Company Quick10K Filing
Bright Scholar Education
20-F 2020-08-31 Filed 2020-12-23
20-F 2019-08-31 Filed 2019-12-23
20-F 2018-08-31 Filed 2018-12-14
20-F 2017-08-31 Filed 2017-12-07

BEDU 20F Annual Report

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 Fees 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
Item 16H. Mine Safety Disclosure
Part III
Item 17. Financial Statements
Item 18. Financial Statements
Item 19. Exhibits
EX-4.10 bedu-ex410_511.htm
EX-4.11 bedu-ex411_509.htm
EX-4.12 bedu-ex412_510.htm
EX-4.13 bedu-ex413_508.htm
EX-4.14 bedu-ex414_506.htm
EX-4.15 bedu-ex415_507.htm
EX-4.16 bedu-ex416_571.htm
EX-4.17 bedu-ex417_570.htm
EX-8.1 bedu-ex81_504.htm
EX-12.1 bedu-ex121_9.htm
EX-12.2 bedu-ex122_7.htm
EX-13.1 bedu-ex131_8.htm
EX-13.2 bedu-ex132_6.htm
EX-15.1 bedu-ex151_505.htm
EX-15.2 bedu-ex152_725.htm

Bright Scholar Education Earnings 2017-08-31

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

20-F 1 bedu-20f_20170831.htm 20-F bedu-20f_20170831.htm

 

UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

FORM 20‑F

 

(Mark One)

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

OR

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

For the fiscal year ended August 31, 2017

OR

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

for the transition period from ___________ to

OR

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
Commission file number: 001-38077

 

Bright Scholar Education Holdings Limited

(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

 

N/A

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

Cayman Island

(Jurisdiction of incorporation)

No.1, Country Garden Road

Beijiao Town, Shunde District, Foshan, Guangdong 528300

The People’s Republic of China

(Address of Principal Executive Offices)

Ms. Dongmei Li, Chief Financial Officer

No.1, Country Garden Road

Beijiao Town, Shunde District, Foshan, Guangdong 528300

The People’s Republic of China

Telephone: +86-757-6683-2007

Facsimile: +86-757-2360-2220

E-mail: lidongmei@brightscholar.com

(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 one Class A ordinary shares, par value par value US$0.00001 per share

 

The New York Stock Exchange

 

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

None

(Title of Class)

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act.

None

(Title of Class)

 

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:

 

Class A ordinary shares, par value US$0.00001 each

17,250,000

Class B ordinary shares, par value US$0.00001 each

100,000,000

 

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.    Yes      No  

If this report is an annual or transition 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.    Yes      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.    Yes      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 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).    Yes     No  

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

 

Large accelerated filer.  

 

Accelerated filer  

 

Non-accelerated filer  

 

Emerging growth company  

 

 

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards † provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.  

† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

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

 

U.S. GAAP  

International Financial Reporting Standards as issued
by the International accounting Standards Board  

Other  

 

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      Item 18  

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      No  

 

 

 

 


TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

 

PAGE

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION

1

 

 

 

MARKET AND INDUSTRY DATA

2

 

 

 

PART I

3

 

 

 

 

ITEM 1.

 

IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

3

 

 

 

 

ITEM 2.

 

OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

3

 

 

 

 

ITEM 3.

 

KEY INFORMATION

3

 

 

 

 

ITEM 4.

 

INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

39

 

 

 

 

ITEM 4A.

 

UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

67

 

 

 

 

ITEM 5.

 

OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

67

 

 

 

 

ITEM 6.

 

DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

94

 

 

 

 

ITEM 7.

 

MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

101

 

 

 

 

ITEM 8.

 

FINANCIAL INFORMATION

103

 

 

 

 

ITEM 9.

 

THE OFFER AND LISTING

104

 

 

 

 

ITEM 10.

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

105

 

 

 

 

ITEM 11.

 

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

112

 

 

 

 

ITEM 12.

 

DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

113

 

 

 

 

PART II

116

 

 

 

 

ITEM 13.

 

DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

116

 

 

 

 

ITEM 14.

 

MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

116

 

 

 

 

ITEM 15.

 

CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

116

 

 

 

 

ITEM 16A.

 

AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

117

 

 

 

 

ITEM 16B.

 

CODE OF ETHICS

117

 

 

 

 

ITEM 16C.

 

PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

117

 

 

 

 

ITEM 16D.

 

EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES

117

 

 

 

 

ITEM 16E.

 

PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS

117

 

 

 

 

ITEM 16F.

 

CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANT

117

 

 

 

 

ITEM 16G.

 

CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

118

 

 

 

 

ITEM 16H.

 

MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE

118

 

 

 

 

PART III

118

 

 

 

 

ITEM 17.

 

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

118

 

 

 

 

ITEM 18.

 

FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

118

 

 

 

 

ITEM 19.

 

EXHIBITS

118

 

 

 

-i-


INTRODUCTION

Except where the context otherwise requires and for purposes of this annual report on Form 20-F only:

 

“ADSs” refer to American depositary shares, each of which represents one Class A ordinary share;

 

“BGY Education Investment” refers to BGY Education Investment Management Co., Ltd., our affiliated entity that controls and holds our schools, through certain contractual arrangements;

 

“Bright Scholar Holdings” refers to Bright Scholar Education Holdings Limited;

 

“CAGR” refers to Compound Annual Growth Rate;

 

“China” or “PRC” refers to the People’s Republic of China, excluding, for the purpose of this annual report only, Taiwan and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau;

 

“Country Garden” refers to Country Garden Holdings Company Limited, a company listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (stock code: 2007), a related party, and its subsidiaries;

 

“fiscal year” refers to the period from September 1 of the previous calendar year to August 31 of the concerned calendar year;

 

“school year” refers to the periods from September of the previous calendar year to January of the concerned calendar year and from March to July of the concerned calendar year;

 

“ordinary shares” or “shares” refer to our Class A and Class B ordinary shares of par value US$0.00001 per share;

 

“RMB” or “Renminbi” refers to the legal currency of China;

 

“SEC” refers to the Securities and Exchange Commission of the United States.

 

“US$,” “U.S. dollars,” “$” and “dollars” refer to the legal currency of the United States of America;

 

“we,” “us,” “our,” and “our company” refer to Bright Scholar Education Holdings Limited, its subsidiaries and its affiliated entities; and

 

“Zhuhai Bright Scholar” refers to Zhuhai Hengqin Bright Scholar Management Consulting Co., Ltd., our wholly-owned subsidiary in China.

Names of certain companies provided in this annual report are translated or transliterated from their original Chinese legal names.

Discrepancies in any table between the amounts identified as total amounts and the sum of the amounts listed therein are due to rounding.

This annual report on Form 20-F includes our audited combined and consolidated financial statements for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 fiscal years.

This annual report on Form 20-F contains information from an industry report commissioned by us and prepared by Frost & Sullivan, an independent research firm, to provide information regarding our industry and our market position in China. We refer to this report as the Frost & Sullivan report.

This annual report contains translations of certain Renminbi amounts into U.S. dollars at specified rates.  Unless otherwise stated, the translation of Renminbi into U.S. dollars has been made at RMB6.5888 to US$1.00, the noon buying rate in effect on August 31, 2017 as set forth in the H.10 Statistical Release of the Federal Reserve Board.  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 PRC government imposes controls over its foreign currency reserves in part through direct regulation of the conversion of Renminbi into foreign exchange and through restrictions on foreign trade.  On December 1, 2017, the noon buying rate was RMB6.6137 to US$1.00.

-1-


We listed our ADSs on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “BEDU” on May 18, 2017 and completed an initial public offering of 17,250,000 ADSs on June 7, 2017.

MARKET AND INDUSTRY DATA

Market data and certain industry forecasts used in this annual report were obtained from internal surveys, market research, publicly available information and industry publications.  Industry publications generally state that the information contained therein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but that the accuracy and completeness of such information is not guaranteed.  Similarly, internal surveys, industry forecasts and market research, while believed to be reliable, have not been independently verified, and we make no representation as to the accuracy of such information.

-2-


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

We have derived our selected combined and consolidated statement of comprehensive income data for the 2015, 2016 and 2017 fiscal years, and our selected combined and consolidated balance sheet data as of August 31, 2016 and 2017, from our audited combined and consolidated financial statements included in this annual report.  Our selected statement of comprehensive income data for the fiscal years of 2014 and our selected combined and consolidated balance sheet data as of August 31, 2014 and 2015 have been derived from our audited combined and consolidated financial statements not included in this annual report.  Our financial statements have been prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP and have been audited by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Certified Public Accountants LLP, an independent registered public accounting firm.

-3-


You should read the following information in conjunction with our audited combined and consolidated financial statements and related notes and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” in this annual report.  Our historical operating results presented below are not necessarily indicative of the results to be expected for any future fiscal period.

 

 

 

Year Ended August 31,

 

 

 

2014

 

 

2015

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

US$

 

 

 

(in thousands, except for share and per share data)

 

Summary Combined and Consolidated Income (Loss) Data:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Revenue

 

 

588,163

 

 

 

745,850

 

 

 

1,040,329

 

 

 

1,328,367

 

 

 

201,610

 

Cost of revenue

 

 

(501,881

)

 

 

(655,597

)

 

 

(736,205

)

 

 

(860,330

)

 

 

(130,575

)

Gross profit

 

 

86,282

 

 

 

90,253

 

 

 

304,124

 

 

 

468,037

 

 

 

71,035

 

Selling, general and administrative expenses

 

 

(125,784

)

 

 

(166,084

)

 

 

(290,098

)

 

 

(261,972

)

 

 

(39,760

)

Other operating income

 

 

3,626

 

 

 

5,249

 

 

 

4,283

 

 

 

8,874

 

 

 

1,347

 

Operating (loss)/income

 

 

(35,876

)

 

 

(70,582

)

 

 

18,309

 

 

 

214,939

 

 

 

32,622

 

Interest income, net

 

 

1,596

 

 

 

1,808

 

 

 

2,148

 

 

 

4,901

 

 

 

744

 

Investment income

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

805

 

 

 

13,718

 

 

 

2,082

 

Other expenses

 

 

(61

)

 

 

(455

)

 

 

(457

)

 

 

(779

)

 

 

(118

)

(Loss)/income before income taxes

 

 

(34,441

)

 

 

(69,229

)

 

 

20,805

 

 

 

232,779

 

 

 

35,330

 

Income tax (expense)/benefit

 

 

(3,775

)

 

 

29,317

 

 

 

(17,889

)

 

 

(40,970

)

 

 

(6,218

)

Net (loss)/income

 

 

(38,116

)

 

 

(39,912

)

 

 

2,916

 

 

 

191,809

 

 

 

29,112

 

Net (loss)/ income attributable to non-controlling interests

 

 

(5,230

)

 

 

166

 

 

 

39,290

 

 

 

19,759

 

 

 

2,999

 

Net (loss)/income attributable to ordinary shareholders

 

 

(32,886

)

 

 

(40,078

)

 

 

(36,374

)

 

 

172,050

 

 

 

26,113

 

Net (loss)/earnings per share attributable to ordinary shareholders

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic and diluted

 

 

(0.36

)

 

 

(0.43

)

 

 

(0.38

)

 

 

1.64

 

 

 

0.25

 

Weighted average shares used in calculating net loss per ordinary share:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic and diluted

 

 

92,590,000

 

 

 

92,590,000

 

 

 

96,983,360

 

 

 

104,839,041

 

 

 

104,839,041

 

 

 

 

As of August 31,

 

 

 

2014

 

 

2015

 

 

2016

 

 

2017

 

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

RMB

 

 

US$

 

 

 

(in thousands)

 

Summary Combined and Consolidated Balance Sheet Data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

 

144,581

 

 

 

240,684

 

 

 

356,018

 

 

 

1,883,000

 

 

 

285,788

 

Restricted Cash

 

 

3,547

 

 

 

3,564

 

 

 

6,433

 

 

 

13,662

 

 

 

2,074

 

Total assets

 

 

913,757

 

 

 

1,093,196

 

 

 

1,239,232

 

 

 

2,686,632

 

 

 

407,757

 

Total equity

 

 

(18,422

)

 

 

(38,955

)

 

 

161,561

 

 

 

1,419,458

 

 

 

215,435

 

Current liabilities

 

 

876,834

 

 

 

1,074,601

 

 

 

1,011,849

 

 

 

1,202,074

 

 

 

182,442

 

Total liabilities

 

 

932,179

 

 

 

1,132,151

 

 

 

1,077,671

 

 

 

1,267,174

 

 

 

192,322

 

 

Exchange Rate Information

Our business is conducted in China and substantially all of our revenues and expenses are denominated in Renminbi.  This annual report contains translations of Renminbi amounts into U.S. dollars at specified rates solely for the convenience of the readers.  The exchange rates of Renminbi into U.S. dollars are based on the exchange rate as set forth in the H.10 statistical release of the Federal Reserve Board.  We make no representation that the Renminbi or U.S. dollar amounts referred to in this annual report could have been or could be converted into U.S.

-4-


dollars or Renminbi, as the case may be, at any particular rate or at all.  As of December 1, 2017, the noon buying rate was RMB6.6137 to US$1.00.

The following table sets forth information concerning exchange rates between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollars 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 or will use in the preparation of our periodic reports or any other information to be provided to you.

 

 

 

Exchange Rate

 

Period

 

Period end

 

 

Average(1)

 

 

Low

 

 

High

 

 

 

(RMB per US$1.00)

 

Fiscal 2013

 

 

6.1193

 

 

 

6.1928

 

 

 

6.3489

 

 

 

6.1123

 

Fiscal 2014

 

 

6.1430

 

 

 

6.1506

 

 

 

6.2591

 

 

 

6.0402

 

Fiscal 2015

 

 

6.3760

 

 

 

6.2085

 

 

 

6.4122

 

 

 

6.1107

 

Fiscal 2016

 

 

6.6776

 

 

 

6.5108

 

 

 

6.7013

 

 

 

6.3180

 

Fiscal 2017

 

 

6.5888

 

 

 

6.8073

 

 

 

6.9580

 

 

 

6.5888

 

June

 

 

6.7793

 

 

 

6.8066

 

 

 

6.8382

 

 

 

6.7793

 

July

 

 

6.7240

 

 

 

6.7694

 

 

 

6.8039

 

 

 

6.7240

 

August

 

 

6.5888

 

 

 

6.6670

 

 

 

6.7272

 

 

 

6.5888

 

Fiscal 2018

 

 

64561

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

September

 

 

6.6533

 

 

 

6.5690

 

 

 

6.6591

 

 

 

6.4773

 

October

 

 

6.6328

 

 

 

6.6254

 

 

 

6.6533

 

 

 

6.5712

 

November

 

6.6090

 

 

6.6200

 

 

6.6385

 

 

6.5967

 

December  (through December 1, 2017)

 

6.6137

 

 

6.6137

 

 

6.6137

 

 

6.6137

 

 

Source: Federal Reserve Statistical Release

(1)

Annual averages were calculated by using the average of the exchange rates on the last day of each month during the relevant year. Monthly averages are calculated by using the average of the daily rates during the relevant month.

B.

Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not applicable.

C.

Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not applicable.

D.

Risk Factors

An investment in our ADSs or notes involves risks.  You should carefully consider the risks described below, as well as the other information included or incorporated by reference in this annual report, before making an investment decision.  Our business, financial condition or results of operations could be materially adversely affected by any of these risks.  The market or trading price of our ADSs or notes could decline due to any of these risks, and you may lose all or part of your investment.  In addition, the risks discussed below also include forward-looking statements and our actual results may differ substantially from those discussed in these forward-looking statements.  You should also review the section of this annual report captioned “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects G. Safe Harbor on Forward-Looking Statements.” Please note that additional risks not presently known to us, that we currently deem immaterial or that we have not anticipated may also impair our business and operations.

-5-


Risks Related to Our Business

We may not be able to execute our growth strategies or continue to grow as rapidly as we have in the past several years.

We have grown rapidly in the past few years, expanding our school network from 29 schools as of September 1, 2013 to 60 schools as of the date of this annual report. We will continue to enroll students, recruit teachers and educational staff, increase the utilization rates of our existing and new schools and invest in complementary businesses.  However, we may not be able to continue to grow as rapidly as we did in the past due to uncertainties involved in the process, for example:

 

we may not be able to attract and retain a sufficient number of students for our existing and new schools;

 

we may not be able to hire and retain principals, teachers, educational staff and other employees for our existing and new schools;

 

we may require more time than expected to obtain the accreditation for the education programs, particularly the international education programs, at our schools;

 

we may be unable to continue to refine our curricula and optimize our students’ academic performance;

 

our business partner, Country Garden, a related party, may be unable to develop new residential communities at locations with a robust demand for private education or sell residential units to a sufficient number of buyers seeking convenient access to private education;

 

the development of new schools may be delayed or affected as a result of many factors, such as delays in obtaining government approvals or licenses, shortages of key construction supplies and skilled labor, construction accidents, or natural catastrophes, some of which are beyond our control;

 

we may be unable to successfully build our brand name and launch schools independent of Country Garden;

 

we may be unable to successfully execute new growth strategies; and

 

we may be unable to successfully integrate complementary or acquired businesses with our current service offerings and achieve anticipated synergies.

These risks may increase significantly when we expand into new cities or countries.  Managing the growth of a geographically diverse business also involves significant risks and challenges.  We may find it difficult to manage financial resources, implement uniform education standard and operational policies and maintain our operational, management and technology systems across our network.  If we are unable to manage our expanding operations or successfully achieve future growth, our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.

We have incurred net losses in the past and only became profitable in the 2016 fiscal year, and we may not remain profitable or increase profitability in the future.

We experienced net losses of RMB39.9 million in the 2015 fiscal year.  We focus on providing quality education to our students and, since the beginning of the 2016 fiscal year, we have implemented various initiatives to improve our operating efficiency and profitability.  We had net income of RMB2.9 million and adjusted net income of RMB98.0 million in the 2016 fiscal year and net income of RMB191.8 million (US$29.1 million) in the 2017 fiscal year.  See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — A. Operating Results — Results of Operations — Non-GAAP measures” for details.  We may not be successful in maintaining or increasing overall profitability going forward.  In particular, certain of our schools, especially those at the ramp-up stage and with comparatively low utilization rates, are currently operating at a loss and we may not be able to improve the profitability of these schools.  As we plan to expand our school network, new schools we launch may negatively impact our profitability.

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Our ability to maintain profitability and positive cash flow will depend in large part on our ability to control our costs and expenses which we expect to increase as we further develop and expand our school network.  We may incur significant losses in the future for a number of reasons, including the other risks described in this annual report.  We may also further encounter unforeseen expenses, difficulties, complications, delays and other unknown events.  If we fail to increase revenue at the rate we anticipate or if our expenses increase at a faster rate than the increase in our revenue, we may not be able to remain profitable or increase profitability.

We may be subject to significant limitations on our ability to engage in the private education business or make payments to our subsidiaries and may otherwise be materially and adversely affected by changes in PRC laws and regulations.

The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress amended the Law on the Promotion of Private Education on November 7, 2016, which became effective on September 1, 2017.  Pursuant to this amendment, sponsors of private schools may choose to establish schools as either non-profit or for-profit schools.  Sponsors are not permitted to establish for-profit schools that provide compulsory education services, which cover grades one to nine and accounted for a significant portion of our students as well as revenue during the reporting period.  Sponsors of for-profit private schools are entitled to retain the profits from their schools and the operating surplus may be allocated to the sponsors pursuant to the PRC company law and other relevant laws and regulations.  Sponsors of non-profit private schools are not entitled to any distribution of profits from their schools and all revenue must be used for the operation of the schools.  For further details, see “Item 4. Information on the Company — B. Business Overview — Regulations — Regulations on Private Education in the PRC — The Law for Promoting Private Education and the Implementation Rules for the Law for Promoting Private Education.”

As of the date of this annual report, the implementing rules for the Law for the Promotion of Private Education or the relevant regulations adopted by competent government authorities at the provincial level for the purpose of implementing the amended Law on the Promotion of Private Education have not been published to the public.  It remains uncertain how the amended law will be interpreted and implemented and impact our business operations.  For example, under the amended law and its implementing rules, schools that offer compulsory education services must register as non-profit schools, though it is currently unclear how to make this registration.  In addition, the local government authorities in implementing the amended law may impose additional limits on the tuition and fees our schools charge.  Furthermore, as a holding company, our ability to generate profits, pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders under the existing and amended law are affected by many factors, including whether our schools are characterized as for-profit or non-profit schools, the profitability of our schools and other affiliated entities, and our ability to receive dividends and other distributions from our PRC subsidiary, Zhuhai Bright Scholar, which in turn depends on the service fees paid to Zhuhai Bright Scholar from our schools and other affiliated entities.

Zhuhai Bright Scholar has entered into an exclusive management services and business cooperation agreement with each of our affiliated entities, including our schools controlled and held by BGY Education Investment, pursuant to which we provide service to our schools in exchange for the payment of service fees.  As advised by JunHe LLP, our PRC legal counsel, our right to receive the service fees from our schools and other affiliated entities does not contravene any PRC laws and regulations and that payment of service fees under our contractual arrangements should not be regarded as the distribution of returns, dividends or profits to the sponsors of our schools under the PRC laws and regulations.  However, if the relevant PRC government authorities take a different view, or if the amended law were to be implemented and interpreted in a manner that deems our current business practices to be in violation, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.  For example, the relevant PRC government authorities may seek to confiscate any or all of the service fees that have been paid by our schools to Zhuhai Bright Scholar, including retrospectively, to the extent that such service fees are tantamount to returns, dividends or profits taken by the sponsors of these schools.  The relevant PRC government authorities may also seek to prevent students from attending our schools or, in a more extreme situation, revoke the operating permits of these schools.  We may also have to reorganize our operations to meet the requirements regarding the compulsory education services and comply with the amended law.  The occurrence of any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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A number of our learning centers do not possess the required educational permits and business licenses and are currently unable to obtain them, which may subject us to fines and other penalties, including the suspension of operations in noncompliant learning centers and confiscation of profits derived from noncompliant operations.

According to the amended Law on the Promotion of Private Education, which became effective on September 1, 2017,  private schools for after-school tutoring can be established as for-profit private schools at the election of the school sponsors. The amended law also deleted the provision which stipulates that measures for administration of profit-making privately-run training institutions registered with the administrative department for industry and commerce shall be separately formulated by the State Council. According to The Rules for the Implementation of Supervision and Management of For-profit Private Schools, jointly issued by the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, which came into force on December 30, 2016, for-profit private tutoring institutions shall be in compliance with the regulations applicable to private schools. Therefore, we expect that the amended Law on the Promotion of Private Education, accompanied with its relevant implementation rules and regulations will bring significant changes to our compliance environment and a certain number of our entities, through which we operate our existing learning centers, may be required to obtain new licenses and permits or update their existing ones.

As of the date of this annual report, six of our learning centers do not possess the operating permits or business licenses required by the regulatory changes discussed above. While we intend to use our best efforts to obtain the required permits and licenses to operate our learning centers in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong provinces where the majority of our learning centers are located, as of the date of this annual report, the implementing rules for the amended Law on the Promotion of Private Education or the relevant local regulations have not been published to the public, and accordingly local authorities have not begun to accept applications or issue permits. If we fail to obtain such required permits and licenses, we may be subject to fines or confiscation of profits derived from noncompliant operations and we may be unable to continue the operations at our noncompliant learning centers, which could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

 

A majority of our schools are located in Guangdong province, China, and any significant downturn of the regional economy or adverse changes in the local regulatory regime may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

As of the date of this annual report, 39 of our 60 schools were located in Guangdong province, China. Our schools in Guangdong province in aggregate generated 76.0% of our revenues in the 2017 fiscal year. Our flagship school, Guangdong Country Garden School, alone generated approximately 26.2% of our revenues in the 2017 fiscal year.  We have historically benefited from the rapid economic development of this region.  The concentration of our business in Guangdong province, however, exposes us to geographical concentration risks related to this region or the schools located in this region.  Any material adverse social, economic or political development or any natural disaster or epidemic affecting this region could negatively affect the disposable income of the families of our current and prospective students and their demand for private education.  The occurrence of any of the foregoing could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If we fail to enroll and retain a sufficient number of students, our business could be materially and adversely affected.

Our ability to continue to enroll and retain students for our schools is critical to the continued success and growth of our business.  The success of our efforts to enroll and retain students will depend on several factors, including our ability to:

 

enhance existing education programs and services to respond to market changes and student demands;

 

develop new programs and services that appeal to our students and their parents;

 

maintain and enhance our reputation as a leading school operator offering quality education;

 

expand our school network and geographic reach;

 

effectively market our schools and programs to a broader base of prospective students;

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manage our growth while maintaining the consistency of our teaching quality;

 

develop and license additional high quality education content; and

 

respond to increasing competition in the market.

In addition, local and provincial government authorities may impose restrictions on the number of students we can enroll.  Our business, financial condition and results of operation could be materially and adversely affected if we cannot maintain or increase our student base as we expand our school network.

Accidents, injuries or other harm may occur at our schools, learning centers or the events we organize, which could affect our reputation and our ability to attract and retain students.

There are inherent risks of accidents or injuries in our business.  We could be held liable if any student, employee or other person is injured in any accident at any of our schools, learning centers or the events we organize.  Though we believe we take appropriate measures to limit these risks, in the event of personal injuries, food poisoning, fires or other accidents suffered by students or other people, we could nonetheless face claims alleging that we were negligent, that we provided inadequate supervision or that we were otherwise liable for the injuries.  In addition, if any of our students commit acts of violence, we could face claims alleging our failure to provide adequate security measures or precautions to prevent such actions.  Similar events and allegations may also arise with respect to events we organize, including off-campus gatherings and overseas camp programs.  Parents may perceive our facilities or programs to be unsafe, which may discourage them from sending their children to our schools, learning centers or programs.  We have historically encountered isolated student-related accidents on our school premises and compensated the injured students.  Although we maintain liability insurance, the insurance coverage may not be adequate to fully protect us from claims of all kinds and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to obtain sufficient liability insurance in the future on commercially reasonable terms or at all.  A liability claim against us or any of our employees could adversely affect our reputation and ability to attract and retain students.  Even if unsuccessful, such a claim could create unfavorable publicity, cause us to incur substantial expenses and divert the time and attention of our management.

We may be unable to charge tuition at sufficient levels to be profitable or raise tuition as planned.

Our results of operations are affected in large part by the pricing of our education services.  We charge tuition based on each student’s grade level and the programs that the student is enrolled in.  Subject to the applicable regulatory requirements, we generally determine tuition based on the demand for our education services, the cost of our services, and the tuition and the fees charged by our competitors.  Although we have been able to increase the tuition we charge our students in the past, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to maintain or increase our tuition in the future without adversely affecting the demand for our education services.

The tuition we charge for some of our education programs is subject to regulatory restrictions.  The regulatory authorities in China, at both the provincial and local levels, have broad powers to regulate the private education industry in China, including the tuition, room and board fees and other fees charged by schools.  We have occasionally encountered difficulty in persuading the local regulatory authorities to approve our tuition increase proposals in the past.  In light of the significant increase in tuition and other education related fees in China in recent years, regulatory authorities may impose stricter price control on education charges generally in the future.  For example, in accordance with the relevant local regulations, if we increase the tuition at our schools in Guangdong province in a certain school year, such increase will generally not affect the existing students until they complete their current section of education at the same schools.  If the tuition we charge were required to be reduced or were not allowed to increase in line with increases in our costs, or if there are any changes in the regulations which may otherwise negatively affect or restrict our ability to adjust our tuition, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.  For example, the local government authorities in implementing the amended Law for the Promotion of Private Education may impose additional limits on the tuition and fees our schools charge or prevent us from raising the tuition and fees to our desired levels or at all.  For our complementary education services, we have more discretion in determining the tuition, but we cannot guarantee that the current regulatory regime will not change in a manner that may restrict our ability to increase tuition for our complementary education services.

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Furthermore, the tuition we are able to charge is subject to a number of other factors, such as the perception of our brand, the academic results achieved by our students, our ability to hire qualified teachers, and general local economic conditions.  Any significant deterioration in these factors could have a material adverse effect on our ability to charge tuition at levels sufficient for us to remain profitable.

If we fail to ramp up our existing schools or successfully launch new schools, our business growth and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

As of the date of this annual report, we had a network of 60 schools in China, approximately 23 of which, including three international schools, eight bilingual schools and 12 kindergartens are in the ramp-up period, which typically follows in the first few years after the launch of a new school.  Certain of our schools currently in the ramp-up period are operating at a loss.  We plan to dedicate significant resources to expanding our international school business, within which we only have one school that has been in operation for more than five years, three that were profitable for the 2016 fiscal year and four that were profitable for the 2017 fiscal year.  We cannot assure you that we will be able to continue to attract a sufficient number of students to enroll in these schools, recruit additional qualified teachers and educational staff to meet the demands of the increased student enrollment or otherwise expand our operations at schools in a manner that ensures a consistently high quality of education service.  For example, our three new schools launched in the 2017 fiscal year contributed an increase of 395 out of a total increase of 3,885 in student enrollment in the 2017 fiscal year.

As a growth strategy, we seek to continue to expand our school network, particularly international schools, in the future.  We plan to launch schools in collaboration with school development partners, including Country Garden, and on our own.  We or our partners may encounter difficulty in procuring the land and obtaining the permits for construction.  As the offering of international education programs requires us to meet the relevant accreditation standards and attract and retain teachers qualified to deliver internationally-accredited courses, we cannot assure you that we will be able to apply our experience from the operation of our existing international schools to new schools or that we will be able to obtain the requisite accreditations or recruit a sufficient number of qualified teachers.  If we fail to attract students to our existing schools or build new schools with the requisite accreditations and teachers, our business growth and prospects could be materially and adversely affected.

We may not be able to renew school operation agreements or maintain favorable fee rates at our existing schools or enter into school operation agreements for new schools on reasonable terms.

Since our inception, we have launched substantially all of our schools by collaborating with Country Garden.  Our schools have enabled Country Garden to meet the local zoning requirements of associated residential properties and have helped market its residential units to prospective home buyers seeking convenient access to private education.

As of August 31, 2017, substantially all of our schools entered into a three-year school operation agreement with Country Garden. We are in the process of arranging the execution of such school operation agreement with Country Garden for our schools established after August 31, 2017.  Under these agreements, Country Garden provides the premises and facilities for our schools, while we are responsible for school operation and management.  We may also offer preferential placement and favorable tuition rates to Country Garden homeowners.  In the 2017 fiscal year, the aggregate amount of tuition discounts was equal to 5.1% of our total revenue.  If a higher proportion of our students are from families of Country Garden homeowners in the future, the aggregate amount of tuition discounts may increase as a percentage of our revenue.  We only recognize the tuition we receive as revenue.  However, we cannot assure you that we will be able to renegotiate the contract terms that are acceptable to us with Country Garden when the existing agreements expire.  As a result, we may be required by Country Garden to pay fees such as rent to use Country Garden’s school premises and facilities or relocate the affected operations to new locations outside of Country Garden’s school premises and facilities or residential communities, which would require us to pay higher fees for or even purchase the school facilities, and may significantly increase our marketing expenses to attract students from families residing outside Country Garden’s residential communities.  Our profitability may decrease if we are unable to pass on the increased costs and expenses to our students by raising tuition without compromising our ability to retain students.  Any protraction for the relocation may also materially interrupt our business operations and result in a loss of student enrollment.

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As Country Garden is responsible for ensuring the proper land use type, obtaining the requisite government certifications on construction, environmental assessment, fire control and title certificates and providing utilities including water, heating and power, if Country Garden fails to procure the land use type designated for education-related purposes, obtain such certifications or maintain uninterrupted utilities supplies, our operations could be disrupted.  If our use of any such properties is challenged by third parties or government authorities, we may be forced to relocate the affected operations and incur significant expenses.  We cannot assure you that we will be able to find suitable replacement sites in a timely manner, on terms acceptable to us, or at all.

We plan to launch new schools in collaboration with school development partners, including Country Garden, and on our own.  We cannot assure you that we may obtain leases for school premises or enter into school operation agreements on commercially reasonable terms, or at all.  Country Garden has an internal policy that designates us as a preferred school operator partner, under which we are entitled to the right of first refusal on school development projects in connection with its new residential properties.  We cannot assure you that Country Garden will faithfully implement this policy or will not amend it, and we do not have the standing to request Country Garden to do otherwise.  For new schools we launch in the future, we may not offer tuition discounts to Country Garden homeowners but may be required to pay fees, such as rent, for Country Garden’s school premises and facilities.  This may increase our revenues but also cost of revenue at the same time, which may affect our profit margins.

We have certain property defects relating to our lease of the land occupied by Guangdong Country Garden School, which may adversely affect our operations.

Guangdong Country Garden School is located on a parcel of land of approximately 172,240 square meters, leased pursuant to a 70-year lease agreement, effective in 1994, signed between Guangdong Country Garden School and the local village cooperative.  This long-term lease agreement has been registered on the rural collective asset management platform in accordance with the local administrative rules.  However, PRC law requires that land parcels be classified according to their specific use type.  The parcel on which Guangdong Country Garden School is located is classified for agricultural use, though the construction and operation of a school should be carried out upon land designated for educational use.  Because of this, we may not be able to enforce our rights under the lease agreement in China’s courts.  In addition, because this school is located on agricultural use land, we were unable to obtain the relevant land planning approval, construction planning approval, construction approval, inspection for completion of construction, fire control assessment and title certificates.  As a result, we may be subject to fines and may be required to vacate if the facilities are found to fall below the statutory standard for construction.  Further, the relevant local authorities could prevent us from continuing to use the land for educational purposes and we could be required to give up our school facilities.  As of the date of this annual report, we are not aware of any government investigations related to our school facilities.  However, if our school facilities are found to fall below the relevant statutory standards, we could be required to relocate Guangdong Country Garden School.  Guangdong Country Garden School is our flagship school and alone generated 26.2% of our revenues in the 2017 fiscal year.  We cannot assure you that suitable alternative locations are readily available on commercially reasonable terms or at all, and if we are unable to relocate our operations in a timely manner, our operations will be severely interrupted, which may materially and adversely affect our business, result of operations and financial condition.

If regulatory authorities challenge our curriculum or textbook practices, our business, results of operations and financial condition may be materially and adversely affected.

Under current PRC laws, all schools are required to offer sufficient government-mandated coursework to students eligible for compulsory education and may supplement their compulsory education with elective coursework.  Private schools may offer education programs outside government-mandated curriculum so long as the local education authorities have approved such programs.  We offer internationally-accredited courses to our students, primarily in our international schools.  We may be deemed to offer insufficient government-mandated coursework to students enrolled in our international programs from grades one through nine.  Additionally, we did not obtain the required government approval for providing non-government-mandated coursework in certain schools.  Current PRC laws are not clear as to which government examination and approval process is required for such education programs.  We make annual filings for our schools to the local education authorities when required, but it is uncertain whether we have satisfied the relevant government approval requirement in relation to government-mandated coursework and non-government mandated programs.

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In addition, under current PRC laws, textbooks, including those for non-government-mandated coursework, must be examined and approved by the local education authorities.  Nine of our schools, including our flagship school, use foreign textbooks without obtaining the required government approval.  There is no clear guideline under the current PRC laws for obtaining such government approval.

On December 29, 2016, the State Council issued the Several Opinions of the State Council on Encouraging the Operation of Education by Social Forces and Promoting the Healthy Development of Private Education, or the State Council Opinions.  The State Council Opinions emphasize enhancing the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, or the CCP, over private schools and, in particular, furthering the theoretical system of Socialism with Chinese Characteristics by introducing such system into textbooks and teaching programs.

It is not entirely clear under current PRC laws what penalties we may be subject to for non-compliant curriculum and textbook practice.  The local education authorities have the right to prevent us from offering the non-government-mandated coursework or using the textbooks that have not been approved.  As of the date of this annual report, we are not aware of any government investigation of our curriculum or textbook practices.  We cannot guarantee, however, that more stringent rules regulating curriculum and textbook will not be promulgated following the effectiveness of the amended Law for Promoting Private Education on September 1, 2017.  Neither can we assure you that enhancing the leadership of the CCP over private schools according to the State Council Opinions will not lead to more stringent administrative orders on or any penalty against our current practice.  We may be ordered by the government to rectify our current practices, which may include ceasing to provide courses that are not government-mandated, if a subsequent government investigation concludes that our practices are not fully compliant with the laws.  If we are required by the rectification measures to offer our education programs in a manner that adversely affects our students’ academic performance and university admission results, we may be unable to attract and retain our students, which may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Our business and future growth are affected by the residential communities developed by Country Garden.

We have launched, and expect to continue to launch, schools in collaboration with many of the residential properties developed and to be developed by Country Garden, and our business and future growth are, to a considerable extent, affected by Country Garden’s ability to successfully develop and sell residential units in its existing and new property projects.  We have experienced setbacks in ramping up certain of our schools launched in collaboration with Country Garden.  If any of the residential properties developed by Country Garden on which we operate or plan to operate our schools are underpopulated or otherwise unable to develop into substantial communities, the demand for private education in such areas may be lower than anticipated and we may be unable to enroll a sufficient number of students for our schools, which may adversely affect our business and results of operations.  We cannot guarantee that we will be able to develop our schools independent of Country Garden’s residential property projects.  Seeking partnership with other property developers or procuring properties for construction of school facilities may be time-consuming and capital-intensive and may in turn affect our business growth.  In addition, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to cost-effectively attract prospective students to our schools launched in cooperation with other property developers or on our own.

The real estate market in China is sensitive to changes in government policies affecting the real estate and financial markets and related sectors.  In recent years, the PRC government has implemented various administrative measures to curb what it has perceived as unsustainable growth in the real estate market, particularly when the real estate market in China experienced rapid and significant increases in home sales as well as prices.  As Country Garden develops residential communities in prime areas in second- or third-tier cities or suburban areas in first-tier cities, any local economic downturn or changes in the real estate market policies may adversely affect Country Garden’s business development or alter its business strategies, which may in turn adversely affect our business relationship with Country Garden and our business and future growth.

If we fail to help our students achieve their academic goals, student and parent satisfaction with our education services may decline.

The success of our business depends on our ability to deliver quality school experiences and help our students achieve their academic goals.  Our schools may not be able to meet the expectations of our students and their parents

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in terms of students’ academic performance.  A student may not be able to attain the level of academic improvement that he or she seeks and his or her performance may otherwise not progress or decline due to reasons beyond our control.  We may not be able to provide education that is satisfactory to all of our students and their parents, and student and parent satisfaction with our services may decline.  In addition, we cannot guarantee that our students will be admitted to higher levels of education institutions of their choice.  Any of the foregoing could result in a student’s withdrawal from our schools, and dissatisfied students or their parents may attempt to persuade other students or prospective students not to attend our schools.  If our ability to retain students decreases significantly or if we otherwise fail to continue to enroll and retain new students, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

If fewer Chinese students aspire to study abroad, especially in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom, demand for our international schools may decline.

One of the principal drivers of the growth of our international schools has been the increasing number of Chinese students who aspire to study abroad, especially in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom.  As such, any adverse changes in immigration policy or political sentiments toward foreigners and immigrants, terrorist attacks, geopolitical uncertainties and any international conflicts involving these countries could increase the difficulty for Chinese students to study overseas, or decrease the appeal of studying in such countries to Chinese students.  Any significant change in admission standards adopted by overseas education institutions could also affect the demand for overseas education by Chinese students.

In addition, any fluctuation in the currency exchange rate could have a negative impact on the translation of Renminbi into other currencies, including the U.S. dollars, Australian dollars and British pounds, which may increase the costs of living and tuitions for Chinese students studying abroad.  The attractiveness of pursuing an education at international schools in China may decrease accordingly, which could adversely affect our business and profitability.

Furthermore, Chinese students may also become less likely to study abroad due to other reasons, such as improving domestic education or employment opportunities associated with continued economic development in China.  These factors could cause declines in the demand for our international schools, which may adversely affect our business and profitability.

We may be unable to recruit, train and retain a sufficient number of qualified and experienced teachers and principals.

Our teachers are critical to maintaining the quality of our education and services and our brand and reputation.  Our principals are also instrumental to the successful operation of our schools.  Our ability to continue to attract teachers and principals with the necessary experience and qualifications is therefore a critical contributing factor to the success of our operations.  There are a limited number of teachers and principals in China with the necessary experience, expertise and qualifications that meet our requirements.  Further, the Measures for Punishment for Violation of Professional Ethics of Primary and Secondary School Teachers, promulgated by the PRC Ministry of Education, or MOE, on January 11, 2014, prohibits teachers of primary and secondary schools from providing paid tutoring in schools or in out-of-school learning centers.  Some provinces and cities where our schools are located have adopted more stringent stipulations which prohibit public school teachers from teaching on a part-time basis at private schools or learning centers.  Public school teachers may join private schools only after ending their employment with public schools.  Therefore, to recruit qualified and experienced teachers and principals, including those with public school experience, we must provide candidates with competitive compensation packages and offer attractive career development opportunities, especially when former public school teachers and principals may have to undergo major career changes.  In addition, we strive to provide an immersive bilingual learning environment, particularly at our international schools, which requires a sizable pool of foreign teachers.  As the market for qualified foreign teachers is extremely competitive and the attrition rate for foreign teacher is generally higher than that for Chinese teachers, we cannot guarantee that we can increase the number of our foreign teachers to meet the growing demand as our student enrollment increases.  In addition, as government process for obtaining the work and residence permits for foreign teachers may be time-consuming, we may fail to apply for such permits for our foreign teachers before they join us.  If we are unable to attract and retain qualified teachers and principals, we may experience a decrease in the quality of our education programs and services in one or more of our schools or incur

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an increase in hiring and labor costs, which may materially and adversely affect our business and results of our operations.

If we lose the accreditations, permits or licenses required to provide our education or complementary education services or operate our schools or if we fail to obtain the accreditations, permits or licenses for our new schools or complementary education services, our business could be materially and adversely affected.

In order to provide our education programs or operate our schools, we apply for and maintain various accreditations from curriculum providers and permits from examination boards, such as the IB Organization.  To obtain or maintain our accreditations and permits, we must meet standards related to, among other things, performance, governance, institutional integrity, education quality, staff, administrative capability, resources and financial stability, on an ongoing basis.  If any of our schools fail to meet these standards, it could fail to obtain or lose its existing accreditations or permits, or be unable to expand its offerings of internationally-accredited curricula that are popular among students and their parents, which could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

In addition, we must apply periodically to the local education bureaus and civil affairs bureaus to obtain or renew the permits or licenses to operate our schools and ancillary services, including room and board services and school bus services.  While we believe that we will be able to obtain or renew such permits or licenses, we cannot assure you that such permits and licenses will be obtained or renewed in a timely manner, or at all and that new conditions will not be imposed. For example, we are in the process of obtaining and have not yet obtained certain licenses or permits for three newly-established schools as of the date of this annual report. Any failure to obtain or renew the required permits or licenses to operate our schools could give rise to administrative penalties including rectification or suspension of operations in noncompliant schools or confiscation of profits derived from noncompliant operations, which could materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Competition in the private education market could reduce enrollment at our schools, increase our cost of recruiting and retaining students and teachers and put downward pressure on our tuition and profitability.

We may face competition from other existing or new schools that target the children of affluent local families in the locations in which we operate.  Some of our existing and potential competitors may be able to devote greater resources than we can to the development and construction of private schools and respond more quickly to changes in demands of students and their parents, admissions standards, market needs or new technologies.  Moreover, our competitors may increase capacity in any of the local markets to an extent that leads to an over-supply of placement positions at private schools and downward pressure on tuition.  Our existing or potential competitors may also strategically price their tuition lower than ours to attract students and parents.  The amended Law on Promotion of Private Education, which became effective on September 1, 2017, may attract more private school operators to offer non-compulsory education and further increase competition in this segment.

Our complementary businesses, including English proficiency training and extracurricular programs, may also face competition from other providers of comparable services that may have stronger financial resources, technology, service performance or brand recognition.

If we are unable to differentiate our services from those of our competitors and successfully market our services to students and their parents, we could face competitive pressures that reduce our student enrollment.  If our student enrollment falls, we may be required to reduce our tuition or increase spending in order to attract and retain students, which could materially and adversely affect our business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.

Our business and financial performance may suffer if we fail to successfully develop and launch new education services.

The future success of our business depends partly on our ability to develop new education services.  The planned timing or launch of new education services is subject to risks and uncertainties.  Actual timing may differ

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materially from any originally proposed timeframes.  Unexpected operational, technical or other issues could delay or prevent the launch of one or more of our new education services or programs.  In addition, significant investment of human capital, financial resources and management time and attention may be required to successfully launch features of our new education programs.  For example, in July 2017, we entered into an agreement to acquire a minority interest in Can-achieve to supplement our test preparation and college counseling business and improve our students university admission results. However, we cannot assure that our students will choose us over third-party service providers or that we will be able to successfully integrate such services with our schools and other complementary businesses without expending significant financial resources on marketing and operational optimization.  If we fail to manage the expansion of our portfolio of education services cost-effectively, our business could be negatively affected.

We cannot assure you that any of our new services will achieve market acceptance or generate incremental revenue or that our operation of such new services or programs will comply with our business scope or applicable licensing requirements.  If our efforts to develop, market and sell our new education services and programs to the market are not successful, our business, financial position and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

We may not be able to integrate businesses we acquired or plan to acquire in the future, which may adversely affect our business growth.

We acquired élan, an English proficiency training business, in January 2016 and entered into an agreement to acquire a minority interest in Can-achieve, a test preparation and college counselling business, in July 2017.  We plan to selectively acquire schools to expand our network coverage and/or businesses that are complementary to our core expertise in K-12 education.  We cannot assure you that we will be able to integrate the acquired businesses with our existing operations, and we may incur significant financial resources to streamline the operation of the acquired businesses under our internal control requirements and divert substantial management attention to the transition of the acquired businesses before achieving full integration.  In addition, the businesses and schools we acquire may be loss making or have existing liabilities or other risks that we may not be able to effectively manage or may not be aware of at the time we acquire them, which may impact our ability to realize the expected benefits from the acquisition or our financial performance.  If we fail to integrate the acquired businesses in a timely manner or at all, we may not be able to achieve the anticipated benefits or synergy from the acquired businesses, which may adversely affect our business growth.

Any deterioration in our relationships with providers of overseas education services may adversely affect our business.

We have business collaborations with various overseas schools and institutions to provide education resources for our international schools.  We derive direct benefits from these relationships such as the ability to offer more diverse programs and classes, including summer and winter camps, and the ability to charge a premium for the programs we offer with other overseas education service providers.  We also derive indirect benefits from these relationships, including enhancement of our brand and reputation and exposure to international education methods and experiences.

If our relationships with any of these overseas education service providers deteriorate or are otherwise damaged or terminated, or if the benefits we derive from these relationships diminishes, whether as a result of our own actions, actions of our partners, actions of any third party, including our competitors, or of regulatory authorities or other entities beyond our control, our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

Any damage to the reputation of any of our schools may adversely affect our overall business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition.

Our reputation could be adversely affected under many circumstances, including the following:

 

accidents, epidemics or other events adversely affect our students;

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we fail to properly manage accidents or other events that injure our students;

 

our staff behave or are perceived to behave inappropriately or illegally;

 

our staff fail to appropriately supervise students under their care;

 

we fail to conduct proper background checks on our staff;

 

we lose a license, permit, accreditation or other authorization to operate an education program, a school or a complementary education service;

 

we do not maintain consistent education quality or fail to enable our students to achieve strong academic results;

 

our school facilities do not meet the standards expected by parents and students for private education; and

 

school operators of lower quality that abuse our brand name or those with brand names similar to ours conduct fraudulent activities and create confusion among students and their parents.

The likelihood that any of the foregoing may occur increases as we expand our school network.  These events could influence the perception of our schools not only by our students and their parents, but also by other constituencies in the education sector and the general public.  Moreover, an event that directly damages the reputation of one of our schools could adversely affect the reputation and operations of our other schools.  If our reputation deteriorates, our overall business, prospects, results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

Our business is subject to seasonal fluctuations, which may cause our results of operations to fluctuate from quarter to quarter, and in turn result in volatility in and adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

Our business is subject to seasonal fluctuations as our costs and expenses vary significantly during the fiscal year and do not necessarily correspond with the timing of recognition of our revenues.  Our students and their parents typically pay the tuition and other fees prior to the commencement of a semester, and we recognize revenues from the delivery of education services on a straight-line basis over the semester.  We typically incur higher upfront operating expenses in the first fiscal quarter at the start of each school year.  We also typically recognize more revenue in the second half of fiscal years due to higher revenues from complementary education services during the summer and, to a lesser extent, students who transfer into our schools for the second semester.  As a result of the combination of the foregoing, we have historically incurred net loss or significantly lower net income in the second and fourth fiscal quarters, primarily due to our schools being closed due to the winter and summer holidays, when no revenue from our school operations is recognized.  We expect to continue to experience seasonal fluctuations in our results of operations.  These fluctuations could result in volatility in and adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

Our business could be disrupted if we lose the services of members of our senior management team, key principals and teaching staff.

Our success depends in part on the continued application of skills, efforts and motivation of our officers and senior management team.  We may in the future experience changes in our senior management for reasons beyond our control.  In addition, key personnel could leave us to join our competitors.  Losing the services of key members of senior management or experienced personnel may be disruptive to and cause uncertainty for our business.  We depend upon the services of our senior management team, including our chief executive officer, Mr. Junli He, who collectively have significant experience with our company and within the education industry.  If one or more members of our senior management team are unable or unwilling to continue in their present positions for health, family or other reasons, we may not be able to replace them easily or at all.  If we cannot attract and retain qualified senior management members, key principals and teaching staff in a timely manner, our business, results of operations and financial condition could be materially and adversely affected.

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Failure to adequately protect our intellectual property could materially and adversely affect our business.

We have historically relied upon the brand name of “Country Garden” to market our schools.  As we expand our schools beyond the network of Country Garden’s residential communities, we have created and begun to promote our own brands, including “Bright Scholar.”  Since our inception, we have also created other intellectual property, including education materials developed by our teaching staff.  Unauthorized use of any of our intellectual property may adversely affect our business and reputation.  We rely on a combination of copyright, trademark and trade secrets laws to protect our intellectual property rights.  Nevertheless, third parties may obtain and use our intellectual property without due authorization.  The practice of intellectual property rights enforcement by the PRC regulatory authorities is in its early stage of development and is subject to significant uncertainty.  We may also need to resort to litigation and other legal proceedings to enforce our intellectual property rights.  Any such action, litigation or other legal proceedings could result in substantial costs and diversion of our management’s attention and resources and could disrupt our business.  In addition, we cannot assure you that we will be able to enforce our intellectual property rights effectively or otherwise prevent others from the unauthorized use of our intellectual property.  Failure to adequately protect our intellectual property could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We operate schools and complementary education services under several brands, which may have a dilutive effect on brand recognition among our students and their parents.

We operate substantially all of our schools under the brand “Country Garden” and our English proficiency training under “élan.”  We intend to promote a unified brand “Bright Scholar” as our corporate image, which represents the entire spectrum of education services we offer.  Maintaining multiple brands may have a dilutive effect on brand recognition among our students and their parents and increase our overall marketing expenses as we need to allocate resources among different brands.  We may seek to transition our individual brands to “Bright Scholar” in the future if the market responds favorably to our new corporate image.  We cannot assure you, however, that our prospective students will embrace our new brand given its limited market exposure and recognition.  We may incur significant financial resources for, and divert considerable management attention to, the integration of our existing brands with our new corporate image, which may adversely affect our business, results of operation and financial condition.

We may be exposed to infringement claims by third parties, which, if successful, could cause us to pay significant damages.

We cannot assure you that education materials and content used in our schools and programs do not or will not infringe intellectual property rights of third parties.  As of the date of this annual report, we are not aware of any claims for intellectual property infringement.  However, we cannot guarantee that third parties will not claim that we have infringed on their proprietary rights in the future.  We may also use education materials designed in conjunction with our overseas associates and we cannot guarantee that disputes will not arise over the intellectual property rights associated with these materials.

Although we plan to defend ourselves vigorously in any such litigation or legal proceedings, we cannot assure you that we will prevail in these matters.  Participation in such litigation and legal proceedings may also cause us to incur substantial expenses and divert the time and attention of our management.  We may be required to pay damages or incur settlement expenses.  In addition, in case we are required to pay any royalties or enter into any licensing agreements with the owners of intellectual property rights, we may find that the terms are not commercially acceptable and we may lose the ability to use the related materials or content, which in turn could adversely affect our education programs.  Any similar claim against us, even without any merit, could also damage our reputation and brand image.  Any such event could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Unauthorized disclosure of personal data that we collect and retain due to a system failure or otherwise could damage our business.

We maintain records that include personal data, such as academic and medical records, address and family information.  If the security measures we use to protect personal data are ineffective due to a system failure or other

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reasons, we could be liable for claims of invasion of privacy, impersonation, unauthorized purchases or other claims.  In addition, we could be held liable for the misuse of personal data, fraudulent or otherwise, by our employees, independent consultants or third-party contractors.

We could incur significant expenses in connection with rectifying any security breaches, settling any resulting claims and providing additional protection to prevent additional breaches.  In addition, any failure to protect personal information may adversely impact our ability to attract and retain students, harm our reputation and materially adversely affect our business, prospects and results of operations.

We do not have a centralized data management system, which may adversely affect our operation.

We are in the process of setting up a centralized data management system.  We currently host and manage operating data, such as student and employee information, in each individual school that generates such data.  As it takes time and labor to compile and feed the data from our schools to our management, we cannot assure you that our management will have access to key operating data in a timely manner, and such data may be corrupted or lost during compilation or transfer, which may adversely affect our operation and growth strategies as we expand our business and integrate new businesses.

We have limited insurance coverage with respect to our business and operations.

We are exposed to various risks associated with our business and operations, and we have limited insurance coverage.  See “Item 4. Information on the Company – B. Business Overview – Insurance” for more information.  We are exposed to risks including, among other things, accidents or injuries in our schools, loss of key management and personnel, business interruption, natural disasters, terrorist attacks and social instability or any other events beyond our control.  The insurance industry in China is still at an early stage of development, and as a result insurance companies in China offer limited business related insurance products.  We do not have any business disruption insurance, product liability insurance or key-man life insurance.  Any business disruption, legal proceeding or natural disaster or other events beyond our control could result in substantial costs and diversion of our resources, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We face risks related to natural disasters, health epidemics or terrorist attacks in China.

Our business could be materially and adversely affected by natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, landslides, tornados and tsunamis, outbreaks of health epidemics such as avian influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and Influenza A virus, such as H5N1 subtype and H5N2 subtype flu viruses, as well as terrorist attacks, other acts of violence or war or social instability in the regions in which we operate or those generally affecting China.  If any of these occur, our schools and facilities may be required to temporarily or permanently close and our business operations may be suspended or terminated.  Our students, teachers and staff may also be negatively affected by such event.  In, addition, any of these could adversely affect the PRC economy and demographics of the affected region, which could cause significant declines in the number of our students in that region and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

If we grant employees share options or other equity incentives in the future, our net income could be adversely affected.

We did not grant any share options or other equity incentives to our employees or consultants under our 2017 Share Incentive Plan as of the date of this annual report but may do so in the future.  We are required to account for share-based compensation in accordance with Financial Accounting Standards Board Accounting Standards Codification Topic 718, Compensation—Stock Compensation, which generally requires a company to recognize, as an expense, the fair value of share options and other equity incentives to employees based on the fair value of equity awards on the date of the grant, with the compensation expense recognized over the period in which the recipient is required to provide service in exchange for the equity award.  If we grant options or other equity incentives in the future, we could incur significant compensation charges and our results of operations could be adversely affected.

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If we fail to implement and maintain an effective system of internal controls, we may be unable to accurately or timely report our results of operations or prevent fraud, and investor confidence and the market price of our ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

Prior to our initial public offering, we were a private company with limited accounting personnel and other resources with which to address our internal controls and procedures.  Our independent registered public accounting firm has not conducted an audit of our internal control over financial reporting.  In the course of auditing our combined financial statements for the 2016 fiscal year, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified two material weaknesses and one significant deficiency in our internal control over financial reporting as well as other control deficiencies as of August 31, 2016.  The same material weaknesses and significant deficiency were identified in connection with the audit of our combined and consolidated financial statements for the 2017 fiscal year. The material weaknesses identified relate to the lack of accounting personnel with appropriate knowledge of U.S. GAAP and SEC financial reporting requirements and the lack of accounting policies and procedures over financial reporting in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The significant deficiency identified relates to the lack of formal risk assessment process and monitoring activities. We have implemented and are continuing to implement a number of measures to address these material weaknesses and significant deficiency in our internal control over financial reporting. See “Item 15. Controls and Procedures—Internal Control over Financial Reporting.”  We cannot assure you, however, that these measures may fully address these deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting or that we may conclude that they have been fully remedied.  Our failure to correct these control deficiencies or our failure to discover and address any other control deficiencies could result in inaccuracies in our financial statements and could also impair our ability to comply with applicable financial reporting requirements and related regulatory filings on a timely basis.  As a result, our businesses, financial conditions, results of operations and prospects, as well as the trading price of our ADSs, may be materially and adversely affected.  Moreover, ineffective internal control over financial reporting significantly hinders our ability to prevent fraud.

Furthermore, it is possible that, had our independent registered public accounting firm conducted an audit of our internal control over financial reporting, such firm might have identified additional material weaknesses and deficiencies. As a public company in the United States, we are subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 requires that we include a report from management on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in our annual report on Form 20-F beginning with our annual report for the 2018 fiscal year. If we fail to remedy any material weaknesses or significant deficiencies identified, our management and our independent registered public accounting firm may conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is not effective. This could adversely impact the market price of our ADSs due to a loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our reporting processes. We will need to incur additional costs and use management and other resources in order to comply with Section 404. In addition, once we cease to be an “emerging growth company” as such term is defined in the JOBS Act, our independent registered public accounting firm must attest to and report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Our management may conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is not effective. Moreover, even if our management concludes that our internal control over financial reporting is effective, our independent registered public accounting firm, after conducting its own independent testing, may issue a report that is qualified if it is not satisfied with our internal controls or the level at which our controls are documented, designed, operated or reviewed, or if it interprets the relevant requirements differently from us.

During the course of documenting and testing our internal control procedures, in order to satisfy the requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, we may identify other weaknesses and deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting, and we may not be able to conclude on an ongoing basis that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. If we fail to achieve and maintain an effective internal control environment, we could suffer material misstatements in our financial statements and fail to meet our reporting obligations, which would likely cause investors to lose confidence in our reported financial information. This could in turn limit our access to capital markets, harm our results of operations, and lead to a decline in the trading price of our ADSs. Additionally, ineffective internal control over financial reporting could expose us to increased risk of fraud or misuse of corporate assets and subject us to potential delisting from the stock exchange on which we list, regulatory investigations and civil or criminal sanctions. We may also be required to restate our financial statements from prior periods.

 

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Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure

Our private education service business is subject to extensive regulation in China.  If the PRC government finds that the contractual arrangement that establishes our corporate structure for operating our business does not comply with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we could be subject to severe penalties.

Our private education service business is subject to extensive regulations in China.  The PRC government regulates various aspects of our business and operations, such as curriculum content, education materials, standards of school operations, student recruitment activities, tuition and other fees.  The laws and regulations applicable to the private education sector are subject to frequent change, and new laws and regulations may be adopted, some of which may have a negative effect on our business, either retroactively or prospectively.

Foreign ownership in education services is subject to significant regulations in China.  The PRC government regulates the provision of education services through strict licensing requirements.  In particular, PRC laws and regulations currently prohibit foreign ownership of companies and institutions providing compulsory education services at primary and middle school levels, and restrict foreign investment in education services businesses at the high school and kindergarten level.  We are a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands.  Our PRC subsidiary, Zhuhai Bright Scholar, is a foreign-owned enterprise and is currently ineligible to apply for and hold licenses to operate, or otherwise own equity interests in, our schools.  Due to these restrictions, we conduct our private education business in China primarily through contractual arrangements among (1) Zhuhai Bright Scholar, (2) our affiliated entities, including BGY Education Investment and the schools controlled and held by it, and (3) the ultimate shareholders of BGY Education Investment, including Ms. Meirong Yang.  We hold the required licenses and permits necessary to conduct our private education business in China through the schools controlled and held by BGY Education Investment.  We have been and expect to continue to be dependent on our affiliated entities to operate our private education business.  See “Item 4. Information on the Company — C. Organizational Structure” for more information.

If our ownership structure and contractual arrangements are found to violate any PRC laws or regulations, or if we are found to be required but failed to obtain any of the permits or approvals for our private education business, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities, including the MOE, which regulates the education industry in China, the PRC Ministry of Commerce, or MOFCOM, which regulates foreign investments in China, and the Civil Affairs Bureau, which regulates the registration of schools in China, would have broad discretion in imposing fines or punishments upon us for such violations, including:

 

revoking the business and operating licenses of our group and/or our affiliated entities;

 

discontinuing or restricting any related-party transactions between our group and our affiliated entities;

 

imposing fines and penalties, or imposing additional requirements for our operations which we, or our affiliated entities may not be able to comply with;

 

requiring us to restructure the ownership and control structure or our current schools;

 

restricting or prohibiting our use of the proceeds of our equity offerings to finance our business and operations in China, particularly the expansion of our business through strategic acquisitions; or

 

restricting the use of financing sources by us or our affiliated entities or otherwise restricting our or their ability to conduct business.

As of August 31, 2017, similar ownership structure and contractual arrangements have been used by many China-based companies listed overseas, including a number of education companies listed in the United States.  To our knowledge, none of the fines or punishments listed above has been imposed on any of these public companies, including companies in the education industry.  However, we cannot assure you that such fines or punishments will not be imposed on us or any other companies in the future.  If any of the above fines or punishments is imposed on us, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.  If any of these penalties results in our inability to direct the activities of BGY Education Investment and its schools and subsidiaries that most significantly impact their economic performance, and/or our failure to receive the economic benefits from BGY Education Investment and its schools and subsidiaries, we may not be able to consolidate BGY Education Investment and its schools and subsidiaries in our financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.  

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However, we do not believe that such actions would result in the liquidation or dissolution of our company, our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China or BGY Education Investment or its schools or subsidiaries.

The Draft Foreign Investment Law stipulates sweeping changes to the PRC foreign investment legal regime and has a significant impact on businesses in China controlled by foreign invested enterprises primarily through contractual arrangements, such as our business.

On January 19, 2015, MOFCOM published a draft of the PRC Law on Foreign Investment (Draft for Comment), or the Foreign Investment Law.  At the same time, MOFCOM published an accompanying explanatory note of the draft Foreign Investment Law, which contains important information about the draft Foreign Investment Law, including its drafting philosophy and principles, main content, plans to transition to the new legal regime and treatment of business in China controlled by foreign invested enterprises, or FIEs, primarily through contractual arrangements.  The draft Foreign Investment Law is intended to replace the current foreign investment legal regime consisting of three laws: the Sino-Foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law, the Sino-Foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law and the Wholly Foreign-Invested Enterprise Law, as well as detailed implementing rules.  The draft Foreign Investment Law proposes significant changes to the PRC foreign investment legal regime and may have a material impact on Chinese companies listed or to be listed overseas.  The proposed Foreign Investment Law is to regulate FIEs the same way as PRC domestic entities, except for those FIEs that operate in industries deemed to be either foreign “restricted” or “prohibited.”  The draft Foreign Investment Law also provides that only FIEs operating in foreign restricted or prohibited industries will require entry clearance and other approvals that are not required of PRC domestic entities.  As a result of the entry clearance and approvals, certain FIEs operating in foreign restricted or prohibited industries may not be able to continue their operations through contractual arrangements.

The specifics of the application of the draft Foreign Investment Law to variable entity structures have yet to be proposed, but it is anticipated that the draft Foreign Investment Law will regulate variable interest entities.  MOFCOM suggests both registration and approval as potential options for the regulation of variable interest entity structures, depending on whether they are “Chinese” or “foreign-controlled.”  One of the core concepts of the draft Foreign Investment Law is “de facto control,” which emphasizes substance over form in determining whether an entity is “Chinese” or “foreign-controlled.”  This determination requires considering the nature of the investors that exercise control over the entity.  “Chinese investors” are natural persons who are Chinese nationals, Chinese government agencies and any domestic enterprise controlled by Chinese nationals or government agencies.  “Foreign investors” are foreign citizens, foreign governments, international organizations and entities controlled by foreign citizens and entities.  We are majority controlled by Ms. Meirong Yang, a PRC national; therefore, it increases the likelihood that our company may be deemed “Chinese” controlled.  In its current form, the draft Foreign Investment Law will make it difficult for foreign financial investors, including private equity and venture capital firms, to obtain a controlling interest of a Chinese enterprise in a foreign restricted industry.

We rely on contractual arrangements with BGY Education Investment and its shareholders for our operations in China, which may not be as effective in providing control as direct ownership.

We have relied and expect to continue to rely on the contractual arrangements with BGY Education Investment and its shareholders, including Ms. Meirong Yang, our largest shareholder, to operate our private education business.  For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company — C. Organizational Structure.”  The revenue contribution of our affiliated entities accounted for 99.4% of our total revenues in the 2017 fiscal year.  However, these contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct equity ownership in providing us with control over BGY Education Investment and our schools.  Any failure by our affiliated entities, including BGY Education Investment and our schools controlled and held by BGY Education Investment, and the shareholders of BGY Education Investment, to perform their obligations under the contractual arrangements would have a material adverse effect on the financial position and performance of our company.  For example, the contractual arrangements are governed by PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in China.  Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC law and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with arbitral procedures as contractually stipulated.  The commercial arbitration system in China is not as developed as some other jurisdictions, such as the United States.  As a result, uncertainties in the commercial arbitration system or legal system in China could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements.  In addition, if the legal structure and the contractual arrangements were found to violate

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any existing or future PRC laws and regulations, we may be subject to fines or other legal or administrative sanctions.

If the imposition of government actions causes us to lose our right to direct the activities of our affiliated entities or our right to receive substantially all the economic benefits and residual returns from our affiliated entities 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 our affiliated entities.

Any failure by our affiliated entities and their shareholders to perform their obligations under the Contractual Arrangement may have a material adverse effect on our business.

Our affiliated entities and their shareholders may fail to take certain actions required for our business, or to procure that newly established or acquired schools enter into the contractual arrangements in a timely manner, or to follow our instructions despite their contractual obligations to do so.  If they fail to perform their obligations under their respective agreements with us, we may have to rely on legal remedies under PRC law, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief, which may not be effective.

Our largest shareholder, Ms. Meirong Yang, may have potential conflict of interest with us and not act in the best interests of our company.

Ms. Meirong Yang is the controlling shareholder and a director of BGY Education Investment.  She is also the largest shareholder of our company.  We cannot assure you that Ms. Meirong Yang will act in the best interests of our company.  In addition, Ms. Meirong Yang owes duties of loyalty and diligence to BGY Education Investment as its director pursuant to PRC law.  However, she does not owe a fiduciary duty to our company as she is not an officer or director of our company. We provide no incentives to encourage Ms. Meirong Yang to act in our best interest in her capacity as the shareholder of our affiliated entities.  We rely on Ms. Meirong Yang to comply with the terms and conditions of the contractual arrangements.  Although Ms. Meirong Yang is obligated to honor her contractual obligations with respect to our affiliated entities, she may nonetheless breach or cause our affiliated entities to breach or refuse to renew the existing contractual arrangements which allow us to effectively exercise control over our affiliated entities and to receive economic benefits from them.  If Ms. Meirong Yang does not honor her contractual obligations with respect to our affiliated entities, we may exercise our exclusive option to purchase, or cause our designee to purchase, all or part of the equity interest in BGY Education Investment to the extent permitted by PRC law.  If we cannot resolve any disputes between us and the shareholders of BGY Education Investment, we would have to rely on arbitration or legal proceedings, which could result in disruption of our business and substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.

Contractual arrangements between our affiliated entities and us may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and a finding that we or our affiliated entities owe additional taxes could materially reduce our net income and the value of your investment.

Under PRC laws and regulations, transactions between related parties should be conducted on an arm’s-length basis and may be subject to audit or challenge by the PRC tax authorities.  We could face material adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the contractual arrangements among our subsidiary in China, our affiliated entities and the shareholders of BGY Education Investment are not conducted on an arm’s-length basis and adjust the income of our affiliated entities through the transfer pricing adjustment.  A transfer pricing adjustment could, among other things, result in, for PRC tax purposes, increased tax liabilities of our affiliated entities.  In addition, the PRC tax authorities may require us to disgorge our prior tax benefits, and require us to pay additional taxes for prior tax years and impose late payment fees and other penalties on our affiliated entities for underpayment of prior taxes.  To date, similar contractual arrangements have been used by many public companies, including companies listed in the United States, and, to our knowledge, the PRC tax authorities have not imposed any material penalties on those companies.  However, we cannot assure you that such penalties will not be imposed on any other companies or us in the future.  Our net income may be reduced if the tax liabilities of our affiliated entities materially increase or if they are found to be subject to additional tax obligations, late payment fees or other penalties.

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If any of our affiliated entities becomes the subject of a bankruptcy or liquidation proceeding, we may lose the ability to use and enjoy assets held by such entity, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We currently conduct our operations in China through contractual arrangements with our affiliated entities and the shareholders of BGY Education Investment.  As part of these arrangements, substantially all of our education-related assets that are critical to the operation of our business are held by our affiliated entities.  If any of these entities goes bankrupt and all or part of their assets become subject to liens or rights of third-party creditors, we may be unable to continue some or all of our business activities, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.  If any of our affiliated entities undergoes a voluntary or involuntary liquidation proceeding, its equity owner or unrelated third-party creditors may claim rights relating to some or all of these assets, which would hinder our ability to operate our business and could materially and adversely affect our business, our ability to generate revenue and the market price of our ADSs.

If the custodians or authorized users of our controlling non-tangible assets, including chops and seals, fail to fulfill their responsibilities, or misappropriate or misuse these assets, our business and operations could be materially and adversely affected.

Under PRC law, legal documents for corporate transactions, including agreements and contracts that our business relies on, are executed using the chop or seal of the signing entity or with the signature of a legal representative whose designation is registered and filed with the relevant PRC industry and commerce authorities.

In order to maintain the physical security of our chops, we generally have them stored in secured locations accessible only to authorized employees.  Although we monitor such authorized employees, the procedures may not be sufficient to prevent all instances of abuse or negligence.  There is a risk that our employees could abuse their authority, for example, by entering into a contract not approved by us or seeking to gain control of one of our subsidiaries or affiliated entities.  If any employee obtains, misuses or misappropriates our chops and seals or other controlling intangible assets for whatever reason, we could experience disruption to our normal business operations.  We may have to take corporate or legal action, which could involve significant time and resources to resolve and divert management from our operations.

PRC regulation of loans and direct investment by offshore holding companies to PRC entities may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds of our initial public offering and other financing activities to make loans or additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries and affiliated entities, which could harm our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

In utilizing the proceeds of our initial public offerings and other financing activities as an offshore holding company of our PRC subsidiaries and affiliated entities, we may (1) make loans to our PRC subsidiaries and affiliated entities, (2) make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, (3) establish new PRC subsidiaries and make capital contributions to these new PRC subsidiaries, and (4) acquire offshore entities with business operations in China in an offshore transaction.  However, most of these uses are subject to PRC regulations and approvals.  For example:

 

loans by us to our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, which are foreign-invested enterprises, cannot exceed statutory limits, which is the difference between the total investment amount and the registered capital of our wholly-owned subsidiaries, and must be registered with the State Administration of Foreign Exchange of the PRC, or SAFE, or its local counterparts;

 

loans by us to our affiliated entities, which are domestic PRC entities, over a certain threshold must be approved by the relevant government authorities and must also be registered with SAFE or its local counterparts; and

 

capital contributions to our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China must be filed with MOFCOM or its local counterparts and must also be registered with the local bank authorized by SAFE.

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As a result of the requirements and limitations outlined above, the amount of funds that we can directly contribute to our operations in China through Zhuhai Bright Scholar, a foreign-invested enterprise indirectly held by us, is limited.

In addition, on March 30, 2015, SAFE promulgated Circular 19, a notice regulating the conversion by a foreign-invested company of its capital contribution in foreign currency into Renminbi.  The notice requires that the capital of a foreign-invested company settled in Renminbi converted from foreign currencies shall be used only for purposes within the business scope as approved by the applicable government authorities and may not be used for equity investments in China unless such activity is set forth in the business scope or is otherwise permissible under PRC laws or regulations.  In addition, SAFE strengthened its oversight of the flow and use of such capital of a foreign-invested company settled in Renminbi converted from foreign currencies.  The use of such Renminbi capital may not be changed without SAFE’s approval, and may not in any case be used to repay Renminbi loans if the proceeds of such loans have not otherwise been used.  Violations of Circular 19 will result in severe penalties including hefty fines.  As a result, Circular 19 may significantly limit our ability to transfer the net proceeds from our initial public offerings and other financing activities to our operations in China through our PRC subsidiaries, which may adversely affect our ability to expand our business.

On February 13, 2015, SAFE promulgated Circular 13, a notice to further simplify and improve the policies of foreign exchange administration applicable to direct investment, which was effective on June 1, 2015.  Pursuant to Circular 13, the registration of existing equity is required in lieu of annual foreign exchange inspection of direct investment.  Circular 13 also grants the authority to banks to examine and process foreign exchange registration with respect to both domestic and overseas direct investments.

We expect that PRC laws and regulations may continue to limit our use of proceeds from our initial public offerings and other financing activities or from other financing sources.  We cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain these government registrations or approvals on a timely basis, if at all, with respect to future loans or capital contributions by us to our entities in China.  If we fail to receive such registrations or approvals, our ability to use the proceeds of our initial public offerings and other financing activities and to capitalize our PRC operations may be hindered, which could adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

PRC 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 education services market, which could harm our business.

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

The PRC economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects.  Although the PRC economy has been transitioning from a planned economy to a more market-oriented economy since the late 1970s, the PRC government continues to play a significant role in regulating the industry.  The PRC government continues to exercise significant control over China’s economic growth through allocating resources, controlling the incurrence and payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies.  Uncertainties or changes in any of these policies, laws and regulations, especially those affecting the private education industry in China, could adversely affect the economy in China or the market for education services, which could harm our business.  For example, under the current Law on the Promotion of Private Education and its implementing rules, a private school should elect to be either a school that does not require “reasonable returns” or a school that requires “reasonable returns.”  A private school must consider factors such as the school’s tuition, ratio of the funds used for education-related activities to the course fees collected, admission standards and educational quality when determining the percentage of the school’s net income that would be distributed to the investors as reasonable returns.  However, the current PRC laws and regulations provide no clear guideline for determining “reasonable returns.”  In addition, the current PRC laws and regulations do not set forth any different requirements for the management and operations of private schools that elect to require reasonable returns as compared to those that do not.

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On September 1, 2017, the amended Law on the Promotion of Private Education came into effect, under which the concept “reasonable returns” is no longer applicable and a private school should elect to be either a for-profit school or a non-profit school. Sponsors of for-profit schools may obtain operating profits, while sponsors of non-profit schools may not. As the implementation rules for the amended Law on the Promotion of Private Education are not yet available as of the date of the annual report, it remains uncertain how the relevant government authorities will implement the new laws and how long the grace period will be.

While the PRC economy has experienced significant growth in the past two to three decades, growth has been uneven, both geographically and among various sectors of the economy.  Demand for our education services depends, in large part, on economic conditions in China and especially the regions where we operate, including Guangdong province.  Any significant slowdown in China’s economic growth may adversely affect the disposable income of the families of prospective students and cause prospective students to delay or cancel their plans to enroll in our schools, which in turn could reduce our revenues.  In addition, any sudden changes to China’s political system or the occurrence of social unrest could also have a material adverse effect on our business, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.

Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could have a material adverse effect on us.

The PRC legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes.  Unlike the common law system, prior court decisions in a civil law system may be cited as reference but have limited precedential value.  Since 1979, newly introduced PRC laws and regulations have significantly enhanced the protections of interests related to foreign investments in China.  However, since these laws and regulations are relatively new and the PRC legal system continues to evolve rapidly, the interpretations of such laws and regulations may not always be consistent, and enforcement of these laws and regulations involves significant uncertainties, any of which could limit the available legal protections.

In addition, the PRC administrative and judicial authorities have significant discretion in interpreting, implementing or enforcing statutory rules and contractual terms, and it may be more difficult to predict the outcome of administrative and judicial proceedings and the level of legal protection we may enjoy in the PRC than under some more developed legal systems.  These uncertainties may affect our decisions on the policies and actions to be taken to comply with PRC laws and regulations, and may affect our ability to enforce our contractual or tort rights.  In addition, the regulatory uncertainties may be exploited through unmerited legal actions or threats in an attempt to extract payments or benefits from us.  Such uncertainties may therefore increase our operating expenses and costs, and materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

Any increase in applicable enterprise income tax rates or the discontinuation of any preferential tax treatments currently available to us may result in significantly higher tax burden or the disgorgement of any benefits we enjoyed in the past, which could in turn materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Under the current Law on the Promotion of Private Education and its implementing rules, private schools, whether requiring reasonable returns or not, may enjoy preferential tax treatment.  The implementing rules provide that private schools not requiring reasonable returns are eligible to enjoy the same preferential tax treatment as public schools and that the relevant authorities under the State Council may introduce preferential tax treatments and related policies applicable to private schools requiring reasonable returns.  To date, however, no separate policies, regulations or rules have been introduced by the authorities in this regard.

Our schools located at Changsha have historically elected not to require reasonable returns, and have enjoyed tax preference policies for enterprise income tax and business tax.  Preferential tax treatments granted to us by local government authorities are subject to review and may be adjusted or revoked at any time in the future.  The discontinuation of any preferential tax treatments currently available to us will cause our effective tax rate to increase, which will increase our income tax expenses and in turn decrease our net income.  In addition, we may not be granted preferential tax treatment by the local governments of additional regions into which we may expand.  Even though the amended Law on the Promotion of Private Education became effective on September 1, 2017, it remains to be seen how the new law will be interpreted and implemented and impact our eligibility for preferential

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tax treatment, especially when we plan to change the election of certain schools to for-profit schools.  Any negative development could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Under the PRC enterprise income tax law, we may be classified as a PRC “resident enterprise,” which could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non -PRC shareholders .

The PRC enterprise income tax law and its implementing rules provide that enterprises established outside of China whose “de facto management bodies” are located in China are considered “resident enterprises” under PRC tax laws.  The implementing rules define the term “de facto management bodies” as a management body which substantially manages, or has control over the business, personnel, finance and assets of an enterprise.  On April 22, 2009, the State Administration of Taxation issued Circular 82, which provides that a foreign enterprise controlled by a PRC company or a group of PRC companies will be classified as a “resident enterprise” with its “de facto management body” located within China if all of the following requirements are satisfied: (1) the senior management and core management departments in charge of its daily operations function are mainly in China; (2) its financial and human resources decisions are subject to determination or approval by persons or bodies in China; (3) its major assets, accounting books, company seals, and minutes and files of its board and shareholders’ meetings are located or kept in China; and (4) at least half of the enterprise’s directors with voting right or senior management reside in China.  The State Administration of Taxation issued a bulletin on August 3, 2011 to provide more guidance on the implementation of Circular 82.  The bulletin clarifies certain matters relating to resident status determination, post-determination administration and competent tax authorities.  Although both the circular and the bulletin only apply to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises and not those by PRC individuals, the determination criteria set forth in the circular and administration clarification made in the bulletin may reflect the general position of the State Administration of Taxation on how the “de facto management body” test should be applied in determining the tax resident status of offshore enterprises and the administration measures should be implemented, regardless of whether they are controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC individuals.

In addition, the State Administration of Taxation issued a bulletin on January 29, 2014 to provide more guidance on the implementation of Circular 82.  This bulletin further provides that, among other things, an entity that is classified as a “resident enterprise” in accordance with the circular shall file the application for classifying its status of residential enterprise with the local tax authorities where its main domestic investors are registered.  From the year in which the entity is determined as a “resident enterprise,” any dividend, profit and other equity investment gain shall be taxed in accordance with the enterprise income tax law and its implementing rules.

As the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to the determination by the PRC tax authorities, if we are deemed as a PRC “resident enterprise,” we will be subject to PRC enterprise income tax on our worldwide income at a uniform tax rate of 25.0%, although dividends distributed to us from our existing PRC subsidiaries and any other PRC subsidiaries which we may establish from time to time could be exempt from the PRC dividend withholding tax due to our PRC “resident recipient” status.  This could have a material adverse effect on our overall effective tax rate, our income tax expenses and our net income.  Furthermore, dividends, if any, paid to our shareholders and ADS holders may be decreased as a result of the decrease in distributable profits.  In addition, if we were to be considered a PRC “resident enterprise,” dividends we pay with respect to our ADSs or ordinary shares and the gains realized from the transfer of our ADSs or ordinary shares may be considered income derived from sources within China and be subject to PRC withholding tax, which could have a material adverse effect on the value of your investment in us and the price of our ADSs.

There are significant uncertainties under the PRC enterprise income tax law relating to the withholding tax liabilities of our PRC subsidiaries, and dividends payable by our PRC subsidiaries to our offshore subsidiaries may not qualify to enjoy certain treaty benefits.

Under the PRC enterprise income tax and its implementation rules, the profits of a foreign-invested enterprise generated through operations, which are distributed to its immediate holding company outside China, will be subject to a withholding tax rate of 10.0%.  Pursuant to a special arrangement between Hong Kong and China, such rate may be reduced to 5.0% if a Hong Kong resident enterprise owns more than 25.0% of the equity interest in the PRC company.  Our current PRC subsidiaries are wholly owned by our Hong Kong subsidiary.  Moreover, under the Notice of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues regarding the Administration of the Dividend Provision in Tax Treaties promulgated on February 20, 2009, the taxpayer needs to satisfy certain conditions to enjoy the benefits

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under a tax treaty.  These conditions include: (1) the taxpayer must be the beneficial owner of the relevant dividends, and (2) the corporate shareholder to receive dividends from the PRC subsidiaries must have continuously met the direct ownership thresholds during the 12 consecutive months preceding the receipt of the dividends.  Further, the State Administration of Taxation promulgated the Notice on How to Understand and Recognize the “Beneficial Owner” in Tax Treaties on October 27, 2009, which limits the “beneficial owner” to individuals, enterprises or other organizations normally engaged in substantive operations, and sets forth certain detailed factors in determining the “beneficial owner” status.

Entitlement to a lower tax rate on dividends according to tax treaties or arrangements between the PRC central government and governments of other countries or regions is subject to inspection or approval of the relevant tax authorities.  As a result, we cannot assure you that we will be entitled to any preferential withholding tax rate under tax treaties for dividends received from our PRC subsidiaries.

We face uncertainties with respect to indirect transfers of the equity interests in PRC resident enterprises by their non-PRC holding companies.

The State Administration of Taxation issued Bulletin on Several Issues concerning the Enterprise Income Tax on the Indirect Transfers of Properties by Non-Resident Enterprises, or Bulletin 7, on February 3, 2015.  Under Bulletin 7, an “indirect transfer” of assets, including equity interests in a PRC resident enterprise, by non-PRC resident enterprises may be re-characterized and treated as a direct transfer of PRC taxable assets, if such arrangement does not have a reasonable commercial purpose and was established for the purpose of avoiding payment of PRC enterprise income tax.  As a result, gains derived from such indirect transfer may be subject to PRC enterprise income tax.  According to Bulletin 7, “PRC taxable assets” include assets attributed to an establishment in China, immoveable properties in China, and equity investments in PRC resident enterprises.  In respect of an indirect offshore transfer of assets of a PRC establishment, the relevant gain is to be regarded as effectively connected with the PRC establishment and therefore included in its enterprise income tax filing, and would consequently be subject to PRC enterprise income tax at a rate of 25.0%.  Where the underlying transfer relates to the immoveable properties in China or to equity investments in a PRC resident enterprise, which is not effectively connected to a PRC establishment of a non-resident enterprise, a PRC enterprise income tax at 10.0% would apply, subject to available preferential tax treatment under applicable tax treaties or similar arrangements, and the party who is obligated to make the transfer payments has the withholding obligation.  There is uncertainty as to the implementation details of Bulletin 7.  If Bulletin 7 was determined by the tax authorities to be applicable to some of our transactions involving PRC taxable assets, our offshore subsidiaries conducting the relevant transactions might be required to spend valuable resources to comply with Bulletin 7 or to establish that the relevant transactions should not be taxed under Bulletin 7.

On October 17, 2017, the State Administration of Taxation issued the Bulletin on Issues Concerning the Source-based Withholding of Enterprise Income Tax on Non-resident Enterprises, or Bulletin 37, which became effective on December 1, 2017. According to Bulletin 37, non-resident enterprises who voluntarily declare their enterprise income tax shall at the same time confirm when they would make payments for the declared amount of tax. If the withholding agent fails to or is unable to withhold the income tax in accordance with the law, the non-resident enterprise will be deemed to have cleared its tax payment on time if it voluntarily declares and pays the tax before or within the time limit the tax authority orders it to do so. If the taxable income before withholding on a source-basis falls within the form of dividends or any equity investment gains, the date of triggering obligations to settle such tax payments is the date of actual payment of the dividends or other equity investment gains. In addition,  on December 1, 2017, Bulletin 37 repealed the Notice of the State Administration of Taxation on Strengthening the Administration over Enterprise Income Tax on Income of Non-resident Enterprises from Equity Transfer and Notice of the State Administration of Taxation on Issuing the Interim Measures for the Administration of Source-based Withholding of the Enterprise Income Tax of Non-resident Enterprises issued by the State Administration of Taxation on December 10, 2009 and January 1, 2009, respectively.

As a result, we and our non-PRC shareholders may have the risk of being taxed for the disposition of our ordinary shares or ADS and may be required to spend valuable resources to comply with Bulletin 7 and Bulletin 37 or to establish that we or our non-PRC shareholders should not be taxed as an indirect transfer, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations or the investment by non-PRC investors in us.

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Restrictions on currency exchange may limit our ability to receive and use our revenue effectively.

Substantially all of our revenue is denominated in Renminbi.  As a result, restrictions on currency exchange may limit our ability to use revenue generated in Renminbi to fund any business activities we may have outside China in the future or to make dividend payments to our shareholders and ADS holders in U.S. dollars.  Under current PRC laws and regulations, Renminbi is freely convertible for current account items, such as trade and service-related foreign exchange transactions and dividend distributions.  However, Renminbi is not freely convertible for direct investment or loans or investments in securities outside China, unless such use is approved by SAFE.  For example, foreign exchange transactions under our subsidiary’s capital account, including principal payments in respect of foreign currency-denominated obligations, remain subject to significant foreign exchange controls and the approval requirement of SAFE.  These limitations could affect our ability to obtain foreign exchange for capital expenditures.

Our PRC subsidiaries are permitted to declare dividends to our offshore subsidiary holding their equity interest, convert the dividends into a foreign currency and remit to its shareholder outside China.  In addition, in the event that our PRC subsidiaries liquidate, proceeds from the liquidation may be converted into foreign currency and distributed outside China to our overseas subsidiary holding its equity interest.  Furthermore, in the event that BGY Education Investment liquidates, our PRC subsidiary, Zhuhai Bright Scholar, may, pursuant to the power of attorneys respectively executed by Ms. Meirong Yang and Mr. Wenjie Yang, require BGY Education Investment to pay and remit the proceeds from such liquidation to Zhuhai Bright Scholar.  Zhuhai Bright Scholar then may distribute such proceeds to us after converting them into foreign currency and remit them outside China in the form of dividends or other distributions.  Once remitted outside China, dividends, distributions or other proceeds from liquidation paid to us will not be subject to restrictions under PRC regulations on its further transfer or use.

Other than the above distributions by and through our PRC subsidiaries which are permitted to be made without the necessity to obtain further approvals, any conversion of the Renminbi-denominated revenue generated by our affiliated entities for direct investment, loan or investment in securities outside China will be subject to the limitations discussed above.  To the extent we need to convert and use any Renminbi-denominated revenue generated by our affiliated entities not paid to our PRC subsidiaries and revenue generated by our PRC subsidiaries not declared and paid as dividends, the limitations discussed above will restrict the convertibility of, and our ability to directly receive and use such revenue.  As a result, our business and financial condition may be adversely affected.  In addition, we cannot assure you that the PRC regulatory authorities will not impose more stringent restrictions on the convertibility of Renminbi in the future, especially with respect to foreign exchange transactions.

Our subsidiaries and affiliated entities in China are subject to restrictions on making dividends and other payments to us.

We are a holding company and rely principally on dividends paid by our subsidiaries in China for our cash needs, including paying dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders to the extent we choose to do so, servicing any debt we may incur and paying our operating expenses.  The income for our PRC subsidiaries, especially Zhuhai Bright Scholar, in turn depends on the service fees paid by our affiliated entities.  Current PRC regulations permit our subsidiaries in China to pay dividends to us only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with Chinese accounting standards and regulations.  Under the applicable requirements of PRC law, our PRC subsidiaries may only distribute dividends after they have made allowances to fund certain statutory reserves.  These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends.  In addition, at the end of each fiscal year, each of our schools that are private schools in China is required to allocate a certain amount to its development fund for the construction or maintenance of the school properties or purchase or upgrade of school facilities.  In particular, our schools that require reasonable returns must allocate no less than 25.0% of their annual net income, and our schools that do not require reasonable returns must allocate no less than 25.0% of their annual increase in the net assets of the school for such purposes.  Furthermore, if our subsidiaries or our affiliated entities in China incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other payments to us.  Any such restrictions may materially affect such entities’ ability to make dividends or make payments, in service fees or otherwise, to us, which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

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Fluctuations in the value of the Renminbi may have a material adverse effect on your investment.

The change in value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currencies is affected by, various factors, such as changes in China’s political and economic conditions.  On July 21, 2005, the PRC government changed its decade-old policy of pegging the value of the Renminbi to the U.S. dollar.  Under such policy, the Renminbi was permitted to fluctuate within a narrow and managed band against a basket of certain foreign currencies.  Later on, the People’s Bank of China has decided to further implement the reform of the RMB exchange regime and to enhance the flexibility of RMB exchange rates.  Such changes in policy have resulted in a significant appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar since 2005.  There remains significant international pressure on the PRC government to adopt a more flexible currency policy, which could result in a further and more significant adjustment of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar.

Any significant appreciation or revaluation of the Renminbi may have a material adverse effect on the value of, and any dividends payable on, our ADSs in foreign currency terms.  More specifically, if we decide to convert our Renminbi into U.S. dollars, appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Renminbi would have a negative effect on the U.S. dollar amount available to us.  To the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars we receive from our initial public offering into Renminbi for our operations, appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the Renminbi amount we would receive from the conversion.  In addition, appreciation or depreciation in the exchange rate of the Renminbi to the U.S. dollar could materially and adversely affect the price of our ADSs in U.S. dollars without giving effect to any underlying change in our business or results of operations.

Certain PRC regulations, including the M&A Rules and national security regulations, may require a complicated review and approval process which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions in China.

The M&A Rules established additional procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities in China by foreign investors more time-consuming and complex.  For example, MOFCOM must be notified in the event a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise.  In addition, certain acquisitions of domestic companies by offshore companies that are related to or affiliated with the same entities or individuals of the domestic companies, are subject to approval by MOFCOM.  In addition, the Implementing Rules Concerning Security Review on Mergers and Acquisitions by Foreign Investors of Domestic Enterprises, issued by MOFCOM in August 2011, require that mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors in “any industry with national security concerns” be subject to national security review by MOFCOM.  In addition, any activities attempting to circumvent such review process, including structuring the transaction through a proxy or contractual control arrangement, are strictly prohibited.

There is significant uncertainty regarding the interpretation and implementation of these regulations relating to merger and acquisition activities in China.  In addition, complying with these requirements could be time-consuming, and the required notification, review or approval process may materially delay or affect our ability to complete merger and acquisition transactions in China.  As a result, our ability to seek growth through acquisitions may be materially and adversely affected.

In addition, if MOFCOM determines that we should have obtained its approval for our entry into contractual arrangements with our affiliated entities and the shareholders of BGY Education Investment, we may be required to file for remedial approvals.  We cannot assure you that we would be able to obtain such approval from MOFCOM.  We may also be subject to administrative fines or penalties by MOFCOM that may require us to limit our business operations in China, delay or restrict the conversion and remittance of our funds in foreign currencies into China or take other actions that could have material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

A failure by the beneficial owners of our shares who are PRC residents to comply with certain PRC foreign exchange regulations could restrict our ability to distribute profits, restrict our overseas and cross-border investment activities and subject us to liability under PRC law.

SAFE has promulgated regulations, including the Notice on Relevant Issues Relating to Foreign Exchange Control on Domestic Residents’ Investment and Financing and Round-Trip Investment through Special Purpose

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Vehicles, or Circular 37, effective on July 4, 2014, and its appendices, that require PRC residents, including PRC institutions and individuals, to register with local branches of SAFE in connection with their direct establishment or indirect control of an offshore entity, for the purpose of overseas investment and financing, with such PRC residents’ legally owned assets or equity interests in domestic enterprises or offshore assets or interests, referred to in Circular 37 as a “special purpose vehicle.”  The term “control” under Circular 37 is broadly defined as the operation rights, beneficiary rights or decision-making rights acquired by the PRC residents in the offshore special purpose vehicles by such means as acquisition, trust, proxy, voting rights, repurchase, convertible bonds or other arrangements.  Circular 37 further requires amendment to the registration in the event of any significant changes with respect to the special purpose vehicle, such as increase or decrease of capital contributed by PRC individuals, share transfer or exchange, merger, division or other material event.  In the event that a PRC shareholder holding interests in a special purpose vehicle fails to fulfill the required SAFE registration, the PRC subsidiaries of that special purpose vehicle may be prohibited from making profit distributions to the offshore parent and from carrying out subsequent cross-border foreign exchange activities, and the special purpose vehicle may be restricted in its ability to contribute additional capital into its PRC subsidiaries.  Further, failure to comply with the various SAFE registration requirements described above could result in liability under PRC law for foreign exchange evasion.

These regulations apply to our direct and indirect shareholders who are PRC residents and may apply to any offshore acquisitions or share transfers that we make in the future if our shares are issued to PRC residents.  However, in practice, different local SAFE branches may have different views and procedures on the application and implementation of SAFE regulations, and since Circular 37 was recently issued, there remains uncertainty with respect to its implementation.  As of the date of this annual report, all PRC residents known to us that currently hold direct or indirect interests in our company, including Ms. Meirong Yang, have completed the necessary registrations with SAFE as required by Circular 37.  However, we cannot assure you that these individuals or any other direct or indirect shareholders or beneficial owners of our company who are PRC residents will be able to successfully complete the registration or update the registration of their direct and indirect equity interest as required in the future.  If they fail to make or update the registration, our PRC subsidiaries could be subject to fines and legal penalties, and SAFE could restrict our cross-border investment activities and our foreign exchange activities, including restricting our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to distribute dividends to, or obtain loans denominated in foreign currencies from, our company, or prevent us from contributing additional capital into our PRC subsidiaries.  As a result, our business operations and our ability to make distributions to you could be materially and adversely affected.

We face regulatory uncertainties in China that could restrict our ability to grant share incentive awards to our employees or consultants who are PRC citizens.

Pursuant to the Notices on Issues concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in a Stock Incentive Plan of an Overseas Publicly-Listed Company issued by SAFE on February 15, 2012, or Circular 7, a qualified PRC agent (which could be the PRC subsidiary of the overseas-listed company) is required to file, on behalf of “domestic individuals” (both PRC residents and non-PRC residents who reside in China for a continuous period of not less than one year, excluding the foreign diplomatic personnel and representatives of international organizations) who are granted shares or share options by the overseas-listed company according to its share incentive plan, an application with SAFE to conduct SAFE registration with respect to such share incentive plan, and obtain approval for an annual allowance with respect to the purchase of foreign exchange in connection with the share purchase or share option exercise.  Such PRC individuals’ foreign exchange income received from the sale of shares and dividends distributed by the overseas listed company and any other income shall be fully remitted into a collective foreign currency account in China, which is opened and managed by the PRC domestic agent before distribution to such individuals.  In addition, such domestic individuals must also retain an overseas entrusted institution to handle matters in connection with their exercise of share options and their purchase and sale of shares.  The PRC domestic agent also needs to update registration with SAFE within three months after the overseas-listed company materially changes its share incentive plan or make any new share incentive plans.

We did not grant any share options to our employees or consultants under our 2017 Share Incentive Plan as of the date of this annual report, but may do so in the future. When we do, from time to time, we need to apply for or update our registration with SAFE or its local branches on behalf of our employees or consultants who receive options or other equity-based incentive grants under our share incentive plan or material changes in our share incentive plan.  However, we may not always be able to make applications or update our registration on behalf of

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our employees or consultants who hold any type of share incentive awards in compliance with Circular 7, nor can we ensure you that such applications or update of registration will be successful.  If we or the participants of our share incentive plan who are PRC citizens fail to comply with Circular 7, we and/or such participants of our share incentive plan may be subject to fines and legal sanctions, there may be additional restrictions on the ability of such participants to exercise their share options or remit proceeds gained from sale of their shares into China, and we may be prevented from further granting share incentive awards under our share incentive plan to our employees or consultants who are PRC citizens.

Labor contract laws in China may adversely affect our results of operations.

The current PRC labor contract law imposes greater liabilities on employers and significantly affects the cost of an employer’s decision to reduce its workforce.  Further, it requires certain terminations be based on the mandatory retirement age.  In the event we decide to significantly change or decrease our workforce, the Labor Contract Law could adversely affect our ability to enact such changes in a manner that is most advantageous to our business or in a timely and cost-effective manner, thus materially and adversely affecting our financial condition and results of operations.

Increases in labor costs and employee benefits in China may adversely affect our business and our profitability.

The PRC economy has been experiencing significant growth, leading to inflation and increased labor costs.  China’s overall economy and the average wage in China are expected to continue to grow.  In addition, we are required by PRC laws and regulations to pay various statutory employee benefits, including pensions, housing fund, medical insurance, work-related injury insurance, unemployment insurance and maternity insurance to designated government agencies for the benefit of our employees.  It is subject to the determination of the relevant government agencies whether an employer has made adequate payments of the requisite statutory employee benefits, and employers that fail to make adequate payments may be subject to late payment fees, fines and/or other penalties.  Future increases in China’s inflation and material increases in labor costs and employee benefits may materially and adversely affect our profitability and results of operations unless we are able pass on these costs to our students by increasing tuition.

The audit report included in this annual report is prepared by an auditor who is not inspected by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board and, as such, you are deprived of the benefits of such inspection.

Our independent registered public accounting firm issues audit report included in this annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC.  As auditors of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States), or 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.  Because our auditors are located in China, a jurisdiction where the PCAOB is currently unable to conduct inspections without the approval of the Chinese authorities, our auditors are not currently inspected by the PCAOB.

Inspections of other firms that the PCAOB has conducted outside 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 our auditor’s audits and its quality control procedures.  As a result, investors may be deprived of the benefits of PCAOB inspections.

The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our auditor’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors 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.

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If additional remedial measures are imposed on the big four PRC-based accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm, in administrative proceedings brought by the SEC alleging the firms’ failure to meet specific criteria set by the SEC, with respect to requests for the production of documents, we could be unable to timely file future financial statements in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.

Beginning in 2011, the Chinese affiliates of the “big four” accounting firms (including our independent registered public accounting firm) were affected by a conflict between the U.S. and Chinese law.  Specifically, for certain U.S.-listed companies operating and audited in China, the SEC and the PCAOB sought to obtain access to the audit work papers and related documents of the Chinese affiliates of the “big four” accounting firms.  The accounting firms were, however, advised and directed that, under Chinese law, they could not respond directly to the requests of the SEC and the PCAOB and that such requests, and similar requests by foreign regulators for access to such papers in China, had to be channeled through the CSRC.

In late 2012, this impasse led the SEC to commence administrative proceedings under Rule 102(e) of its Rules of Practice and also under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 against the “big four” accounting firms (including our independent registered public accounting firm).  A first instance trial of these proceedings in July 2013 in the SEC’s internal administrative court resulted in an adverse judgment against the firms.  The administrative law judge proposed penalties on the firms, including a temporary suspension of their right to practice before the SEC.  Implementation of the latter penalty was postponed pending review by the SEC Commissioners.  On February 6, 2015, before a review by the Commissioner had taken place, the firms reached a settlement with the SEC.  Under the settlement, the SEC accepts that future requests by the SEC for the production of documents will normally be made to the CSRC.  The firms will receive matching Section 106 requests, and are required to abide by a detailed set of procedures with respect to such requests, which in substance require them to facilitate production via the CSRC.  If the firms fail to follow these procedures and meet certain other specified criteria, the SEC retains the authority to impose a variety of additional remedial measures, including, as appropriate, an automatic six-month bar on a firm’s ability to perform certain audit work, commencement of new proceedings against a firm or, in extreme cases, the resumption of the current administrative proceeding against all four firms.

In the event that the SEC restarts administrative proceedings, depending upon the final outcome, listed companies in the U.S. with major PRC operations may find it difficult or impossible to retain auditors in respect of their operations in China, which could result in their financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act, including possible delisting.  Moreover, any negative news about any such future proceedings against the firms may cause investor uncertainty regarding China-based, U.S.-listed companies, including our company, and the market price of their shares may be adversely affected.

If our independent registered public accounting firm was denied, even temporarily, the ability to practice before the SEC and we were unable to timely find another registered public accounting firm to audit and issue an opinion on our financial statements, our financial statements could be determined not to be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.  Such a determination could ultimately lead to the delisting of our shares from the New York Stock Exchange or deregistration from the SEC, or both, which would substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of our shares in the United States.

Risks Related to Our Ordinary Shares and ADSs

We are an emerging growth company within the meaning of the Securities Act and may take advantage of certain reduced reporting requirements.

We are an “emerging growth company,” as defined in the JOBS Act, and we may take advantage of certain exemptions from requirements applicable to other public companies that are not emerging growth companies including, most significantly, not being required to comply with the auditor attestation requirements of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 for so long as we are an emerging growth company until the fifth anniversary from the date of our initial listing.  As a result, if we elect not to comply with such auditor attestation requirements, our investors may not have access to certain information they may deem important.

The JOBS Act also provides that an emerging growth company does not need to comply with any new or revised financial accounting standards until such date that a private company is otherwise required to comply with

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such new or revised accounting standards.  However, we have elected to “opt out” of this provision and, as a result, we will comply with new or revised accounting standards as required when they are adopted for public companies.  This decision to opt out of the extended transition period under the JOBS Act is irrevocable.

The trading price of our ADSs is likely to be volatile, which could result in substantial losses to investors.

The trading price of our ADSs is likely to be volatile and could fluctuate widely due to factors beyond our control.  This may happen because of broad market and industry factors, akin to the performance and fluctuation of the market prices of other companies with business operations located mainly in China that have listed their securities in the United States.  A number of Chinese companies have listed or are in the process of listing their securities on U.S. stock markets.  The securities of some of these companies have experienced significant volatility, including price declines in connection with their initial public offerings.  The trading performances of these Chinese companies’ securities after their offerings may affect the perception and attitudes of investors toward Chinese companies listed in the United States in general and consequently may impact the trading performance 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 due to a number of factors, including the following:

 

regulatory developments affecting us or our industry, and customers of our education services;

 

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our quarterly results of operations and changes or revisions of our expected results;

 

changes in the market condition, market potential and competition in education services;

 

announcements by us or our competitors of new education services, expansions, investments, acquisitions, strategic partnerships or joint ventures;

 

fluctuations in global and Chinese economies;

 

changes in financial estimates by securities analysts;

 

adverse publicity about us;

 

additions or departures of our key personnel and senior management;

 

release of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding equity securities or sales of additional equity securities; and

 

potential litigation or regulatory investigations.

Any of these factors may result in large and sudden changes in the volume and price at which our ADSs will trade.

In the past, shareholders of public companies have often brought securities class action suits against those companies following periods of instability in the market price of their securities.  If we were involved in a class action suit, it could divert a significant amount of our management’s attention and other resources from our business and operations and require us to incur significant expenses to defend the suit, which could harm our results of operations.  Any such class action suit, whether or not successful, could harm our reputation and restrict our ability to raise capital in the future.  In addition, if a claim is successfully made against us, we may be required to pay significant damages, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

Substantial future sales or perceived potential sales of our ADSs in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline.

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.  All of our outstanding ADSs are freely transferable without restriction or additional registration under the Securities Act and are available for sale upon the expiration of the lock-up period ending 180 days after the closing of our initial public offering, subject to certain restrictions.  Any or

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all of these shares may be released prior to the expiration of the lock-up period at the discretion of the underwriter.  Sales of these shares into the market could cause the market price of our ADSs to decline.

Our dual-class share structure with different voting rights will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any change of control transactions that holders of our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

Ms. Meirong Yang, Ms. Huiyan Yang, and Mr. Junli He beneficially own approximately 71.97%, 19.83% and 7.35% of the aggregate voting power of our company as of the date of this annual report.  See “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management And Employees —E. Share Ownership.”  As a result of the dual-class share structure and the concentration of ownership, Ms. Meirong Yang, Ms. Huiyan Yang, and Mr. Junli He have considerable influence over matters such as decisions regarding mergers, consolidations, sale of all or substantially all of our assets, election of directors and other significant corporate actions.  They may take actions that are not in the best interest of us or our other shareholders.  This concentration of ownership may discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, which could have the effect of depriving our other shareholders of the opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of our company and may reduce the price of our ADSs.  This concentrated control will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any potential merger, takeover or other change of control transactions that holders of Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market price for our ADSs and trading volume could decline.

The trading market for our ADSs will depend in part on the research and reports that securities or industry analysts publish about us or our business.  If research analysts do not establish and maintain adequate research coverage or if one or more of the analysts who covers us downgrades our ADSs or publishes inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market price for our ADSs would likely decline.  If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to publish reports on us regularly, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which, in turn, could cause the market price or trading volume for our ADSs to decline.

Because we do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future, you must rely on price appreciation of our ADSs for return on your investment.

We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to fund the development and growth of our business.  As a result, we do not expect to pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future.  Therefore, you should not rely on an investment in our ADSs as a source for any future dividend income.

Our board of directors has complete discretion as to whether to distribute dividends, subject to applicable laws.  Even if our board of directors decides to declare and pay dividends, the timing, amount and form of future dividends, if any, will depend on, among other things, our future results of operations and cash flow, our capital requirements and surplus, the amount of distributions, if any, received by us from our subsidiaries, our financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors deemed relevant by our board of directors.  Accordingly, the return on your investment in our ADSs will likely depend entirely upon any future price appreciation of our ADSs.  We cannot guarantee that our ADSs will appreciate in value or even maintain the price at which you purchased the ADSs.  You may not realize a return on your investment in our ADSs and you may even lose your entire investment in our ADSs.

We may be classified as a passive foreign investment company for United States federal income tax purposes, which could result in adverse United States federal income tax consequences to United States investors in the ADSs or ordinary shares.

We will be classified as a “passive foreign investment company,” or PFIC, if, in the case of any particular taxable year, either (1) 75.0% or more of our gross income for such year consists of certain types of passive income, or (2) 50.0% or more of the average quarterly value of our assets during such year produce or are held for the production of passive income.  Although the law in this regard is unclear, we treat our affiliated entities as being

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owned by us for United States federal income tax purposes, not only because we exercise effective control over the operation of such entities but also because we are entitled to substantially all of their economic benefits, and, as a result, we consolidate their results of operation in our financial statements.  Assuming that we are the owner of our affiliated entities for United States federal income tax purposes, and based upon our current income and assets, we do not believe that we were classified as a PFIC for the taxable year ended August 31, 2017, and we do not expect to be classified as a PFIC for the current taxable year or for the foreseeable future.

The determination of whether we are or will become a PFIC will depend upon the composition of our income (which may differ from our historical results and current projections) and assets and the value of our assets from time to time, including, in particular, the value of our goodwill and other unbooked intangibles (which may depend upon the market value of our ADSs or ordinary shares from time-to-time and may be volatile).  In estimating the value of our goodwill and other unbooked intangibles, we have taken into account our anticipated market capitalization following the close of our offering.  Among other matters, if our market capitalization is less than anticipated or subsequently declines, we may be classified as a PFIC for future taxable years.  It is also possible that the IRS, may challenge our classification or valuation of our goodwill and other unbooked intangibles, which may result in our company being, or becoming classified as, a PFIC for the current or foreseeable future taxable years.

While we do not expect to become a PFIC in the current or future taxable years, the determination of whether we will be or become a PFIC may also depend, in part, on how, and how quickly, we use our liquid assets and the cash raised in our offering.  Under circumstances where we retain significant amounts liquid assets, or if our affiliated entities were not treated as owned by us for United States federal income tax purposes, our risk of being classified as a PFIC may substantially increase.  Because there are uncertainties in the application of the relevant rules and PFIC status is a factual determination made annually after the close of each taxable year, we cannot assure you that we will not be a PFIC for the current taxable year or any future taxable year.

If we are classified as a PFIC in any taxable year, a U.S. Holder (as defined in “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—United States Federal Income Tax Considerations”) may incur significantly increased United States federal income tax on gain recognized on the sale or other disposition of the ADSs or ordinary shares and on the receipt of distributions on the ADSs or ordinary shares to the extent such gain or distribution is treated as an ‘‘excess distribution’’ under the United States federal income tax rules, and such holders may be subject to burdensome reporting requirements.  Further, if we are classified as a PFIC for any year during which a U.S. Holder holds our ADSs or ordinary shares, we generally will continue to be treated as a PFIC for all succeeding years during which such U.S. Holder holds our ADSs or ordinary shares.  For more information, see “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—United States Federal Income Tax Considerations.”

Our memorandum and articles of association contains anti-takeover provisions that could have a material adverse effect on the rights of holders of our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs.

Our memorandum and articles of association contain provisions to limit the ability of others to acquire control of our company or cause us to engage in change-of-control transactions.  These provisions could have the effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transaction.  For example, our board of directors has the authority subject to any resolution of the shareholders to the contrary, to issue preferred shares in one or more series and to fix their designations, powers, preferences, privileges, and relative participating, optional or special rights and the qualifications, limitations or restrictions, including dividend rights, conversion rights, voting rights, terms of redemption and liquidation preferences, any or all of which may be greater than the rights associated with our Class A ordinary shares, in the form of ADS or otherwise.  Preferred shares could be issued quickly with terms calculated to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult.  If our board of directors decides to issue preferred shares, the price of our ADSs may fall and the voting and other rights of the holders of our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

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You may face difficulties in protecting your interests, and your ability to protect your rights through U.S. courts may be limited, because we are incorporated under Cayman Islands law.

We are an exempted company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands.  Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, the Cayman Islands Company Law (2016 Revision as amended) 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 the common law of England, the decisions of whose courts are of persuasive authority, but are not binding, 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.  Some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands.  In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in a federal court of the United States.

The Cayman Islands courts are also unlikely (1) to recognize or enforce against us judgments of courts of the United States based on certain civil liability provisions of U.S. securities laws, or (2) to impose liabilities against us, in original actions brought in the Cayman Islands, based on certain civil liability provisions of U.S. securities laws that are penal in nature.

There is no statutory recognition in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the United States, although the courts of the Cayman Islands will in certain circumstances recognize and enforce a non-penal judgment of a foreign court of competent jurisdiction without retrial on the merits.

As a result of all of the above, our 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 large shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a company incorporated in the United States.

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

We are a Cayman Islands company and all of our assets are located outside of the United States.  Substantially all of our current operations are conducted in China.  In addition, a majority of our current directors and officers are nationals and residents of countries other than the United States.  Substantially all of the assets of these persons are located outside the United States.  As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against these individuals in the United States in the event that you believe that your rights have been infringed under the U.S. federal securities laws or otherwise.  Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind, the laws of the Cayman Islands and of China may render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers.

We are a foreign private issuer within the meaning of the rules under the Exchange Act, and as such we are exempt from certain provisions applicable to United States domestic public companies.

Because we are a foreign private issuer under the Exchange Act, we are exempt from certain provisions of the securities rules and regulations in the United States that are applicable to U.S. domestic issuers, including:

 

the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or current reports on Form 8-K with the SEC;

 

the sections of the Exchange Act regulating the solicitation of proxies, consents, or authorizations in respect of a security registered under the Exchange Act;

 

the sections of the Exchange Act requiring insiders to file public reports of their stock ownership and trading activities and liability for insiders who profit from trades made in a short period of time; and

 

the selective disclosure rules by issuers of material nonpublic information under Regulation FD.

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We will be required to file an annual report on Form 20-F within four months of the end of each fiscal year.  In addition, we intend to publish our results on a quarterly basis through press releases, distributed pursuant to the rules and regulations of the New York Stock Exchange.  Press releases relating to financial results and material events will also be furnished to the SEC on Form 6-K.  However, the information we are required to file with or furnish to the SEC will be less extensive and less timely compared to that required to be filed with the SEC by U.S. domestic issuers.  As a result, you may not be afforded the same protections or information, which would be made available to you, were you investing in a U.S. domestic issuer.

As a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands, we are permitted to adopt certain home country practices in relation to corporate governance matters that differ significantly from New York Stock Exchange corporate governance listing standards; these practices may afford less protection to shareholders than they would enjoy if we complied fully with from New York Stock Exchange corporate governance listing standards.

As a Cayman Islands company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, we are subject to New York Stock Exchange corporate governance listing standards.  However, the New York Stock Exchange rules permit a foreign private issuer like us to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country.  Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, may differ significantly from New York Stock Exchange corporate governance listing standards.  Shareholders of Cayman Islands exempted companies like us have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders of these companies.  Our directors have discretion under our articles of association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders.  This may make it more difficult for you to obtain the information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest.

Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, differ significantly from requirements for companies incorporated in other jurisdictions such as the United States.  To the extent we choose to follow home country practice with respect to corporate governance matters, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they otherwise would under rules and regulations applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.

The voting rights of holders of ADSs are limited by the terms of the deposit agreement, and you may not be able to exercise your right to vote your Class A ordinary shares.

As a holder of our ADSs, you will only be able to exercise the voting rights with respect to the underlying Class A ordinary shares in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement.  Under the deposit agreement, you must vote by giving voting instructions to the depositary.  Upon receipt of your voting instructions, the depositary will vote the underlying Class A ordinary shares in accordance with these instructions.  You will not be able to directly exercise your right to vote with respect to the underlying shares unless you withdraw the shares.  Under our memorandum and articles of association, the minimum notice period required for convening a general meeting is 10 days.  When a general meeting is convened, you may not receive sufficient advance notice to withdraw the shares underlying your ADSs to allow you to vote with respect to any specific matter.  If we ask for your instructions, the depositary will notify you of the upcoming vote and will arrange to deliver our voting materials to you.  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.  In addition, the depositary and its agents are not responsible for failing to carry out voting instructions or for their manner of carrying out your voting instructions.  This means that you may not be able to exercise your right to vote and you may have no legal remedy if the shares underlying your ADSs are not voted as you requested.

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

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

 

we have failed to timely provide the depositary with notice of meeting and related voting materials;

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we have instructed the depositary that we do not wish a discretionary proxy to be given;

 

we have informed the depositary that there is substantial opposition as to a matter to be voted on at the meeting; or

 

a matter to be voted on at the meeting would have a material adverse impact on shareholders.

The effect of this discretionary proxy is that if you do not vote at shareholders’ meetings, you cannot prevent our Class A ordinary shares underlying your ADSs from being voted, except under the circumstances described above.  This may make it more difficult for shareholders to influence the management of our company.  Holders of our ordinary shares are not subject to this discretionary proxy.

You may not receive dividends or other distributions on our Class A ordinary shares and you may not receive any value for them, if it is illegal or impractical to make them available to you.

The depositary of our ADSs has agreed to pay to you the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian receives on ordinary shares or other deposited securities underlying our ADSs, after deducting its fees and expenses.  You will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of Class A ordinary shares your ADSs represent.  However, the depositary is not responsible if it decides that it is unlawful or impractical to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs.  For example, it would be unlawful to make a distribution to a holder of ADSs if it consists of securities that require registration under the Securities Act but that are not properly registered or distributed under an applicable exemption from registration.  The depositary may also determine that it is not feasible to distribute certain property through the mail.  Additionally, the value of certain distributions may be less than the cost of mailing them.  In these cases, the depositary may determine not to distribute such property.  We have no obligation to register under U.S. securities laws any ADSs, ordinary shares, rights or other securities received through such distributions.  We also have no obligation to take any other action to permit the distribution of ADSs, ordinary shares, rights or anything else to holders of ADSs.  This means that you may not receive distributions we make on our ordinary shares or any value for them if it is illegal or impractical for us to make them available to you.  These restrictions may cause a material decline in the value of our ADSs.

You may experience dilution of your holdings due to inability to participate in rights offerings.

We may, from time to time, distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire securities.  Under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not distribute rights to holders of ADSs unless the distribution and sale of rights and the securities to which these rights relate are either exempt from registration under the Securities Act with respect to all holders of ADSs, or are registered under the provisions of the Securities Act.  The depositary may, but is not required to, attempt to sell these undistributed rights to third parties, and may allow the rights to lapse.  We may be unable to establish an exemption from registration under the Securities Act, and we are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to these rights or underlying securities or to endeavor to have a registration statement declared effective.  Accordingly, holders of ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution of their holdings as a result.

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

Your ADSs 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 right 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 our share register or 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 of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.

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ITEM 4.  INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

A.

History and development of the company

We are an exempted company with limited liability incorporated in the Cayman Islands.  We conduct our business through our subsidiaries and affiliated entities in China.  As of date of this annual report, we had a network of 60 schools in China that cover K-12 education and a number of learning centers for after-school programs through certain contractual arrangements with BGY Education Investment, which in turn controls and holds these schools and learning centers.  We trace our history back to the founding of Guangdong Country Garden School, our first private school, in 1994.  Over the past two decades, we have established and acquired a number of schools and learning centers in China.

Beginning in 2016, we underwent a series of restructurings. In particular:

 

Incorporation of the listing entity. In December 2016, Ms. Meirong Yang incorporated Bright Scholar Holdings in the Cayman Islands.

 

Acquisition of Impetus. In January 2016, we acquired Impetus Investment Ltd., or Impetus, a Cayman Islands company from Mr. Junli He and other selling shareholders.

 

Incorporation of PRC subsidiary. In January 2017, Time Education China Holdings Limited incorporated Zhuhai Bright Scholar, as our wholly-owned subsidiary in China.

 

Contractual arrangements. In January 2017, we, through our PRC subsidiary, Zhuhai Bright Scholar, entered into a series of contractual arrangements with (1) our affiliated entities, including BGY Education Investment and the schools it owns and operates, and (2) Ms. Meirong Yang and Mr. Wenjie Yang, the shareholders of BGY Education Investment, to obtain effective control of our affiliated entities.

Foreign ownership in education services is subject to significant regulations in China. The PRC government regulates the provision of education services through strict licensing requirements. In particular, PRC laws and regulations currently prohibit foreign ownership of companies and institutions providing compulsory education services at primary and middle school levels, and restrict foreign investment in education services at the kindergarten and high school level. We are a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. Our PRC subsidiary, Zhuhai Bright Scholar, is a wholly foreign-owned enterprise and currently ineligible to apply for and hold licenses to operate, or otherwise own equity interests in our schools.

Due to these restrictions, we, through our PRC subsidiary, Zhuhai Bright Scholar, have entered into a series of contractual arrangements with (1) our affiliated entities, including BGY Education Investment and the schools it owns and operates, and (2) the shareholders of BGY Education Investment, i.e., Ms. Meirong Yang and Mr. Wenjie Yang, which enable us to:

 

exercise effective control over our affiliated entities;

 

receive substantially all of the economic benefits of our affiliated entities in consideration for the services provided by us; and

 

have an exclusive option to purchase all of the equity interests in our affiliated entities when and to the extent permitted under PRC law.

Ms. Meirong Yang is one of our founders and a relative of Ms. Huiyan Yang, our chairperson. Mr. Wenjie Yang is Ms. Meirong Yang’s business partner. We do not have any equity interest in our affiliated entities. However, as a result of these contractual arrangements, we control our affiliated entities through our PRC subsidiary, Zhuhai Bright Scholar. We have combined and consolidated the results of our affiliated entities in our combined and consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The contractual arrangements were executed and became effective on January 25, 2017. Certain of our newly established schools executed Rights and Obligations Assumption Letters in 2017 to enjoy the rights and perform the obligations under the contractual arrangements. We are in the process of arranging the execution of Rights and Obligations Assumption Letters for the rest of our newly established schools. For a detailed description

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of the risks associated with our corporate structure, see “Item 3. Key Information D. Risk Factors Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure and “Risks Related to Doing Business in China.”

We have been advised by our PRC legal counsel, that the contractual arrangements among Zhuhai Bright Scholar, our affiliated entities, and Ms. Meirong Yang and Mr. Wenjie Yang as the shareholders of BGY Education Investment are valid, binding and enforceable under PRC laws and regulations, and are not in violation of PRC laws or regulations currently in effect. If our affiliated entities, Ms. Meirong Yang and Mr. Wenjie Yang fail to perform their obligations under the contractual arrangements, we could be limited in our ability to enforce the contractual arrangements that give us the effective control over our affiliated entities. See “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors —Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—We rely on contractual arrangements with BGY Education Investment and its shareholders for our operations in China, which may not be as effective in providing control as director ownership.”

We have been advised by our PRC legal counsel, however, that there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws and regulations. Accordingly, the PRC regulatory authorities may in the future take a view that is contrary to the above opinion of our PRC legal counsel. We have been further advised by our PRC legal counsel that if the PRC government finds that the contractual arrangements and agreements that establish the structure for operating our education services business in China do not comply with relevant PRC government restrictions on foreign investment in the education services industry, we could be subject to severe penalties, including being prohibited from continuing operations. For a detailed description of the risks associated with our corporate structure, see “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors —Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure” and “Item 3. Key Information — D. Risk Factors —Risks Related to Doing Business in China.”

If we are unable to maintain effective control over our affiliated entities, we will not be able to continue to consolidate the financial results of our affiliated entities into our financial results. The revenue contribution of our affiliated entities accounted for 99.4% of our total revenues in the 2017 fiscal year. Further, as a holding company, our ability to generate profits, pay dividend and other cash distributions to our shareholders depends principally on our ability to receive dividends and other distributions from our PRC subsidiary, Zhuhai Bright Scholar, which in turn depends on the service fees paid to Zhuhai Bright Scholar from our schools and other affiliated entities. We, through our PRC subsidiary, Zhuhai Bright Scholar, have entered into an exclusive management services and business cooperation agreement with each of our affiliated entities, pursuant to which we provide service to our schools in exchange for the payment of service fees. The services fees we are entitled to collect under the agreement are calculated as the balance of general income less any costs, taxes and other reserved fees stipulated by laws and regulations. In practice, we evaluate on a case-by-case basis the performance and future plans of individual schools before determining the amount we collect from each school. We do not have unfettered access to the revenues from our PRC subsidiaries or affiliated entities due to the significant PRC legal restrictions on the payment of dividends by PRC companies, foreign exchange control restrictions, and the restrictions on foreign investment, among others. For example, under the applicable requirements of PRC law, our PRC subsidiaries may only distribute dividends after they have made allowances to fund certain statutory reserves and each private school in China is required to allocate a certain amount to its development fund prior to payments of dividend. In particular, our schools that require reasonable returns must allocate no less than 25.0% of their annual net income, and our schools that do not require reasonable returns must allocate no less than 25.0% of their annual increase in their net assets for such purposes. See “Item 4. Information on the Company — D. Risk Factors — Risks Related to Doing Business in China — Our subsidiaries and affiliated entities in China are subject to restrictions on making dividends and other payments to us.”

We listed our ADSs on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “BEDU” on May 18, 2017 and completed an initial public offering of 17,250,000 ADSs on June 7, 2017, raising approximately US$174.7 million in net proceeds after deducting underwriting commissions and the offering expenses payable by us.

Our principal executive office is located at No.1, Country Garden Road, Beijiao Town, Shunde District, Foshan, Guangdong, zip code 528300, China. Our principal phone number is (86) 757-6683-2507. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at the offices of Conyers Trust Company (Cayman) Limited, Cricket Square, Hutchins Drive, PO Box 2681, Grand Cayman, KY1-1111, Cayman Islands. Investors should submit any inquiries to the address and telephone number of our principal executive offices. Our website is www.brightscholar.com. The information contained on our website is not a part of this annual report. Our agent for service of process in the

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United States is Law Debenture Corporate Services Inc., located at 801 2nd Avenue, Suite 403, New York, New York 10017.

For information regarding our principal capital expenditures, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects — B. Liquidity and Capital Resources — Capital Expenditures.”

B.

Business Overview

We are the largest operator of international and bilingual K-12 schools in China in terms of student enrollment as of September 1, 2017, according to the Frost & Sullivan report. We are dedicated to providing quality international education to Chinese students and equipping them with the critical academic foundation and skillsets necessary to succeed in the pursuit of higher education overseas.  We also complement our international offerings with Chinese government-mandated curriculum for students who wish to maintain the option of pursuing higher education in China.  We established one of the first private schools in China in 1994 and have since expanded our network to operate 60 schools as of the date of this annual report, covering the breadth of K-12 academic needs of our students across eight provinces in China. During the 2017 school year, we had an average of 29,747 students enrolled at our schools, representing an increase of 57.3% from an average of 18,913 students enrolled during the 2014 school year.  Bright Scholar Holdings, our ultimate Cayman Islands holding company, does not have any substantive operations other than indirectly controlling BGY Education Investment, our affiliated entity which controls and holds our schools, through certain contractual arrangements.

Our schools consist of international schools, bilingual schools and kindergartens.  We offer a broad range of internationally-accredited curricula at our international schools.  We tailor the delivery of coursework to optimize learning outcomes for our students and prepare them for higher education overseas.  According to the Frost & Sullivan report, we are among a select group of private school operators in China accredited to administer all major globally-recognized education programs, including Diploma Program, Advanced Placement and IGCSE/A-Level.  We are also one of the first school operators in China accredited to administer the full set of IB curricula, including its Primary Years Program, Middle Years Program, and Diploma Program.  Our bilingual schools place a specific emphasis on developing our students’ English language proficiency and non-academic skillsets, offering elective classes in sports, arts and community service programs.  Leveraging our experience and insights into learning needs at different stages, our kindergartens seek to lay the necessary foundation for our students’ future studies.  We also offer a range of complementary education services, including overseas camps and after-school programs.

Our schools effectively enhance our students’ academic performance.  Approximately 87.0% of the 2017 graduating class enrolled in our Diploma Program or A-Level curricula that applied for overseas universities were admitted into global top 50 institutions, as ranked by either the QS World University Rankings or U.S. News, including University of Chicago, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and University College London.  As of August 31, 2017, students in our 2017 graduating class have received 499 conditional offers in total from global top 50 institutions by the same ranking. We believe our bilingual schools are often one of the schools of choice in their respective cities.  Approximately 77.0% of the 2017 graduating class from our two largest bilingual schools, Huanan Country Garden School and Phoenix City Bilingual School, were admitted into the top local high schools.  This percentage rose to 90.2% for Huanan Country Garden School and 96.6% for Phoenix City Bilingual School in the 2017 fiscal year.

The effectiveness of our education, along with our state-of-the-art facilities, student- and parent-centric support services and our brand recognition, allows us to command premium pricing.  The average tuition across our six international schools for the 2017 school year was approximately 11.1% higher than that of international programs in China targeting Chinese students, according to the Frost & Sullivan report.  Similarly, during the same period, our bilingual schools and kindergartens charged substantially higher tuition than the average tuition of private schools from grade one through nine and kindergartens in China, respectively, according to the Frost & Sullivan report.  

We collaborate closely with Country Garden, a related party, which is a leading developer of residential properties in China, which has allowed us to operate a highly scalable business model and launch greenfield schools with significantly lower upfront capital expenditures.  Substantially all of our existing schools were developed in cooperation with Country Garden’s residential property projects, allowing Country Garden to meet local

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government requirements and the market needs for education facilities and services in its residential communities.  The demand for convenient access to quality education from Country Garden’s homeowners, who are relatively affluent families, provides a large pool of students for our schools, and at the same time drives sales of residential units in the vicinity of our schools.  We believe we will continue to benefit from this synergistic relationship as we expand our school network.

We have experienced substantial growth in recent years.  Our revenue increased from RMB745.9 million in the 2015 fiscal year to RMB1,040.3 million in the 2016 fiscal year, and further to RMB 1,328.4 million (US$201.6 million) in the 2017 fiscal year, representing an average CAGR of 33.5%.  We focus on providing quality education to our students and, since the beginning of the 2016 fiscal year, we have implemented various initiatives to improve operating efficiency and profitability.  We had net income of RMB2.9 million in the 2016 fiscal year and RMB191.8 million (US$29.1 million) in the 2017 fiscal year, compared to net loss of RMB39.9 million in the 2015 fiscal year.  We use adjusted net income, which excludes share-based compensation, in evaluating our ongoing results of operations.  Our adjusted net income was RMB98.0 million in the 2016 fiscal year, which is the only fiscal year where we incurred share-based compensation expenses.

Our Schools

We offer education programs that cover K-12 education and integrate internationally-accredited curricula, government-mandated curricula and extracurricular activities that aim to develop well-rounded individuals through a network of 60 schools in eight provinces in China as of the date of this annual report.  We divide our schools broadly into international schools, bilingual schools and kindergartens.

 

International schools.  As of the date of this annual report, we had six international schools, which focus on internationally-accredited curricula and offer extracurricular activities and programs that aim to develop well-rounded individuals.

 

Bilingual schools.  As of the date of this annual report, we had 16 bilingual schools, which provide government-mandated curricula.  Our bilingual schools place an emphasis on developing students’ English proficiency and well-rounded individuals.

 

Kindergartens.  As of the date of this annual report, we had 38 bilingual kindergartens, including 10 that deliver international curricula.

During the 2017 school year, we had an average of 29,747 students enrolled at our schools and employed an average of 3,180 teachers and instructors.  We have grown rapidly during the past three years, supported by strong demand for quality education in China and favorable policies promulgated by the PRC government and the nationwide expansion of Country Garden’s residential communities.  The following table sets forth the average number of students enrolled at our schools for the period indicated.

 

 

 

2015 school

year

 

 

2016 school

year

 

 

2017 school

year

 

International schools

 

 

4,292

 

 

 

5,443

 

 

 

6,283

 

Bilingual schools

 

 

9,512

 

 

 

11,441

 

 

 

13,189

 

Kindergartens

 

 

7,280

 

 

 

8,979

 

 

 

10,275

 

Total

 

 

21,084

 

 

 

25,862

 

 

 

29,747

 

 

An important element of our schools is to provide an immersive bilingual learning environment, with our English teachers and English-speaking staff.  To help students master the English language, we design our English courses according to the specific linguistic needs of the students at each grade level, building their English language skills from kindergarten to high school.

Our schools are also committed to developing well-rounded students.  As a private school operator, we have more flexibility in offering courses based on students’ learning needs and in response to popular student and parent demand.  We offer a broad range of courses, and students at our international schools may choose an individualized combination of courses.  Some of the courses we offer, such as calligraphy, dance, debate and music, emphasize creativity, critical thinking and a deeper appreciation of traditional Chinese and international culture.  Our schools

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also offer students the opportunity to participate in a variety of after-school programs and club events, including sports and life skills development programs, such as first aid and disaster drills, to supplement classroom learning.  This provides our students with opportunities to fully explore and pursue their individual interests and potential.

Our coverage of K-12 education allows us to instill our educational philosophy from the starting point of a student’s academic career.  For our schools that cover the full spectrum of K-12 education, we believe we are able to minimize the need for our students to adapt for teaching methodologies and learning environments they may encounter when moving to the next level of education.

Most of our schools have boarding facilities, which allows students to focus on their studies and experience living independently before attending universities and allows us to recruit students from beyond Country Garden’s residential communities.  While substantially all of our schools are located within or in the vicinity of the residential communities developed by Country Garden, students from families that have not purchased property from Country Garden are increasingly attracted by our reputation for quality education. Approximately 37.8% of our students enrolled in our schools as of August 31, 2017 came from families who do not own Country Garden properties.   All of our schools also feature a comprehensive suite of sports and education facilities and on-campus catering facilities.

Our international schools

As of the date of this annual report, we had six international schools in five provinces across China, including Guangdong, Jiangsu, Hunan, Guizhou and Gansu.  Our international schools offer a broad range of internationally-accredited education programs to accommodate the individual needs of our large student base seeking to pursue higher education overseas.  Driven by the increasing appreciation for the quality of higher education overseas and our commitment to providing quality education, our international programs have proven to be an attractive option to an increasing number of Chinese students and their parents, allowing us to charge a premium in tuition compared to other international schools targeting Chinese students.

Our schools are among the first private schools in China to receive international accreditations for our programs.  According to the Frost & Sullivan report, we are also among a select group of private school operators in China accredited to administer all major globally-recognized education programs.  The following table sets forth certain information about the major international programs we offer.

 

Accreditation Institution

 

Program

 

Applicable

Grades

IB Organization

 

Primary Years Program

 

1-5

 

 

Middle Years Program

 

6-10

 

 

Diploma Program

 

11-12

Cambridge International Examinations

 

IGCSE

 

9-10

 

 

A-Level

 

11-12

U.S. College Board

 

Advanced Placement

 

9-12

NCC Education

 

International Foundation Year

 

11-12

 

Programs administered by the IB Organization are generally recognized in all major English-speaking countries. IGCSE, A-Level and International Foundation Year are recognized primarily in the United Kingdom.  Advanced Placement is recognized primarily in the United States and Canada.  In addition, we offer joint diploma programs, including Sino-Canadian dual diploma, Sino-U.S. dual diploma and Sino-Australian dual diploma programs.  Our students may switch from one program to another if they meet the applicable requirements.

We integrate classes under our international programs with government-mandated coursework to students from the first through ninth grades.  In the event that our students under international programs elect to attend universities in China at any stage of their studies, they may switch to government-mandated curricula offered in some of our international schools.

The students enrolled at our international schools have increased rapidly in the last three school years, from an average of 4,292 for the 2015 school year to 6,283 in the 2017 school year.  Students in the 2017 graduating class at

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our international schools were accepted to top colleges and universities in countries and regions such as the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong. Approximately 87.0% of the 2017 graduating class enrolled in our Diploma Program or A-level curricula who applied for overseas universities were admitted into global top 50 institutions, ranked by either the QS World University Rankings or U.S. News, including University of Chicago, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and University College London.

The following table sets forth certain information about each of our international schools.

 

Name

 

Location

 

Establishment

 

Grades

 

Average number

of students

enrolled during

the 2016 school

year

 

 

Average number

of students

enrolled during

the 2017 school

year

 

 

Capacity

as of

September 1,

2017

 

Guangdong Country Garden School

 

Shunde, Guangdong province

 

1994

 

1-12

 

 

4,010

 

 

 

3,604

 

 

 

3,940

 

Jurong Country Garden School

 

Jurong, Jiangsu province

 

2013

 

1-12

 

 

708

 

 

 

1,148

 

 

 

2,950

 

Ningxiang Country Garden School

 

Changsha, Hunan province

 

2014

 

1-12

 

 

249

 

 

 

364

 

 

 

2,100

 

Country Garden Silver Beach School

 

Huizhou, Guangdong province

 

2015

 

1-12

 

 

224

 

 

 

544

 

 

 

3,000

 

Huaxi Country Garden International School

 

Guiyang, Guizhou province

 

2015

 

1-9

 

 

252

 

 

 

305

 

 

 

798

 

Lanzhou Country Garden International School

 

Lanzhou, Gansu province

 

2016

 

1-12

 

N/A

 

 

 

318

 

 

 

2,472

 

Total

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5,443

 

 

 

6,283

 

 

 

15,260

 

 

Guangdong Country Garden School ()

 

Founded in 1994, Guangdong Country Garden School is our first international school that offers all three IB-accredited programs.  It is also one of the few schools in China authorized to teach IGCSE and A-Level, Advance Placement, and International Foundation Year courses.  Guangdong Country Garden School has become our flagship school due to its comprehensive set of internationally-accredited curricula, effective education services and long operating history.  It is well known throughout China as the recipient of a number of recognitions such as being a First-Class School in Guangdong Province and being part of the Advanced Group in National Private Education.  It hosts a teacher training academy which serves as the hub for teacher training within our school network.  We send veteran teachers at our Guangdong Country Garden School to our new schools to share teaching experiences with, and provide demonstration classes to the resident teachers at those schools and also allow such resident teachers to visit Guangdong Country Garden School for on-site training sessions.  Guangdong Country Garden School is instrumental in establishing our brand recognition throughout China and setting the benchmark for our other international schools.

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Our students in this school are regular winners of national competitions. During the 2017 school year, one of our students won a Bronze medal in the Minnesota International Youth Pianist Competition, and 33 students scored in the top 25th percentile in the Waterloo University Gauss Math Competition.

Jurong Country Garden School ()

 

Founded in 2013, Jurong Country Garden School, our first international school outside Guangdong province, obtained authorization from the IB Organization to offer all three IB-accredited programs within three years of its establishment.  The school is also authorized to offer IGCSE and A-Level courses and International Foundation Year courses.  Among our 2017 graduating classes enrolled in our Diploma Program,  A-Level or IFD curricula at this school, who applied for overseas universities, approximately 79.7% of them were admitted into top 50 universities and approximately 28.4% were admitted into top 10 universities, both as ranked by QS World University Rankings.

Other international schools

Since 2014, we have established four international schools, Ningxiang Country Garden School, Country Garden Silver Beach School, Huaxi Country Garden International School, and Lanzhou Country Garden International School.  We have replicated, and intend to continue to replicate, the success of Guangdong Country Garden School by leveraging the collective expertise and experiences accumulated by the teachers and management at Guangdong Country Garden School over the years.  We believe the ample demand for international education, our education service quality, know-how and brand position us well to continue to ramp up the operation of each of these schools.

Our bilingual schools

As of the date of this annual report, we had 16 bilingual schools in five provinces in China.  Our bilingual schools teach government-mandated curricula with an emphasis on English proficiency development.  We supplement our academic offerings with activities for the well-balanced development of our students, such as arts-related and life skills building classes or club events, which are not generally available in public schools.  The students enrolled at our bilingual schools have increased rapidly in the last three school years, from an average of 9,512 for the 2015 school year to an average of 13,189 in the 2017 school year.

Graduates from our bilingual schools generally take Zhongkao, the high school entrance examinations administered in China, and may pursue high school education in public or private schools.  A number of our bilingual schools, including Phoenix City Bilingual School and Country Garden Huacheng School, also offer international courses to a small number of students in response to the local demands for further education at overseas universities.  We generally allow our students to transfer from one program to another if they meet the relevant requirements.

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The following table sets forth certain information about each of our bilingual schools.

 

Name

 

Location

 

Establishment

 

Grades

 

Average number

of students

enrolled during

the 2016 school

year

 

 

Average number

of students

enrolled during

the 2017 school

year

 

 

Capacity

as of

September 1,

2017

 

Huanan Country Garden School

 

Guangzhou (Panyu), Guangdong province

 

2002

 

1-9

 

 

2,520

 

 

 

2,741

 

 

 

2,848

 

Phoenix City Bilingual School

 

Guangzhou (Zengcheng), Guangdong province

 

2003

 

1-9

 

 

3,081

 

 

 

3,462

 

 

 

4,,438

 

Country Garden Huacheng School

 

Shunde, Guangdong province

 

2003

 

1-9

 

 

1,106

 

 

 

1,122

 

 

 

1,116

 

Country Garden Venice Bilingual School

 

Changsha, Hunan province