contractual arrangements with ATA Online were not priced at arm’s length for purposes of determining tax liability. If the Chinese tax authorities determine that these contracts were not entered into on an arm’s-length basis, they may adjust our income and expenses for Chinese tax purposes in the form of a transfer pricing adjustment. A transfer pricing adjustment could result in a reduction, for Chinese tax purposes, of deductions recorded by ATA Online, which could adversely affect us by increasing the tax liabilities of ATA Online. This increased tax liability could further result in late payment fees and other penalties to ATA Online for underpaid taxes. Any payments we make under these arrangements or adjustments in payments under these arrangements that we may decide to make in the future will be subject to the same risk.

 

To date, no specific prices for the services to be performed by ATA Learning (Beijing) Inc., or ATA Learning, under the contractual arrangements have been set, and no payments have been invoiced or made under any of the contracts between ATA Learning and ATA Online. Prices for such services will be set prospectively and therefore we do not currently have a basis to believe that any of the payments to be made under the contracts will or will not be considered arm’s length for purposes of determining tax liability. Prior to setting prices and terms under the contracts, we intend to engage a third party to review any proposed prices and terms to determine whether they would qualify as arm’s-length.

 

Our contractual arrangements with ATA Online and its shareholders do not provide us with ownership interest in ATA Online. If ATA Online or its shareholders fail to perform their respective obligations under these contractual arrangements, we may have to legally enforce such arrangements and our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected if these arrangements cannot be enforced.

 

Because of PRC restrictions on foreign ownership of Internet-based businesses in China, we depend on a series of contractual arrangements with ATA Online, in which we have no equity ownership interest, to conduct our online businesses. These contractual arrangements include loan agreements, technical support agreement, strategic consulting service agreement, call option and cooperation agreement, and equity pledge agreement.  They are intended to provide us with the power to direct the activities of ATA Online that most significantly impact ATA Online’s performance and allow us to obtain the economic benefits from ATA Online, but may not be as effective in providing control over ATA Online as equity ownership. For example, ATA Online and its shareholders could breach the terms of the contractual arrangements by, among other things, failing to operate our online businesses in an acceptable manner or taking other actions that are detrimental to our interests. As a protection against such risks, ATA Online and its shareholders are prohibited under the contractual arrangements from engaging in certain activities without our consent, including a prohibition on any transfer by ATA Online’s shareholders of their equity interest in ATA Online and a prohibition on ATA Online entering into similar technical support and strategic consulting agreements with third parties. In addition, we have the exclusive option to purchase or have our designee purchase each shareholder’s equity interest in ATA Online at any time so long as such purchase is in compliance with PRC laws. Due to restrictions under PRC law on foreign ownership of Internet-based businesses in China, we are not permitted to exercise the exclusive option to directly purchase ATA Online’s equity interests. There are no material restrictions under PRC law if we were to designate PRC citizens or non-foreign-invested PRC enterprises as our designees to purchase ATA Online’s equity interests or assets.

 

The shareholders of ATA Online have pledged their entire equity interest in ATA Online to ATA Learning to guarantee ATA Online’s and its shareholders’ performance of their obligations under the technical support agreement and the strategic consulting service agreement. However, pursuant to the Property Law of the PRC, a pledge must be registered with the competent local branch of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce after the execution of the relevant pledge agreement. The equity pledges under the equity pledge agreement were registered with the relevant local authority, Haidian Branch of Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce, on April 25, 2012. The enforceability of the equity pledge agreement is not subject to registration and is independent and

 

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separate from the enforceability of the equity pledges. Therefore, even without having registered the equity pledges, we could bring a claim for damages in case of any breach of ATA Online’s covenants under the equity pledge agreement.

 

Although we have significant protections under the contractual arrangements, if ATA Online or its shareholders fail to perform their obligations under the contractual arrangements, we may have to resort to litigation or other contract remedies to enforce our rights, which may be time-consuming, unpredictable, expensive and damaging to our operations and reputation. For example, if the shareholders of ATA Online were to refuse to transfer their equity interest to us or our designated persons when we exercise the call option, we may have to take legal action to compel them to fulfill their contractual obligations. All of these contractual arrangements are governed by PRC or Hong Kong Law and provide for the resolution of disputes through binding arbitration in China. The legal framework and system in China is not as developed as other jurisdictions such as the United States. As a result, significant uncertainties relating to the enforcement of legal rights through arbitration, litigation and other legal proceedings remain in China, which could limit our ability to enforce the contractual arrangements and exert effective control over our consolidated affiliated entity. In addition, a PRC court may refuse to enforce the contractual arrangements on the grounds that they are designed to circumvent PRC foreign investment restrictions and therefore are against PRC public policy. If we are unable to enforce the contractual arrangements, or if we suffer significant delay or other obstacles in the process of enforcing the contractual arrangements, our business and operations could be significantly disrupted, which could materially and adversely affect our results of operations and damage our reputation.

 

The shareholders of ATA Online may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.

 

The shareholders of ATA Online, Kevin Xiaofeng Ma and Walter Lin Wang, are also beneficial holders of our common shares. They are also directors of both ATA Online and our company. Conflicts of interests between their dual roles as shareholders and directors of both ATA Online and our company may arise. We cannot assure you that when conflicts of interest arise, any or all of these individuals will act in the best interests of our company or that conflicts of interests will be resolved in our favor. In addition, these individuals may breach or cause ATA Online to breach or refuse to renew the existing contractual arrangements that allow us to receive economic benefits from ATA Online. Currently, we do not have existing arrangements to address potential conflicts of interest between these individuals and our company. We rely on these individuals to abide by the laws of the Cayman Islands and China, both of which provide that directors owe a fiduciary duty to the company, which requires them to act in good faith and in the best interests of the company and not to use their positions for personal gain. If we cannot resolve any conflicts of interest or disputes between us and the shareholders of ATA Online, we would have to rely on legal proceedings, which could result in disruption of our business and substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.

 

We may lose the ability to use and enjoy assets held by ATA Online that are important to the operation of our business if ATA Online goes bankrupt or becomes subject to a dissolution or liquidation proceeding.

 

To comply with PRC laws and regulations relating to foreign ownership restrictions in the Internet content distribution businesses, we currently conduct our operations in China through contractual arrangements with ATA Online. As part of these arrangements, ATA Online holds certain of the assets that are important to the operation of our online test preparation business. We have not entered into any pledge agreements with respect to the underlying assets as collateral to secure the responsibilities of ATA Online. We have, however, entered into a call option and cooperation agreement under which our wholly owned subsidiary, ATA BVI, has an exclusive purchase option to acquire the entirety or any portion of ATA Online’s equity interest or the assets owned by ATA Online, exercisable at ATA BVI’s discretion. Nonetheless, if ATA Online goes bankrupt and all or part of its assets become subject to license or rights of third-party creditors, we may be unable to continue some or all of our online test preparation business operations, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

If ATA Online undergoes a voluntary or involuntary liquidation proceeding, its shareholders or unrelated third-party creditors may claim rights to some or all of its assets, thereby hindering our ability to operate our online test preparation business. We can take part in the liquidation procedures as a general creditor pursuant to PRC law and to recover any outstanding liabilities owed by ATA Online to our wholly owned subsidiaries under the contractual arrangements. We could also enforce the pledges contained in the equity pledge agreement entered into with each of the shareholders of ATA Online against ATA Online’s shareholders and dispose the pledged equity to indemnify any losses under the technical support agreement and strategic consulting service agreement with priority over any unsecured creditors of ATA Online’s shareholders.

 

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If the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or CSRC, or another PRC regulatory agency determines that CSRC approval was required in connection with our initial public offering, we may become subject to penalties.

 

On August 8, 2006, six PRC regulatory agencies, including the CSRC, promulgated the Provisions Regarding Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rule, which became effective on September 8, 2006. The M&A Rule, among other things, requires that an offshore company controlled by PRC companies or individuals that has acquired a PRC domestic company for the purpose of listing the PRC domestic company’s equity interest on an overseas stock exchange must obtain the approval of the CSRC prior to the listing and trading of such offshore company’s securities on an overseas stock exchange. On September 21, 2006 the CSRC, pursuant to the M&A Rule, published on its official web site procedures specifying documents and materials required to be submitted to it by offshore companies seeking CSRC approval of their overseas listings.

 

Our PRC counsel, Jincheng Tongda & Neal Law Firm, advised us that CSRC approval was not required for our initial public offering in February 2008 because the CSRC approval required under the M&A Rule only applies to an offshore company that has acquired a domestic PRC company for the purpose of listing the domestic PRC company’s equity interest on an overseas stock exchange, while (i) we obtained our equity interest in each of our PRC subsidiaries by means of direct investment other than by acquisition of the equity or assets of a PRC domestic company and (ii) our contractual arrangements with ATA Online do not constitute the acquisition of ATA Online. However, if it is determined that CSRC approval was required, we may face regulatory actions or other sanctions from the CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies. These regulatory agencies may impose fines and penalties on our operations in China, limit our operating privileges in China, or take other actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, reputation and prospects, as well as the trading price of our ADSs.

 

Because we may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our current and future Chinese subsidiaries for our cash requirements, restrictions under Chinese law on their ability to make such payments could materially and adversely affect our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could benefit our business, pay dividends to you, and otherwise fund and conduct our businesses.

 

We have adopted a holding company structure, and our holding companies may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our current and future Chinese subsidiaries for their cash requirements, including the funds necessary to service any debt we may incur or financing we may need for operations other than through our Chinese subsidiaries. Chinese legal restrictions permit payments of dividends by our Chinese subsidiaries only out of their accumulated after-tax profits, if any, determined in accordance with PRC GAAP. Our Chinese subsidiaries are also required under Chinese laws and regulations to allocate at least 10% of their after-tax profits determined in accordance with PRC GAAP to statutory reserves until such reserves reach 50% of the company’s registered capital. Allocations to these statutory reserves and funds can only be used for specific purposes and are not transferable to us in the form of loans, advances or cash dividends. As of March 31, 2012, our Chinese subsidiaries allocated RMB10.6 million ($1.7 million) to the general reserve fund, which is restricted for distribution to the Company. We are in full compliance with PRC laws and regulations relating to such allocations. Any limitations on the ability of our Chinese subsidiaries to transfer funds to us could materially and adversely limit our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could be beneficial to our business, pay dividends and otherwise fund and conduct our business.

 

The discontinuation of any of the preferential tax treatments currently enjoyed by our subsidiaries in the PRC could materially increase our tax obligations.

 

Effective from January 1, 2008, the new PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, or New EIT Law, imposes a tax rate of 25% on all enterprises, including foreign-invested enterprises, and terminates many of the tax exemptions, reductions and preferential treatments available under previous tax laws. However, enterprises that were established before March 16, 2007 and already enjoyed preferential tax treatments may continue to enjoy them (i) in the case of certain preferential tax rates that are specified by tax legislations for a transition period of five years from January 1, 2008 or (ii) in the case of tax exemption or reduction for a specified term, until the expiration of such term.

 

Under the New EIT Law, qualified “high-and-new technology enterprises eligible for key support from the State” (“HNTE”) are entitled to a preferential tax rate of 15%, subject to an annual review during the valid period of their HNTE certificates. In December 2008, ATA Testing was recognized as a HNTE and obtained its HNTE certificate, which entitled ATA Testing to a preferential tax rate of 15% for calendar years 2008 to 2010. In October 2011, ATA Testing successfully renewed its HNTE certificate for another three years from 2011 and therefore is entitled to a preferential tax rate of 15% retroactively for calendar years 2011 to 2013. In December 2009, each of ATA Learning, ATA Online and Beijing JDX received an approval from the tax authority that it qualified as an HNTE for three years, entitling them to a preferential income tax rate of 15% for calendar years 2009 to 2011. ATA Learning, ATA Online and Beijing JDX are currently in the process of renewing their HNTE certificates for another three years. Upon successful renewal, ATA Learning, ATA Online and Beijing JDX should be entitled to a preferential tax rate of 15% retroactively from January 1, 2012. In the event ATA Learning, ATA Online and Beijing JDX are unable to renew their HNTE certificates, they

 

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will be subject to the standard statutory enterprise income tax rate of 25%.  Although we currently expect ATA Learning, ATA Online and Beijing JDX to continue to qualify as HNTE, we cannot assure you that ATA Learning, ATA Online and Beijing JDX will continue to qualify as an HNTE, or that the local tax authorities will not, in the future, change their position and revoke any of our past preferential tax treatments.

 

The discontinuation of any of our preferential tax treatments could materially increase our tax obligations and adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition.

 

Under the New EIT Law, we may be classified as a “resident enterprise” of China. Such classification will likely result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and U.S. holders of our ADSs or ordinary shares.

 

Under the New EIT Law, an enterprise established outside of China with its “de facto management body” in China is considered a “resident enterprise,” meaning that it can be treated the same as a Chinese enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes. In addition, a tax circular, or Circular 82, issued by the State Administration of Taxation, or the SAT on April 22, 2009 regarding the standards used to classify certain Chinese controlled enterprises established outside of China as “resident enterprises” clarified that dividends and other income paid by such “resident enterprises” will be considered to be PRC source income, subject to PRC withholding tax currently at a rate of 10%, when paid to non-PRC enterprise shareholders. Circular 82 also subjects such “resident enterprises” to various reporting requirements with the PRC tax authorities. Under the Implementation Rules to the New EIT Law, a “de facto management body” is defined as a body that exercises “substantial and overall management and control over the manufacturing and business operations, personnel, and human resources, finances and properties of an enterprise. “ In addition, Circular 82 details that certain Chinese-controlled enterprises will be classified as “resident enterprises” if the following are located or resident in China: senior management personnel and departments that are responsible for daily production, operation and management; financial and personnel decision making bodies; key properties, accounting books, company seal, and minutes of board meetings and shareholders’ meetings; and half or more of the senior management or directors having voting rights.

 

Currently, a substantial majority of the members of our management team as well as the management team of some of our offshore holding companies are located in China.  However, Circular 82 only applies to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC enterprise groups, not those controlled by PRC individuals or foreign entities like us. In the absence of detailed implementing regulations or other guidance determining that offshore companies controlled by PRC individuals or foreign entities like us are PRC resident enterprises, we do not currently consider our Company or any of our overseas subsidiaries to be a PRC resident enterprise.

 

However, the SAT may take the view that the determining criteria set forth in Circular 82 reflects the general position on how the “de facto management body” test should be applied in determining the tax resident status of all offshore enterprises. Or additional implementing regulations or guidance may be issued determining that our Cayman Islands holding company is a “resident enterprise” for PRC enterprise income tax purposes. If the PRC tax authorities determine that our Cayman Islands holding company is a “resident enterprise” for PRC enterprise income tax purposes, a number of unfavorable PRC tax consequences could follow. First, we will be subject to enterprise income tax at a rate of 25% on our worldwide income as well as PRC enterprise income tax reporting obligations. This would mean that income such as interest on offering proceeds and other non-China source income would be subject to PRC enterprise income tax at a rate of 25%, in comparison to no taxation in the Cayman Islands. Second, although under the New EIT Law and its implementing rules dividends paid to us by our PRC subsidiaries would qualify as “tax-exempt income,” we cannot guarantee that such dividends will not be subject to a 10% withholding tax, as the PRC foreign exchange control authorities, which enforce the withholding tax, have not yet issued guidance with respect to the processing of outbound remittances to entities that are treated as resident enterprises for PRC enterprise income tax purposes. Finally, a 10% withholding tax will be imposed on dividends we pay to our non-PRC enterprise shareholders, and future guidance may extend the withholding tax to dividends we pay to our non-PRC individual shareholders and gains derived by our non-PRC shareholders from transferring our ADSs or ordinary shares. Similar results would follow if our BVI holding company is considered a PRC “resident enterprise”. In addition to the uncertainty in how the new “resident enterprise” classification could apply, it is also possible that the rules may change in the future, possibly with retroactive effect. We are closely monitoring the development of this area of rules and are evaluating appropriate arrangements of our management activity to avoid being classified as a PRC “resident enterprise.”

 

Chinese regulation of loans and direct investments by offshore holding companies or their Chinese subsidiaries or affiliates may restrict our ability to execute our business strategy.

 

In order to execute our business strategy, we must invest the funds in our Chinese subsidiaries, through loans or capital contributions, and in our affiliated PRC entity, ATA Online, through loans. Under applicable Chinese laws, any loan made by us to

 

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ATA Testing or ATA Learning, both of which are foreign-invested enterprises, cannot exceed statutory limits tied to each company’s registered capital and total investment as approved by the Ministry of Commerce or its local counterpart, and all such loans must be registered with China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, or its local counterpart. Loans by us to ATA Online, as a domestic PRC enterprise, must be approved by the relevant government authority and must also be registered with SAFE. We may also decide to finance ATA Testing by increasing their registered capital through capital contributions. The Ministry of Commerce or its local counterpart must approve any capital contributions to ATA Testing or ATA Learning.

 

In 2008, SAFE promulgated the Circular on the Relevant Operating Issues concerning Administration Improvement of Payment and Settlement of Foreign Currency Capital of Foreign-invested Enterprises, or Circular 142, a notice regulating the conversion by a foreign-invested enterprise, or FIE, of foreign currency into Renminbi by restricting how the converted Renminbi may be used. Circular 142 requires that Renminbi converted from the foreign currency-denominated capital of a FIE may only be used for purposes within the business scope approved by the applicable governmental authority and may not be used for equity investments within the PRC unless specified otherwise in its business scope. For example, such converted amounts may not be used for investments in or acquisitions of other companies, which can inhibit the ability of companies to consummate such transactions. In addition, SAFE strengthened its oversight of the flow and use of Renminbi funds converted from the foreign currency-denominated capital of FIEs under Circular 142. The use of such Renminbi may not be changed without approval from SAFE, and may not be used to repay Renminbi loans if the proceeds of such loans have not yet been utilized. Violations of Circular 142 will result in severe penalties, including heavy fines. As a result, Circular 142 may limit our ability to convert net proceeds raised in subsequent offerings or financings by our overseas companies into Renminbi and use such net proceeds in investments or acquisitions of other companies, which may adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business in China.

 

A failure by us to obtain the necessary government approvals or complete any required registrations for a capital contribution, an increase in approved total investment or a loan on a timely basis, may restrict our ability to execute our business strategy.

 

A failure by our shareholders who are Chinese citizens or residents in China to comply with regulations issued by SAFE could restrict our ability to distribute profits, restrict our overseas and cross-border investment activities or subject us to liability under Chinese laws, which could adversely affect our business and prospects.

 

In October 2005, SAFE, issued the Notice on Issues Relating to the Administration of Foreign Exchange in Fund-raising and Return Investment Activities of Domestic Residents Conducted via Offshore Special Purpose Companies, or Notice 75, which became effective as of November 1, 2005. Notice 75 states that Chinese residents must register with the relevant local SAFE branch in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas equity financing involving a round-trip investment whereby the offshore entity acquires or controls onshore assets or equity interests held by the Chinese residents. Notice 75 applies to our shareholders who are Chinese residents and also applies to our offshore acquisitions. On May 29, 2007, SAFE issued the Notice of Operation Guidance for Notice 75, or Notice 106, according to which Chinese resident shareholders in an offshore company which has at least two years’ operating history and has made investment in China can apply for registration under Notice 75. There is no deadline for such registration.

 

Two of our major shareholders, Kevin Xiaofeng Ma and Walter Lin Wang, have completed their registrations with SAFE, and we have urged our other Chinese resident shareholders to register under Notice 75 and they are currently in the application process. However, we cannot assure you that their applications will be accepted by SAFE. Failure by such shareholders to comply with Notice 75 could subject us to fines or legal sanctions, restrict our overseas or cross-border investment activities, limit our subsidiaries’ ability to make distributions or pay dividends or affect our ownership structure, which could adversely affect our business and prospects. See “Risks Relating to Regulation of Our Business — Because we may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our current and future Chinese subsidiaries for our cash requirements, restrictions under Chinese law on their ability to make such payments could materially and adversely affect our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could benefit our business, pay dividends to you, and otherwise fund and conduct our businesses.”

 

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Risks Relating to the People’s Republic of China

 

Chinese economic, political and social conditions, as well as changes in any government policies, laws and regulations, could adversely affect the overall economy in China or the prospects of the industries in which we operate, which in turn could reduce our net revenues.

 

Substantially all of our operations are conducted in China. Accordingly, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects are subject, to a significant extent, to economic, political and social developments in China.

 

The Chinese economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the amount of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. Although the Chinese economy has been transitioning from a planned economy to a more market-oriented economy since the late 1970s, the Chinese government continues to play a significant role in regulating industry development by imposing industrial policies. The Chinese government also exercises significant control over China’s economic growth through the allocation of resources, controlling the incurrence and payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies. Changes in any of these policies, laws and regulations could adversely affect the overall economy in China or the prospects of the industries in which we operate, which could harm our business.

 

China’s social and political conditions are also not as stable as those of the United States and other developed countries. Any sudden changes to China’s political system or the occurrence of widespread social unrest could have negative effects on our business and results of operations. In addition, China has contentious relations with some of its neighbors, most notably Taiwan. A significant further deterioration in such relations could have negative effects on the Chinese economy and lead to changes in governmental policies that would be adverse to our business interests.

 

The Chinese legal system embodies uncertainties that could limit the legal protections available to you and us.

 

Unlike common law systems, the Chinese legal system is based on written statutes and decided legal cases have little precedential value. In 1979, the Chinese government began to promulgate a comprehensive system of laws and regulations governing economic matters in general. The overall effect of legislation since then has been to significantly enhance the protections afforded to various forms of foreign investment in China. Our Chinese operating subsidiaries, ATA Testing and ATA Learning, are wholly foreign-owned enterprises, which are enterprises incorporated in China and wholly owned by foreign investors, and both are subject to laws and regulations applicable to foreign investment in China in general and laws and regulations applicable to wholly foreign-owned enterprises in particular. Our affiliated entity, ATA Online, is subject to laws and regulations governing the formation and conduct of domestic PRC companies. Relevant Chinese laws, regulations and legal requirements may change frequently, and their interpretation and enforcement involve uncertainties. For example, we may have to resort to administrative and court proceedings to enforce the legal protection that we enjoy either by law or contract. However, since Chinese administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing statutory and contractual terms, it may be more difficult to evaluate the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we enjoy than in more developed legal systems. Such uncertainties, including the inability to enforce our contracts and intellectual property rights, could materially and adversely affect our business and operations. In addition, confidentiality protections in China may not be as effective as in the United States or other countries. Accordingly, we cannot predict the effect of future developments in the Chinese legal system, particularly with regard to the computer-based testing services sectors, including the promulgation of new laws, changes to existing laws or the interpretation or enforcement thereof, or the preemption of local regulations by national laws. These uncertainties could limit the legal protections available to us and other foreign investors, including you.

 

Restrictions on currency exchange may limit our ability to utilize our revenues effectively and the ability of our Chinese subsidiaries to obtain financing.

 

A substantial majority of our revenues and operating expenses are denominated in Renminbi. Restrictions on currency exchange imposed by the Chinese government may limit our ability to utilize revenues generated in Renminbi to fund our business activities outside China, if any, or expenditures denominated in foreign currencies. Under current Chinese regulations, Renminbi may be freely converted into foreign currency for payments relating to “current account transactions,” which include among other things dividend payments and payments for the import of goods and services, by complying with certain procedural requirements. Pursuant to the relevant regulations, a company applying for the remittance of dividends should provide to the bank handling the remittance: (i) proof of taxes paid, (ii) an audit report on the status of dividends, (iii) the relevant company’s foreign exchange registration certificate, (iv) a capital verification report issued by an accounting firm, and (v) an audit report on the company’s financial condition during the current year. These procedural requirements generally do not pose any risk to a wholly foreign-owned company’s ability to remit dividends to its offshore parent. However, should SAFE focus on our use of the variable interest entity structure for ATA Online during the approval or registration process, there is a risk that it may disapprove remittance of dividends or other capital account transactions in order to enforce the restrictions against foreign investment in online education business under the Guidance Catalogue of Industries for Foreign Investment. Revenues generated in the PRC can be converted into foreign currency to pay salaries of employees located outside of the PRC upon the employee completing registration procedures. Revenues generated in the PRC can also

 

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be used to pay off debt generated outside of the PRC, provided that the Company completes relevant foreign debt registration or approval requirements. Although the Renminbi has been fully convertible for current account transactions since 1996, we cannot assure you that the relevant Chinese government authorities will not limit or eliminate our ability to purchase and retain foreign currencies for current account transactions in the future.

 

Conversion of Renminbi into foreign currencies and of foreign currencies into Renminbi for payments relating to “capital account transactions,” which include among other things investments, loans and acquisitions of land and other fixed assets overseas, generally requires the approval of SAFE and other relevant Chinese governmental authorities. Restrictions on the convertibility of the Renminbi for capital account transactions could affect the ability of our Chinese subsidiaries to make investments overseas or to obtain foreign exchange through debt or equity financing, including by means of loans or capital contributions from us.

 

Fluctuations in exchange rates could result in foreign currency exchange losses.

 

Because substantially all of our revenues and expenditures are denominated in Renminbi, fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and Renminbi will affect our balance sheet and earnings per share in U.S. dollars. In addition, appreciation or depreciation in the value of the Renminbi relative to the U.S. dollar would affect our financial results reported in U.S. dollar terms without giving effect to any underlying change in our business or results of operations. Fluctuations in the exchange rate will also affect the relative value of any dividend we issue that will be exchanged into U.S. dollars and earnings from and the value of any U.S. dollar-denominated investments we make in the future.

 

The value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currencies is affected by, among other things, changes in China’s political and economic conditions and China’s foreign exchange policies. On July 21, 2005, the PRC government changed its decade-old policy of pegging the value of the Renminbi to the U.S. dollar. However, the People’s Bank of China regularly intervenes in the foreign exchange market to limit fluctuations in Renminbi exchange rates and achieve policy goals. Following the removal of the U.S. dollar peg, the Renminbi appreciated more than 20% against the U.S. dollar over the following three years. Since reaching a high against the U.S. dollar in July 2008, however, the Renminbi has traded within a narrow range against the U.S. dollar. On June 19, 2010, the People’s Bank of China announced the removal of the de facto peg. Following this announcement, the Renminbi has appreciated modestly, from 6.7968 Renminbi per U.S. dollar on June 21, 2010 to 6.3692 Renminbi per U.S. dollar on June 1, 2012.

 

Very limited hedging transactions are available in China to reduce our exposure to exchange rate fluctuations. To date, we have not entered into any hedging transactions in an effort to reduce our exposure to foreign currency exchange risk. While we may decide to enter into hedging transactions in the future, the availability and effectiveness of these hedging transactions may be limited and we may not be able to successfully hedge our exposure at all. In addition, our currency exchange losses may be magnified by Chinese exchange control regulations that restrict our ability to convert Renminbi into foreign currency.

 

Any future outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome or avian flu in China, or similar adverse public health developments, may disrupt our business and operations.

 

Our business and operations could be materially and adversely affected by the outbreak of avian influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, or other similar adverse public health development. In recent years, there have been reports on the occurrences of avian influenza in various parts of China and neighboring countries, including a few confirmed human cases. China reported the occurrence of a number of cases of H1N1 virus in China related to the global outbreak of H1N1 that began in the first half of 2009. Any prolonged recurrence of an adverse public health development may result in health or other government authorities requiring the closure of our offices or the offices of our clients, or the cancellation of exams or classes to avoid students and others from congregating in closed spaces. Such occurrences would disrupt our business operations and adversely affect our results of operations. We have not adopted any written preventive measures or contingency plans to combat any future outbreak of avian flu, SARS or any other epidemic.

 

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Risks Relating to Our ADSs

 

Our ADS price and the ADS or stock prices of other companies with business operations primarily in China have fluctuated widely in recent years, which could result in substantial losses to investors.

 

The trading prices of our ADSs are volatile, and this volatility may continue. For instance, between April 1, 2011 and June 1, 2012, our ADS price as reported on Nasdaq ranged between a low of $5.35 and a high of $13.09. Numerous factors that are beyond our control may cause the market price of our ADSs to fluctuate significantly. In particular, the performance and fluctuation of the market prices of other technology companies with business operations mainly in China that have listed their securities in the United States may affect the volatility in the price of and trading volumes for our ADSs. In recent years, a number of Chinese companies have listed their securities, or are in the process of preparing for listing their securities, on U.S. stock markets. Some of these companies have experienced significant volatility, including significant price declines in connection with their initial public offerings. The trading performances of these Chinese companies’ securities at the time of or after their offerings may affect the overall investor sentiment towards Chinese companies listed in the United States and consequently may impact the trading performance of our ADSs. These broad market and industry factors may significantly affect the market price and volatility of our ADSs, regardless of our actual operating performance.

 

In addition to market and industry factors, the price and trading volume for our ADSs may be highly volatile for specific business reasons. Factors such as variations in our revenues, earnings and cash flow, announcements of new investments, cooperation arrangements or acquisitions, and fluctuations in market prices for our services could cause the market price for our ADSs to change substantially. Any of these factors may result in large and sudden changes in the volume and price at which our ADSs will trade. We cannot give any assurance that these factors will not occur in the future.

 

Although publicly traded, the trading market in our ADSs has been substantially less liquid than the ADSs or stock of many companies quoted on the Nasdaq Global Market, and this low trading volume may adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

 

Although our ADSs are traded on the Nasdaq Global Market, the trading volume of our ADSs has generally been very low. Reported average daily trading volume in our ADSs for the three-month period ended May 30, 2012 was approximately 3,651 ADSs. Limited trading volume will subject our ADSs to greater price volatility and may make it difficult for our shareholders to sell their ADSs at a price that is attractive to them.

 

The sale or availability for sale of substantial amounts of our ADSs could adversely affect their market price.

 

Sales of substantial amounts of our ADSs in the public market or the perception that these sales could occur, could adversely affect the market price of our ADSs and could materially impair our future ability to raise capital through offerings of our ADSs.

 

As of June 6, 2012, there are 45,962,376 common shares outstanding. In addition, there were outstanding options to purchase an aggregate of 2,788,342 common shares, including options to purchase an aggregate of 2,650,842 common shares immediately exercisable as of June 6, 2012. All of the ADSs sold in our initial public offering are freely tradable without restriction or further registration under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, or the Securities Act, unless held by our “affiliates” as that term is defined in Rule 144 under the Securities Act. Subject to applicable restrictions and limitations under Rule 144 of the Securities Act of 1933, all of our shares outstanding as of the date of this annual report eligible for sale in the public market. In addition, the common shares subject to options for the purchase of our common shares will become eligible for sale in the public market to the extent permitted by the provisions of various vesting agreements, the lock-up agreements described below and Rules 144 and 701 under the Securities Act of 1933. If these additional shares are sold, or if it is perceived that they will be sold in the public market, the trading price of our common shares could decline.

 

A significant percentage of our outstanding common shares are held by a small number of our existing shareholders, and these shareholders may have significantly greater influence on us and our corporate actions by nature of the size of their shareholdings relative to our public shareholders.

 

Four of our existing shareholders, Kevin Xiaofeng Ma, Lijun Mai, Walter Lin Wang and SB Asia Investment Fund II L.P., beneficially own, collectively, approximately 62.7% of our outstanding common shares as of June 6, 2012. Each of these shareholders is an affiliate within the meaning of the Securities Act, due to the size of their respective shareholdings in us. SB Asia Investment Fund II L.P. has one board representative on our five-director board, and beneficially owns approximately 33.0% of our outstanding common shares as of June 6, 2012. Accordingly, these shareholders have had, and may continue to have, significant influence in determining the outcome of any corporate transaction or other matter submitted to the shareholders for approval, including mergers, consolidations and the sale of all or substantially all of our assets, election of directors and other significant corporate actions. In addition, without the consent of these shareholders, we could be prevented from entering into transactions that could be beneficial to us.

 

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Anti-takeover provisions in our organizational documents may discourage our acquisition by a third party, which could limit your opportunity to sell your shares at a premium.

 

Our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association include provisions that could limit the ability of others to acquire control of us, modify our structure or cause us to engage in change of control transactions, including, among other things, the following:

 

·                  provisions that restrict the ability of our shareholders to call meetings and to propose special matters for consideration at shareholder meetings; and

 

·                  provisions that authorize our board of directors, without action by our shareholders, to issue preferred shares and to issue additional common shares, including common shares represented by ADSs.

 

These provisions could have the effect of depriving you of an opportunity to sell your ADSs at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging third parties from seeking to acquire control of us in a tender offer or similar transactions.

 

The voting rights of holders of ADSs must be exercised in accordance with the terms of the deposit agreement, the ADRs, and the procedures established by the depositary. The process of voting through the depositary may involve delays that limit the time available to you to consider proposed shareholders’ actions and also may restrict your ability to subsequently revise your voting instructions.

 

A holder of ADSs may exercise its voting rights with respect to the underlying common shares only in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement and the ADRs. We do not recognize holders of ADSs representing our common shares as our shareholders, and instead we recognize the ADS depositary as our shareholder.

 

When the depositary receives from us notice of any shareholders meeting, it will distribute the information in the meeting notice and any proxy solicitation materials to you. The depositary will determine the record date for distributing these materials, and only ADS holders registered with the depositary on that record date will, subject to applicable laws, be entitled to instruct the depositary to vote the underlying common shares. The depositary will also determine and inform you of the manner for you to give your voting instructions, including instructions to give discretionary proxies to a person designated by us. Upon receipt of voting instructions of a holder of ADSs, the depositary will endeavor to vote the underlying common shares in accordance with these instructions. You may not receive sufficient notice of a shareholders’ meeting for you to withdraw your common shares and cast your vote with respect to any proposed resolution, as a holder of our common shares. In addition, the depositary and its agents may not be able to send materials relating to the meeting and voting instruction forms to you, or to carry out your voting instructions, in a timely manner. We cannot assure you that you will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that you can instruct the depositary to vote your shares. The additional time required for the depositary to receive from us and distribute to you meeting notices and materials, and for you to give voting instructions to the depositary with respect to the underlying common shares, will result in your having less time to consider meeting notices and materials than holders of common shares who receive such notices and materials directly from us and who vote their common shares directly. If you have given your voting instructions to the depositary and subsequently decide to change those instructions, you may not be able to do so in time for the depositary to vote in accordance with your revised instructions. The depositary and its agents will not be responsible for any failure to carry out any instructions to vote, for the manner in which any vote is cast or for the effect of any such vote.

 

Except in limited circumstances, the depositary for our ADSs will give us a discretionary proxy to vote our common shares underlying your ADSs if you do not vote at shareholders’ meetings, which could adversely affect your interests.

 

Under the deposit agreement for the ADSs, the depositary will give us a discretionary proxy to vote our common shares underlying your ADSs at shareholders’ meetings if you do not vote, unless we notify the depositary that:

 

·                  we do not wish to receive a discretionary proxy;

 

·                  we think there is substantial shareholder opposition to the particular question; or

 

·                  we think the subject of the particular question would have a material adverse impact on our shareholders.

 

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The effect of this discretionary proxy is that, absent the situations described above, you cannot prevent our common shares underlying your ADSs from being voted and it may make it more difficult for shareholders to influence the management of our company. Holders of our common shares are not subject to this discretionary proxy.

 

You may not receive distributions on our common shares or any value for them if such distribution is illegal or if any required government approval cannot be obtained in order to make such distribution available to you.

 

The depositary of our ADSs has agreed to pay to you the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian for our ADSs receives on our common shares or other deposited securities after deducting its fees and expenses. You will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of our common shares your ADSs represent. However, the depositary is not responsible to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs if it decides that it is unlawful to make such distribution. For example, it would be unlawful to make a distribution to a holder of ADSs if it consisted of securities that required registration under the Securities Act but that were not properly registered or distributed pursuant to an applicable exemption from registration. The depositary is not responsible for making a distribution available to any holders of ADSs if any government approval or registration required for such distribution cannot be obtained after reasonable efforts made by the depositary. We have no obligation to take any other action to permit the distribution of our ADSs, common shares, rights or anything else to holders of our ADSs. This means that you may not receive the distributions we make on our common shares or any value for them if it is unlawful or unreasonable from a regulatory perspective for us to make them available to you. These restrictions may have a material adverse effect on the value of your ADSs.

 

You may be subject to limitations on transfer of your ADSs.

 

Your ADSs represented by ADRs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. The depositary may close its books from time to time for a number of reasons, including in connection with corporate events such as a rights offering, during which time the depositary needs to maintain an exact number of ADS holders on its books for a specified period. The depositary may also close its books in emergencies, and on weekends and public holidays. The depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of our ADSs generally when the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary thinks it is advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or any government or government body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.

 

We are a Cayman Islands company and, because judicial precedent regarding the rights of shareholders is more limited under Cayman Islands law than under U.S. federal or state laws, you may have less protection of your shareholder rights than you would under U.S. federal or state laws.

 

Our corporate affairs are governed by our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association, the Cayman Islands Companies Law and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from English common law, which has persuasive, but not binding, authority on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws than the United States. In addition, some jurisdictions, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands. As a result of all of the above, public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a U.S. company.

 

Certain judgments obtained against us by our shareholders may not be enforceable.

 

We are a Cayman Islands company and substantially all of our assets are located outside of the United States. Nearly all of our current operations are conducted in China. In addition, most of our directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States. A substantial portion of the assets of these persons are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult for you to effect service of process within the United States upon these persons. It may also be difficult for you to enforce in U.S. court judgments obtained in U.S. courts based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws against us and our officers and directors, none of whom is resident in the United States and the substantial majority of whose assets is located outside of the United States. In addition, there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of the Cayman Islands or China would

 

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recognize or enforce judgments of U.S. courts against us or such persons predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state. In addition, there is uncertainty as to whether such Cayman Islands or Chinese courts would be competent to hear original actions brought in the Cayman Islands or China against us or such persons predicated upon the securities laws of the United States or any state.

 

Your right to participate in any future rights offerings may be limited, which may cause dilution to your holdings.

 

We may from time to time distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire our securities. However, we cannot make rights available to you in the United States unless we register the rights and the securities to which the rights relate under the Securities Act or an exemption from the registration requirements is available. We are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to any such rights or securities or to endeavor to cause such a registration statement to be declared effective. Moreover, we may not be able to establish an exemption from registration under the Securities Act. Accordingly, you may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution in your holdings.

 

ITEM 4.                                                INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

 

A.                                    History and Development of the Company

 

Our predecessor company, American Testing Authority, Inc., a New York company, began operations in 1999, and in that same year established ATA Testing Authority (Beijing) Limited, or ATA Testing, as a wholly owned subsidiary in China. In November 2001, our founders established ATA Testing Authority (Holdings) Limited, or ATA BVI, in the British Virgin Islands. The following year American Testing Authority, Inc. merged into ATA BVI and ATA BVI became our holding company.

 

In June 2003, we established a Chinese joint venture company, ATA Learning (Beijing) Inc., or ATA Learning, with Yinchuan Economic and Technological Development Zone Investment Holding Co. Ltd., or Yinchuan Holding. Initially, we held a 40% equity interest in ATA Learning. In May 2005, we acquired Yinchuan Holding’s 60% equity interest and converted ATA Learning into a wholly owned subsidiary of ATA BVI.

 

We incorporated ATA Inc. in the Cayman Islands in September 2006 as our listing vehicle. ATA Inc. became our ultimate holding company in November 2006 when it issued shares to the existing shareholders of ATA BVI in exchange for all of the outstanding shares of ATA BVI.

 

In February 2009, we completed the acquisition of the entire equity interest of Beijing Jindixin Software Technology Company Limited, or Beijing JDX, and JDX Holdings Limited, or JDX BVI, which are related companies incorporated in China and the British Virgin Islands, respectively, engaged in the development and marketing of software for computer-based tests. JDX BVI was dissolved in October 2009.

 

For additional information on our organizational structure, see Item 4.C. “Organizational Structure.”

 

Our principal executive offices are located at 8th Floor, Tower E, 6 Gongyuan West Street, Jian Guo Men Nei, Beijing 100005, People’s Republic of China, and our telephone number is (86-10) 6518-1122. Our web site address is http://www.ata.net.cn. The information on our web site does not form a part of this annual report. On February 1, 2008, we completed our initial public offering, which involved the sale by us of 4,874,012 of our ADSs, representing 9,748,024 of our common shares. Our agent for service of process in the United States in CT Corporation System, located at 111 Eight Avenue, New York, New York 10011.

 

B.                                    Business overview

 

Overview

 

We believe that we are the leading provider of computer-based testing services in China, based on test delivery capacity and geographic coverage. We offer comprehensive services for the creation and delivery of computer-based tests utilizing our nation-wide test delivery platform, proprietary testing technologies and extensive experience providing testing services in China. Our computer-based testing services are used for professional licensure and certification tests in various industries, including IT services, banking, securities, teaching and insurance. Our computer-based testing services clients principally include professional associations, such as

 

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the SAC, China Banking Association and China Futures Association, and Chinese governmental agencies, including the PRC Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security.

 

Our test center network, which we believe is the largest test center network of any commercial testing service provider in China, comprised 2,462 authorized test centers located throughout China as of March 31, 2012. Combined with our test delivery technologies, this network allows our clients to administer large-scale nationwide computer-based and paper-based tests in a consistent, secure and cost-effective manner. From our inception in 1999 through March 31, 2012, we have delivered approximately 50.0 million tests, including approximately 10.9 million free tests for business development purposes. Over the course of two days on June 2 and June 3, 2012, we delivered tests to more than 790,000 test takers for the China Banking Association, demonstrating our ability to administer computer-based tests across the country on a massive scale through our nationwide test delivery platform. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012, approximately 8.5 million tests were delivered using our computer-based testing technologies and services.

 

Our proprietary computer-based testing technologies include our E-testing platform for delivering computer-based tests and our content creation and management technologies. Our E-testing platform is composed of a set of self-developed tools and applications for facilitating the computer-based testing process, and is capable of handling large-scale tests and quickly and securely transmitting, processing and storing large amounts of data. Our self-developed test content creation and management technologies include our Dynamic Simulation Technology, an advanced performance-based testing technology which leading IT certification sponsors, including Microsoft, have adopted for their computer-simulated tests given around the world. We have also developed content creation technologies for the conversion of paper-based tests into computer-based formats.

 

Leveraging our testing platform, technologies and expertise, we have expanded our service offerings beyond our core computer-based testing services to include other test-focused services. We offer targeted test preparation and training solutions for certain professional licensure and certification tests in the securities and teaching industries. ATA Online has launched online training web sites in coordination with the SAC and the China Futures Association to help candidates across China attain continuing educational requirement after their professional licensure and certification tests, which are delivered through our test delivery platform. In March 2009, we launched HR Select, our self-developed online system that utilizes our proprietary software and a large inventory of test titles to assist companies in streamlining and optimizing their employee selection and assessment processes. HR Select offers tools for filtering and categorizing employee candidates, testing candidates and analyzing the test results. Since March 2009, we have been the exclusive agent for delivering the Test of English for International Communication, or TOEIC, in China.

 

Our total net revenues increased from RMB245.0 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010 to RMB303.9 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011 and RMB352.1 million ($55.9 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012. We had net loss of RMB35.3 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010 and net income of RMB19.8 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011 and RMB55.8 million ($8.9 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012.

 

Our Test Delivery Platform and Technologies

 

We offer our clients a comprehensive platform and suite of technologies for the development and delivery of computer-based tests. Our E-testing platform integrates all aspects of the test delivery process for computer-based tests, from test form compilation to test scoring and results analysis. Our test delivery services are further enhanced by our nation-wide network of test centers, which allows us to deliver both computer-based and paper-based tests on a large scale in a consistent, secure and cost-effective manner. We also offer our clients advanced technologies and software applications for the creation of sophisticated computer-based tests, including advanced performance-based tests. While we still offer a choice between paper-based testing and computer-based testing for our institutional clients, currently all of our national public exams are delivered using computer-based testing, and we expect the trend towards computer-based exams to continue in the future. For example, we successfully helped the General Administration of Customs, or China Customs, to transfer from paper-based testing to computer-based testing for its unified national customs declarer certification test in 175 cities in November 2011. By combining our advanced test content creation technologies with our test delivery platform and network of test centers, we can offer our clients a comprehensive and integrated solution to enhance the effectiveness of the entire testing process, as shown in the following diagram.

 

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Our E-Testing Platform

 

Our E-testing platform incorporates a number of technologies and protocols designed to ensure the stable, cost-effective, secure, accurate, fast and easy-to-manage delivery of computer-based tests on a large scale. It is flexible and is easily customized for many types of test content and the specific requirements of the test sponsor. Tests delivered through our E-testing platform may be conducted at our ATA authorized test centers or at other locations at the test sponsor’s discretion. Our E-testing platform is composed of a set of tools and applications for facilitating the computer-based testing process, including a network sub-system for managing and transferring test content, test taker information and test results data in a secure and efficient manner. Our E-testing platform software applications are designed to handle large-scale testing environments and are capable of transmitting, receiving, processing and storing large amounts of information in a short time span. We currently have the capability to deliver more than 1,000,000 tests per day using our 75 servers, which can be increased to enlarge capacity. We periodically upgrade our equipment and software applications to handle increasing testing volume as required.

 

Our ATA Authorized Test Center Network

 

To help our clients reach a broad base of test takers, we have established a large network of authorized test centers across China and in Macao, which we refer to as our ATA authorized test centers. As of March 31, 2012, we had contractual relationships with 2,462 ATA authorized test centers, of which 1,134 hosted tests delivered through our testing platform within the last 24-month period and 1,462 possess the right to use our “ATA” brand name and logo. Our network of ATA authorized test centers provides the means for delivering and administering tests nationally both simultaneously and on a regularly scheduled basis under consistent and secure testing conditions.

 

The following map shows the geographic distribution of our ATA authorized test centers as of March 31, 2012:

 

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Extensive Network of Test Centers

 

GRAPHIC

 

We do not own any of our ATA authorized test centers but instead enter into a standard form of contract with qualified independent operators to act as ATA authorized test centers. Most of our ATA authorized test centers are owned by Chinese vocational schools, which we believe enhances the quality and dependability of the centers. Under our contracts with the test centers, we license our ATA E-testing platform technology and provide ongoing technical support and training during the contract period. We require each test center to provide sufficient facilities to properly administer computer-based tests and to follow prescribed guidelines for facility maintenance and test administration. We also conduct regular reviews of their facilities and operations. We assist our clients in liaising and coordinating testing arrangements with our ATA authorized test centers.

 

Our ATA authorized test centers are divided into general test centers, which offer a wide range of tests and have the right to use our “ATA” brand name and logo, and special test centers with which we enter into contracts to carry out specific tests for specific test sponsor clients. We receive license fees from our general test center operators in the form of either a single initial license fee or a combination of initial license fee and annual continuing license fees. Under either fee arrangement, our licensees can extend their licensing agreement with us indefinitely.

 

Our Test Content Creation and Management Technologies

 

We offer our clients advanced technologies and software applications for the creation of sophisticated computer-based tests, including advanced performance-based tests.

 

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Our Dynamic Simulation Technology is a performance-based testing technology that provides the format for creating, illustrating, running and scoring tests in a virtual computer environment that accurately and realistically simulates the operating environment and functions of the software applications being tested without requiring the installation or use of those applications. Our Dynamic Simulation Technology is designed to provide maximum interactivity and allow the test taker to perform tasks in the simulated environment and operate through multi-level testing paths. The current version of Dynamic Simulation Technology, version 5.0, is an interpreter-based simulation technology, which represents our fifth generation of simulation testing technologies, as shown in the table below:

 

 

 

First
Generation

 

Second
Generation

 

Third
Generation

 

Fourth
Generation

 

Fifth
Generation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Year Developed

 

· 1999

 

· 2000

 

· 2002

 

· 2004

 

· 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Type

 

· Page-based Simulation

 

· Enhanced Page-based Simulation

 

· Simulator-based Simulation

 

· Interpreter-based Simulation

 

· Enhanced Interpreter-based Simulation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Characteristics

 

· Most simulation user interfaces implemented using screen-captures

 

· Image compressing technology used to reduce size of normal page-based simulation. Active elements added to improve user experience

 

· Simulation produced through programming rather than screen captures, allowing greater flexibility and more complex functionality

 

· Can interpret and respond to user operations and simulate most types of software with less programming work

 

· Incorporates various Rich Media Technologies

· Deployable on standard browsers

 

Interpreter-based simulation offers high flexibility, adaptability to most applications, low disk space usage and short lead times for developing new tests once the system is in place. Based on feedback from our clients, we believe that we are the only company in the world that has developed and marketed interpreter-based simulation technology for testing and educational use. For this reason, we believe that our Dynamic Simulation Technology is the world’s leading technology for the creation and illustration of performance-based tests through simulation. Currently content of over eight languages have been delivered through this technology around the world.

 

We have also developed two non-simulation testing technologies: Real Environment Technology and ATA Markup Language. Our Real Environment Technology is used for creating and running performance-based tests and learning exercises that track and score within the actual operating system or software application being tested. We have also developed our ATA Markup Language for the creation and illustration of knowledge-based test items that require the test taker to respond to specific questions in a traditional question-and-answer format. While less sophisticated than our performance-based testing technologies, ATA Markup Language remains a key technology for our large base of clients who contract with us for the conversion of paper-based tests to computer-based tests. In addition, many performance-based tests also include traditional multiple-choice questions created and run by our ATA Markup Language and related software applications.

 

We have developed test item authoring tool applications for our Dynamic Simulation Technology, Real Environment Technology and ATA Markup Language. We have also developed other authoring tools, such as user interface cloning and translation software, for increasing the efficiency of the test content creation and revision process. To meet individual client needs, we have developed test engine applications for integrating tests using our testing technologies on multiple testing platforms. For instance, we have developed test engine applications that allow running Dynamic Simulation Technology tests on our own test delivery platform, on Microsoft’s test port and on other test platforms.

 

All of our computer-based testing technologies have been developed in-house, and none incorporates any third-party intellectual property.

 

In addition to incorporating our technologies into our test service offerings, we also directly generate revenue from our Dynamic Simulation Technology and related simulation authoring tools by licensing them to international IT certification sponsors,

 

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such as Microsoft, Citrix and CompTIA for the creation of test items and test preparation course exercise items delivered to students and test takers all over the world.

 

Our Service Offerings

 

Testing Development and Delivery Services

 

Computer-based test creation, delivery and analysis services. Our test delivery platform and technologies allow us to offer our clients a comprehensive set of services for the creation, delivery and analysis of computer-based tests as well as logistical services such as test registration, scheduling and fee collection. We have assisted our clients with creating and delivering a wide range of computer-based tests, including professional association or licensure tests required by governmental agencies for positions within various governmental agencies or industry associations that test the competence of individuals who operate in certain industries that require technical expertise and which carry professional titles, such as:

 

·                  the Certification of China Banking Professionals Exam, designed and administered by the China Banking Association under the supervision of the China Banking Regulatory Commission;

 

·                  the Qualifications Exam for Individuals Engaged in the Securities Industry, designed and administered by the SAC under the supervision of the China Securities Regulatory Commission;

 

·                  the Insurance Agent Qualifications Exam, designed and administered by the Insurance Association of China under the supervision of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission;

 

·                  the National Security Guard Exam, designed and administered by the Ministry of Public Security of the People’s Republic of China;

 

·                  IT vendor tests that assess the technical skills and competence of IT professionals in relation to specific types of IT applications, computer operating systems or other IT skill sets, and that allow test takers to obtain a professional license or certification in a specific subject area, job title or career path; and

 

·                  enterprise assessment tests that various enterprises use for recruitment and internal personnel assessment purposes.

 

Utilizing our computer-based test content creation technologies, we assist our clients in developing sophisticated computer-based tests, including performance-based tests. Creation of effective and user-friendly computer-based tests involves a multi-step process, including:

 

·                  Test design. Our content development consultants work together with the client to determine the test purpose, intended audience, test objectives and required competency level to formulate an overall test outline. We then arrange for the client to work with our subject matter experts, or to engage outside subject matter experts with specific experience in the subject area, to work with us on the scope of knowledge covered by the test and to design and author specific testing items for required knowledge points.

 

·                  Test item authoring. Based on the test outline and using our advanced test engine technologies, we work together with subject matter experts to create test items designed to determine a test taker’s proficiency and speed in solving both practical and conceptual problems. The test items are designed to support immediate test scoring and results analysis. Test items generally fall into two types: traditional items and performance-based items. Once all of the test items have been created, our content development consultants and subject matter experts commence a review to ensure the validity of each test item, clarity of language and overall quality. All of the test items are then deposited in a master test item pool.

 

·                  Test form and item bank construction. Once the test items are ready, we set test item parameters to be used for building up test item banks, which enable test forms to be formulated. Test forms with equal level of difficulty are generated from the test item bank based on the pre-defined blueprint of the test to ensure fairness across test forms.

 

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·                  Final user acceptance beta test. Before publication, the test undergoes a final user acceptance beta test during which volunteer test takers take the test and provide feedback. Based on the test results from the beta test, we are able to evaluate the efficacy of the test, eliminate problematic test items and otherwise fine tune the test items to ensure quality.

 

·                  Continuous upgrades through analysis and user feedback. As we deliver tests in real-world environments, we monitor and analyze the quality and adequacy of the test content and make upgrades as we develop or adopt new technologies and techniques. We also communicate with test users and collect feedback from the test sponsors and test takers to ensure that desired improvements are made in a timely manner.

 

Depending on the client’s needs, we can perform some or all of the above steps for each client. For example, in some cases, clients may have already created all of the test items and may only require us to build the test using our ATA E-testing platform. Computer-based tests can also be designed for delivery as on-going tests, which can be taken by the test taker at any time at his or her choice, for example by accessing the test from the client’s web site, or as regularly scheduled tests, which must be taken by test takers at a specified time with advanced scheduling required.

 

Our computer-based testing delivery services generally include the following, subject to the test sponsor’s specific needs:

 

·                  installing our ATA E-testing platform on the client’s computer system to assist with centralizing administrative matters relating to the test or, in the case of repeat clients, upgrading the existing platform as necessary, for new tests;

 

·                  providing technical support throughout the testing process;

 

·                  uploading test information and performing test rehearsals and final testing environment control; and

 

·                  processing test scores, summarizing and analyzing test scores and results.

 

We also offer a number of logistical support services relating to test administration that we incorporate into the testing fee for our test delivery platform based on a client’s individual needs. These support services include:

 

·                  managing test taker registration and scheduling;

 

·                  managing test taker fee collection;

 

·                  arranging test stations and pre-test training of staff at each ATA authorized test center;

 

·                  providing test data management, such as test score publishing; and

 

·                  preparing and delivering certificates for test takers who have passed the test sponsor certification requirements.

 

We usually offer test content creation services and test delivery services as an integrated package and collect a fixed fee per test per test taker. The fee we charge depends on the length and complexity of the test, the amount of effort it takes to transform the testing content into a computer-based test format and other factors in the test development and administration process, such as security levels and the amount of logistical services provided.

 

Distribution and administration of TOEIC exams in China. Since March 2009, we have been the exclusive distributor and test administrator of TOEIC exams in China, which are operated by ETS, the world’s largest educational research and assessment organization. Originally designed in 1979 by ETS for governmental agencies and corporations, TOEIC measures the ability of non-native speakers of English to communicate in English in the workplace. According to ETS, the TOEIC exam has been used by over 10,000 companies, government agencies and English language learning programs in 120 countries, with more than six million TOEIC exams administered around the world each year. TOEIC has become the top professional English language assessment tool in the world, according to ETS.

 

TOEIC tests include large-scale tests open to the general public for a set fee as well as on-demand tests given for specific enterprises or organizations. We administered our first TOEIC exam in three cities in China in March 2009.  We collect a per-test

 

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taker fee for each test delivered. TOEIC exams in China used to be only available in a paper-based format, but since August 2011, we began also delivering computer-based TOEIC exams through our ATA authorized test center network and expect this trend towards more computer-based exams to continue in the future.

 

Test Preparation and Training Solutions

 

In late 2006, we began offering test preparation and training solutions by integrating our testing and assessment technologies with test preparation and training content targeted at professional licensure and certification tests in China. Building on our established reputation in, and in-depth understanding of, the Chinese market for professional licensure and certification tests in the securities, futures, banking, insurance and teaching industries, we began offering test preparation and training programs and services to test candidates preparing to take professional certification tests as well as candidates aiming to fulfill their continuing educational requirement after passing their licensure exams in these industries.

 

Online test preparation and training platform for the securities and banking industries. Leveraging the increased scale of ATA-delivered securities certification test, ATA Online launched an online test preparation Internet web site in coordination with the SAC to provide a flexible and scalable platform aimed at helping candidates across China to fulfill continuing educational requirement after passing their professional licensure and certification tests delivered by ATA. Test preparation and training customers gain access to Internet web sites that contain the latest training materials provided by the test sponsors and streaming video teaching sessions and practice tests developed by ATA. Since December 2011 the SAC has been in the process of assessing the feasibility to run its online training program internally rather than outsourcing its operation to us. In place of our previous contract under which we operated the online training program on behalf of the SAC, we have entered into a contract through March 2013 under which we will provide technical and services support during the assessment period. After March 2013, if the SAC decides not to recommence outsourcing the operation of its online training program, we expect to no longer provide such services to the SAC.

 

NTET Tutorial Platform — test preparation software for the teaching industry. Since 2006, we have offered software comprising a comprehensive set of training materials for preparing teachers for certification under the NTET test, which is conducted by China’s Ministry of Education and delivered through our test delivery platform and test center network. This software package, which we refer to as our NTET Tutorial Platform, is installed on a school’s computer system and offers teachers access to user-friendly and interactive tutorial programs, practice questions and learning exercises through the school’s intranet. We have had only minimal sales of our NTET Tutorial Platform software since October 2008 as a result of the delayed implementation of the national teachers’ licensure program. Further, we had no NTET sales in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011 and 2012.

 

Cambridge ESOL Young Learners English online tutorials. In September 2008, we entered into a business partnership with the PRC Ministry of Education to develop and provide online tutorials to students enrolled in Cambridge ESOL’s “Cambridge Young Learners English” programs in China. The tutorials contain audio-visual study aids and practice items that we have developed in conjunction with the Institute of Online Education of Beijing Foreign Studies University. We began earning revenues from these online tutorials in September 2009.

 

HR Select Employee Assessment Solution

 

In March 2009, we launched our self-developed “HR Select” employee assessment solution. HR Select is an online system that utilizes our proprietary software and a large inventory of test titles to help employers in China maximize the efficiency and accuracy of their employee recruitment process. HR Select covers the entire employee selection process from resume filtering to talent assessment and skills testing to test results analysis.

 

HR Select incorporates sophisticated database technologies for retaining and categorizing key candidate data, allowing human resource managers to effectively and efficiently process and filter a large number of candidate resumes. More importantly, we believe HR Select’s platform for testing, comparing and analyzing general, industry-specific and position-specific capabilities and skill-sets makes it a unique offering in the market. Employers using HR Select can choose to adopt any of a multitude of evaluation parameters, including:

 

·                  General skills, including among others foreign language skills, software application skills, management skills, reading comprehension ability and data processing skills;

 

·                  Position-specific skills, including customized tests for IT, finance, management, customer service, administrative and sales positions; and

 

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·                  Compatibility traits, which look at non-skills elements that indicate a candidate’s likelihood of success, such as personal values, self-image, self-motivation and other personality traits.

 

HR Select leverages our computer-based testing technologies and expertise to allow employers to evaluate candidates on each of these parameters and to analyze and categorize the results to make effective recruitment decisions. We have also leveraged our particular expertise in certain industries where we have been delivering computer-based tests and educational services, including the IT and finance industries, to provide targeted services to employer clients. HR Select currently offers tailored evaluation tests for 600 positions with over 260 evaluation modules. For example, TOEIC and Saville, which is a career aptitude test, are available via the HR Select service to assess a candidate’s business English skill and job aptitude, respectively. Employers may adopt ready-made tests available in the HR Select system, or use their own self-developed tests. If they use their own tests, they can choose to keep the test confidential or permit other HR Select clients to view the tests. By allowing test content to be shared, we believe HR Select can facilitate standardization of recruitment criteria within industries. HR Select incorporates our computer-based testing technologies to allow clients to deliver the evaluation tests online in a secure, accurate and easy-to-manage manner. HR Select can be administered at ATA authorized test centers or via our customized online platform.

 

Our current HR Select clients principally include large domestic and foreign-invested companies in highly skill-intensive industries such as insurance and banking. By the end of the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011, the four largest Chinese state-owned banks have all become customers of our computer-based testing services that incorporate our HR Select solution. We expect to market HR Select to the large and growing small- and medium-enterprise market in China where recruitment resources are limited and where the consequences of poor hiring decisions are greater. Pricing starts at a volume-limited annual subscription, with additional fees charged depending on the volume, specific test titles utilized and whether ATA authorized test centers are used.

 

To complement our HR Select offerings, we signed an exclusive ten-year partnership agreement with Saville Consulting, a global human resources assessment firm whose products are available in over 80 countries, in August 2011 to deliver Saville’s unique and proprietary psychometric measurement instruments and specialized aptitude tests through our testing platform. Saville’s psychometric assessment has enhanced our HR Select product portfolio and moved us one step closer to our goal of being a premium provider of international, brand name test content.

 

Career-Oriented Educational Services

 

Our career-oriented educational services include single course programs, degree major course programs and pre-occupational training programs focusing on preparing students to pass IT and other vocational certification tests. Each single course program we offer is typically centered on a specific type of computer software application or other technology that requires significant training and practice to master and for which certification is offered. Our degree major course programs are designed to help graduates prepare for particular types of jobs and career paths. These programs are essentially combinations of multiple single course programs designed to help students acquire a cluster of skill sets. Generally, the entire degree major course program can be completed within two to three years and comprises all courses necessary for the student’s college major. Our pre-occupational training programs provide students with a simulated internship environment replicating what these students would experience in an actual internship and that are designed to prepare students for actual job positions. A typical pre-occupational training program will last two to three months.

 

Data Storage and Security

 

One of the most important aspects of our computer-based testing services is ensuring the integrity and security of the test-taking process. To accomplish this, we use multiple technologies and methods to ensure the security of test content, test results and other sensitive data used or obtained in relation to our services.

 

We have developed and implemented the following technologies and measures to protect security throughout all stages of test development and delivery:

 

Preparation and Storage of Test Items

 

To reduce the risks associated with potential unauthorized disclosure or misuse of test questions by ATA personnel during the process of creating test item banks, we divide test item authoring and management tasks among multiple persons and limit each person’s access to the test item content through the use of access permissions. Each test item author is only responsible for creating a limited amount of test item content and is permitted access only to that content for which that person is responsible. As a result, no one

 

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has full access to the contents beyond his or her scope of work. Test item bank managers receive limited permissions and are not given access to view the content of individual test items. Moreover, our test item authoring and test item bank management tools record and track all access and modifications to test items or the test item pool to detect any breaches to the security protocols. Once the test item banks are created, the content is encrypted and stored on our secure central servers or the client’s servers. Our servers are located in a central machine room operated by one of the most well-established server hosting service providers in China. These servers are protected by firewalls and stored using NetApp TM equipment, which permits real-time back-up. We encrypt all test item banks using our self-developed encryption algorithm, which prevent decryption or reverse engineering through the use of electronic fingerprinting, anti-tracking and trapping technologies.

 

Creation of Test Forms and Transmission of Test Materials to the Test Site

 

Our software applications automatically compile individual test forms from the test item bank according to the test blueprint and pre-arranged parameters. During this process, no access or viewing of the content of individual test items is permitted and all steps in the process are digitally recorded. The encrypted test forms are delivered to the test site’s server either on hard disc or through a secure network, generally one day before the day of the test. The relevant information on each test taker is separately transferred in encrypted format to the test site via the Internet. A hardware dongle containing an encrypted time stamp is used to ensure that the test begins and ends on time. A hardware dongle is a hardware device that must be inserted into the USB port of the test site’s central computer to decrypt and operate the test content. We design our own hardware dongles, which incorporate ATA-owned integrated circuit technology, and outsource its production to multiple factories in China. A decryption algorithm used along with the hardware dongle to complete decryption of test materials and commence the test.

 

Conduct of the Test

 

We train all test center personnel on protocols and supervision techniques to be used during test time. Test center administrators confirm test takers’ identities through photographs, fingerprints and other biometric data. We also issue to each test taker upon registration a password that must be inputted on the test day to start the test. Once the test session has begun, software installed as part of each test tracks all actions and operations taken during the test and records them on the test site central server in real time. The testing software prevents test takers from accessing any network during test time. When a test taker opens up a question, it is decrypted and displayed. To protect against cheating, the order in which test answer choices appear is randomly generated with each answer choice encoded as a unique number and letter chain. Immediately upon the test taker’s completion of each test item, the recorded data is re-encoded and re-encrypted.

 

Transmission, Reading and Storage of Test Results

 

In most instances, tests are scored on the test site server immediately following conclusion of the test and subsequently uploaded to our central servers. All transferred data is encrypted and data code integrity is verified using MD5 and Hash technologies. Following scoring, we store all test content and results on our firewall-protected central servers.

 

Intellectual Property

 

Intellectual property protections, including copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets are important to our success. We rely on copyright and trademark law, trade secret protection and confidentiality agreements with our employees, clients, business partners and others to protect our intellectual property rights. All of our senior management and engineering employees are required to sign agreements acknowledging that all inventions, trade secrets, works of authorship, innovations and other processes generated by them that relate to our business are our property, and to assign to us any ownership rights in those works. Despite our efforts, it may be possible for third parties to obtain and use our intellectual property without authorization.

 

We have registered 117 software copyrights relevant to our product and service offerings with the Copyright Protection Center of China.

 

As of March 31, 2012, we have also registered 251 domain names relating to our web sites, including www.ata.net.cn, the primary URL for our web site, with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and the China Internet Network Information Center, a domain name registration service provider in China.

 

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We have chosen not to obtain any patents for our testing technologies for a number of reasons. Principally, we believe that it is the industry norm in China not to obtain patents for technologies that are not in the form of hardware. The process for patenting technologies is cumbersome and generally takes approximately 18 months or more, and due to the prevalence of intellectual property infringement and relatively weak enforcement mechanisms in China, we believe that the risks involved in obtaining a patent, which would be publicly accessible, outweigh the potential benefits. Instead, our testing technologies enjoy protection in China as trade secrets under China’s Anti-Unfair Competition Law.

 

Clients

 

The quality and flexibility of our product and service offerings has attracted a broad base of clients. Our clients principally include Chinese governmental agencies, professional associations, well-known IT vendors and Chinese educational institutions as well as individual test preparation services consumers. The SAC and the China Banking Association accounted for 37.3% and 10.5%, respectively, of our total net revenues for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012. No other client accounted for more than 10% of our total net revenues for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012.

 

As of March 31, 2012, we had 334 contracts with test sponsors for our computer-based testing services. For the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012, our five largest computer-based testing services clients based on revenue were:

 

·                  the SAC, which has been designated by the China Securities Regulatory Commission as the sole administrator of securities industry qualification tests in China;

 

·                  the China Banking Association, which has been designated by the China Banking Regulatory Commission as the sole administrator of banking industry qualification tests in China;

 

·                  the Professional Skills Qualification Center of the PRC Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security;

 

·                  the China Futures Association, which has been designated by the China Securities Regulatory Commission as the sole administrator of futures industry qualification tests in China; and

 

·                  Agricultural Bank of China.

 

These five clients represented an aggregate of 63.8% of our total net revenues for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012.

 

Sales and Business Development

 

Our sales and business development department, primarily composed of members of our senior management and professional sales team, is responsible for identifying and developing new markets and client opportunities for our product and service offerings. For our computer-based testing services, we target key governmental agencies, professional associations, enterprises and other potential clients to help them develop standardized certification, qualification or assessment policies. Once we have identified a potential client, we generally submit an initial proposal outlining the services we can provide based on our analysis of their test-related needs. We may develop and conduct trial tests tailored to the client’s needs based on the terms of a memorandum of understanding signed with the client. We generally enter into a final contract with the client only after successful completion of the trial tests. During this process, we also actively seek opportunities to cross-sell and up-sell our services, including test preparation services and ancillary testing services to the client. The following diagram illustrates the key stages in our testing services business development process.

 

 

Marketing

 

To generate demand and market awareness, we engage in a variety of marketing activities to promote our product and service offerings. We host and invite potential clients, such as key governmental agencies and governing bodies, to industry conferences on topics such as the development of computer-based testing technologies. We also attend conferences and trade shows to demonstrate and promote our technologies and product and service offerings. We conduct marketing for our career-oriented educational services

 

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through promotional activities in cooperation with local governmental departments and educational institutions and through our local sales agents. Our on-campus marketing activities include promoting the IT vendors’ certification tests together with our course programs and other career-oriented educational services, while linking both to our “ATA” brand name, through prominently placed marketing materials like posters and other advertising means. We promote wider recognition of our “ATA” brand by placing our logo prominently outside ATA authorized test centers and in test and course program materials. We are also developing joint marketing efforts with certain independent operators of our ATA authorized test centers. In connection with our launch of HR Select and distribution of TOEIC, we have redirected most of our educational services sales and marketing efforts since March 2009 to designing and operating marketing efforts toward private enterprises. We have launched advertising campaigns across all major resume service providers’ web sites in China to market HR Select and TOEIC.

 

Competition

 

In the computer-based testing services market, we compete primarily on the basis of technology, price, management experience and established infrastructure. We believe that our overall testing services and technologies, along with our nationwide test center network, provide us with a competitive advantage. We believe that we are currently the market leader in computer-based testing services in China due to the combination of our experience in and familiarity with the China computer-based testing services market, our advanced technology, our large nationwide network of test centers, our established relationships with key test sponsors and governmental agencies and our competitive cost levels.

 

We believe that we have the largest test center network of any commercial computer-based testing service provider in China. We had 2,462 authorized test centers in China, including centers in every province in China, as of March 31, 2012. To our knowledge, based on interactions with clients and others in the market, there are no other commercial computer-based testing service providers in China with a test center network as large as ours. Our vast network of test centers allows our clients to administer large-scale nationwide computer-based tests in a consistent, secure and cost-effective manner. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012, approximately 8.5 million tests were delivered using our computer-based testing technologies and services, and our capacity for test delivery, which can be easily expanded if necessary, is already more than 1,000,000 tests per day.

 

For our HR Select employee assessment solution, while there are other companies providing services to corporate human resources departments, we are differentiated by our comprehensive service and focus on offering more professional testing services with proprietary testing technologies.

 

While we anticipate new market entrants and increased efforts by existing international players to expand their presence in China, we believe that relatively high entry barriers, such as the time and costs associated with establishing a large-scale test center network, will make it difficult for new entrants or international competitors to quickly gain market share from us in China. We believe that potential domestic entrants lack the technology and commercial relationships that we possess. International competitors will likely face challenges in establishing effective relationships with key Chinese government and industry test sponsors or local educational institutions.

 

Seasonality

 

We have experienced seasonality and expect in the future to continue to experience seasonality in net revenues and accounts receivable related to our test delivery services, with the quarters ending June 30 and December 31 typically having higher net revenues from testing services and the quarters ending September 30 and March 31 typically having lower net revenues from testing services. This is primarily because the tests from which we derive substantial revenues are mostly delivered in the quarters ending June 30 and December 31.

 

Regulation

 

This section sets forth a summary of the most significant laws, regulations, policies and requirements that affect our business activities in China, the industries in which we operate, and our shareholders’ right to receive dividends and other distributions from us.

 

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Regulation of the Software Industry

 

In China, holders of computer software copyrights enjoy protection under the Copyright Law of the People’s Republic of China, or the Copyright Law. Under the Copyright Law, China’s State Council and the State Copyright Administration have also promulgated various regulations relating to the protection of software copyrights in China. Under these regulations, computer software that is independently developed and exists in a physical form will be protected, and software copyright owners may license or transfer their software copyrights to others. Registration of software copyrights and exclusive licensing and transfer contracts with the Copyright Protection Center of China (previously, the State Copyright Administration) or its local branches are encouraged. Such registration is not mandatory under Chinese law, but can enhance the protections available to the registering parties. For example, the registration certificate serves an evidentiary function enabling the registering parties to prove they have protectable rights. We have registered 117 software copyrights with the Copyright Protection Center of China.

 

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (and its predecessors), or MIIT, has promulgated regulations to regulate the production, sale, import or export of software products in China. Under these regulations, all domestically produced software products to be operated or sold in China must be duly registered and filed with the provincial branches of MIIT. We have complied with the registration and filing requirements necessary to sell our software products in China. These registrations generally remain in effect for five years and are subject to renewal.

 

Regulation of Vocational Education

 

Chinese laws and regulations impose restrictions on foreign investment in educational institutions in China. However, Chinese laws and regulations do not impose restrictions on foreign investment in companies providing course and test content or related products and services to educational institutions. In addition, the Chinese government has issued a series of circulars and regulations promoting the development of vocational education, including “The Decision to Enhance the Promotion of the Reform and Development of Vocational Education” and “The Decision to Enhance the Development of Vocational Education” published by the State Council on September 24, 2002 and October 28, 2005, respectively. These circulars and regulations require all levels of governments in China to intensify their support for vocational education and to gradually increase the financial resources that local and provincial governments allocate to vocational education.

 

Restrictions on Telecommunications Industry

 

The telecommunications industry, including computer information and internet access services, is highly regulated by the Chinese government. Regulations issued or implemented by the State Council, MIIT and other relevant government authorities cover virtually every aspect of telecommunications network operations, including entry into the telecommunications industry, the scope of permissible business activities, interconnection and transmission line arrangements, tariff policy and foreign investment.

 

Since March 1998, the National People’s Congress of the PRC has directed MIIT to assume responsibility for, among other things:

 

·                  formulating and enforcing telecommunications industry policy, standards and regulations;

 

·                  granting licenses to provide telecommunications and Internet services;

 

·                  formulating tariff and service charge policies for telecommunications and Internet services;

 

·                  supervising the operations of telecommunications and Internet service providers; and

 

·                  maintaining fair and orderly market competition among operators.

 

In addition to the regulations promulgated by the Chinese central government, some local governments have also promulgated local rules applicable to Internet companies operating within their respective jurisdictions.

 

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Foreign Ownership Restrictions on Internet Content Provision Businesses

 

In September 2000, the State Council promulgated the Telecommunications Regulations. The Telecommunications Regulations categorize all telecommunications businesses in China as either infrastructure telecommunications businesses or value-added telecommunications businesses. In February 2003, MIIT amended the original classification of telecommunications business with Internet content provision services being classified as value-added telecommunications businesses. The Telecommunications Regulations also set forth extensive guidelines with respect to different aspects of telecommunications operations in China.

 

In December 2001, in order to comply with China’s commitments with respect to its entry into the World Trade Organization, the State Council promulgated the Administrative Rules on Foreign-Invested Telecommunications Enterprises, which was amended in September 2008. The Administrative Rules on Foreign-Invested Telecommunications Enterprises set forth detailed requirements with respect to capitalization, investor qualifications and application procedures in connection with the establishment of a foreign invested telecommunications enterprise. Pursuant to the Administrative Rules on Foreign-Invested Telecommunications Enterprises, the ultimate capital contribution ratio of the foreign investor or investors in a foreign-funded telecommunications enterprise that provides value-added telecommunications services shall not exceed 50%. In addition, pursuant to the Foreign Investment Industrial Guidance Catalogue, the permitted foreign investment ratio of value-added telecommunications services is no more than 50%.

 

However, for a foreign investor to acquire any equity interest in a value-added telecommunication business in China, it must satisfy a number of stringent performance and operational experience requirements, including demonstrating a track record and experience in operating value-added telecommunication business overseas. Moreover, foreign investors that meet these requirements must obtain approvals from MIIT and the Ministry of Commerce or their authorized local counterparts, which retain considerable discretion in granting approvals.

 

On July 26, 2006, MIIT publicly released the Notice on Strengthening the Administration of Foreign Investment in Operating Value-added Telecom Business, dated July 13, 2006, or the MIIT Notice, which reiterates certain provisions under the 2002 Administrative Rules on Foreign-Invested Telecommunications Enterprises. According to the MIIT Notice, if any foreign investor intends to invest in a Chinese telecommunications business, a foreign-invested telecommunications enterprise shall be established and such enterprise shall apply for the relevant telecommunications business licenses. Under the MIIT Notice, domestic telecommunications enterprises are prohibited from renting, transferring or selling a telecommunications license to foreign investors in any form.

 

As a result of current Chinese laws and regulations that impose substantial restrictions on foreign investment in the Internet businesses in China, we conduct our online test preparation business in China through a series of contractual arrangements entered into among us, ATA Learning, and our newly formed affiliated PRC entity, ATA Online (Beijing) Education Technology Limited, or ATA Online, which is a domestic Chinese company incorporated in the PRC and owned by Kevin Xiaofeng Ma, our chairman and chief executive officer, and Walter Lin Wang, our director and president, both of whom are PRC citizens. See Item 4.C. “Organizational Structure.” ATA Online has obtained the licenses and approvals that are required to operate the online test preparation business.

 

Our contractual arrangements with ATA Online include a technical support agreement and a strategic consulting service agreement. In addition, ATA Learning has entered into an equity pledge agreement with each of the shareholders of ATA Online pursuant to which each of the shareholders has pledged all of his or her interest in ATA Online to ATA Learning as security for the performance of ATA Online’s obligations under the technical support agreement and the strategic consulting service agreement. Under PRC law, a pledge of equity interest can only be valid after such pledge is registered with the relevant local branch of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce. Only such registration secures our interest in the equity as collateral. The equity pledges under the equity pledge agreement were registered with the relevant local authority, Haidian Branch of Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce, on April 25, 2012. Pursuant to a call option and cooperation agreement with ATA Online and its shareholders, ATA BVI or any third party designated by ATA BVI has the right to acquire, in whole or in part, the respective equity interests in ATA Online of its shareholders or ATA Online’s assets when permitted by applicable PRC laws and regulations. However, we do not have any direct ownership interests or direct voting rights in ATA Online.

 

In the opinion of Jincheng Tongda & Neal Law Firm, our PRC legal counsel:

 

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·                  the ownership structures of ATA Online and our wholly owned subsidiaries in China are in compliance with existing published Chinese laws and regulations;

 

·                  our contractual arrangements among our wholly owned subsidiaries in China and ATA Online and its shareholders, are valid and binding, will not result in any material violation of published Chinese laws or regulations currently in effect, and are enforceable in accordance with their terms and conditions; and

 

·                  the business operations of our company, all of our Chinese subsidiaries and ATA Online, as described in this annual report, are in compliance with existing published Chinese laws and regulations in all material aspects.

 

However, there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current or future Chinese laws and regulations, including the laws and regulations governing the enforcement and performance of our contractual arrangements in the event of imposition of statutory liens, bankruptcy and criminal proceedings. Accordingly, we cannot assure you that the Chinese regulatory authorities will not ultimately take a contrary view. If the Chinese government finds that the agreements that establish the structure of our operations in China do not comply with Chinese government restrictions on foreign investment in our industry, we could be subject to severe penalties.

 

Internet Content Provider Licensure Requirements

 

The provision of online test preparation services and content on Internet web sites is subject to Chinese laws and regulations relating to the telecommunications industry and the Internet, and regulated by various government authorities, including MIIT and the State Administration of Industry and Commerce, or SAIC. The principal regulations governing the telecommunications industry and the Internet include:

 

·                  The Telecommunications Regulations (2000);

 

·                  The Administrative Measures for Telecommunications Business Operating Licenses (2001); and

 

·                  The Internet Information Services Administrative Measures (2000).

 

Under these regulations, Internet content provision services are classified as value-added telecommunications businesses, and a commercial operator must obtain a Telecommunications and Information Services Operating License, or ICP license, from the appropriate telecommunications authority in order to carry out commercial Internet content provision operations in China. In addition, the regulations also provide that operators involved in Internet content provision that operate in sensitive and strategic sectors, including news, publishing, education, health care, medicine and medical devices, must obtain additional approvals from the relevant authorities in charge of those sectors.

 

Certain local governments have promulgated local rules applicable to Internet companies operating within their respective jurisdictions. In Beijing, the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce has promulgated a number of Internet-related rules. On October 31, 2004, a rule was enacted requiring owners of commercial web sites located within Beijing to file their commercial web sites with the Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce.

 

ATA Online holds an ICP license issued by the Beijing Telecommunications Administration Bureau, a local branch of the MIIT, which allows ATA Online to provide Internet content distribution services. This license is essential to the operation of ATA Online’s online test preparation services business.

 

The MIIT Notice requires that a value-added telecommunications business operator (or its shareholders) should own any domain names and trademarks used by it to engage in the value-added telecommunications business, and have premises and facilities appropriate for such business. To comply with the MIIT Notice, we have transferred to ATA Online the domain names owned by our subsidiaries that are used principally in connection with our online business activities.

 

Regulation of Internet Content

 

The Chinese government has promulgated measures relating to Internet content through a number of ministries and agencies, including the MIIT, the Ministry of Culture and the State Press and Publications Administration. These measures specifically prohibit

 

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Internet activities that result in the publication of any content that is found to, among other things, propagate obscenity, gambling or violence, instigate crimes, undermine public morality or the cultural traditions of China, or compromise State security or secrets. If an ICP license holder violates these measures, the Chinese government may revoke its ICP license and shut down its web sites.

 

On December 29, 2011, the MIIT promulgated Certain Rules on Regulating the Order of the Internet Information Service Market (“Internet Market Order Rules”), which became effective on March 15, 2012. The Internet Market Order Rules aim to regulate the order of the Internet information service market, protect the legitimate rights and interests of Internet information service providers and users, and promote the healthy development of the Internet industry. Pursuant to the Internet Market Order Rules, an Internet information service provider shall offer services under the principles of equality, voluntariness, fairness and integrity, and shall not commit acts infringing the legitimate rights and interests of other service providers such as maliciously interfering in services offered by other Internet information service providers at user terminals, or maliciously interfering in the downloading, installation, operation and upgrading of software and other products related to Internet information services, or refusing, postponing or ceasing to provide users with Internet information services or products without any proper reason. An Internet information service provider may be subject to administrative penalties, including warnings and fines and other legal liabilities, for violations of the Internet Market Order Rules.

 

Regulation of Online and Distance Education

 

Pursuant to the Administrative Regulations on Educational Web sites and Online and Distance Education Schools issued by the Ministry of Education in 2000, educational web sites and online education schools may provide education services in relation to higher education, elementary education, pre-school education, teaching education, occupational education, adult education, other education and public educational information services. “Educational web sites” refers to organizations providing education or education-related information services to web site visitors by means of a database or online education platform connected via the Internet or an educational television station through an Internet service provider, or ISP. “Online education schools” refer to education web sites providing academic education services or training services with the issuance of various certificates.

 

Setting up educational web sites and online education schools is subject to approval from relevant education authorities, depending on the specific types of education provided. Any educational web site and online education school shall, upon receipt of approval, indicate on its web site such approval information as well as the approval date and file number.

 

According to the Administrative License Law promulgated by the National People’s Congress on August 27, 2003 and effective as of July 1, 2004, only laws promulgated by the National People’s Congress and regulations and decisions promulgated by the State Council may set down administrative license requirements. On June 29, 2004, the State Council promulgated the Decision on Setting Down Administrative Licenses for the Administrative Examination and Approval Items Really Necessary to be Retained, in which the administrative license for “online education schools” was retained, while the administrative license for “educational web sites” was not retained. ATA Online is not required to obtain a license as an online education school because ATA Online does not intend to offer through its web site academic education services or training services that result in the issuance of a degree or other certification.

 

Regulation of Broadcasting Audio-Visual Programs through the Internet or Other Information Network

 

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, or SARFT, promulgated the Rules for Administration of Broadcasting of Audio-Visual Programs through the Internet and Other Information Networks, or the Broadcasting Rules, in 2004, which became effective on October 11, 2004. The Broadcasting Rules apply to the activities of broadcasting, integrating, transmitting and downloading of audio-visual programs with computers, televisions or mobile phones as the main terminals and through various types of information networks. Pursuant to the Broadcasting Rules, a Permit for Broadcasting Audio-Visual Programs via Information Network is required to engage in these Internet broadcasting activities. On April 13, 2005, the State Council announced a policy on private investments in businesses in China relating to cultural matters that prohibits private investments in businesses relating to the dissemination of audio-visual programs through information networks. On December 20, 2007, SARFT and MIIT jointly promulgated the Administrative Provisions on Internet Audio-Visual Program Service, or the Audio-Visual Service Provisions, which became effective on January 31, 2008. Pursuant to the Audio-Visual Service Provisions, a Permit for Disseminating Audio-Visual Programs via Information Network issued by the competent radio, film and television authority, or completion of the relevant filing formalities with such authority, is required to engage in the Internet audio-visual program service. One of the criteria that any entity applying to engage in the Internet audio-visual program service must meet is that such entity should be a wholly state-owned entity or state-controlled entity, which should have the legal status of legal person, and there is no record indicating that such entity has violated laws or regulations within three years prior to its application. According to the clarification by SARFT and MIIT in their Answers to

 

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Questions of Press regarding the Administrative Provisions on Internet Audio-Visual Program Service, entities that have been incorporated to engage in the Internet audio-visual program service in compliance with the applicable laws or regulations prior to the promulgation of the Audio-Visual Service Provisions and have no record of violating laws or regulations can re-register and continue their businesses. As these regulations are relatively new, there are significant uncertainties relating to their interpretation and implementation, including the definition of “audio-visual programs” as specified in these regulations. We cannot assure you that ATA Online will be able to obtain a Permit for Broadcasting Audio-Visual Programs via Information Network if it is determined that one is required to operate the online test preparation business.

 

Regulation of Information Security

 

Internet content in China is also regulated and restricted by the PRC government to protect State security. The National People’s Congress, China’s national legislative body, has enacted a law that may subject to criminal punishment in China any effort to: (1) gain improper entry into a computer or system of strategic importance; (2) disseminate politically disruptive information; (3) leak State secrets; (4) spread false commercial information; or (5) infringe intellectual property rights.

 

The Ministry of Public Security has promulgated measures that prohibit use of the Internet in ways that, among other things, result in a leakage of State secrets or a spread of socially destabilizing content. The Ministry of Public Security has supervision and inspection rights in this regard, and we may be subject to the jurisdiction of the local security bureaus. If an ICP license holder violates these measures, the PRC government may revoke its ICP license and shut down its web sites.

 

Regulation of Domain Names and Web Site Names

 

PRC law requires owners of Internet domain names to register their domain names with qualified domain name registration agencies approved by MIIT and obtain a registration certificate from such registration agencies. A registered domain name owner has an exclusive use right over its domain name. Unregistered domain names may not receive proper legal protections and may be misappropriated by unauthorized third parties. As of March 31, 2012, we have registered 251 domain names relating to our web sites, including  www.ata.net.cn, the primary URL for our web site, with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers and the China Internet Network Information Center, a domain name registration service provider in China.

 

PRC law requires entities operating commercial web sites to register their web site names with SAIC or its local offices and obtain a commercial web site name registration certificate. If any entity operates a commercial web site without obtaining such certificate, it may be charged a fine or suffer other penalties by the SAIC or its local offices. Our web sites used in connection with our testing and education services are considered non-commercial web sites as we do not provide products and services through those web sites, and therefore the names of those web sites are not required to be registered with SAIC. ATA Online has registered the web site name used in connection with the online test preparation business with Beijing municipal SAIC.

 

Regulation of Privacy Protection

 

PRC law does not prohibit Internet content providers from collecting and analyzing personal information from their users. PRC law prohibits Internet content providers from disclosing to third parties any information transmitted by users through their networks unless otherwise permitted by law. If an Internet content provider violates these regulations, MIIT or its local offices may impose penalties and the Internet content provider may be liable for damages caused to its users.

 

Regulation of Foreign Exchange

 

China’s government imposes restrictions on the convertibility of the Renminbi and on the collection and use of foreign currency by Chinese entities. Under current regulations, the Renminbi is convertible for current account transactions, which include dividend distributions, interest payments, and the import and export of goods and services. Conversion of Renminbi into foreign currency and foreign currency into Renminbi for capital account transactions, such as direct investment, portfolio investment and loans, however, is still generally subject to the prior approval of the PRC State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE.

 

Under current Chinese regulations, foreign-invested enterprises such as our Chinese subsidiaries are required to apply to SAFE for a Foreign Exchange Registration Certificate for Foreign-Invested Enterprise. With such a foreign exchange registration certificate (which is subject to review and renewal by SAFE on an annual basis), a foreign-invested enterprise may open foreign exchange bank accounts at banks authorized to conduct foreign exchange business by SAFE and may buy, sell and remit foreign

 

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exchange through such banks, subject to documentation and approval requirements. Foreign-invested enterprises are required to open and maintain separate foreign exchange accounts for capital account transactions and current account transactions. In addition, there are restrictions on the amount of foreign currency that foreign-invested enterprises may retain in such accounts.

 

Further, SAFE promulgated a circular (known as Circular 142) in August 2008 with respect to the administration of conversion of foreign exchange capital contributions of a foreign invested enterprise. The circular clarifies that Renminbi converted from foreign exchange capital contributions can only be used for the activities within the approved business scope of such foreign invested enterprise and cannot be used for domestic equity investments unless otherwise permitted. In addition, SAFE strengthened its oversight of the flow and use of the registered capital of a foreign-invested enterprise converted from foreign currencies and settled in Renminbi. The use of such Renminbi capital may not be changed without SAFE approval, and it may not in any case be used to repay Renminbi loans if the proceeds of such loans have not been used for purposes within the foreign-invested enterprise’s approved business scope. Violations of Circular 142 may result in severe penalties, including substantial fines as set forth in the PRC Foreign Exchange Administrative Regulations.

 

According to Article 26 of the Regulations on the Foreign Exchange System of the People’s Republic of China, if the Company’s PRC subsidiaries liquidate, the Renminbi distributable to its foreign shareholders after the liquidation and payment of relevant taxes can be freely converted into foreign currency and remitted abroad. Therefore, there are no legal impediments to remitting the proceeds from a liquidation of our PRC subsidiaries outside of China to investors who are not PRC nationals.

 

Regulation of Foreign Exchange in Certain Onshore and Offshore Transactions

 

In October 2005, SAFE issued the Notice on Issues Relating to the Administration of Foreign Exchange in Fund-Raising and Return Investment Activities of Domestic Residents Conducted via Offshore Special Purpose Companies, or Notice 75, which became effective as of November 1, 2005. Notice 75 states that Chinese residents must register with the relevant local SAFE branch in connection with their establishment or control of an offshore entity established for the purpose of overseas equity financing involving a round-trip investment whereby the offshore entity acquires or controls onshore assets or equity interests held by the Chinese residents. Notice 75 applies to our shareholders who are Chinese residents and also applies to our offshore acquisitions. On May 29, 2007, SAFE issued the Notice of Operation Guidance for Notice 75, or Notice 106, according to which Chinese resident shareholders in an offshore company which has at least two years operating history and has made investment in China can apply for registration under Notice 75. There is no deadline for such registration.

 

Two of our major shareholders, Kevin Xiaofeng Ma and Walter Lin Wang, have completed their registrations with SAFE, and we have urged our other Chinese resident shareholders to register under Notice 75 and they are preparing for such application. However, we cannot assure you that the application will be accepted by SAFE.

 

Failure by such shareholders to comply with Notice 75 could subject us to fines or legal sanctions, restrict our overseas or cross-border investment activities, limit our subsidiaries’ ability to make distributions or pay dividends or affect our ownership structure, which could adversely affect our business and prospects.

 

Regulation of Overseas Listings

 

On August 8, 2006, six PRC regulatory agencies, including the Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission, or CSRC, promulgated the Provisions Regarding Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprise by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rule, which became effective on September 8, 2006 without retroactive effect. The M&A Rule, among other things, requires that an offshore company controlled by PRC companies or individuals that has acquired a PRC domestic company for the purpose of listing the PRC domestic company’s equity interest on an overseas stock exchange must obtain the approval of the CSRC prior to the listing and trading of such offshore company’s securities on an overseas stock exchange. On September 21, 2006, the CSRC, pursuant to the M&A Rule, published on its official web site procedures specifying documents and materials required to be submitted to it by offshore companies seeking CSRC approval of their overseas listings.

 

We believe CSRC approval was not required for our initial public offering in February 2008 because the CSRC approval required under the M&A Rule only applies to an offshore company that has acquired a domestic PRC company for the purpose of listing the domestic PRC company’s equity interest on an overseas stock exchange, while (i) we obtained our equity interest in each of our PRC subsidiaries by means of direct investment other than by acquisition of the equity or assets of a PRC domestic company and (ii) our contractual arrangements with ATA Online do not constitute the acquisition of ATA Online. See Item 3.D. “Key Information

 

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— Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Regulation of Our Business — If the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or CSRC, or another PRC regulatory agency determines that CSRC approval was required in connection with our initial public offering, we may become subject to penalties.”

 

C.                                    Organizational Structure

 

Corporate Structure and Arrangements with Our Affiliated PRC Entity

 

The following diagram illustrates our corporate structure. Except for ATA BVI, which is incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, all of our subsidiaries and our affiliated PRC entity are incorporated in the PRC. For a detailed description of the Company’s significant subsidiaries, see Item 4.A “History and Development of the Company.”

 

 

To comply with PRC laws and regulations restricting foreign ownership in distributors of Internet content, our online test preparation business in China is conducted through a series of contractual arrangements entered into among ATA BVI, ATA Learning and ATA Online (Beijing) Education Technology Limited, or ATA Online, a PRC entity incorporated in the PRC and owned by Kevin Xiaofeng Ma, our co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer and Walter Lin Wang, our co-founder, director and president, in the percentages described in the diagram above. ATA Online holds the license required to operate the online portion of our test preparation and training solutions business. We do not have any direct ownership interest or direct shareholding rights in ATA Online. For a detailed description of these contractual arrangements, see Item 7.B. “Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions — Related Party Transactions.” As a result of these contractual arrangements, under U.S. GAAP, we are considered the primary beneficiary of ATA Online. Accordingly, we consolidate ATA Online’s results in our consolidated financial statements.

 

Our subsidiaries or ATA Online enter into commercial contracts with third party customers and clients based upon a judgment we make as to which entity is the appropriate entity for the provision of the type of service being offered. We primarily sell our testing services and the non-online portion of our test preparation and training solutions business through ATA Testing, our education services through ATA Learning and our online test preparation services through ATA Online.

 

For risks associated with our contractual arrangements with ATA Online and its shareholders, see Item 3.D. “Key Information — Risk Factors — Risks Relating to Regulation of Our Business — Substantial uncertainties and restrictions exist with respect to the application and implementation of Chinese laws and regulations relating to Internet content distribution. If the Chinese government finds that the structure for our online test preparation services and other services we provide through the Internet do not

 

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comply with Chinese laws and regulations, we could be subject to penalties and may not be able to continue those businesses.” and “— Our contractual arrangements with ATA Online and its shareholders do not provide us with ownership interest in ATA Online. If ATA Online or its shareholders fail to perform their respective obligations under these contractual arrangements, we may have to legally enforce such arrangements and our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected if these arrangements cannot be enforced.”

 

D.                                    Property, Plant and Equipment

 

Our principal executive offices are located in approximately 3,232 square meters of office space used by us at Tower E, 6 Gongyuan West Street, Jian Guo Men Nei, Beijing 100005, China, among which 2,170 square meters of office space are owned by us and 1,062 square meters of office space are leased by us. We also occupy approximately 3,530 square meters of total leased office space in our subsidiaries and branches located in Shanghai, Guangdong, Nanjing, Wuhan, Chengdu, Xi’an and Shenzhen. We believe that our existing facilities are adequate for our current requirements and that additional space can be obtained on commercially reasonable terms to meet our future requirements.

 

ITEM 4A.                                            UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

 

Not applicable.

 

ITEM 5.                                                     OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

 

A.                                    Operating Results

 

Overview

 

Our Business

 

We believe that we are the leading provider of computer-based testing services in China, based on test delivery capacity and geographic coverage. We offer comprehensive services for the creation and delivery of computer-based tests utilizing our nation-wide test delivery platform, proprietary testing technologies and extensive experience providing testing services in China. We experienced significant growth in our business during the fiscal years ended March 31, 2010, 2011 and 2012. Our total net revenues increased from RMB245.0 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010 to RMB303.9 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011 and RMB352.1 ($55.9 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012. We had a net loss of RMB35.3 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010 and a net income of RMB19.8 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011 and RMB 55.8 million ($8.9million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012.

 

We started our business in 1999 focusing on providing computer-based testing services to test sponsors. Our testing services revenues have grown primarily as a result of increases in the number of testing services clients and the number of test takers who take tests created and delivered using our testing technologies. Revenues from testing services accounted for 76.4%, 80.0% and 82.6% of our total net revenues in the fiscal years ended March 31, 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively. We expect our testing services revenues to continue to be the largest source of our total net revenues as a result of new contracts with test sponsors in the banking, securities and other sectors. In March 2009, we launched HR Select, our self-developed online system that utilizes our proprietary software and a large inventory of test titles to assist companies in streamlining and optimizing their employee selection and assessment processes. HR Select offers tools for filtering and categorizing employee candidates, testing candidates and analyzing the test results. Since March 2009, we have been the exclusive agent for delivering the Test of English for International Communication, or TOEIC, in China. Revenues from HR Select and distribution and administration of TOEIC exams are included in testing services revenues. The following graph shows the growth in the number of tests delivered using our testing technologies for the twelve months ended March 31, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

 

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Number of Exams Delivered (1)

 

 


(1)                               Includes Microsoft royalty tests overseas and tests delivered through our test delivery platform and tests using our Dynamic Simulation Technology. Also includes free tests delivered for business development purposes. The number of tests delivered excluding the free tests in the fiscal years ended March 31, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 was 5,063,379, 5,760,147, 6,907,158 and 8,026,639, respectively.

 

We also offer targeted test preparation and training solutions for certain professional licensure and certification tests in the securities and teaching industries. ATA Online has launched online test preparation and training Internet web sites in coordination with the SAC to help candidates across China fulfill their continuing educational requirement after passing their professional licensure and certification tests, which are delivered through our test delivery platform. Revenues from our test preparation and training solutions accounted for 4.6%, 5.1% and 7.7% of our total revenue in the fiscal years ended March 31, 2010, 2011 and 2012, respectively.

 

On February 28, 2009, the Company acquired Beijing JDX and JDX BVI for RMB10.7 million. Beijing JDX and JDX BVI are related companies incorporated in China and the British Virgin Islands, respectively, engaged in the development and marketing of software for computer-based tests. The results of Beijing JDX and JDX BVI have been included in our consolidated results since February 28, 2009. JDX BVI was dissolved in October 2009.

 

We operate our business and generate our net revenues primarily through our wholly owned subsidiaries in China, ATA Testing and ATA Learning. Due to PRC laws and regulations restricting foreign ownership in distributors of Internet content, we operate our online businesses, including our test preparation and training business and the online portion of our HR Select employee assessment solution program, and provide our computer-based testing services for the National Security Guard exam and China Customs exam through ATA Online, which we effectively control and enjoy the economic benefits through a series of contractual arrangements entered into among ATA BVI, ATA Learning, ATA Online and ATA Online’s shareholders. We do not have any direct ownership interest or direct shareholding rights in ATA Online. ATA Online primarily holds assets related to the delivery of our online test preparation and training services, such as the Internet provider license, accounts receivable, prepaid expenses, and equipment. ATA Online had total assets of RMB41.3 million as of March 31, 2012. ATA Online generated net revenues of RMB49.8 million and a gross profit of RMB38.3 million for the year ended March 31, 2012. Its total operating expenses were RMB8.5 million for the year ended March 31, 2012.  In addition, ATA Online had approximately RMB16.5 million in net cash provided by operating activities, RMB75,285  in net cash used in investing activities and RMB6.3 million in net cash used in financing activities for the year ended March 31, 2012.

 

As a result of these contractual arrangements, under U.S. GAAP, we are considered the primary beneficiary of ATA Online. Accordingly, we consolidate ATA Online’s results in our consolidated financial statements. However, these contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct equity ownership in providing us with control over ATA Online.

 

We believe, based on the legal opinion obtained from our PRC legal counsel, the above contractual arrangements are legally binding and enforceable and do not violate current PRC laws and regulations. However, there are uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of existing and future PRC laws and regulations. Accordingly, we cannot be assured that PRC regulatory authorities will not ultimately take a contrary view to its opinion. If our current ownership structure and the contractual arrangements are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws and regulations, the PRC government could:

 

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·              revoke our business and operating licenses;

 

·              levy fines on us;

 

·              confiscate any of our income that they deem to be obtained through illegal operations;

 

·              shut down a portion or all of our servers or block a portion or all of our web site;

 

·              discontinue or restrict our operations in the PRC;

 

·              impose conditions or requirements with which we may not be able to comply;

 

·              require us to restructure our corporate and contractual structure;

 

·              take other regulatory or enforcement actions that could be harmful to our business.

 

If the imposition of any of these government actions, or any inability to enforce the contractual arrangements in the event ATA Online or its shareholders breached their obligations under the contractual arrangements, causes us to lose the ability to direct the activities of ATA Online or receive substantially all the economic benefits and residual returns from ATA Online and we are not able to restructure our ownership structure and operations in a satisfactory manner, we would no longer be able to consolidate the financial results of ATA Online in our consolidated financial statements. In such a case, our total assets, total liability, equity, net sales, net income and cash flows would be materially less than the reported amount in our consolidated financial statements.

 

Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations

 

The key factors affecting our results of operations are:

 

·                  growth in China’s professional services sector resulting in increasing demand for qualified and certified talent in China;

 

·                  overall economic growth and rising income levels in China contributing to increased spending on education, testing and test preparation;

 

·                  government and industry initiatives to standardize and license professionals in industries such as securities, futures, banking, law and accounting;

 

·                  growth in the use of computer-based tests and performance-based tests and willingness of test sponsors and educational program providers to outsource test content development and delivery for sophisticated computer-based and performance-based tests;

 

·                  the increasing importance of identifying qualified talent contributing to increasing demand for testing and certification programs that can confirm the qualifications of the applicant or job seeker;

 

·                  our ability to continue to introduce new services and the market success of our recently introduced services, including our HR Select service launched in March 2009, distribution and administration of TOEIC exams in China beginning in March 2009.

 

Although we anticipate the above factors will continue to increase demand for our products and services in China, a slowing or reversal of any of the above factors could cause our revenue growth to slow or stop, or to not grow as fast as we might expect.

 

In addition, our results of operations have been, and may continue to be, significantly affected by the following factors:

 

·                  share-based compensation;

 

·                  the impact of PRC tax policies, including certain preferential tax rates and tax holidays;

 

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·                  sales and marketing efforts for our newer services, including our HR Select service and TOEIC business; and

 

·                  the relative proportion of our net revenues derived from higher-gross margin and lower-gross margin product and service offerings.

 

Net Revenues

 

We derive revenues from sale of computer-based testing services, test preparation and training solutions, and other products and services. Our net revenues are presented net of PRC business taxes. The following table sets forth a breakdown of our total net revenues for the periods.

 

 

 

For the fiscal year Ended March 31,

 

 

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

 

 

RMB

 

% of net
revenues

 

RMB

 

% of net
revenues

 

RMB

 

US$

 

% of net
revenues

 

 

 

(in thousands, except or percentages)

 

Net Revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Testing services

 

187,158

 

76.4

%

243,103

 

80.0

%

290,881

 

46,190

 

82.6

%

Test preparation and training solutions

 

11,149

 

4.6

%

15,427

 

5.1

%

26,996

 

4,287

 

7.7

%

Other

 

46,725

 

19.0

%

45,374

 

14.9

%

34,208

 

5,432

 

9.7

%

Total net revenues

 

245,032

 

100.0

%

303,904

 

100.0

%

352,085

 

55,909

 

100.0

%

 

Testing Services

 

We derive testing services revenues primarily from fees charged to test sponsors for our test delivery services.

 

We generate test delivery services revenues through fees charged for providing computer-based testing services to test sponsors such as governmental agencies, and other sponsors of licensure and certification tests. We also offer testing services to private enterprises as part of our HR Select employee assessment solution and we are the exclusive distributor and test administrator of TOEIC exams in China. We offer our clients a comprehensive set of services for the compilation, delivery and analysis of computer-based tests using our E-testing platform, as well as logistical services such as test registration and fee collection. Tests delivered through our E-testing platform may be conducted at our ATA authorized test centers or at other locations at the test sponsor’s discretion. We generate revenues from our test delivery services through fees charged to test sponsors based on the total number of test takers taking a requested test. Our clients typically pay us within two to six months after delivery of the test. We recognize revenue for test delivery services upon completion of the relevant test.

 

We have experienced seasonality and expect in the future to continue to experience seasonality in net revenues and accounts receivable related to our test delivery services, with the quarters ending June 30 and December 31 typically having higher net revenues from testing services and the quarters ending September 30 and March 31 typically having lower net revenues from testing services. This is primarily because the tests from which we derive substantial revenues are mostly delivered in the quarters ending June 30 and December 31.

 

Significant Factors Affecting Testing Services

 

The most significant factor directly affecting our revenues from fees charged for our testing services are the number of test takers. The number of test takers for a test is driven by our ability to secure contracts with test sponsors for the creation and delivery of computer-based test titles popular with test takers. The volume of tests we offer is determined by the willingness of test sponsors to use our services. Growth in the number of enterprises adopting our HR Select service and the prevalence of the TOEIC exam in China also impact our testing services revenues. Our revenues from fees charged for our testing services are also affected by the price we can charge per test, which generally remains fairly stable once we are engaged by a test sponsor to help deliver a particular test.

 

Demand and pricing for a test is affected by whether a certain profession, career or job position for which the certification, licensure or qualification test is being given is considered desirable by potential test takers. Some industries may experience fluctuations in the number of people attempting to become qualified to participate in the industry, which will depend on the overall health of the relevant industry, changes in average salary levels in the relevant industry, the popularity of certain types of careers and

 

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employers, governmental policies that impact the relevant industry, or other factors. Tests that test proficiency in specific IT-related skill sets are particularly sensitive to changes in or the obsolescence of the relevant technologies.

 

In addition, obtaining contracts from test sponsors for new test titles and for upgrade of existing test titles often requires considerable time and resources. Many of our clients administer tests to a large number of people on a regular basis, and maintaining consistency and stability from year to year in the test delivery format is important to them. The decision process involved in adopting a new type of test or a new test delivery format can be difficult and complex. These factors often result in significant delays in our ability to secure contracts, and make it difficult to predict our revenues from fees from test sponsors in any given year. On the other hand, for test sponsors that administer many tests on a regular basis, our ability to secure an initial contract and to effectively meet their test delivery requirements under the contract can help us obtain future test title contracts from that test sponsor. This enables us to increase and diversify our revenues and to hinder competitors from obtaining contracts with that test sponsor.

 

Test Preparation and Training Solutions

 

We derive test preparation and training solutions revenue from the provision of online test preparation and training services.

 

ATA Online provides online test preparation and training for professional licensure and certification tests delivered through our testing platform for the SAC and China Futures Association. Revenues from online test preparation and training services are generated by selling online training to end users directly or through distributors on a consignment basis. The online training entitles the end users access to online test preparation and training services during a specified service period, which normally ranges between 90 to 180 days from the activation. Revenue of online membership is recognized on a straight-line basis ratably over the service period commencing at the point of time the online training is activated. If the online training sold to the end users are not activated before the expiration date, related online service revenue is recognized on the expiration date. In November 2011, we entered into a new contract with SAC to deliver online training platform development and maintenance service.  Fees from online training platform development and maintenance service are recognized, when collectibility is reasonably assured, on a straight-line basis over the contractual period.

 

Significant Factors Affecting Test Preparation and Training Solutions

 

A number of factors affect our revenues from test preparation and training solutions. Demand for test preparation and training solutions for a particular test depends on the relative level of importance or difficulty of the test, with greater demand for test preparation and training solutions for more important and more difficult tests. Therefore, our ability to secure test delivery services contracts for more important and more difficult tests may affect our test preparation and training solutions business. As we generally offer test preparation and training solutions for tests that are delivered through our test delivery platform, our ability to grow our test preparation and training solutions business is also affected by the willingness of our test sponsor clients to permit us to provide test preparation and training solutions for their tests. Some test sponsor clients may not permit us to provide test preparation and training solutions in relation to tests for which we provide test delivery and other services due to a perceived conflict of interest. In addition, because we generally do not develop the learning content used in our test preparation and training solutions, our ability to license test preparation learning content and materials from the relevant test sponsor or third party content provider is critical to the expansion of the number of tests for which we offer test preparation and training solutions.

 

Since December 2011 the SAC has been in the process of assessing the feasibility to run its online training program internally rather than outsourcing its operation to us. In place of our previous contract under which we operated the online training program on behalf of the SAC, we have entered into a contract through March 2013 under which we will provide technical and services support during the assessment period. We expect to receive revenues from test preparation services to the SAC in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2013 will be approximately RMB7.8 million, compared to RMB21.1 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012. After March 2013, if the SAC decides not to recommence outsourcing the operation of its online training program, we expect to no longer provide such services to the SAC.

 

Other Revenues

 

We derive other revenues from test-based educational services, test content creation services, issuance of certificates delivered to passing candidates, licensing fees paid to us by operators of our ATA authorized test centers, and other fees and services.

 

Test-based educational services. Our career-oriented educational services include single course programs, degree major course programs and pre-occupational training programs focusing on preparing students to pass IT and other vocational certification

 

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tests. These course programs package the testing and certification component of our testing services with licensed content and incorporate our advanced performance-based testing technologies to encourage hands-on real-world interactive learning experiences. We receive fees for these programs from educational institutions and generally charge a pre-agreed fee per student over the service period.

 

Test content creation services. Our test content creation services include the installation of our technology on client testing platforms, the conversion of paper-based test items into computer-based tests items, and other related services. We generate revenues from our test content creation services through service fees charged to governmental agencies, such as China Customs, IT vendors and other sponsors of licensure, certification and qualification tests. We recognize revenue from our test content creation services upon the acceptance of the services by the client.

 

Certificate delivery. Many of our testing services clients, including well-known test sponsors, charge passing candidates a separate fee to receive a certificate for a test passed. We deliver these certificates to these candidates upon request. We charge a per-certificate price for the certificates and recognize revenues from certificate issuances upon delivery of the certificate.

 

Licensing fees from ATA authorized test centers. We have established our nationwide network of ATA authorized test centers by contracting with qualified independent operators that act as ATA authorized test centers for us. Under our contracts with test center operators, we license our ATA name and ATA E-testing platform technology and provide ongoing technical support, upgrades and training during the contract period in exchange for license fees. We receive license fees from our test center operators in the form of either a single initial license fee or a combination of initial license fee and annual continuing license fees.

 

Test administration software products. We offer our test administration software products to our clients. We deliver these software products, which are developed by us with all underlying intellectual property owned by us, to clients upon requests. We charge a per-software copy price for the software and recognize revenue upon delivery of the software.

 

Other fees and services. From time to time and as requested by our clients, we may provide teacher training services, IT consulting and system integration services, commission charges and other testing-related services to our clients. We recognize revenue upon completion of the services, which usually occurs within a short period of time. We may also receive payments for additional copies of training materials and test peripherals, for which we recognize revenue upon receiving cash.

 

Cost of Revenues

 

Our cost of revenues consists primarily of test monitoring costs, royalty fees for IT vendors and test sponsor licensing arrangements, payroll compensation, cost of inventories sold, technical support and other related costs, all of which are directly attributable to the provision of our testing services, test preparation and training solutions and our other products and services. The following table shows our cost of revenues and gross profit for the periods indicated:

 

 

 

For the fiscal year Ended March 31,

 

 

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

 

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

%

 

RMB

 

US$

 

%

 

 

 

(in thousands, except for percentages)

 

Net Revenues

 

245,032

 

100.0

%

303,904

 

100.0

%

352,085

 

55,909

 

100.0

%

Cost of Revenues

 

129,535

 

52.9

%

149,216

 

49.1

%

158,818

 

25,219

 

45.1

%

Gross Profit

 

115,497

 

47.1

%

154,688

 

50.9

%

193,267

 

30,690

 

54.9

%

 

Test Monitoring Costs

 

Test monitoring costs consist of fees paid to test centers, including a fixed fee per test taker, which varies for different tests, for hire of test proctors, rental of testing facilities and a fee for the peripheral items used for the provision of our testing services, such as USB flash drives used for security control keys, computer cameras used during testing for communication and identification, compact discs used to store and deliver our testing software, and signage used to identify and brand our ATA authorized test centers.

 

Royalty Fees

 

Royalty fees consist of fees paid to IT vendors for the use of their proprietary content in our course programs and our computer-based tests, fees paid to ETS for the rights to be the exclusive country master distributor in mainland China for TOEIC, fees

 

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paid to SHL for the right to be used in the HR Select program, and license fees paid to Saville Consulting for its psychometric assessment tests.

 

For fees paid to IT vendors, we pay substantially all of these royalty fees under an enrollment model, whereby royalty fees are determined based on the number of students who enroll in the course.

 

Payroll Compensation

 

Payroll compensation consists of base salary and related welfare benefits paid to staff in our services implementation and customer support departments.

 

Cost of Inventory

 

Cost of inventory is comprised of cost of the printed learning material and test paper that are pre-printed by third parties and that we record as inventory and the cost of inventory write-down due to obsolescence. In the case of learning material, when a school contracts with us for degree major and single course programs, we deliver the related compact discs and textbooks and other course materials prior to the start of the course programs. These learning materials will be recognized as costs upon delivery. In the case of test paper, cost is recognized when the test papers are used in delivering the paper-based exam. Cost of inventory is recognized on a first-in-first-out basis.

 

Factors Affecting Gross Margin

 

Our gross margin is primarily affected by changes in gross margins from our testing services, which in turn are significantly affected by our revenue per test and test related costs, including the fees we pay for test monitoring to test centers. Our gross margin is also affected by the size of, and increases or decreases in, royalty payments to IT vendors and other content providers for our course programs.

 

Operating Expenses

 

Our operating expenses consist of general and administrative expenses, sales and marketing expenses, research and development expenses, and provision for doubtful accounts.

 

General and Administrative Expenses

 

Our general and administrative expenses consist primarily of salaries and benefits, travel, administration and share-based compensation expenses for our administrative, management and finance personnel, as well as other expenses including professional fees, office expenses and rental costs.

 

Sales and Marketing Expenses

 

Our sales and marketing expenses consist primarily of salaries and benefits, travel, and share-based compensation expenses for our sales and marketing personnel, as well as other expenses including sales agency fees, conference hosting expenses, advertising and promotional expenses, entertainment expenses and other sales and marketing expenses.

 

Research and Development Expenses

 

Our research and development expenses consist primarily of costs of equipment used in our research and development activities, salaries and benefits for our research and development personnel, cost of outsourcing services and other costs relating to the design, development, testing and enhancement of our products and services.

 

Provision for Doubtful Accounts

 

The provision for doubtful accounts represents our best estimate of the amount of probable credit losses resulting from our customers or non-customer business partners’ inability to make required payments. We consider age of doubtful receivable, historical collection experience, and business partners’ individual facts.

 

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Taxation

 

Cayman Islands & British Virgin Islands

 

Under the current laws of the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands, the Company, and ATA BVI are not subject to income tax. In addition, upon any payments of dividends by the Company or ATA BVI, no Cayman Islands or British Virgin Islands withholding tax is imposed.

 

People’s Republic of China

 

Our subsidiaries and our variable interest entity, or VIE, operating in the PRC are subject to PRC taxes as described below:

 

Enterprise income tax. Effective from January 1, 2008, the New EIT Law imposes a tax rate of 25% on all enterprises, including foreign-invested enterprises, and terminates many of the tax exemptions, reductions and preferential treatments available under previous tax laws and regulations. Under the New EIT Law, qualified “high-and-new technology enterprises eligible for key support from the State” (“HNTE”) are entitled to a preferential tax rate of 15% and subject to an annual review during the valid period of their HNTE certificates. In December 2008, ATA Testing was recognized as a HNTE and obtained a HNTE certificate, which entitled ATA Testing to a preferential tax rate of 15% for calendar years from 2008 to 2010. ATA Testing successfully renewed its HNTE certificate for another three years starting from 2011, and therefore it is entitled to a preferential tax rate of 15% retroactively from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2013. In December 2009, each of ATA Learning, ATA Online and Beijing JDX received approval from the tax authority that it qualified as an HNTE for three years, entitling them to a preferential income tax rate of 15% for calendar years 2009 to 2011. ATA Learning, ATA Online and Beijing JDX are currently in the process of renewing their HNTE certificates for another three years. Upon successful renewal, ATA Learning, ATA Online and Beijing JDX will be entitled to a preferential tax rate of 15% retroactively from January 1, 2012. In the event ATA Learning, ATA Online and Beijing JDX are unable to renew their HNTE certificates, they will be subject to the standard statutory enterprise income tax rate of 25%.  See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Regulation of Our Business—The discontinuation of any of the preferential tax treatments currently enjoyed by our subsidiaries in the PRC could materially increase our tax obligations.”

 

In addition, under the New EIT Law, an enterprise established under the laws of a foreign country or region whose “de facto management body” is located within the PRC territory is considered a resident enterprise and will generally be subject to the enterprise income tax at the rate of 25% on its global income. According to the Implementation Rules to the New EIT Law, “de facto management body” refers to a managing body that exercises, in substance, overall management and control over the production and business, personnel, accounting and assets of an enterprises. We have preliminarily determined that our overseas entities are not PRC resident enterprises for PRC income tax purposes. However, if we and our overseas entity were considered PRC resident enterprises, we would be subject to the enterprise income tax at the rate of 25% on our global income. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Regulation of Our Business—Under the New EIT Law, we may be classified as a “resident enterprise” of China. Such classification will likely result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and U.S. holders of our ADSs or ordinary shares,” and “Item 10. Additional Information — E. Taxation — People’s Republic of China Taxation.”

 

In addition, the New EIT Law revokes the exemption of withholding tax on dividends paid by a PRC enterprise to its foreign investors under the old tax law and its Implementation Rules provide that a withholding tax of 10% (or other applicable withholding tax rates based on tax treaties between the PRC and other jurisdictions) will generally be applicable to dividends payable to foreign investors. To the extent we and our overseas entity are not considered as PRC resident enterprises, the dividends that our PRC subsidiary pay to us will be subject to this withholding tax. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Relating to Regulation of Our Business—Under the New EIT Law, we may be classified as a “resident enterprise” of China. Such classification will likely result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and U.S. holders of our ADSs or ordinary shares”. The undistributed earnings generated before January 1, 2008 shall be exempt from withholding tax when such earnings are distributed to the foreign investor in the year 2008 or thereafter. As of March 31, 2012, we have not provided for income taxes on accumulated earnings of RMB 106.9 million ($17.0 million) generated by our PRC consolidated entities since January 1, 2008 as we plan to indefinitely reinvest these earnings in the PRC.

 

Under applicable Chinese tax laws, foreign-invested enterprises and domestic Chinese companies may carry forward tax losses up to five years. In view of cumulated losses noted by certain of our PRC subsidiaries and affiliated entity, as of March 31,

 

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2012, we provided full valuation allowance for their deferred income tax assets after consideration of the schedule reversal of existing deferred income tax liabilities.

 

Value-added tax refunds. Pursuant to a PRC tax policy intended to encourage the development of software and integrated circuit industries, ATA Testing and Beijing JDX are entitled to value-added tax rate at no more than 3% of the sale value of some of our software products. ATA Testing, ATA Learning and Beijing JDX are subject to value added tax at rates ranging from 3% to 17%.

 

Business tax. ATA Testing, ATA Learning, ATA Online and Beijing JDX are subject to business tax at a rate of 5%. We pay business tax on gross revenues generated from service and license fees at a rate of 5%. This business tax is included as a reduction of revenue in our consolidated statements of operations.

 

Critical Accounting Policies

 

We prepare our consolidated financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP, which requires us to make judgments, estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of our assets and liabilities, disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities on the date of each set of consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during each financial reporting period. We continually evaluate these estimates and assumptions based on the most recently available information, our own historical experience and various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Since the use of estimates is an integral component of the financial reporting process, actual results could differ from those estimates as a result of changes in our estimates or changes in the facts or circumstances underlying our estimates and assumptions.

 

An accounting policy is considered to be critical if it requires an accounting estimate to be made based on assumptions about matters that are highly uncertain at the time such estimate is made, and if different accounting estimates that reasonably could have been used, or changes in the accounting estimates that are reasonably likely to occur periodically, could materially impact the consolidated financial statements. Some of our accounting policies require higher degrees of judgment than others in their application. We consider the policies discussed below to be critical to an understanding of our consolidated financial statements as their application places the most significant demands on our management’s judgment. When reviewing our consolidated financial statements, you should take into account:

 

·                  our critical accounting policies discussed below;

 

·                  the related judgments made by us and other uncertainties affecting the application of these policies;

 

·                  the sensitivity of our reported results to changes in prevailing facts and circumstances and our related estimates and assumptions; and

 

·                  the risks and uncertainties described under Item 3.D. “Key Information — Risk Factors.”

 

See note 2 to our audited consolidated financial statements for additional information regarding our significant accounting policies.

 

Bad Debt Allowance

 

We perform ongoing credit evaluations of our customers’ financial conditions and generally do not require collateral on accounts receivable.

 

The activity in the allowance for doubtful accounts for accounts receivable for the years ended March 31, 2010, 2011 and 2012 is as follows:

 

 

 

For the fiscal year Ended March 31,

 

 

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

 

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

US$

 

Beginning allowance for doubtful accounts

 

3,198,960

 

29,934,512

 

27,938,198

 

4,436,395

 

Additions charged to bad debt expense

 

27,052,862

 

2,235,627

 

2,350,990

 

373,321

 

Write-off of accounts receivable

 

(317,310

)

(4,231,941

)

(189,183

)

(30,041

)

Ending allowance for doubtful accounts

 

29,934,512

 

27,938,198

 

30,100,005

 

4,779,675

 

 

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The significant decrease in bad debt expense from March 31, 2010 to March 31, 2012 was primarily due to a bad debt charge related to accounts receivable from sales of our NTET Tutorial Platform software during fiscal year ended March 31, 2010.

 

Intangible assets

 

As of March 31, 2012, our intangible assets consisted of testing service technology, customer relationships and distribution license. We acquired the testing service technology and customer relationships through business acquisition and we acquired the distribution license directly from a vendor. Intangible assets are amortized on a straight-line basis over their respective estimated useful lives, which range from 3 to 12 years. We have no intangible assets with indefinite useful lives. The determination of the fair value of the intangible assets acquired involves certain judgments and estimates. These judgments can include, but are not limited to, the cash flows that an asset is expected to generate in the future. A change in the amount allocated to identifiable intangible assets would change the amount of amortization expense recognized related to those identifiable intangible assets. The fair values of our identifiable intangible assets were determined by management with the assistance of independent appraisers.

 

The testing service technology we acquired in a business combination was initially recognized at fair value. In estimating the fair value of the acquired testing related technology, the cost approach was utilized. Incorporated in the cost approach is the economic principle of substitution that states: an informed purchaser would pay no more for a property than the cost of purchasing or producing a substitute property with the same utility as the appraised property. We estimated the number of man-hours required to recreate the technology, which was multiplied by estimated hourly cost, to determine the replacement cost for the newly acquired technology. The estimated man-hour to recreate was based on a review of the man-hours incurred when the respective technology was originally created and our estimation of the effort required to recreate the software today. The development cost per hour figure represents the average hourly rate that would be paid to develop each software system today. After calculating the replacement cost for the newly acquired technology, a depreciation factor of 50% was applied to the calculated technological replacement cost to arrive at the fair value. The depreciation factor was based on the estimate of the frequency of significant changes to the technology, which was also used to estimate the remaining useful life of the technology.

 

The customer relationships we acquired in a business combination were initially recognized at fair value. The fair value of the customer relationships was estimated based on the excess cash flow method, a form of the income approach. The principle behind the excess cash flow method, through the use of a discounted cash flow, is that the value of an intangible asset is equal to the present value of the cash flow attributable only to that intangible asset. The excess cash flow method provides an estimate of the fair value of an intangible asset by deducting operating expenses and economic charges (contributory asset charges) from the revenue expected to be generated by the underlying asset. The projected cash flows are then discounted to their present value equivalent. The value of the tax amortization benefit is added to the sum of the present value of cash flows to arrive at the fair value of the subject intangible assets. We analyzed revenue by customer between 2003 through 2008 for historical patterns of attrition, the nature of customer relationships and typical customer life cycle to estimate the annual churn rate, or customer turnover rate, as 15%, which was then used to determine the cash flow period and remaining useful life of the customer relationships. The Capital Asset Pricing Model was adopted to determine the weighted average cost of capital.

 

In March 2009, we signed an agreement with Educational Testing Service (“ETS”) pursuant to which we are the exclusive agent for ETS’s Test of English for International Communication (“TOEIC”) exam in China for ten years from March 2009. We paid ETS a $3 million fee in March 2009 for such royalty, which will be amortized over the ten year contract period.

 

Income Taxes

 

We assess the likelihood that our net deferred income tax assets will be realized. To the extent that we believe that it is more likely than not that some portion or the entire amount of deferred income tax assets will not be realized, we establish a valuation allowance.

 

In assessing the realizability of deferred income tax assets, we consider whether it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred income tax assets will not be realized. The ultimate realization of deferred income tax assets is dependent upon the generation of future taxable income during the periods in which those temporary differences become deductible or tax loss carried forward are utilized. We consider the scheduled reversal of deferred income tax liability, projected future taxable income and tax planning strategies in making this assessment.

 

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As of March 31, 2012, we believe it is more likely than not that we will realize the deferred income tax assets, net of the valuation allowance of RMB 1.7 million. The amount of the deferred income tax assets considered realizable as of March 31, 2012 could be reduced in the near term if estimates of future taxable income are reduced.

 

For each of the year ended March 31, 2010, 2011 and 2012, we had no unrecognized tax benefits relating to uncertain tax positions. Also, we do not expect that the amount of unrecognized tax benefits will significantly increase within the next twelve months.

 

According to the PRC Tax Administration and Collection Law, the statute of limitations is three years if the underpayment of taxes is due to computational errors made by the taxpayer or the withholding agent. The statute of limitations is extended to five years under special circumstances where the underpayment of taxes is more than RMB100,000. In the case of transfer pricing issues, the statute of limitations is ten years. There is no statute of limitations in the case of tax evasion. The income tax return of each of the Company’s PRC consolidated entities is subject to examination by the relevant tax authorities for the calendar tax years beginning in 2007.

 

Share-Based Compensation to Employees

 

The cost of all share-based payment transactions are recognized in our consolidated financial statements based on their grant-date fair value over the requisite service period, which is generally the period from the date of grant to the date when the share compensation is no longer contingent upon additional service from the employee, or the vesting period. For graded vesting share-based awards, we recognize the compensation cost over the requisite service period for each separately vesting portion of the award as if the award is, in substance, multiple awards. When no future services are required to be performed by the employee in exchange for an award of equity instruments, and if such award does not contain a performance or market condition, the cost of the award (as measured based on the grant-date fair value of the equity instrument) is expensed on the grant date.

 

Results of Operations

 

The following table sets forth a summary, for the periods indicated, of our consolidated results of operations and each item expressed as a percentage of our total net revenues. Our historical results presented below are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for any future period.

 

 

 

For the fiscal year Ended March 31,

 

 

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

 

 

RMB

 

% of net
revenues

 

RMB

 

% of net
revenues

 

RMB

 

US$

 

% of net
revenues

 

 

 

(In thousands, except for percentages and per share data)

 

Net revenues:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Testing services

 

187,158

 

76.4

%

243,103

 

80.0

%

290,881

 

46,190

 

82.6

%

Test preparation and training solutions

 

11,149

 

4.6

%

15,427

 

5.1

%

26,996

 

4,287

 

7.7

%

Other

 

46,725

 

19.0

%

45,374

 

14.9

%

34,208

 

5,432

 

9.7

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total net revenues

 

245,032

 

100.0

%

303,904

 

100.0

%

352,085

 

55,909

 

100.0

%

Cost of revenues

 

129,535

 

52.9

%

149,216

 

49.1

%

158,818

 

25,219

 

45.1

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gross profit

 

115,497

 

47.1

%

154,688

 

50.9

%

193,267

 

30,690

 

54.9

%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating expenses:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research and development

 

22,708

 

9.3

%

22,756

 

7.5

%

18,402

 

2,922

 

5.2

%

Sales and marketing

 

38,951

 

15.9

%

54,382

 

17.9

%

46,345

 

7,359

 

13.2

%

General and administrative

 

56,840

 

23.2

%

54,422

 

17.9

%

61,683

 

9,796

 

17.5

%

Provision for doubtful accounts

 

27,053

 

11.0

%

2,236

 

0.7

%

2,351

 

373

 

0.7

%

 

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Table of Contents

 

 

 

For the fiscal year Ended March 31,

 

 

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

 

 

RMB

 

% of net
revenues

 

RMB

 

% of net
revenues

 

RMB

 

US$

 

% of net
revenues

 

 

 

(In thousands, except for percentages and per share data)

 

Total operating expenses

 

145,552

 

59.4

%

133,796

 

44.0

%

128,781

 

20,450

 

36.6

%

Income (loss) from operations

 

(30,055

)

(12.3

)%

20,892

 

6.9

%

64,486

 

10,240

 

18.3

%

Interest income

 

731

 

0.3

%

1,036

 

0.3

%

2,061

 

327

 

0.6

%

Foreign currency exchange gains (losses), net

 

(284

)

(0.1

)%

1,138

 

0.4

%

3,633

 

577

 

1.0

%

Earnings (loss) before income tax

 

(29,608

)

(12.1

)%

23,066

 

7.6

%

70,180

 

11,144

 

19.9

%

Income tax expense

 

5,742

 

2.3

%

3,312

 

1.1

%

14,339

 

2,277

 

4.1

%

Net income (loss)

 

(35,350

)

(14.4

)%

19,754

 

6.5

%

55,841

 

8,867

 

15.8

%

 

 

 

For the fiscal year Ended March 31,

 

 

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

 

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

RMB

 

US$

 

Basic earnings (loss) per common share

 

(0.79

)

0.44

 

1.22

 

0.19

 

Diluted earnings (loss) per common share

 

(0.79

)

0.44

 

1.19

 

0.19

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2012 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended March 31, 2011

 

Net Revenues

 

Our total net revenues increased by RMB48.2 million, or 15.9%, to RMB352.1 million ($55.9 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from RMB303.9 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011, as a result of increases in net revenues from our testing services and test preparation and training solutions segments.

 

Testing services. Testing services net revenues increased by RMB47.8 million, or 19.7% to RMB290.9 million ($46.2 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from RMB243.1 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011, primarily due to an increase in the volume and price of exams for the SAC, the addition of the China Customs exam, and a 61.3% increase in revenues from the HR Select and TOEIC business lines. The total number of billable tests delivered increased to 8,026,639 in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from 6,907,158 in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011. Our net revenues from testing services provided to the SAC grew to RMB110.3 million ($17.5 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from RMB103.5 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011. Our net revenues from TOEIC and HR Select grew to RMB88.0 million ($14.0 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from RMB54.5 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011.

 

Test preparation and training solutions. Our revenues from test preparation and training solutions increased by RMB11.6 million, or 75.0%, to RMB27.0 million ($4.3 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from RMB15.4 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011, primarily as a result of higher revenues in the online training courses for the SAC.

 

Other revenues. Other revenues decreased by RMB11.2 million, or 24.6%, to RMB34.2 million ($5.4 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from RMB45.4 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011, primarily due to a 51.0% decrease to RMB12.6million (US$2.0 million) for test-based education services as we continue to make a gradual exit from this business.

 

Gross Profit

 

Our gross profit rose by RMB38.6 million to RMB193.3 million ($30.7 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from RMB154.7 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011. Our gross margin increased to 54.9% in the fiscal year ended March

 

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31, 2012 from 50.9% in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011. The increase in our gross margin was primarily due to the significant growth in revenues from online test preparation and training services and the unit price increase for SAC exams.

 

Operating Expenses

 

Our operating expenses decreased by RMB5.0million, or 3.7%, to RMB128.8million ($20.4 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from RMB133.8 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011, primarily due to decreased spending in research and development and sales and marketing.

 

General and administrative expenses. Our general and administrative expenses increased by RMB7.3 million, or 13.3%, to RMB61.7 million ($9.8 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from RMB54.4 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011 primarily due to an increase of RMB7.9 million in share-based compensation.

 

Sales and marketing expenses. Our sales and marketing expenses decreased by RMB8.0 million, or 14.8%, to RMB46.3 million ($7.4 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from RMB54.4 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011. Sales and marketing expenses as a percentage of our total net revenues decreased to 13.2% in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from 17.9% in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011. This decrease was primarily related to a RMB6.6 million decrease in marketing expenditures and a RMB1.5 million decrease in salaries and compensation. However, we expect that our sales and marketing expenses will increase in the near term as we believe it is a worthwhile investment of our current profits for the future.

 

Research and development expenses. Our research and development expenses decreased to RMB18.4 million ($2.9 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from RMB22.8 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011.

 

Provision for doubtful accounts. Bad debt expenses increased slightly by RMB0.1 million, or 5.2%, to RMB2.4 million ($0.4 million) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2012 from RMB2.2 million in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011.