Company Quick10K Filing
Quick10K
New Oriental Education & Technology Group
Closing Price ($) Shares Out (MM) Market Cap ($MM)
$106.43 158 $16,850
20-F 2019-05-31 Annual: 2019-05-31
20-F 2018-05-31 Annual: 2018-05-31
20-F 2017-05-31 Annual: 2017-05-31
20-F 2016-05-31 Annual: 2016-05-31
PINC Premier 4,725
UNF UniFirst 3,797
ATGE Adtalem Global Education 2,482
CECO Career Education 1,456
LRN K12 1,074
RGS Regis 632
RYB RYB Education 201
BPI Bridgepoint Education 195
DLPN Dolphin Entertainment 16
XSPA Xpresspa Group 3
EDU 2019-05-31
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 Accountants
Item 16G. Corporate Governance
Item 16H. Mine Safety Disclosure
Item 17. Financial Statements
Item 18. Financial Statements
Item 19. Exhibits
EX-8.1 d791681dex81.htm
EX-12.1 d791681dex121.htm
EX-12.2 d791681dex122.htm
EX-13.1 d791681dex131.htm
EX-13.2 d791681dex132.htm
EX-15.1 d791681dex151.htm
EX-15.2 d791681dex152.htm

New Oriental Education & Technology Group Earnings 2019-05-31

EDU 20F Annual Report

Balance SheetIncome StatementCash Flow

20-F 1 d791681d20f.htm FORM 20-F Form 20-F
Table of Contents

 

 

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

 

 

FORM 20-F

 

 

(Mark One)

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(B) OR 12(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 May 31, 2019.

OR

 

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

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                 

For the transition period from                  to                 

Commission file number: 001-32993

 

 

NEW ORIENTAL EDUCATION & TECHNOLOGY GROUP INC.

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

 

 

N/A

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

Cayman Islands

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

No. 6 Hai Dian Zhong Street

Haidian District, Beijing 100080

People’s Republic of China

(Address of principal executive offices)

Zhihui Yang, Chief Financial Officer

Tel: +(86 10) 6090-8000

E-mail: yangzhihui@xdf.cn

Fax: +(86 10) 6260-5511

No. 6 Hai Dian Zhong Street

Haidian District, Beijing 100080

People’s Republic of China

(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

 

Trading

Symbol(s)

 

Name of Exchange on Which Registered

American depositary shares, each representing one common share*   EDU   New York Stock Exchange
Common shares, par value US$0.01 per share**     New York Stock Exchange

 

*

Effective on August 18, 2011, the ratio of ADSs to our common shares was changed from one ADS representing four common shares to one ADS representing one common share.

**

Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing on New York Stock Exchange of the American depositary shares.

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. 157,849,714 common shares, par value US$0.01 per share, as of May 31, 2019.

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 every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit 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. (Check one):

 

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  ☒

(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.    Yes  ☐    No  ☐

 

 

 


Table of Contents

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

INTRODUCTION

     1  

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

     2  

PART I

     2  

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

     2  

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

     2  

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

     3  

ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

     38  

ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

     75  

ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

     75  

ITEM 6. DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

     97  

ITEM 7. MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

     104  

ITEM 8. FINANCIAL INFORMATION

     106  

ITEM 9. THE OFFER AND LISTING

     107  

ITEM 10. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

     108  

ITEM 11. QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE DISCLOSURES ABOUT MARKET RISK

     120  

ITEM 12. DESCRIPTION OF SECURITIES OTHER THAN EQUITY SECURITIES

     120  

PART II.

     122  

ITEM 13. DEFAULTS, DIVIDEND ARREARAGES AND DELINQUENCIES

     122  

ITEM 14. MATERIAL MODIFICATIONS TO THE RIGHTS OF SECURITY HOLDERS AND USE OF PROCEEDS

     122  

ITEM 15. CONTROLS AND PROCEDURES

     122  

ITEM 16A. AUDIT COMMITTEE FINANCIAL EXPERT

     124  

ITEM 16B. CODE OF ETHICS

     124  

ITEM 16C. PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTANT FEES AND SERVICES

     124  

ITEM 16D. EXEMPTIONS FROM THE LISTING STANDARDS FOR AUDIT COMMITTEES

     125  

ITEM 16E. PURCHASES OF EQUITY SECURITIES BY THE ISSUER AND AFFILIATED PURCHASERS

     125  

ITEM 16F. CHANGE IN REGISTRANT’S CERTIFYING ACCOUNTANTS

     125  

ITEM 16G. CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

     125  

ITEM 16H. MINE SAFETY DISCLOSURE

     126  

ITEM 17. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     126  

ITEM 18. FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

     126  

ITEM 19. EXHIBITS

     126  

 

i


Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

Unless otherwise indicated and except where the context otherwise requires, references in this annual report on Form 20-F to:

 

   

“we,” “us,” “our company” or “our” refers to New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., its predecessor entities and subsidiaries and, in the context of describing our operations and consolidated financial data, also includes New Oriental China (as defined below);

 

   

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

 

   

“New Oriental China” refers to New Oriental Education & Technology Group Co., Ltd, formerly known as Beijing New Oriental Education & Technology (Group) Co., Ltd., which is a domestic PRC company and our variable interest entity whose financial results are consolidated into our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP;

 

   

“student enrollments” refers to the cumulative total number of courses enrolled in and paid for by our students, including multiple courses enrolled in and paid for by the same student but excluding courses offered at our primary and secondary schools;

 

   

“shares” or “common shares” refers to our common shares, par value US$0.01 per share;

 

   

“ADSs” refers to our American depositary shares. Prior to August 18, 2011, each of our ADSs represented four common shares. On August 18, 2011, we effected a change in the ratio of our ADSs to common shares from one ADS representing four common shares to one ADS representing one common share. Except as otherwise noted, this change in our ADS to common share ratio has been retroactively reflected in this annual report on Form 20-F; and

 

   

“RMB” or “Renminbi” refers to the legal currency of China and “$,” “dollars,” “US$” or “U.S. dollars” refers to the legal currency of the United States.

We refer to our teaching facilities in this annual report as either “schools” or “learning centers,” based primarily on a facility’s functions. Generally, our schools consist of classrooms and administrative facilities with student and administrative services, while our learning centers consist primarily of classroom facilities. Each of our schools, including kindergartens, has received a Permit for Operating a Private School from the relevant local government authority.

Our financial statements are expressed in U.S. dollars, which is our reporting currency. Certain of our financial data in this annual report on Form 20-F is translated into U.S. dollars solely for the reader’s convenience. Unless otherwise noted, all convenient translations from Renminbi to U.S. dollars in this annual report on Form 20-F were made at a rate of RMB6.9027 to US$1.00, the exchange rate set forth in the H.10 statistical release of the Federal Reserve Board on May 31, 2019. 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, at the rate stated above, or at all.

Glossary of Major Admissions and Assessment Tests

 

ACT    American College Test (US)
BEC    Business English Certificate (US)
CET 4    College English Test Level 4 (PRC)
CET 6    College English Test Level 6 (PRC)
GMAT    Graduate Management Admission Test (US)
GRE    Graduate Record Examination (US)
IELTS    International English Language Testing System (Commonwealth countries)
LSAT    Law School Admission Test (US)
PETS    Public English Test System (PRC)
SAT    SAT College Entrance Test (US)
TOEFL    Test of English as a Foreign Language (US)
TOEIC    Test of English for International Communication (US)
TSE    Test of Spoken English (US)

 

1


Table of Contents

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This annual report contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. All statements other than statements of historical facts are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made under the “safe harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.

You can identify these forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “is expected to,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “is/are likely to” or other similar expressions. We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to:

 

   

our anticipated growth strategies;

 

   

our future business development, results of operations and financial condition;

 

   

expected changes in our revenues and certain cost and expense items;

 

   

our ability to increase student enrollments and course fees and expand program, service and product offerings;

 

   

competition in each type of educational program, service and product we provide;

 

   

risks associated with our offering of new educational programs, services and products and the expansion of our geographic reach;

 

   

the expected increase in expenditures on education in China; and

 

   

PRC laws, regulations and policies relating to private education and providers of private educational services.

You should read thoroughly this annual report and the documents that we refer to herein with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from and/or worse than what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements by these cautionary statements. Other sections of this annual report include additional factors which could adversely impact our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements.

You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The forward-looking statements made in this annual report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report. We undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.

PART I

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

 

2


Table of Contents

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

 

A.

Selected Financial Data

Our Selected Consolidated Financial Data

The following tables present the selected consolidated financial data of our company. The selected consolidated statement of operations data for the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019 and the consolidated balance sheet data as of May 31, 2018 and 2019 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements, which are included in this annual report beginning on page F-1. The selected consolidated statement of operations data for the fiscal years ended May 31, 2015 and 2016 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of May 31, 2015, 2016 and 2017 have been derived from our audited consolidated financial statements for the fiscal years ended May 31, 2015, 2016 and 2017, which are not included in this annual report. Our historical results do not necessarily indicate results expected for any future periods. The selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with, and are qualified in their entirety by reference to, our audited consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this annual report and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results.” Our audited consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, or U.S. GAAP.

 

     For the Years Ended May 31,  
(in thousands of US$ except share, per share and per ADS data)    2015     2016     2017     2018     2019  

Selected Consolidated Statement of Operations Data:

          

Net revenues:

          

Educational programs and services

     1,102,974       1,309,339       1,608,954       2,165,152       2,785,254  

Books and other services

     143,792       169,009       190,555       282,278       311,237  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total net revenues

     1,246,766       1,478,348       1,799,509       2,447,430       3,096,491  

Operating costs and expenses:(1)

          

Cost of revenues

     (526,320     (614,364     (749,586     (1,065,740     (1,376,287

Selling and marketing

     (188,483     (197,897     (232,826     (324,249     (384,287

General and administrative

     (378,434     (471,010     (554,948     (794,482     (1,034,028

Total operating costs and expenses

     (1,093,237     (1,283,271     (1,537,360     (2,184,471     (2,794,584
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gain on disposal of subsidiaries

     —         3,760       —         —         3,627  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating income

     153,529       198,837       262,149       262,959       305,534  

Other income, net:

          

Interest income

     66,605       66,861       61,445       84,838       97,530  

Interest expense

     —         —         —         —         (1,615

Realized gain from long tern investments

     —         —         7,086       7,366       26,379  

Impairment loss from long-term investments

     —         —         (2,338     (980     (5,919

Loss from fair value change of long-term investments

     —         —         —         —         (104,636

Miscellaneous income, net

     342       1,586       2,367       2,841       (1,424
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Provision for income taxes:

          

Current

     (31,552     (39,467     (51,142     (72,785     (103,031

Deferred

     5,331       1,936       518       13,377       17,317  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Provision for income taxes

     (26,221     (37,531     (50,624     (59,408     (85,714

Loss from equity method investments

     (1,537     (4,425     (3,289     (379     (2,289

Net income

     192,718       225,328       276,796       297,237       227,846  

Add: Net loss (gain) attributable to noncontrolling interests

     295       (444     (2,339     (1,107     10,219  

Net income attributable to New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc.

     193,013       224,884       274,457       296,130       238,065  

Net income from continuing operation per ADS attributable to shareholders of New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc.(2)

          

-Basic

     1.23       1.43       1.74       1.87       1.50  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

-Diluted

     1.23       1.43       1.74       1.87       1.50  
  

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Shares used in calculating basic net income per share

     156,438,606       156,782,439       157,551,320       158,168,794       158,293,890  

Shares used in calculating diluted net income per share

     157,302,174       157,391,686       157,986,394       158,556,500       159,039,345  

 

3


Table of Contents

 

(1)

Share-based compensation expenses are included in our operating costs and expenses as follows:

 

     For the Years Ended May 31,  
(in thousands of US$)    2015      2016      2017      2018      2019  

Cost of revenues

     —          —          —          —          134  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Selling and marketing

     —          —          —          —          1,205  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

General and administrative

     15,689        16,810        20,287        57,443        69,997  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total

     15,689        16,810        20,287        57,443        71,336  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(2)

Each ADS represents one common share.

The following table presents our selected consolidated balance sheet data as of May 31, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019:

 

     As of May 31,  
(in thousands of US$)    2015      2016      2017      2018      2019  

Selected Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:

              

Cash and cash equivalents

     531,298        709,209        641,018        983,319        1,414,171  

Total assets

     1,951,537        2,354,834        2,924,979        3,977,712        4,646,559  

Total current liabilities

     725,232        918,190        1,202,681        1,750,884        2,006,224  

Total liabilities

     727,693        920,172        1,204,901        1,763,017        2,121,462  

Total mezzanine equity

     —          —          —          206,624        —    

Total New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. shareholders’ equity

     1,220,348        1,404,572        1,680,948        1,991,589        2,360,686  

Noncontrolling interests

     3,496        30,090        39,130        16,482        164,411  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total equity

     1,223,844        1,434,662        1,720,078        2,008,071        2,525,097  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

B.

Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not applicable.

 

C.

Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not applicable.

 

4


Table of Contents
D.

Risk Factors

Risks Related to Our Business

If we are not able to continue to attract students to enroll in our courses without a significant decrease in course fees, our revenues may decline and we may not be able to maintain profitability.

The success of our business depends primarily on the number of student enrollments in our courses and the amount of course fees that our students are willing to pay. Therefore, our ability to continue to attract students to enroll in our courses without a significant decrease in course fees is critical to the continued success and growth of our business. This in turn will depend on several factors, including our ability to develop new programs and enhance existing programs to respond to changes in market trends and student demands, expand our geographic reach, manage our growth while maintaining the consistency of our teaching quality, effectively market our programs to a broader base of prospective students, develop and license additional high-quality educational content and respond to competitive pressures. If we are unable to continue to attract students to enroll in our courses without a significant decrease in course fees, our revenue may decline and we may not be able to maintain profitability.

We depend on our dedicated and capable faculty, and if we are not able to continue to hire, train and retain qualified teachers, we may not be able to maintain consistent teaching quality throughout our school network and our brand, business and operating results may be materially and adversely affected.

Our teachers are critical to maintaining the quality of our programs, services and products and maintaining our brand and reputation. It is critical for us to continue to attract qualified teachers who have a strong command of the subject areas to be taught and meet our qualification. We also need to hire teachers who are capable of delivering innovative and inspirational instruction. The number of teachers in China with the necessary experience and language proficiency to teach our courses is limited and we must provide competitive compensation packages to attract and retain qualified teachers. In addition, criteria such as commitment and dedication are difficult to ascertain during the recruitment process, in particular as we continue to expand and add teachers to meet rising student enrollments. We must also provide continuous training to our teachers so that they can stay up to date with changes in student demands, admissions and assessment tests, admissions standards and other key trends necessary to effectively teach their respective courses. We may not be able to hire, train and retain enough qualified teachers to keep pace with our anticipated growth while maintaining consistent teaching quality across many different schools, learning centers and programs in different geographic locations. In addition, our teachers may not be able to apply for and obtain the teaching licenses on a timely basis, or at all, which may require us to rectify such noncompliance or subject us to penalties. Shortages of qualified teachers or decreases in the quality of our instruction, whether actual or perceived, in one or more of our markets may have a material and adverse effect on our business.

Our business depends on our “New Oriental” brand, and if we are not able to maintain and enhance our brand, our business and operating results may be harmed.

We believe that market awareness of our “New Oriental” brand has contributed significantly to the success of our business. We also believe that maintaining and enhancing the “New Oriental” brand is critical to maintaining our competitive advantage. We offer a diverse set of programs, services and products to primary and middle school students, college students and other adults throughout many provinces and cities in China. As we continue to grow in size, expand our program, service and product offerings and extend our geographic reach, maintaining quality and consistency may be more difficult to achieve.

We have invested significantly in brand promotion initiatives. We cannot, however, assure you that these or our other marketing efforts will be successful in promoting our brand to remain competitive. If we are unable to further enhance our brand recognition and increase awareness of our programs, services and products, or if we incur excessive marketing and promotion expenses, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected. In addition, any negative publicity relating to our company or our programs and services, regardless of its veracity, could harm our brand image and in turn materially and adversely affect our business and operating results.

 

5


Table of Contents

Our reputation and the trading price of our ADSs may be negatively affected by adverse publicity or other detrimental conduct against us.

Adverse publicity concerning our failure or perceived failure to comply with legal and regulatory requirements, alleged accounting or financial reporting irregularities, regulatory scrutiny and further regulatory action or litigation could harm our reputation and cause the trading price of our ADSs to decline and fluctuate significantly. For example, after we issued a press release on July 17, 2012 disclosing that we were subject to the investigation by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission, or the SEC, and Muddy Waters LLC, an entity unrelated to us, issued a report containing various allegations about us on July 18, 2012, the trading price of our ADSs declined sharply and we were inundated by numerous investor inquiries. More recently, in late 2016, there was negative media coverage referencing our small overseas study consulting division, New Oriental Vision Overseas Consultancy Co. The negative publicity and the resulting decline of the trading price of our ADSs also led to the filing of shareholder class action lawsuits against us and some of our senior executive officers.

We may continue to be the target of adverse publicity and other detrimental conduct against us. Such conduct includes complaints, anonymous or otherwise, to regulatory agencies regarding our operations, accounting, revenues and regulatory compliance. Additionally, allegations against us may be posted on the internet by any person or entity which identifies itself or on an anonymous basis. We may be subject to government or regulatory investigation or inquiries as a result of such third-party conduct and may be required to incur significant time and substantial costs to defend ourselves, and there is no assurance that we will be able to conclusively refute each of the allegations within a reasonable period of time, or at all. Our reputation may also be negatively affected as a result of the public dissemination of allegations or malicious statements about us, which in turn may materially and adversely affect the trading price of our ADSs.

We face risks related to health epidemics and other outbreaks, which could result in reduced attendance or temporary closure of our schools, learning centers and bookstores.

Our business could be materially and adversely affected by the outbreak of avian influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, Ebola or other epidemics. For example, the influenza A (H1N1) outbreak from 2009 to 2010 adversely affected our business and results of operations in the first and second fiscal quarters of 2010 as we experienced slower-than-usual student enrollment growth and large numbers of cancellations and deferments in enrollments from registered students. In addition, we had to cancel classes whenever an enrolled student was diagnosed with influenza A (H1N1), as required by applicable health regulations. Starting from March 2013, H7N9 bird flu, a new strain of animal influenza, has been spreading in China and has infected more than a hundred people. While the spread of the avian virus H7N9 has not materially affected our student enrollments as of the date of this annual report, any future outbreak of avian influenza, SARS, the influenza A (H1N1), H7N9 bird flu or other adverse public health developments in China may have a material and adverse effect on our business operations. These occurrences could cause cancellations or deferments of student enrollments and require the temporary closure of our schools, learning centers and bookstores while we remain obligated to pay rent and other expenses for these facilities, thus severely disrupting our business operations and materially and adversely affecting our liquidity, financial condition and results of operations.

Failure to effectively and efficiently manage the expansion of our school network may materially and adversely affect our ability to capitalize on new business opportunities.

We have increased the number of our schools in China from 25 as of May 31, 2006 to 95 as of May 31, 2019, and we increased the number of our learning centers in China from 86 as of May 31, 2006 to 1,159 as of May 31, 2019. We may continue to expand our operations in different geographic locations in China. Our expansion has resulted, and will continue to result, in substantial demands on our management, faculty and operational, technological and other resources. Our expansion will also place significant demands on us to maintain the consistency of our teaching quality and our culture to ensure that our brand does not suffer as a result of any decreases, whether actual or perceived, in our teaching quality. To manage and support our growth, we must continue to improve our existing operational, administrative and technological systems and our financial and management controls, and recruit, train and retain additional qualified teachers, management personnel and other administrative and sales and marketing personnel, particularly as we expand into new markets. We cannot assure you that we will be able to effectively and efficiently manage the growth of our operations, recruit and retain qualified teachers and management personnel and integrate new schools and learning centers into our operations. Any failure to effectively and efficiently manage our expansion may materially and adversely affect our ability to capitalize on new business opportunities, which in turn may have a material adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

 

6


Table of Contents

If we fail to successfully execute our growth strategies, we may not be able to continue to attract students to enroll in our courses without a significant decrease in course fees, and our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

Our growth strategies include expanding our program, service and product offerings and our network of schools, learning centers and bookstores, updating and expanding the content of our programs, services and products in a cost-effective and timely manner, as well as maintaining and continuing to establish strategic relationships with complementary businesses. The expansion of our programs, services and products in terms of types of offerings and geographic locations may not succeed due to competition, failure to effectively market our new programs, services and products and maintain their quality and consistency, or other factors. In addition, we may be unable to identify new cities with sufficient growth potential to expand our network, and we may fail to attract students and increase student enrollments or recruit, train and retain qualified teachers for our new schools and learning centers. Some cities in China have undergone development and expansion for several decades while others are still at an early stage of urbanization and development. In more developed cities, it may be difficult to increase the number of schools and learning centers because we and/or our competitors already have extensive operations in these cities. In recently developed and developing cities, demand for our programs, services and products may not increase as rapidly as we expect. Furthermore, we may be unable to develop or license additional content on commercially reasonable terms and in a timely manner, or at all, to keep pace with changes in market demands. If we fail to successfully execute our growth strategies, we may not be able to continue to attract students to enroll in our courses without a significant decrease in course fees, and our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

We may not be able to achieve the benefits we expect from recent and future acquisitions, and recent and future acquisitions may have an adverse effect on our ability to manage our business.

As part of our business strategy, we have pursued and intend to continue to pursue selective strategic acquisitions of businesses that complement our existing businesses. Acquisitions expose us to potential risks, including risks associated with the diversion of resources from our existing businesses, difficulties in successfully integrating the acquired businesses, failure to achieve expected growth by the acquired businesses and an inability to generate sufficient revenue to offset the costs and expenses of acquisitions. If the revenue and cost synergies that we expect to achieve from our acquisitions do not materialize, we may have to recognize impairment charges. For example, in September 2010, we completed the acquisition of a 100% equity interest in Newave Education, a K-12 English language school in Shanghai. Due to the breach of contract by the seller of Newave Education, we submitted a request for arbitration to the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission for full refund of the purchase consideration which we had paid. The case was closed in December 2011, and we received the full refund by the end of the fiscal year ended May 31, 2012.

If any one or more of the aforementioned risks associated with acquisitions materialize, our acquisitions may not be beneficial to us and may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Third parties have in the past brought intellectual property infringement claims against us based on the content of the books and other teaching or marketing materials that we or our teachers authored and/or distributed and may bring similar claims against us in the future.

We may be subject to claims by educational institutions and organizations, content providers and publishers, competitors and others on the ground of intellectual property rights infringement, defamation, negligence or other legal theories based on the content of the materials that we or our teachers author and/or distribute as course materials. These types of claims have been brought, sometimes successfully, against print publications and educational institutions in the past, including ourselves. For example, in January 2001, the Graduate Management Admission Council, or GMAC, and Educational Testing Service, or ETS, filed three separate lawsuits against us in the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court, alleging that we had violated the copyrights and trademarks relating to the GMAT test owned by GMAC and relating to the GRE and TOEFL tests owned by ETS by duplicating, selling and distributing their test materials without their authorization. In September 2003, the trial court found that we had violated GMAC’s and ETS’ respective copyrights and trademarks in connection with those admissions tests. The trial court’s judgment was partially affirmed in a final judgment issued by the Beijing Higher People’s Court in December 2004. The Beijing Higher People’s Court held that we had not misused the trademarks of GMAC or ETS. However, it also found that the TOEFL and GRE tests were the original works of ETS and the GMAT test was the original work of GMAC, all of which are protected under the PRC Copyright Law. The Beijing Higher People’s Court held that our duplication, sale and distribution of the test materials relating to these tests without ETS’ and GMAC’s prior permission were not a “reasonable use” of the test materials under the PRC Copyright Law, and that we, therefore, had infringed upon ETS’ and GMAC’s respective copyrights. We were ordered to pay damages in an aggregate of approximately RMB6.5 million, cease all infringing activities and destroy all copyright-infringing materials in our possession, all of which we have done. Since the Beijing Higher People’s Court issued the final judgment in 2004, we have endeavored to comply with the court order and applicable PRC laws and regulations relating to intellectual property, and we have adopted policies and procedures to prohibit our employees and contractors from engaging in any copyright, trademark or trade name infringing activities. However, we cannot assure you that every teacher or other personnel will strictly comply with these policies at our schools, learning centers or other locations or media through which we provide our programs, services and products.

 

7


Table of Contents

We have also been involved in other claims and legal proceedings against us relating to infringement of third parties’ copyrights in materials distributed by us and the unauthorized use of a third party’s name in connection with the marketing and promotion of one of our programs, and may be subject to further claims in the future, particularly in light of the uncertainties in the interpretation and application of intellectual property laws and regulations. Furthermore, if printed publications or other materials that we or our teachers author and/or distribute contain materials that government authorities find objectionable, these publications may have to be recalled, which could result in increased expenses, loss in revenues and adverse publicity. Any claims against us, with or without merit, could be time-consuming and costly to defend or litigate, divert our management’s attention and resources or result in the loss of goodwill associated with our brand. If a lawsuit against us is successful, we may be required to pay substantial damages and/or enter into royalty or license agreements that may not be based upon commercially reasonable terms, or we may be unable to enter into such agreements at all. We may also lose, or be limited in, the rights to offer some of our programs, services and products or be required to make changes to our course materials or websites. As a result, the scope of our course materials could be reduced, which could adversely affect the effectiveness of our teaching, limit our ability to attract new students, harm our reputation and have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and financial position.

We may lose our competitive advantage and our reputation, brand and operations may suffer if we fail to prevent the loss or misappropriation of, or disputes over, our intellectual property rights.

We consider our trademarks and trade name invaluable to our ability to continue to develop and enhance our brand recognition. We have spent over 20 years building our “New Oriental” brand by emphasizing quality and consistency and building trust among students and parents. From time to time, our trademarks and trade name have been used by third parties for or as part of other branded programs, services and products unrelated to us. We have sent cease and desist letters to such third parties in the past and will continue to do so in the future. However, preventing trademark and trade name infringement, particularly in China, is difficult, costly and time-consuming and continued unauthorized use of our trademarks and trade name by unrelated third parties may damage our reputation and brand. In addition, we have spent significant time and expense developing or licensing and localizing the content of certain educational materials, such as books, software, CD-ROMs, magazines, other periodicals and Apps, to enrich our product offerings and meet students’ needs. The measures we take to protect our trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property rights, which presently are based upon a combination of trademark, copyright and trade secret laws, may not be adequate to prevent unauthorized use by third parties. Furthermore, the application of laws governing intellectual property rights in China and abroad is uncertain and evolving, and could involve substantial risks to us. If we are unable to adequately protect our trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property rights, we may lose these rights, our brand name may be harmed, and our business may suffer materially.

We face significant competition in each major program we offer and each geographic market in which we operate, and if we fail to compete effectively, we may lose our market share and our profitability may be adversely affected.

The private education sector in China is rapidly evolving, highly fragmented and competitive, and we expect competition in this sector to persist and intensify. We face competition in each major program we offer and each geographic market in which we operate. For example, we face nationwide competition for our IELTS preparation courses from Global IELTS School, which offers IELTS preparation courses in many cities in China. We face regional competition for our English for children program from several competitors that focus on children’s English training in specific regions. We face competition from companies that focus on providing international and/or PRC test preparation courses in specific geographic markets in China. We also face competition from companies that focus on providing after-school tutoring services, such as TAL Education Group.

 

8


Table of Contents

Our student enrollments may decrease due to intense competition. Some of our competitors may have more resources than we do. These competitors may be able to devote greater resources than we can to the development, promotion and sale of their programs, services and products and respond more quickly than we can to changes in student needs, testing materials, admissions standards or new technologies. In addition, we face competition from many different smaller sized organizations that focus on some of our targeted markets, and they may be able to respond more promptly to changes in student preferences in these markets. In addition, the increasing use of the internet and advances in internet- and computer-related technologies, such as web video conferencing and online testing simulators, are eliminating geographic and cost-entry barriers to providing private educational services. As a result, many of our international competitors that offer online test preparation and language training courses may be able to more effectively penetrate the China market. Many of these international competitors have strong education brands, and students and parents in China may be attracted to the offerings of international competitors based in the country that the student wishes to study in or in which the selected language is widely spoken. Moreover, many smaller companies are able to use the internet to quickly and cost-effectively offer their programs, services and products to a large number of students with less capital expenditure than previously required. We may have to reduce course fees or increase spending in response to competition in order to retain or attract students or pursue new market opportunities. As a result, our revenues and profitability may decrease. We cannot assure you that we will be able to compete successfully against current or future competitors. If we are unable to maintain our competitive position or otherwise respond to competitive pressures effectively, we may lose our market share and our profitability may be adversely affected.

Failure to adequately and promptly respond to changes in testing materials, admissions standards and technologies could cause our programs, services and products to be less attractive to students.

Admissions and assessment tests undergo continuous change, in terms of the focus of the subjects and questions tested, the format of the tests and the manner in which the tests are administered. For example, certain admissions and assessment tests in the United States now include an essay component, which required us to hire and train teachers to be able to analyze written essays that tend to be more subjective in nature and require a higher level of English proficiency. In addition, some admissions and assessment tests that were previously offered in paper format only are now offered in a computer-based testing format. These changes require us to continually update and enhance our test preparation materials and our teaching methods. Further, the Chinese Ministry of Education, or the MOE, promulgated new curriculum standards on December 28, 2011 for primary and secondary schools in China covering 19 subjects, including mathematics, Chinese and English. These new curriculum standards took effect in the fall semester of 2012, and we finished adapting our tutoring programs and materials to these changes in curriculum standards in July 2013. In September 2014, the government announced plans to change policies relating to the gaokao, or college entrance exam, that will change the format of English exam in the coming years. In December 2014, the MOE issued the Implementation Opinions on Scholastic Standard Test of Senior Secondary Schools and the Opinions on Strengthening and Improving the Comprehensive Aptitude Assessment of High School Students, both of which reform the policies relating to the college entrance exam, including but not limited to the subject, format and content of the exam. These policies will be implemented on a province-by-province basis and some provinces such as Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang have promulgated relevant regulations on reformation of the college entrance exam. On September 18, 2016, the MOE promulgated the Guidance Opinions on Further Promoting the Reform of Exams and Entrance System for High Schools which promotes that the secondary school students shall participate the Secondary School Academic Proficiency Test, instead of participating in both the secondary school graduation exams and high school entrance exams, and the scores of students for certain subjects obtained in this Secondary School Academic Proficiency Test shall be taken into consideration for high school enrollment. In January 2017, MOE promulgated new curriculum standards for the subject of science in primary schools, which took effect in the fall semester of 2017. In December 2017, MOE issued the 2017 Curriculum Schemes and Curriculum Standards for Senior Secondary Schools and further issued the Opinions on the Implementing Work of the New Curriculums and the New Textbooks of Senior Secondary Schools in August 2018, both of which provides that MOE developed a new nationwide senior secondary school curriculum system and organized the compilation of a group of new textbooks based on the new curriculum system, which shall be adopted in certain provinces from September 2019 and gradually expand to all other provinces by September 2022. We will adapt our tutoring programs and materials to new curriculum requirements promulgated from time to time. Any inability to track and respond to these changes in a timely and cost-effective manner would make our programs, services and products less attractive to students, which may materially and adversely affect our reputation and ability to continue to attract students without a significant decrease in course fees.

 

9


Table of Contents

If colleges, universities and other higher education institutions reduce their reliance on admissions and assessment tests, we may experience a decrease in demand for our test preparation courses and our business may be materially and adversely affected.

We provide preparation courses for both overseas and domestic admissions and assessment tests. The success of our test preparation courses depends on the continued use of admissions and assessment tests as a requirement for admission or graduation. However, the use of admissions tests in China may decline or fall out of favor with educational institutions and government authorities. For example, educational institutions and government authorities in China have recently initiated discussions and conducted early experiments in China on school admissions. Generally, these discussions and experiments exhibit a trend of basing admissions decisions less on entrance exam scores and more on a combination of other factors, such as past academic record, extracurricular activities and comprehensive aptitude evaluations. There have been certain changes in some geographic areas in the way the high school entrance exam is administered. If the use of admissions tests in China declines or falls out of favor with educational institutions and government authorities and if we fail to respond to these changes, the demand for certain of our services may decline, and our business may be materially and adversely affected.

In the United States, there has been a continuing debate regarding the usefulness of admissions and assessment tests to assess qualifications of applicants and many people have criticized the use of admissions and assessment tests as unfairly discriminating against certain test takers. If a large number of educational institutions abandon the use of existing admissions and assessment tests as a requirement for admission, without replacing them with other admissions and assessment tests, we may experience a decrease in demand for our test preparation courses and our business may be seriously harmed.

We experienced and may continue to experience a decrease in our margins.

Many factors may cause our gross and net margins to decline. For example, there is a recent trend that the short-term language training and test preparation markets are moving towards smaller class sizes, especially for students between the ages of 5 and 12. This may have resulted from discretionary income increases for families in China, which cause students to be more willing and able to pay higher course fees for the more individualized attention that smaller classes can offer. The average class size for our short-term language training and test preparation courses started to decrease since the fiscal year ended May 31, 2009. In our fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, the average class size was approximately 11 students per class, compared to approximately 30 students per class for fiscal year ended May 31, 2009. Although our smaller-sized classes are highly profitable, they are marginally less profitable on average than our large classes. In addition, new investments and acquisitions may cause our margins to decline before we successfully integrate the acquired businesses into our operations and realize the full benefits of these investments and acquisitions. There is a risk that our margins could continue to decline in the future due to these factors.

New programs, services and products that we develop may compete with our current offerings.

We are constantly developing new programs, services and products to meet changes in student demands and respond to changes in testing materials, admissions standards, market needs and trends and technological changes. While some of the programs, services and products that we develop will expand our current offerings and increase student enrollments, others may compete with or make irrelevant our existing offerings without increasing our total student enrollments. For example, our online courses may take away students from our existing classroom-based courses, and our new schools and learning centers may take away students from our existing schools and learning centers. If we are unable to expand our program, service and product offerings while increasing our total student enrollments and profitability, our business and growth may be adversely affected.

 

10


Table of Contents

Our business is subject to fluctuations caused by seasonality or other factors beyond our control, which may cause our operating results to fluctuate from quarter to quarter. This may result in volatility and adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

We have experienced, and expect to continue to experience, seasonal fluctuations in our revenues and results of operations, primarily due to seasonal changes in student enrollments. Historically, our courses tend to have the largest student enrollments in our first fiscal quarter, which runs from June 1 to August 31 of each year, primarily because many students enroll in our courses during the summer school holidays to enhance their foreign language skills and/or prepare for admissions and assessment tests in subsequent school terms. In addition, we have generally experienced larger student enrollments in our third fiscal quarter, which runs from December 1 to February 28 of each year, primarily because many students enroll in our language training and other courses during the winter school holidays. However, our expenses vary, and certain of our expenses do not necessarily correspond with changes in our student enrollments and revenues. For example, we make investments in marketing and promotion, teacher recruitment and training, and product development throughout the year and we pay rent for our facilities based on the terms of the lease agreements. In addition, other factors beyond our control, such as special events that take place during a quarter when our student enrollment would normally be high, may have a negative impact on our student enrollments. We expect quarterly fluctuations in our revenues and results of operations to continue. These fluctuations could result in volatility and adversely affect the price of our ADSs. As our revenues grow, these seasonal fluctuations may become more pronounced.

Our historical financial and operating results are not indicative of our future performance; and our financial and operating results are difficult to forecast.

Our financial and operating results may not meet the expectations of public market analysts or investors, which could cause the price of our ADSs to decline. In addition to the fluctuations described above, our revenues, expenses and operating results may vary from quarter to quarter and from year to year in response to a variety of other factors beyond our control, including:

 

   

general economic conditions;

 

   

regulations or actions pertaining to the provision of private educational services in China;

 

   

detrimental negative publicity about us, our competitors or our industry;

 

   

changes in consumers’ spending patterns; and

 

   

non-recurring charges incurred in connection with acquisitions or other extraordinary transactions or unexpected circumstances.

Due to these and other factors, we believe that quarter-to-quarter comparisons of our operating results may not be indicative of our future performance, and therefore you should not rely on them to predict the future performance of our ADSs. In addition, our past results may not be indicative of future performance because of new businesses developed or acquired by us.

Our business is difficult to evaluate because we have limited experience generating net income from some of our new services.

Historically, our core businesses have been English language training for adults and test preparation courses for college and graduate students. We have launched many new services to expand our business and student base. For example, in January 2010, we established a small pilot program whereby we permit third parties in certain small cities to offer our “Pop Kids” English program and “New Oriental Star” kindergarten program under a brand name cooperation model. The cooperation facilities operated by such third parties are not included in the counts of our schools and learning centers, and student enrollments from these facilities are not included as our student enrollments. In October 2013, we terminated the brand name cooperation for “New Oriental Star” kindergarten program. As another example, in October 2015, we launched “Baixuehui” non-academic training program, which offers after-school tutoring courses in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), sports, dancing, painting, music and arts for students from age 3 to 18. We cooperated with third parties for teaching content and teachers in such non-academic training areas. We had four “Baixuehui” learning centers in Beijing as of May 31, 2019.

 

11


Table of Contents

Some of these operations have not generated significant or any profit to date, and we have less experience responding quickly to changes, competing successfully and maintaining and expanding our brand in these areas without jeopardizing our brand in other areas. Consequently, there is limited operating history on which you can base your evaluation of the business and prospects of these relatively more recent operations.

The continuing efforts of our senior management team and other key personnel are important to our success, and our business may be harmed if we lose their services.

It is important for us to have the continuing services of our senior management team, in particular, Michael Minhong Yu, our founder and executive chairman, who has been our leader since our inception in 1993. If one or more of our senior executives or other key personnel are unable or unwilling to continue in their present positions, we may not be able to replace them easily, and our business may be disrupted. Competition for experienced management personnel in the private education sector is intense, the pool of qualified candidates is very limited, and we may not be able to retain the services of our senior executives or key personnel, or attract and retain high-quality senior executives or key personnel in the future. In addition, if any member of our senior management team or any of our other key personnel joins a competitor or forms a competing company, we may lose teachers, students, key professionals and staff members. Each of our executive officers and key employees is subject to the duty of confidentiality and non-competition restrictions. However, if any disputes arise between any of our senior executives or key personnel and us, it may be difficult to successfully pursue legal actions against these individuals because of the uncertainties of China’s legal systems.

We generate a significant portion of our revenues from four cities in China. Any event negatively affecting the private education industry in these cities could have a material adverse effect on our overall business and results of operations.

We derived approximately 30.9% of our total net revenues for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019 from our operations in Beijing, Hangzhou, Shanghai and Xi’an, and we expect these four cities to continue to constitute important sources of our revenues. If any of these cities experiences an event negatively affecting its private education industry, such as a serious economic downturn, a natural disaster or an outbreak of contagious disease, or if any of these cities adopts regulations relating to private education that place additional restrictions or burdens on us, our overall business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

If we are not able to continually enhance our online programs, services and products and adapt them to rapid technological changes and student needs, we may lose market share and our business could be adversely affected.

The market for internet-based educational programs, services and products is characterized by rapid technological changes and innovation, unpredictable product life cycles and user preferences. We have limited experience with generating revenues from online programs, services and products, and their results are largely uncertain. The increasing adoption of computer-based testing formats for admissions testing may lead more students to seek online test preparation courses. We must quickly modify our programs, services and products to adapt to changing student needs and preferences, technological advances and evolving internet practices. Ongoing enhancement of our online offerings and related technology may entail significant expense and technical risk. We may fail to use new technologies effectively or adapt our online products or services and related technology on a timely and cost-effective basis. If our improvements to our online offerings and the related technology are delayed, result in systems interruptions or are not aligned with market expectations or preferences, we may lose market share and our business could be adversely affected.

Failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could have a material and adverse effect on the trading price of our ADSs.

We are subject to the reporting obligations under the U.S. securities laws. Although our management concluded, and our independent registered public accounting firm reported, that we maintained effective internal control over financial reporting as of May 31, 2019, we cannot assure you that we will maintain effective internal control over financial reporting on an ongoing basis. If we fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting, we will not be able to conclude and our independent registered public accounting firm will not be able to report that we have effective internal control over financial reporting in accordance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in our future annual report on Form 20-F covering the fiscal year in which this failure occurs. Effective internal control over financial reporting is necessary for us to produce reliable financial reports. Any failure to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting could result in the loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our financial statements, which in turn could have a material and adverse effect on the trading price of our ADSs. Furthermore, we may need to incur additional costs and use additional management and other resources as our business and operations further expand or in an effort to remediate any significant control deficiencies that may be identified in the future.

 

12


Table of Contents

We do not have liability or business disruption insurance in some of our teaching facilities, and a liability claim against us due to injuries suffered by our students or other people at our facilities could adversely affect our reputation and our financial results.

We could be held liable for accidents that occur at our schools, learning centers and other facilities, including indoor facilities where we organize certain summer camp activities and temporary housing facilities that we lease for our students from time to time. In the event of on-site food poisoning, personal injuries, fires or other accidents suffered by students or other people, we could face claims alleging that we were negligent, provided inadequate supervision or were otherwise liable for the injuries. We currently do not have liability insurance or business disruption insurance in some of our teaching facilities. A successful liability claim against us due to injuries suffered by our students or other people at our facilities could adversely affect our reputation and our financial results. Even if unsuccessful, such a claim could cause unfavorable publicity, require substantial cost to defend and divert the time and attention of our management.

Capacity constraints or system disruptions to our computer systems or websites, any cybersecurity incidents, or a leak of student data could damage our reputation, limit our ability to retain students and increase student enrollments and require us to expend significant resources.

The performance and reliability of our online program infrastructure is critical to our reputation and ability to retain students and increase student enrollments. Any system error or failure, or a sudden and significant increase in traffic, could result in the difficulty of accessing our websites by our students or unavailability of our online programs. Although we use elastic cloud computing with an aim to timely expand our online program infrastructure to meet demand for such programs, we cannot assure you this will be sufficient to meet the increasing demands of our students as our business continues to grow. Our computer systems and operations could be vulnerable to interruption or malfunction due to events beyond our control, including natural disasters and telecommunications failures. We used an off-site computer center which is able to restore service within several minutes following significant damage to our on-site computer center.

Although we have built a backup system that runs on different servers for our operating data, we may still lose important student data or suffer disruption to our operations if there is a failure of the database system or the backup system. Our computer networks may also be vulnerable to unauthorized access, hacking, computer viruses and other security problems. Computer hackers may attempt to penetrate our network security and our website. We have in the past experienced several computer attacks, although they did not materially affect our operations. Unauthorized access to our proprietary business information or customer data may be obtained through break-ins, sabotage, breach of our secure network by an unauthorized party, computer viruses, computer denial-of-service attacks, employee theft or misuse, breach of the security of the networks of our third party providers, or other misconduct. Because the techniques used by computer programmers who may attempt to penetrate and sabotage our network security or our website change frequently and may not be recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques. A user who circumvents security measures could misappropriate proprietary information or cause interruptions or malfunctions in operations. We could suffer economic and reputational damages and even bear legal liabilities if a technical failure of our systems or a security breach compromises student data, including identification or contact information, although there has not been any material compromise in the past. Any interruption to our computer systems or operations could have a material adverse effect on our ability to retain students and increase student enrollments.

 

13


Table of Contents

We may be required to expend significant resources to protect against the threat of security breaches or to alleviate problems caused by these breaches, which would increase the cost of our business and eventually have adverse effect on our financial conditions and results of operations.

Terrorist attacks, geopolitical uncertainty, economic slowdown and international conflicts involving the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere may discourage more students from studying in the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere outside of China, which could cause declines in the student enrollments for our courses.

Terrorist attacks, geopolitical uncertainty, economic slowdown and international conflicts involving the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere, such as the attacks on September 11, 2001, the Boston marathon bombings on April 15, 2013, and the announcement of Brexit in June 2016, could have an adverse effect on our overseas test preparation courses and English language training courses. Such events may discourage students from studying in the United States and elsewhere outside of China and may also make it more difficult for Chinese students to obtain visas to study abroad. These factors could cause declines in the student enrollments for our test preparation and English language training courses and could have an adverse effect on our overall business and results of operations.

Failure to control rental costs, obtain leases at desired locations at reasonable prices or protect our leasehold interests could materially and adversely affect our business.

Our office, schools and learning centers are mainly located on leased premises. The lease term generally ranges from one to fifteen years and the lease agreements are renewable upon mutual consent at the end of the applicable lease period. We may not be able to obtain new leases at desirable locations or renew our existing leases on acceptable terms or at all, which could adversely affect our business. We may have to relocate our operations for various other reasons, including increasing rentals, failure in passing the fire inspection in certain locations and the early termination of for our lease agreements under applicable PRC laws and regulations, or otherwise subject to fines ranging from RMB1,000 to RMB10,000 for each lease agreement that has not been registered. However, failure to complete such registration would not affect the enforceability of the relevant lease agreements in practice.

In addition, a few of our lessors have not been able to provide us with copies of title certificates or other evidentiary documents to prove that they have authorization to lease the properties to us. Our business and legal teams followed an internal guideline to identify and assess risks in connection with leasing the properties, and a final business decision was made after our analysis of the likely impact of the defects on the leasehold interests and the value of the properties to our expansion plan. However, there is no assurance that our decision would always lead to the favorable outcome we expected to achieve. If any of our leases are terminated as a result of challenges by third parties or government authorities for lack of title certificates or proof of authorization to lease, we do not expect to be subject to any fines or penalties but we may be forced to relocate the affected learning centers and incur additional expenses relating to such relocation. For example, our Zhengzhou school is currently party to a civil proceeding initiated by the property owners. The plaintiffs claimed for payment of rent and liquidated damages. This proceeding is currently pending judgement from Zhengzhou Intermediary Court. If we fail to obtain a judgement in our favor, we may be required to pay the rent and liquidated damages to the property owners and may need to relocate our Zhengzhou school, which will incur additional expenses.

In addition, our teaching institutions are required to pass fire inspection and fire control assessment each year under applicable laws and regulations. If our use of the leased premise is challenged by relevant government authorities for lack of fire inspection, we may be further subject to fines, rectifications and we may need to relocate the affected learning centers and incur additional expenses. If we fail to find suitable replacement sites in a timely manner or on terms acceptable to us, our business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure

If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our China business do not comply with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we could be subject to severe penalties.

PRC laws and regulations currently require any foreign entity that invests in the education business in China to be an educational institution with relevant experience in providing educational services outside China. Our offshore holding companies are not educational institutions and do not provide educational services outside China. In addition, in the PRC, foreign ownership of high schools for students in grade ten to twelve is restricted and foreign ownership of primary and middle schools for students in grades one to nine is prohibited. As a result, our offshore holding companies are not allowed to directly own and operate schools in China.

 

14


Table of Contents

We conduct substantially all of our education business in China through a series of contractual arrangements with New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries and New Oriental China’s shareholder. These contractual arrangements enable us to (1) have power to direct the activities that most significantly affect the economic performance of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries; (2) receive substantially all of the economic benefits from New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries in consideration for the services provided by our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China; and (3) have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in New Oriental China, when and to the extent permitted by PRC law, or request any existing shareholder of New Oriental China to transfer all or part of the equity interest in New Oriental China to another PRC person or entity designated by us at any time in our discretion. For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with New Oriental China, Its Schools and Subsidiaries and Its Shareholder.”

In addition, our online education business is operated by our majority-owned subsidiary, Koolearn Technology Holding Limited, or Koolearn, through a series of contractual arrangements with Beijing New Oriental Xuncheng Network Technology Co., Ltd., or Beijing Xuncheng, and its subsidiaries and shareholders. These contractual arrangements enable Koolearn to (1) have power to direct the activities that most significantly affect the economic performance of Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries; (2) receive substantially all of the economic benefits from Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries in consideration for the services provided by Koolearn’s wholly-owned subsidiaries in China; and (3) have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in Beijing Xuncheng, when and to the extent permitted by PRC law, or request any existing shareholder of Beijing Xuncheng to transfer all or part of the equity interest in Beijing Xuncheng to another PRC person or entity designated by us at any time in our discretion. For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with Beijing Xuncheng, Its Subsidiaries and Shareholders.” In this annual report, we refer to New Oriental China and Beijing Xuncheng as our variable interest entities, and to New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries as well as Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries as our consolidated affiliated entities.

Tian Yuan Law Firm, our PRC legal counsel, is of the opinion that:

 

   

the corporate structure of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries and our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, and (ii) the corporate structure of Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries and the wholly-owned subsidiary of Koolearn in China are in compliance with existing PRC laws and regulations; and

 

   

the contractual arrangements among our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries and the shareholder of New Oriental China, and (ii) the contractual arrangements among Koolearn’s wholly-owned subsidiary in China, Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries and shareholders are valid, binding and enforceable under, and do not violate, PRC laws or regulations currently in effect.

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, there can be no assurance that the PRC regulatory authorities will not in the future take a view that is contrary to the above opinion of our PRC legal counsel.

It is uncertain whether any new PRC laws, rules or regulations relating to variable interest entity structures will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. In particular, whether and how the Foreign Investment Law promulgated in March 2019 will impact the viability of our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations. See “Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the newly enacted Foreign Investment Law and how it may impact the viability of our current corporate structure, corporate governance, business, financial condition and results of operations.”

 

15


Table of Contents

We have been further advised by our PRC counsel that if we, any of our PRC subsidiaries or consolidated affiliated entities are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations or fail to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities, including the Ministry of Education, which regulates the education industry, would have broad discretion in dealing with such violations, including:

 

   

revoking the business and operating licenses of our PRC subsidiaries or consolidated affiliated entities;

 

   

discontinuing or restricting the operations of any related-party transactions among our PRC subsidiaries and our consolidated affiliated entities;

 

   

restricting our right to collect revenues or limiting our business expansion in China by way of entering into contractual arrangements;

 

   

imposing fines or other requirements with which we may not be able to comply;

 

   

requiring us to restructure our corporate structure or operations; or

 

   

restricting or prohibiting our use of the proceeds of our future offering to finance our business and operations in China.

The imposition of any of these penalties could result in a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business and on our results of operations. If any of these penalties results in our inability to direct the activities of our consolidated affiliated entities that most significantly impact their economic performance, and/or our failure to receive the economic benefits from our consolidated affiliated entities, we may not be able to consolidate our consolidated affiliated entities in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. However, we do not believe that such actions would result in the liquidation or dissolution of our company, our subsidiaries in China or our consolidated affiliated entities.

We rely on contractual arrangements for our operations in China, which may not be as effective in providing operational control as direct ownership.

We have relied and expect to continue to rely on contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities, their respective schools and/or subsidiaries and their respective shareholders to operate substantially all of our education business. These contractual arrangements may not be as effective in providing us with control over our variable interest entities as direct ownership. From the legal perspective, if our variable interest entities, any of their schools and/or subsidiaries or their shareholders fails to perform its respective obligations under the contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and spend other resources to enforce such arrangements, and rely on legal remedies under PRC law, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief and claiming damages. For example, if Beijing Century Friendship Education Investment Co., Ltd., or Century Friendship, the sole shareholder of New Oriental China, were to refuse to transfer its equity interest in New Oriental China to us or our designee when we exercise the call option pursuant to the option agreement, or if it otherwise acts in bad faith toward us, then we may have to take legal action to compel it to fulfill its contractual obligations, which could be time consuming and costly.

These contractual arrangements are governed by PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in the PRC or through the PRC courts. The legal environment in the PRC is not as developed as in some other jurisdictions, such as the United States. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. In the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, our consolidated affiliated entities contributed in aggregate 98.8%,98.8% and 98.7%, respectively, of our total net revenues. In the event we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, we may not be able to have the power to direct the activities that most significantly affect the economic performance of our consolidated affiliated entities, and our ability to conduct our business may be negatively affected, and we may not be able to consolidate the financial results of our consolidated affiliated entities into our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

 

16


Table of Contents

Our ability to enforce the equity pledge agreements between us and the shareholders of our variable interest entities may be subject to limitations based on PRC laws and regulations.

Pursuant to the equity pledge agreements among our subsidiaries in China, each of our variable interest entities and their respective shareholders, each shareholder of our variable interest entities agrees to pledge its equity interests in the variable interest entity to our subsidiaries to secure the performance by themselves and by our consolidated affiliated entities of their obligations under the relevant contractual arrangements. The equity pledges of shareholders of our variable interest entities under these equity pledge agreements have been registered with the relevant local branch of the State Administration for Market Regulation, or SAMR. According to the PRC Property Law and PRC Guarantee Law, the pledgee and the pledgor are prohibited from making an agreement prior to the expiration of the debt performance period to transfer the ownership of the pledged equity to the pledgee. However, under the PRC Property Law, when an obligor fails to pay its debt when due, the pledgee may choose to either conclude an agreement with the pledgor to obtain the pledged equity or seek payments from the proceeds of the auction or sell-off of the pledged equity. If any of our consolidated affiliated entities or any of the shareholders of our variable interest entities fails to perform its obligations secured by the pledges under the equity pledge agreements, one remedy in the event of default under the agreements is to require the pledgor to sell the equity interests of our variable interest entity in an auction or private sale and remit the proceeds to our subsidiaries in China, net of related taxes and expenses. Such an auction or private sale may not result in our receipt of the full value of the equity interests in the variable interest entity. We consider it very unlikely that the public auction process would be undertaken since, in an event of default, our preferred approach is to ask our PRC subsidiary, a party to the option agreement with the shareholder of our variable interest entities, to designate another PRC person or entity to replace the shareholder pursuant to the direct transfer option we have under the option agreement.

In addition, for New Oriental China, the amount of registered equity interests pledged to our wholly-owned subsidiaries in the registration forms of the local branch of SAMR was stated as RMB3,000,000, RMB18,500,000, RMB9,500,000, RMB14,000,000 and RMB5,000,000, respectively, which in aggregate represent 100% of the registered capital of New Oriental China. The equity pledge agreements with New Oriental China’s shareholder provide that the pledged equity interest shall constitute continuing security for any and all of the indebtedness, obligations and liabilities under all of the principal service agreements and the scope of pledge shall not be limited by the amount of the registered capital of New Oriental China. However, it is possible that a PRC court may take the position that the amount listed on the equity pledge registration forms represents the full amount of the collateral that has been registered and perfected. If this is the case, the obligations that are supposed to be secured in the equity pledge agreements in excess of the amount listed on the equity pledge registration forms could be determined by the PRC court as unsecured debt, which takes last priority among creditors and often does not have to be paid back at all. We do not have agreements that pledge the assets of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries for the benefit of us or our wholly-owned subsidiaries.

The controlling shareholder of Century Friendship, which is the sole shareholder of New Oriental China, may have potential conflicts of interest with us, and if any such conflicts of interest are not resolved in our favor, our business may be materially and adversely affected.

New Oriental China is the majority shareholder of Beijing Xuncheng, holding 74.4945% of Beijing Xuncheng. New Oriental China is wholly owned by Century Friendship, a PRC domestic company which is controlled by Mr. Michael Minhong Yu, our founder and executive chairman. The interests of Mr. Yu as the controlling shareholder of the entity which owns New Oriental China may differ from the interests of our company as a whole, since Mr. Yu is only one of the beneficial owners of our company, holding 13.09% of our total common shares issued and outstanding as of September 20, 2019. We cannot assure you that when conflicts of interest arise, Mr. Yu will act in the best interests of our company or that conflicts of interests will be resolved in our favor. In addition, Mr. Yu may breach or cause New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries to breach or cause Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries to breach or refuse to renew the existing contractual arrangements with us. Currently, we do not have existing arrangements to address potential conflicts of interest Mr. Yu may encounter in his capacity as a beneficial owner and director of New Oriental China, on the one hand, and as a beneficial owner and director of our company, on the other hand; provided that we could, at all times, exercise our option under the option agreement with Century Friendship to cause it to transfer all of its equity ownership in New Oriental China to a PRC entity or individual designated by us, and this new shareholder of New Oriental China could then appoint a new director of New Oriental China to replace Mr. Yu. In addition, if such conflicts of interest arise, Beijing Pioneer could also, in the capacity of Century Friendship’s attorney-in-fact as provided under the proxy agreement and power of attorney, directly appoint a new director of New Oriental China to replace Mr. Yu. We rely on Century Friendship and Mr. Yu to comply with the laws of China, which protect contracts, including the contractual arrangements New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries and its shareholder have entered into with us, which provide that directors and executive officers owe a duty of loyalty to our company and require them to avoid conflicts of interest and not to take advantage of their positions for personal gains. We also rely on Mr. Yu to abide by the laws of the Cayman Islands, which provide that directors have a duty of care and a duty of loyalty to act honestly in good faith with a view to our best interests. However, the legal frameworks of China and the Cayman Islands do not provide guidance on resolving conflicts in the event of a conflict with another corporate governance regime. If we cannot resolve any conflicts of interest or disputes between us and Century Friendship and Mr. Yu, we would have to rely on legal proceedings, which could result in disruption of our business and subject us to substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.

 

17


Table of Contents

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 such as the leases and sales 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 local branch of the SAMR. We generally execute legal documents by affixing chops or seals, rather than having the designated legal representatives sign the documents.

We have three major types of chops—corporate chops, contract chops and finance chops. We use corporate chops generally for documents to be submitted to government agencies, such as applications for changing business scope, directors or company name, and for legal letters. We use contract chops for executing leases and commercial, contracts. We use finance chops generally for making and collecting payments, including, but not limited to issuing invoices. Use of corporate chops and contract chops must be approved by our legal department and administrative department, and use of finance chops must be approved by our finance department. The chops of our subsidiaries and our consolidated affiliated entities are generally held by the relevant entities so that documents can be executed locally. Although we usually utilize chops to execute contracts, the registered legal representatives of our PRC subsidiaries and our consolidated affiliated entities have the apparent authority to enter into contracts on behalf of such entities without chops. All designated legal representatives of our PRC subsidiaries and our consolidated affiliated entities are members of our senior management who have signed employment agreements with us under which they agree to abide by duties they owe to us.

In order to maintain the physical security of our chops, we generally have them stored in secured locations accessible only to the department heads of the legal, administrative or finance departments. Our designated legal representatives generally do not have access to the chops. Although we monitor our employees, including the designated legal representatives of our PRC subsidiaries and our consolidated affiliated entities, the procedures may not be sufficient to prevent all instances of abuse or negligence. There is a risk that our employees or designated legal representatives could abuse their authority, for example, by binding the relevant subsidiary or consolidated affiliated entity with contracts against our interests, as we would be obligated to honor these contracts if the other contracting party acts in good faith in reliance on the apparent authority of our chops or signatures of our legal representatives. If any designated legal representative obtains control of the chop in an effort to obtain control over the relevant entity, we would need to have a shareholder or board resolution to designate a new legal representative and to take legal action to seek the return of the chop, apply for a new chop with the relevant authorities, or otherwise seek legal remedies for the legal representative’s misconduct. If any of the designated legal representatives obtains and 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 while distracting management from our operations.

 

18


Table of Contents

Our ability to operate private schools may be subject to significant limitations or may otherwise be materially and adversely affected by changes in PRC laws and regulations.

The principal regulations governing private education in China are the Law for Promoting Private Education (as amended on November 7, 2016 by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and became effective on September 1, 2017), or the Amended Private Education Law, which replaced the Law for Promoting Private Education (2003), and the Implementation Rules for the Law for Promoting Private Education (2004), or the Implementation Rules (2004), the amendment to which is currently under review by the State Council. The implementation of the Amended Private Education Law is still in a transition period pending for the promulgation of amendment to the Implementation Rules (2004) and the adoption of local regulations of by each province in China. Thus the private schools in China, including our schools, are now in a transition period for re-registration according to the Amended Private Education Law and its Implementation Rules and other relevant regulations.

Under the Law for Promoting Private Education (2003), which was replaced and abolished on September 1, 2017, and its Implementation Rules (2004), a private school may elect to be a school that does not require reasonable returns or a school that requires reasonable returns. At the end of each fiscal year, every private school is required to allocate a certain amount to its development fund for the construction or maintenance of the school or procurement or upgrade of educational equipment. In the case of a private school that requires reasonable returns, this amount shall be no less than 25% of annual net income of the school, while in the case of a private school that does not require reasonable returns, this amount shall be no less than 25% of the annual increase in the net assets of the school, if any. As of May 31, 2019, 19 of our schools elected as schools not requiring reasonable returns, 40 of our schools elected as schools requiring reasonable returns, and the remaining schools are not classified or registered as companies.

Under the Amended Private Education Law, the term “reasonable return” is no longer used, and sponsors of private schools may choose to establish non-profit or for-profit private schools at their own discretion, except that private schools in compulsory education area can only be registered as non-profit private schools. 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 the entire income must be used for the operations of the schools. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation.”

If our schools choose to be for-profit private education entities, they may be subject to PRC enterprise income tax at the rate of 25% and other taxes as if they were enterprises. For the year ended May 31, 2019, schools that accounted for approximately 68.76% of our consolidated net revenues were subject to a 25% income tax rate. Historically, the effective income tax rates for all our schools were 12.17%, 15.35% and 18.58% in the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. On the other hand, if our schools choose to be non-profit private education entities, our contractual arrangements with New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries may be subject to more stringent scrutiny.

On August 10, 2018, the Ministry of Justice published for public comments a draft of the amended Implementation Rules for the Law for Promoting Private Education, or the Draft Amended Implementation Rules, which has been submitted by the Ministry of Education to the State Council for approval. As of the date of this annual report, the Draft Amended Implementation Rules are still pending for approval. If these rules are signed into law, they would have several impacts on our existing business. For example:

 

   

Pursuant to the Draft Amended Implementation Rules, private schools that provide pre-school education and degree education, like our kindergartens, private primary and secondary school in Yangzhou and our private secondary school in Beijing, are subject to approval by the government’s education department at or above county level using standards applicable to public schools of the same grade and category. Private training and education entities that provide after-school tutoring services for kindergarten kids or primary, middle and high school students are subject to approval and strict supervision by the government’s education department at or above county level. Private training and education entities that offer courses of languages, art, sports, science and technology, research and other subjects that focus on character education and personality development, as well as private training and education entities that provide non-degree educational services for adults may directly apply to register as a legal person without obtaining prior approval from the relevant education authorities. Pursuant to the foregoing, except for our kindergartens, private primary and secondary school in Yangzhou, our private secondary school in Beijing and our private training and education entities that provide after-school tutoring services, all of our other existing schools would not be required to obtain approval from the government’s education department.

 

19


Table of Contents
   

The Draft Amended Implementation Rules require private schools providing online diploma-awarding education to hold both a private school operating permit and relevant internet operating permits. Private schools providing any online training and education services, or technology companies providing any online platform or system supporting such online training and educations, shall obtain relevant internet operation permits and file with the government’s education department or the government’s human resources and social security department at provincial level, and shall review and record the identities of entities or individuals who apply for access to their online platforms. None of our schools provides online diploma-awarding education. The operating entity of our online education holds a license for Internet information services, or ICP license. It is unclear at the current stage whether further licenses would be required if the Draft Amended Implementation Rules are signed into law.

In addition, the Draft Amended Implementation Rules prohibit any entities that implement collectivization education from gaining control over non-profit schools through mergers and acquisitions, franchise chains, and control agreements. Any agreements between a non-profit private school and its connected party that involve major interests or will be repeatedly performed in a long-term shall be reviewed and audited by relevant government authorities in the aspect of necessity, legitimacy and compliance and shall be arm’s-length transactions. These and other provisions on non-profit private schools, if signed into law, may force all of our training schools to elect to be for-profit schools, which may in turn subject our training schools to a 25% income tax rate discussed above, and may substantially restrict our ability to acquire and control non-profit schools and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.

Recently, several regulations on after-school tutoring activities have been promulgated. These new regulations and implementation rules provide a series of requirements in the operation of after-school tutoring business, which include, among others: (1) key course information, including subjects, course schedules and course syllabi, for school academic subjects courses, shall be filed with the local education administration authorities and made publicly available, and the progress of the courses shall not surpass the progress of local primary schools and secondary schools for the same period; (2) training classes shall not be scheduled in conflict with the regular schooling time in local primary schools and secondary schools; (3) tutoring activities shall end before 8:30 p.m.; (4) homework shall not be assigned; (5) scored examination, competition or ranking in connection with the courses of primary schools or secondary schools shall not be arranged; (6) tuition fees for a period spanning more than three months should not be collected at one time; (7) no fees, other than those that have been made public, and no compulsory fund-raising in any name, may be made to students; (8) student safety insurance shall be purchased by the after-school tutoring institutions; (9) teaching staff who teach Chinese, mathematics, foreign language, physics, chemistry and other subjects in the compulsory education system as well as academic subjects related to the entering of higher education and their extension training shall have requisite teacher qualifications; and (10) public school teachers shall not be employed by after-school tutoring institutions.

In particular, recent regulations on online after-school tutoring activities restates certain requirements that apply to all after-school tutoring institutions, as stated above, and further provide that, among others: (1) online after-school tutoring institutions shall publicly make available their teachers’ name, photograph, teaching classes and teaching qualification number at a prominent location on their home page, and shall publicly make available education background as well as working and education experience of foreign teachers; (2) information including licenses (including ICP), administration of funds, system of privacy and information safety, courses, course schedules, advertisement for student enrollment and teacher qualifications shall be filed with education administration authorities at provincial level before October 31, 2019 and education administration authorities at provincial level shall examine these materials and inspect the online after-school tutoring institutions by December 2019, and education administration authorities at provincial level are authorized to issue detailed rules to implement the filing process; (3) the tutoring contents and data shall be kept for more than one year and the videos of live-streaming tutoring courses shall be kept for at least six months; (4) each class shall not last for more than 40 minutes and the break between two courses shall last for more than 10 minutes; (5) live-streaming tutoring activities for students in the compulsory education stage shall end before 9:00 p.m.; (6) online after-school tutoring institutions shall implement the internet safety procedures and establish privacy protection system; (7) fee policies, standards and refund policies shall be made public at prominent location on the online tutoring platform, and the advance payment shall not be used for investment purpose and the scale of advance payment shall fit the tutoring capability; and (8) tutoring fees for more than 60 classes shall not be collected at one time, if the students are charged according to numbers of classes they take, and tutoring fees for a period spanning more than three months should not be collected at one time, if the students are charged for a period of time. Furthermore, the Opinion on Guiding and Regulating the Healthy Development of Online Education Applications, issued by MOE and seven other authorities on August 11, 2019, restates certain requirements that apply to online education application providers, as stated above, and further provides that: (1) online after-school tutoring institutions shall examine the teaching qualifications, education background and capability of their foreign teachers; (2) online education applications providers shall file information about themselves as well as their applications with education administration authorities at provincial level, and MOE will promulgate detailed filing rules to guide such filing and make such filing results publicly available on official website; (3) online education applications providers whose applications mainly faces juveniles shall limit the length of using time, specify age group of target users and strictly review the content of the applications, and the collection of personal information of juveniles shall be permitted by the custodian of such juveniles; (4) online education application providers shall build up data security systems covering the collection, storage, transferring, using and other respects of personal information, and shall set up a name verification system; (5) education authorities at provincial level shall set up negative lists of the online education applications.

 

20


Table of Contents

To comply with these and other requirements, we need to make necessary adjustments to our business and operations, which could be costly and time-consuming. We cannot assure you that we will be in full compliance with such requirements in time or at all. Any failure by us to comply with these and other requirements may subject us to administrative fines or penalties or order to suspend operations, which would materially and adversely affect our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.

In November 2018, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council issued the Opinions of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and State Council on Deepening Reform in Preschool Education, or Reform Opinions, which stipulates, among others, (i) social capital is not allowed to control non-profit kindergartens or kindergartens that are sponsored by state-owned assets or collectively-owned assets through ways such as mergers and acquisitions, delegating operation, franchising, variable interest entities or contractual arrangements, in breach of which, the kindergartens shall not be allowed to issue additional share capital until the education department jointly with other relevant authorities have remedied such breach, and (ii) public companies are not allowed to invest in for-profit kindergartens through ways such as financing from the capital market, or acquire assets of for-profit kindergartens through ways such as issuing shares or paying cash. It is uncertain whether it would become illegal to use contractual arrangements to consolidate operation results of kindergartens under the new regulation regime, and the above rules may materially affect our expansion and operation of kindergartens in the future. It is uncertain as to how the Reform Opinions and the Circular on Initiating the Rectification will be interpreted and implemented. To the extent that we are not able to fully comply with these requirements, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.

In addition, under PRC laws and regulations, arrangements and transactions among related parties may be subject to audit or challenge by the PRC tax authorities. The contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliated entities may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities, and a finding that we owe additional taxes could substantially reduce our consolidated net income and the value of your investment. We could face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the contractual arrangements among our subsidiaries in China and our consolidated affiliated entities, do not represent an arm’s-length price and adjust our consolidated affiliated entities’ income in the form of a transfer pricing adjustment. A transfer pricing adjustment could, among other things, result in a reduction, for PRC tax purposes, of expense deductions recorded by our consolidated affiliated entities, which could in turn increase their tax liabilities. In addition, the PRC tax authorities may impose late payment fees and other penalties to our consolidated affiliated entities for under-paid taxes. Our consolidated net income may be materially and adversely affected if our tax liabilities increase or if we are found to be subject to late payment fees or other penalties.

 

21


Table of Contents

Regulatory agencies may commence investigations of the private primary and secondary schools controlled and operated by New Oriental China. If the results of the investigations are unfavorable to us, we may be subject to fines, penalties, injunctions or other censure that could have an adverse impact on our results of operations.

PRC laws and regulations currently prohibit foreign ownership of primary and middle schools for students in grades one to nine in China, and restrict foreign ownership of high schools for students in grades ten to twelve. New Oriental China controls and operates a private primary and secondary school in Yangzhou and a private secondary school in Beijing. As the provision of private primary and middle school services is a heavily regulated industry in China, our existing and any new primary or middle schools we establish or acquire in the future may be subject from time to time to investigations, claims of non-compliance or lawsuits by governmental agencies, which may allege statutory violations, regulatory infractions or other causes of action. If the results of the investigations are unfavorable to us, we may be subject to fines, injunctions or other penalties that could have an adverse impact on our results of operations. Even if we adequately address the issues raised by a government investigation, we may have to devote significant financial and management resources to resolve these issues, which could harm our business.

We may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our wholly-owned subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries or New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.

We are a holding company, and we may rely on dividends from our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China and service, license and other fees paid to our wholly-owned subsidiaries by New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries for our cash requirements, including any debt we may incur. Current PRC regulations permit our subsidiaries to pay dividends to us only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with Chinese accounting standards and regulations. In addition, each of our subsidiaries and New Oriental China and its subsidiaries in China is required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund a statutory reserve until such reserve reaches 50% of its registered capital, and each of our subsidiaries is required to further set aside a portion of its after-tax profits to fund the employee welfare fund at the discretion of its board of directors. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends. Furthermore, if our subsidiaries and New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries 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. In addition, the PRC tax authorities may require us to adjust our taxable income under the contractual arrangements we currently have in place in a manner that would materially and adversely affect our subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends and other distributions to us. Moreover, at the end of each fiscal year, every private school in China is required to allocate a certain amount to its development fund for the construction or maintenance of the school or procurement or upgrade of educational equipment. In the case of a private school that requires reasonable returns, this amount shall be no less than 25% of the annual net income of the school, while in the case of a private school that does not require reasonable returns, this amount shall be equivalent to no less than 25% of the annual increase in the net assets of the school, if any. Any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to distribute dividends to us or on the ability of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries to make payments to us could materially and adversely limit our ability to grow, make investments or acquisitions that could be beneficial to our businesses, pay dividends, or otherwise fund and conduct our business.

PRC regulation of loans to, and direct investment in, PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control of currency conversion may restrict or prevent us from making loans to our PRC subsidiaries or New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries or making additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

We are an offshore holding company conducting our operations in China through our PRC subsidiaries and New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries. We may need to make loans to our PRC subsidiaries or New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries, or we may make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries.

Any loans to our PRC subsidiaries or New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries are subject to PRC regulations. For example, loans by us to our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, each of which is a foreign-invested enterprise, to finance their activities cannot exceed statutory limits and must be registered with the PRC State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE, or its local counterparts. Loans by us to New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries, which are domestic PRC entities, must be approved by the relevant government authorities and must also be registered with SAFE or its local counterparts.

 

22


Table of Contents

We may also decide to finance our PRC subsidiaries by means of capital contributions. These capital contributions must be approved by the PRC Ministry of Commerce or its local counterparts. We are unlikely, however, to finance the activities of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries by means of capital contributions due to regulatory issues related to foreign investment in domestic PRC entities, as well as the licensing and other regulatory issues. SAFE promulgated the Circular on the Relevant Operating Issues Concerning the Improvement of the Administration of the Payment and Settlement of Foreign Currency Capital of Foreign Invested Enterprises, or SAFE Circular 142 to regulate the conversion by a foreign-invested company of its capital contribution in foreign currency into RMB. SAFE Circular 142 requires that the paid-in capital of a foreign-invested company settled in RMB converted from foreign currencies shall be used only for purposes within the business scope as approved by the authorities in charge of foreign investment or by other competent authorities and as registered with the local branch of the SAMR and, unless set forth in the business scope or in other regulations, may not be used for equity investments within the PRC. In addition, SAFE strengthened its oversight of the flow and use of the paid-in capital of a foreign-invested company settled in RMB converted from foreign currencies. The use of such RMB paid-in capital may not be changed without SAFE’s approval. Violations of Circular 142 will result in severe monetary or other penalties. We expect that if we convert the net proceeds from offshore offerings into RMB pursuant to SAFE Circular 142, our use of RMB funds will be for purposes within the approved business scope of our PRC subsidiaries. However, we may not be able to use such RMB funds to make equity investments in China through our PRC subsidiaries. SAFE promulgated the Notice on Reforming the Management Method relating to Conversion of the Capital Contribution of Foreign Invested Company from Foreign Exchange to Renminbi, or SAFE Circular 19, effective June 2015, which abolished SAFE Circular 142, but the foregoing rules have been retained in SAFE Circular 19. SAFE promulgated the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving the Policies of Foreign Exchange Administration Applicable to Direct Investment, or SAFE Circular 13, effective in June 2015. Pursuant to SAFE Circular 13, annual foreign exchange inspection of direct investment is not required anymore and the registration of existing equity is required. SAFE Circular 13 also grants the authority to banks to examine and process foreign exchange registration with respect to both domestic and offshore direct investment. SAFE issued the Circular on Reforming and Regulating Policies on the Control over Foreign Exchange Settlement of Capital Accounts, or SAFE Circular 16, effective in June 2016. Pursuant to SAFE Circular 16, enterprises registered in China may also convert their foreign debts from foreign currency to RMB on a self-discretionary basis. SAFE Circular 16 provides an integrated standard for conversion of foreign exchange under capital account items (including but not limited to foreign currency capital and foreign debts) on a self-discretionary basis which applies to all enterprises registered in China. SAFE Circular 16 reiterates the principle that RMB converted from foreign currency-denominated capital of a company may not be directly or indirectly used for purposes beyond its business scope or prohibited by PRC laws or regulations, while such converted RMB shall not be provided as loans to its non-affiliated entities. See also “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation.”

We expect that PRC laws and regulations may continue to limit our use of proceeds from offshore offerings. There are no costs associated with registering loans or capital contributions with relevant PRC government authorities, other than nominal processing charges. Under PRC laws and regulations, the PRC government authorities are required to process such approvals or registrations or deny our application within a prescribed period which is usually less than 90 days, but may be longer due to administrative delay. We cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain these government registrations or approvals on a timely basis, if at all. If we fail to receive such registrations or approvals, our ability to capitalize our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

If any of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries becomes the subject of a bankruptcy or liquidation proceeding, we may lose the ability to use and enjoy their assets, which could reduce the size of our operations and materially and adversely affect our business, ability to generate revenue and the market price of our ADSs.

To comply with PRC laws and regulations relating to foreign ownership restrictions in the education business, we currently conduct substantially all of our operations in China through contractual arrangements with New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries as well as its shareholder. As part of these arrangements, New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries hold assets that are important to the operation of our business.

 

23


Table of Contents

We do not have priority pledges and liens against New Oriental China’s assets. As a contractual and property right matter, this lack of priority pledges and liens has remote risks. If New Oriental China undergoes an involuntary liquidation proceeding, third-party creditors may claim rights to some or all of its assets and we may not have priority against such third-party creditors on New Oriental China’s assets. If New Oriental China liquidates, we may take part in the liquidation procedures as a general creditor under the PRC Enterprise Bankruptcy Law and recover any outstanding liabilities owed by New Oriental China to our PRC subsidiaries under the applicable service agreements. To ameliorate the risks of an involuntary liquidation proceeding initiated by a third-party creditor, we closely monitor the operations and finances of New Oriental China through carefully designed budgetary and internal controls to ensure that New Oriental China is well capitalized and is highly unlikely to trigger any third party monetary claims in excess of its assets and cash resources. Furthermore, our PRC subsidiaries have the ability, if necessary, to inject capital in Renminbi into New Oriental China to prevent such an involuntary liquidation.

If the shareholder of New Oriental China were to attempt to voluntarily liquidate New Oriental China without obtaining our prior consent, we could effectively prevent such unauthorized voluntary liquidation by exercising our right to request New Oriental China’s shareholder to transfer all of its equity ownership interest to a PRC entity or individual designated by us in accordance with the option agreement with the New Oriental China shareholder. In addition, under the equity pledge agreements signed by the shareholder of New Oriental China and the PRC Property Law, the shareholder of New Oriental China does not have the right to issue dividends to itself or otherwise distribute the retained earnings or other assets of New Oriental China without our consent. Also, under the proxy agreement and power of attorney, the shareholder of New Oriental China undertakes to Beijing Pioneer, our wholly-owned PRC subsidiary, that if it receives, among other things, any dividends, residual assets upon liquidation or proceeds from the transfer of its equity interest in New Oriental China, it will, to the extent permitted under applicable law, remit all such dividends, residual assets and proceeds to Beijing Pioneer without any compensation or other consideration. In the event that the shareholder of New Oriental China initiates a voluntary liquidation proceeding without our authorization or attempts to distribute the retained earnings or assets of New Oriental China without our prior consent, we may need to resort to legal proceedings to enforce the terms of the contractual agreements. Any such litigation may be costly and may divert our management’s time and attention away from the operation of our business, and the outcome of such litigation would be uncertain.

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

Adverse changes in economic and political policies of the PRC government could have a material adverse effect on the overall economic growth of China, which could adversely affect our business.

Substantially all of our business operations are conducted in China. Accordingly, our results of operations, financial condition and prospects are subject to a significant degree to economic, political and legal developments in China. China’s economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including with respect to the amount of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and allocation of resources. While the PRC economy has experienced significant growth for over three decades, growth has been uneven across different regions and among various economic sectors of China. The PRC government has implemented various measures to encourage economic development and guide the allocation of resources. While some of these measures benefit the overall PRC economy, they may also have a negative effect on us. For example, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected by government control over capital investments, conversion of foreign exchange into Renminbi or changes in tax regulations that are applicable to us. In addition, future actions or policies of the PRC government to control the pace of economic growth may cause a decrease in the level of economic activity in China, which in turn could materially affect our liquidity and access to capital and our ability to operate our business.

In addition, the changes in the policies regarding the control of foreign exchange could adversely affect our business. In 2016, PRC government implemented various measures and policies regarding strengthening the management and supervision control of foreign control in both capital item and current item, which resulted in extension of time in the filing, registration and approval procedures of local branches and authorized banks in foreign control activities, and could result in delayed payment of salary to foreign employees by our subsidiaries and subsidiaries of our variable interest entity. The evolving policies regarding strengthening the management and supervision control of foreign control could adversely affect our business.

 

24


Table of Contents

Our business, financial condition and results of operations, as well as our ability to obtain financing, may be adversely affected by the downturn in the global or PRC economy.

The global financial markets experienced significant disruptions in 2008 and the United States, Europe and other economies went into recession. The recovery from the lows of 2008 and 2009 was uneven and it is facing new challenges, including the escalation of the European sovereign debt crisis since 2011 and the slowdown of the Chinese economy since 2012. It is unclear whether the European sovereign debt crisis will be contained and when the Chinese economy will resume the high growth rate. There is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies that have been adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies, including China’s. There have also been concerns over unrest in the Middle East and Africa, which have resulted in higher oil prices and significant market volatility, and over the possibility of a war involving Iran. There have also been concerns about the economic effect of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis in Japan and the relationship between China and Japan.

Economic conditions in China are sensitive to global economic conditions and also have their own challenges, and our business, results of operations and financial condition are sensitive to PRC and global economic conditions. Any prolonged slowdown in the PRC or global economy may have a negative impact on our business, results of operations and financial condition, and continued turbulence in the international markets may adversely affect our ability to access the capital markets to meet liquidity needs.

Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us.

Our operations in China are governed by PRC laws and regulations. Our subsidiaries are generally subject to laws and regulations applicable to foreign investments in China and, in particular, laws applicable to wholly foreign-owned enterprises. The PRC legal system is based on written statutes. Prior court decisions may be cited for reference but have limited precedential value. China has not developed a fully integrated legal system and recently enacted laws and regulations may not sufficiently cover all aspects of economic activities in China. In particular, because many of these laws and regulations are relatively new, and because of the limited volume of published decisions and their nonbinding nature, the interpretation and enforcement of these laws and regulations involve uncertainties. In addition, the PRC legal system is based in part on government policies and internal rules and interpretations (some of which are not published on a timely basis or at all) that may have a retroactive effect. As a result, we may not be aware of our violation of these policies, rules and interpretations until sometime after the violation. In addition, any litigation in China may be protracted and may result in substantial costs and diversion of resources and management attention.

Uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the newly enacted Foreign Investment Law and how it may impact the viability of our current corporate structure, corporate governance, business, financial condition and results of operations.

On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress promulgated the Foreign Investment Law, which will come into effect on January 1, 2020 and replace the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law and the Wholly Foreign-invested Enterprise Law, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations.

As it is relatively new, uncertainties still exist in relation to its interpretation and implementation, and failure to take timely and appropriate measures to comply with the Foreign Investment Law and relevant rules could result in material and adverse effects on us. For instance, although the Foreign Investment Law does not explicitly classify contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment, it contains a catch-all provision under the definition of “foreign investment”, which includes investments made by foreign investors in China through means stipulated by laws or administrative regulations or other methods prescribed by the State Council. Therefore, it still leaves leeway for future laws, administrative regulations or provisions to be promulgated by the State Council to provide for contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment, at which time it will be uncertain whether our contractual arrangements will be deemed to be in violation of the market access requirements for foreign investment in the PRC and, if so, how our contractual arrangements will be dealt with. In addition, if future laws, administrative regulations or provisions to be prescribed by the State Council mandate further actions to be taken by companies with respect to existing contractual arrangements, we may face substantial uncertainties as to whether we can complete such actions in a timely manner, or at all. In the worst case scenario, we may be required to unwind our existing contractual arrangements and/or dispose of the relevant business operations, which could have a material and adverse effect on our current corporate structure, corporate governance, business, financial condition and results of operations.

 

25


Table of Contents

Regulation and censorship of information disseminated over the internet in China may adversely affect our business and reputation and subject us to liability for information displayed on our websites.

The PRC government has adopted regulations governing internet access and the distribution of news and other information over the internet. Under these regulations, internet content providers and internet publishers are prohibited from posting or displaying over the internet content that, among other things, violates PRC laws and regulations, impairs the national dignity of China, or is reactionary, obscene, superstitious, fraudulent or defamatory. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in the revocation of licenses to provide internet content and other relevant licenses, and the closure of the concerned websites. In the past, failure to comply with such requirements has resulted in the closure of certain websites. The website operator may also be held liable for such censored information displayed on or linked to the websites. If any of our websites, including those used for our online education business, are found to be in violation of any such requirements, we may be penalized by relevant authorities, and our operations or reputation could be adversely affected.

We are required to obtain various operating licenses and permits and to make registrations and filings for our business operations in China; failure to comply with these requirements may materially adversely affect our business and results of operations.

We are required to obtain and maintain various licenses and permits and fulfill registration and filing requirements in order to conduct and operate our business. For instance, to establish and operate a school to provide language training and test preparation services, we are required to obtain a private school operating permit and to make necessary filings for each learning center with the local counterparts of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Civil Affairs or SAMR. According to the Draft Amended Implementation Rules, we may need to obtain a private school operating permit from relevant local education authorities for our kindergartens, private primary and secondary school in Yangzhou, our private secondary school in Beijing, and our private training and education entities which offer after-school tutoring services for kindergarten kids or primary, middle and high school students. In addition, as we provide online tutoring and education services through our websites and mobile applications, we may also need to make filings with the local education department or the department of human resources and social security under the Draft Amended Implementation Rules, the Implementation Opinion on Regulating Online After-school Tutoring Activities promulgated by MOE and other five authorities on July 12, 2019 and the Opinion on Guiding and Regulating the Healthy Development of Online Education Applications promulgated by MOE and seven other authorities on August 10, 2019. As of the date of this annual report, the Draft Amended Implementation Rules are still pending for approval.

Our business is also subject to various health, safety and other regulations that affect various aspects of our business in the cities in which we operate and we must obtain various licenses and permits under these regulations for our operations. We have been making efforts to ensure compliance with applicable rules and regulations in all material respects. In addition, we follow internal guidelines to make necessary registrations and filings and obtain necessary licenses and permits on a timely basis. If we fail to comply with applicable legal requirements, we may be subject to fines, confiscation of the gains derived from our noncompliant operations or the suspension of our noncompliant operations, which may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

PRC regulations relating to the establishment of offshore special purpose companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident shareholders to personal liability and limit our ability to inject capital into our PRC subsidiaries, limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to distribute profits to us or otherwise adversely affect us.

SAFE issued a notice in July 2014, which replaced the previous notice issued in October 2005. The 2014 SAFE notice requires PRC domestic residents, including both PRC domestic institutions and PRC domestic individual residents, to register with the local SAFE branch, currently with local bank according to Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Further Simplifying and Improving Policies for the Foreign Exchange Administration of Direct Investment issued by SAFE on February 13, 2015, before establishing or controlling any company outside of China with the domestic or overseas assets or equity they legally hold for the purpose of investment, financing or conducting roundtrip investment. Such a company located outside of China is referred to in the notice as an “offshore special purpose company.” Our beneficial owners immediately before our initial public offering who are PRC residents had registered with the local branch of SAFE prior to our initial public offering in 2006. The failure of these beneficial owners to timely amend their SAFE registrations, if required, or the failure of future beneficial owners of our company who are PRC residents to comply with the registration procedures set forth in the SAFE notice may subject such beneficial owners to fines and legal sanctions and may also limit our ability to contribute additional capital into our PRC subsidiaries, limit our PRC subsidiaries’ ability to distribute dividends or repay loans in foreign exchange to our company or otherwise adversely affect our business.

 

26


Table of Contents

We face regulatory uncertainties in China concerning our employees’ participation in our share incentive plan.

In February 2012, SAFE issued the Notices on Issues Concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in a Stock Incentive Plan of an Overseas Publicly-Listed Company, or Circular 7. According to Circular 7, if “PRC individuals” (meaning both PRC residents and non-PRC residents who reside in the PRC for a continuous period of not less than one year, excluding the foreign diplomatic personnel and representatives of international organizations) participate in any share incentive plan of an overseas listed company, a qualified PRC domestic agent, which could be the PRC subsidiaries of such overseas listed company, shall, among other things, file, on behalf of such individuals, an application with SAFE to conduct the 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 the PRC opened and managed by the PRC domestic agent before distribution to such individuals. In addition, such PRC individuals must also retain an overseas entrusted institution to handle matters in connection with the exercise of their share options and their purchase and sale of shares.

According to Circular 7, from time to time, we need to make applications or update our registration with SAFE or its local branches on behalf of our employees who are affected by our new share incentive plan or material changes in our current share incentive plan. We are in the process of making an application on behalf of the PRC individuals who participate in our company’s share incentive plans with SAFE in compliance with Circular 7; however, we cannot assure you that such application will be successful. If we or the participants of our share incentive plans who are PRC citizens fail to comply with Circular 7, we and/or such participants of our share incentive plans may be subject to fines and legal sanctions. In addition, there may be additional restrictions on the ability of such participants to exercise their stock options or remit proceeds gained from sale of their stock into China, and we may be prevented from further granting share incentive awards under our share incentive plans to our employees who are PRC citizens. Such events could adversely affect our ability to retain talented employees.

The M&A rules establish complex procedures for some acquisitions of Chinese companies by foreign investors, and the NDRC Circular 11 establish certain procedures for our offshore investing activities, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions in and outside China.

In August 2006, the Ministry of Commerce, the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the State Administration for Taxation, the State Administration for Market Regulation, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the CSRC, and SAFE, jointly adopted the Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, commonly referred to as the M&A Rules. The M&A Rules establish procedures and requirements that could make some acquisitions of Chinese companies by foreign investors more time-consuming and complex, including requirements in some instances that the Ministry of Commerce be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a Chinese domestic enterprise. We may expand our business in part by acquiring complementary businesses. Complying with the requirements of the M&A Rules to complete such transactions could be time-consuming, and any required approval processes, including obtaining approval from the Ministry of Commerce, may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to expand our business or maintain our market share.

Further, pursuant to the Circular 11 issued by the NDRC, outbound investment via the overseas enterprises controlled by PRC residents are subject to verification and approval, record-filing and reporting requirements to the NDRC. According to Circular 11, sensitive projects, such as outbound investment in real estate, hotels, news media, cinemas or sports club, carried out by overseas enterprises controlled by PRC residents shall obtain verification and approval from the NDRC prior to the implementation of the project. The non-sensitive projects carried out by the overseas enterprise directly controlled by PRC residents, including by means of making asset or equity investment by companies established for financing and investing, such as fund institutions, or providing financing or guarantee, shall complete record-filing with the competent authority prior to the implementation of such project. The non-sensitive projects carried out by the overseas enterprise indirectly controlled by PRC residents with the investment amount over RMB300 million shall be reported to the NDRC of relevant information by submitting an information reporting form for large-amount non-sensitive projects. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview Regulation—Regulation—Administrative Measures for Outbound Investment by Enterprises” for more detail of Circular 11. If we fail to comply with rules in Circular 11, we may be subject to warnings, project to be suspended for implementation or rectification within a specified time limit.

 

27


Table of Contents

Increases in labor costs in the PRC may adversely affect our business and our profitability.

The economy of China has been experiencing significant growth, leading to inflation and increased labor costs. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the year-over-year percent change in the consumer price index in China, the broadest measure of inflation, was 2.5% for May 2019. China’s overall economy and the average wage in the PRC are expected to continue to grow. As a result, the average wage level for our employees has also increased in recent years. Future increases in China’s inflation and material increases in the cost of labor may diminish our competitive advantage and, unless we are able pass on these increased labor costs to our students by increasing prices for our services, our profitability and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

Governmental control of currency conversion may affect the value of your investment.

The PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility between the RMB and foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. We receive substantially all of our revenues in RMB. Under our current corporate structure, our income at the holding company level may be primarily derived from dividend payments from our PRC subsidiaries. Shortages in the availability of foreign currency may restrict the ability of our PRC subsidiaries and New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries to remit sufficient foreign currency to pay dividends or other payments to us, or otherwise satisfy their foreign currency denominated obligations. Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, including profit distributions, interest payments and expenditures from trade-related transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval from SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. However, approval from appropriate government authorities is required where RMB is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. The PRC government may also at its discretion restrict access in the future to foreign currencies for current account transactions. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currency to satisfy our currency demands, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of our ADSs.

Fluctuation in the value of the RMB may have a material adverse effect on your investment.

The value of the RMB against the U.S. dollar and other currencies is affected by, among other things, changes in China’s political and economic conditions and China’s foreign exchange policies. The conversion of the RMB into foreign currencies, including the U.S. dollar, has been based on exchange rates set by the People’s Bank of China. The PRC government allowed the Renminbi to appreciate by more than 20% against the U.S. dollar between July 2005 and July 2008. Between July 2008 and June 2010, this appreciation was halted and the exchange rate between the RMB and the U.S. dollar remained within a narrow band. Since June 2010, the RMB has fluctuated against the U.S. dollar, at times significantly and unpredictably. It is difficult to predict how market forces or PRC or U.S. government policy may impact the exchange rate between the RMB and the U.S. dollar in the future. In addition, there remains significant international pressure on the PRC government to adopt a substantial liberalization of its currency policy, which could result in further appreciation in the value of the RMB against the U.S. dollar.

Our revenues and costs are mostly denominated in the RMB, and a significant portion of our financial assets are also denominated in RMB. We may rely entirely on dividends and other fees paid to us by our subsidiaries and New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries in China. Any significant revaluation of the RMB may materially and adversely affect our cash flows, revenues, earnings and financial position, and the value of, and any dividends payable on, our ADSs in U.S. dollars. For example, a further appreciation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar would make any new RMB-denominated investments or expenditures more costly to us, to the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars into the RMB for such purposes. Conversely, a significant depreciation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar may significantly reduce our reported earnings in U.S. dollars, which in turn could adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

 

28


Table of Contents

The discontinuation of any preferential tax treatments currently available to us could materially and adversely affect our results of operations.

In March 2007, the National People’s Congress passed the Enterprise Income Tax Law, or the EIT Law, which took effect in January 2008. The EIT Law applies a uniform 25% enterprise income tax rate to both foreign-invested enterprises and domestic enterprises. The EIT Law provides that preferential tax treatments will be granted to industries and projects that are strongly supported and encouraged by the state, and that enterprises otherwise classified as “high and new technology enterprises strongly supported by the state” will be entitled to a preferential enterprise income tax rate. The implementation rules of the EIT Law promulgated by the State Council in December 2007 and other supplemental rules promulgated by the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation in April 2008 and July 2008 which were amended in January 2016 and June 2016, respectively, have stipulated new criteria for such “high and new technology enterprises,” and all enterprises which had been granted such status before the effectiveness of the EIT Law are required to be re-examined according to such new rules before they can continue to be entitled to such preferential tax treatments.

A “high and new technology enterprise” is entitled to a favorable enterprise income tax rate of 15% and such qualification is reassessed by relevant governmental authorities every three years. Seven of our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, including Beijing Hewstone Technology Co., Ltd., or Beijing Hewstone, Beijing Decision Education & Consulting Co., Ltd., or Beijing Decision, and five other subsidiaries, are qualified as “high and new technology enterprises.” Beijing Smart Wood Software Technology Co., Ltd., or Beijing Smart Wood, one of our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, is in the process of renewing its qualification of “high and new technology enterprises.” Once the renewal is completed, Beijing Smart Woodwill be eligible for a the favorable enterprise income tax rate of 15% starting January 1, 2019. Beijing Xuncheng, one of our variable interest entities, is also qualified as “high and new technology enterprises.” An enterprise that qualifies as a “software enterprise” is exempt from enterprise income tax for the two years beginning in the enterprise’s first profitable year and then is entitled to a reduced tax rate of 12.5% for the succeeding three years. Two of our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, Beijing Jinghong Software Technology Company Limited and Beijing Magnificence Technology Company Limited, are qualified as “software enterprises.” See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results—Taxation—PRC.”

According to the Implementation Rules for the Law for Promoting Private Education (2004), private schools that do not require reasonable returns enjoy the same preferential tax treatment as public schools, while the preferential tax treatment policies applicable to private schools requiring reasonable returns shall be separately formulated by the relevant authorities under the State Council. To date, no regulations have been promulgated by the relevant authorities with regard to the preferential income tax treatment applicable to private schools requiring reasonable returns. As of May 31, 2019, 19 of our schools elected as schools not requiring reasonable returns, 40 of our schools elected as requiring reasonable returns and the remaining schools were not classified or registered as companies.

The Amended Private Education Law, which became effective on September 1, 2017, no longer uses the term “reasonable return.” Instead, under the Amended Private Education Law, sponsors of private schools may choose to establish non-profit or for-profit private schools at their own discretion, except that private schools in compulsory education area can only be registered as non-profit private schools. Pursuant to the Amended Private Education Law, non-profit private schools will be entitled to the same tax benefits as public schools while taxation policies for for-profit private schools are still unclear. Other than our primary and secondary schools, which are required to be non-profit schools under the Amended Private Education law, we intend to register all of our schools as for-profit private schools to the extent practicable under the relevant local rules and regulations.

In practice, tax treatments for private schools vary across different cities in China. Private schools in certain cities are subject to a 25% standard enterprise income tax, while in other cities, private schools are subject to a fixed amount of enterprise income tax each year as determined by the local tax authority in lieu of the 25% standard enterprise income tax or are not required to pay enterprise income tax at all. For example, Beijing Haidian School was not required by the governing tax bureau to pay any EIT from its establishment through May 31, 2019. However, it is unclear what impact the Amended Private Education Law and any of its potential implementation rules would have on the tax treatment applicable to Beijing Haidian School, and whether Beijing Haidian School would continue to enjoy the preferential tax treatment in the future.

 

29


Table of Contents

Preferential tax treatments granted to us by governmental 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, especially to those schools in major cities, will cause our effective tax rate to increase, which will increase our income tax expenses and in turn decrease our net income.

We may be treated as a resident enterprise for PRC tax purposes under the EIT Law, which may subject us to PRC income tax for our global income and withholding for any dividends we pay to our non-PRC shareholders and ADS holders.

Under the EIT Law, enterprises established outside of China whose “de facto management bodies” are located in China are considered “resident enterprises,” and will generally be subject to the uniform 25% enterprise income tax rate for their global income. Although the term “de facto management bodies” is defined as “management bodies which has substantial and overall management and control power on the operation, human resources, accounting and assets of the enterprise,” the circumstances under which an enterprise’s “de facto management body” would be considered to be located in China are currently unclear. The State Administration of Taxation has issued a circular providing that a foreign enterprise controlled by a PRC company or a PRC company group will be classified as a “resident enterprise” with its “de facto management bodies” located within China if the following requirements are satisfied: (1) the senior management and core management departments in charge of its daily operations function mainly in the PRC; (2) its financial and human resources decisions are subject to determination or approval by persons or bodies in the PRC; (3) its major assets, accounting books, company seals, and minutes and files of its board and shareholders’ meetings are located or kept in the PRC; and (4) at least half of the enterprise’s directors or senior management with voting rights reside in the PRC.

In addition, the State Administration of Taxation issued a bulletin to provide more guidance on the implementation of the above circular. The bulletin clarified certain matters relating to resident status determination, post determination administration and competent tax authorities. It also specifies that when provided with a copy of a PRC tax resident determination certificate from a resident PRC-controlled offshore incorporated enterprise, the payer should not withhold 10% income tax when paying the PRC-sourced dividends, interest and royalties to the PRC-controlled offshore incorporated enterprise. Moreover, the State Administration of Taxation issued a bulletin in January 2014, to provide more guidance on the implementation of the above circular. This bulletin further provided 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 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 Article 26 of EIT law and the Article 17 and Article 83 of its implementation rules. 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 State Administration of Taxation’s general position on how the “de facto management body” test should be applied in determining the tax residency status of offshore enterprises and how the administration measures should be implemented, regardless of whether they are controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC individuals.

Most members of our management team are based in China and are expected to remain in China. Although our offshore holding companies are not controlled by any PRC company or company group, we cannot assure you that we will not be deemed to be a PRC resident enterprise under the EIT Law and its implementation rules. If we are deemed to be a PRC resident enterprise, we will be subject to PRC enterprise income tax at the rate of 25% on our global income. In that case, however, dividend income we receive from our PRC subsidiaries may be exempt from PRC enterprise income tax because the EIT Law and its implementation rules generally provide that dividends received by a PRC resident enterprise from its directly invested entity that is also a PRC resident enterprise is exempt from enterprise income tax. Accordingly, if we are deemed to be a PRC resident enterprise and earn income other than dividends from our PRC subsidiaries, a 25% enterprise income tax on our global income could significantly increase our tax burden and materially and adversely affect our cash flow and profitability.

In addition, if we are deemed to be a PRC resident enterprise, dividends distributed to our non-PRC entity investors by us, or the gain our non-PRC entity investors may realize from the transfer of our common shares or ADSs, may be treated as PRC-sourced income and therefore be subject to a 10% PRC withholding tax pursuant to the EIT Law. This could increase our and our shareholders’ effective income tax rates and may require us to deduct withholding tax from any dividends we pay to our non-PRC shareholders.

 

30


Table of Contents

Dividends we receive from our subsidiaries located in the PRC are subject to the PRC withholding tax.

The EIT Law provides that a maximum income tax rate of 20% may apply to dividends payable to non-PRC investors that are “non-resident enterprises,” to the extent such dividends are derived from sources within the PRC. The State Council has reduced such rate to 10%, in the absence of any applicable tax treaties that may reduce such rate. We are a Cayman Islands holding company and may derive our income from dividends we receive from our operating subsidiaries located in the PRC. If we are required under the EIT Law to pay income tax for any dividends we receive from our PRC subsidiaries, the amount of dividends, if any, we may pay to our shareholders and ADS holders may be materially and adversely affected.

According to the Arrangement between the PRC and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income, or the Double Taxation Arrangement (Hong Kong), which became effective in January 2007, the Notice of the State Administration of Taxation on Negotiated Reduction of Dividends and Interest Rates, which was issued in 2008, and the Notice of the State Administration of Taxation Regarding Interpretation and Recognition of Beneficial Owners under Tax Treaties, which became effective in October 2009, dividends paid to enterprises incorporated in Hong Kong are subject to a withholding tax of 5% provided that a Hong Kong resident enterprise owns over 25% of the PRC enterprise distributing the dividend and can be considered as a “beneficial owner” and entitled to treaty benefits under the Double Taxation Arrangement (Hong Kong). Elite Concept Holdings Limited, Winner Park Limited and Smart Shine International Limited, our Hong Kong wholly-owned subsidiaries, own 100% of our PRC subsidiaries. Thus, dividends paid by our PRC subsidiaries to us through our Hong Kong wholly-owned subsidiaries may be subject to the 5% withholding tax if we and our Hong Kong subsidiaries are considered as “non-resident enterprises” under the EIT Law and our Hong Kong subsidiaries are considered as “beneficial owners” and entitled to treaty benefits under the Double Taxation Arrangement (Hong Kong). If our Hong Kong subsidiaries are not regarded as the beneficial owners of any such dividends, they will not be entitled to the treaty benefits under the Double Taxation Arrangement (Hong Kong). As a result, such dividends would be subject to regular withholding tax of 10% as provided by the PRC domestic law rather than the favorable rate of 5% applicable under the Double Taxation Arrangement (Hong Kong).

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

Pursuant to the Notice on Strengthening Administration of Enterprise Income Tax for Share Transfers by Non-PRC Resident Enterprises, or Circular 698, issued by the State Administration of Taxation in December 2009, where a foreign investor transfers the equity interests in a PRC resident enterprise indirectly via disposition of the equity interests of an overseas holding company, or an “Indirect Transfer,” and such overseas holding company is located in a tax jurisdiction that (1) has an effective tax rate less than 12.5% or (2) does not tax foreign income of its residents, the foreign investor shall report the Indirect Transfer to the competent PRC tax authority. The PRC tax authority will examine the nature of such Indirect Transfer, and if the tax authority considers that the foreign investor has adopted an “abusive arrangement” in order to reduce, avoid or defer PRC taxes, it may disregard the existence of the overseas holding company and re-characterize the Indirect Transfer such that gains derived from such Indirect Transfer may be subject to PRC withholding tax at a rate of up to 10%. Circular 698 was partially terminated by the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Several Issues Concerning the Enterprise Income Tax on Indirect Property Transfer by Non-Resident Enterprises, or Bulletin 7, pursuant to which where a non-resident enterprise indirectly transfers properties such as equity in PRC resident enterprises without any justifiable business purposes with the aim of avoiding to pay enterprise income tax, such indirect transfer shall be reclassified as a direct transfer of equity in PRC resident enterprise. To determine whether there are reasonable commercial purposes, all arrangements related to the indirect transfer of PRC taxable properties shall be considered comprehensively and factors set out in the Announcement shall be comprehensively analyzed in light of the actual situation.

According to Bulletin 7, where a non-PRC resident enterprise transfers its equity interests in a PRC resident enterprise to its related parties at a price lower than the fair market value, the competent tax authority has the power to make a reasonable adjustment to the taxable income of the transaction. On October 17, 2017, the SAT issued the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or SAT Bulletin 37, which came into effect and superseded Circular 698 on December 1, 2017. The SAT Bulletin 37 further clarifies the practice and procedure of the withholding of nonresident enterprise income tax.

 

31


Table of Contents

There is uncertainty as to the application of Bulletin 7 and Bulletin 37. As a result, we and our non-resident investors may have the risk of being taxed under Bulletin 7 and Bulletin 37 and may be required to spend valuable resources to comply with Bulletin 7 and Bulletin 37 or to establish that we or our non-resident investors should not be taxed under Bulletin 7 and Bulletin 37, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations or such non-resident investors’ investments in us.

If we fail to obtain and maintain the licenses and approvals required under the ambiguous regulatory environment for online education in China, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

The online education industry in China is still in its nascent stage. The relevant laws and regulations are relatively new and still evolving, and their interpretation and enforcement involve significant uncertainty and ambiguity. As a result, in certain circumstances it may be difficult to determine what actions or omissions may be deemed to be in violation of applicable laws and regulations. Issues, risks and uncertainties relating to PRC governmental regulation of the internet industry include, but are not limited to, the following.

The production, editing, transmission to the public through our online platform or mobile applications of our course materials and audio-visual content, may be deemed as providing audio-video programs or internet culture services under relevant PRC Laws. Thus, we may be required to obtain the License for Radio and TV Program Production and Operation License, License for Online Transmission of Audio-Visual Programs or Internet Culture Operation License as currently there is no further official or publicly available interpretation of whether such content would be deemed “Radio and TV Program Production,” “Audio-Visual Programs” or “Internet cultural products.” In light of the confirmation of the competent PRC government authorities, as of the date of this annual report, we are not explicitly required to obtain those licenses under current regulations and regulatory policies. However, we cannot assure that the competent PRC government authorities will not subsequently take a contrary view, especially in light of new regulatory developments. If the government authorities determine that our online tutoring services fall within the scope of business operations that require the above-mentioned licenses or other licenses or permits, we may not be able to obtain such licenses or permits on reasonable terms or in a timely manner or at all, and failure to obtain such licenses or permits may subject us to fines, legal sanctions or an order to suspend our online tutoring services.

The audit report included in this annual report is prepared by auditors who are 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 that issues the audit reports included in our annual reports filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), as auditors of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (the “PCAOB”), is required by the laws of the United States to undergo regular inspections by the PCAOB to assess its compliance with the laws of the United States and professional standards. Because we have substantial operations within the PRC and the PCAOB is currently unable to conduct inspections of the work of our independent registered public accounting firm as it relates to those operations without the approval of the Chinese authorities, our independent registered public accounting firm is not currently inspected fully by the PCAOB. This lack of PCAOB inspections in the PRC prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating our independent registered public accounting firm’s audits and its quality control procedures. As a result, investors may be deprived of the benefits of PCAOB inspections.

On May 24, 2013, PCAOB announced that it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on Enforcement Cooperation with the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the CSRC, and the Ministry of Finance which establishes a cooperative framework between the parties for the production and exchange of audit documents relevant to investigations in the United States and China. On inspection, it appears that the PCAOB continues to be in discussions with the Mainland China regulators CSRC and the Ministry of Finance to permit joint inspections in the PRC of audit firms that are registered with PCAOB in relation to the audit of and audit Chinese companies that trade on U.S. exchanges. On December 7, 2018, the SEC and the PCAOB issued a joint statement highlighting continued challenges faced by the U.S. regulators in their oversight of financial statement audits of U.S.-listed companies with significant operations in China. The joint statement reflects a heightened interest in this issue. However, it remains unclear what further actions the SEC and PCAOB will take and its impact on Chinese companies listed in the U.S.

 

32


Table of Contents

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.

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.

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 such 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 Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act.

In late 2012, the SEC commenced administrative proceedings under Rule 102(e) of its Rules of Practice and also under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 against the Chinese affiliates of the “big four” accounting firms, including our independent registered public accounting firm. A first instance trial of the proceedings in July 2013 in the SEC’s internal administrative court resulted in an adverse judgment against the accounting firms. The administrative law judge proposed penalties on the Chinese accounting firms including a temporary suspension of their right to practice before the SEC, although that proposed penalty did not take effect pending review by the commissioners of the SEC. On February 6, 2015, before a review by the commissioners of the SEC had taken place, the Chinese accounting firms reached a settlement with the SEC whereby the proceedings were stayed. Under the settlement, the SEC accepted that future requests by the SEC for the production of documents would normally be made to the CSRC. The Chinese accounting firms would receive matching Section 106 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, and would be required to abide by a detailed set of procedures with respect to such requests, which in substance would require them to facilitate production via the CSRC. The CSRC for its part initiated a procedure whereby, under its supervision and subject to its approval, requested classes of documents held by the accounting firms could be sanitized of problematic and sensitive content so as to render them capable of being made available by the CSRC to US regulators.

Under the terms of the settlement, the underlying proceeding against the four PRC-based accounting firms was deemed dismissed with prejudice at the end of four years starting from the settlement date, which was on February 6, 2019. Despite the final ending of the proceedings, the presumption is that all parties will continue to apply the same procedures, where the SEC will continue to make its requests for the production of documents to the CSRC, and the CSRC will normally process those requests applying the sanitisation procedure. We cannot predict whether, in cases where the CSRC does not authorize production of requested documents to the SEC, the SEC will further challenge the four PRC-based accounting firms’ compliance with U.S. law. If additional challenges are imposed on the Chinese affiliates of the “big four” accounting firms, we could be unable to timely file future financial statements in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.

In the event that the SEC restarts the administrative proceedings, depending upon the final outcome, listed companies in the United States with major PRC operations may find it difficult or impossible to retain auditors in respect of their operations in the PRC, which could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, or the Exchange Act, including possible delisting. Moreover, any negative news about any such future proceedings against these accounting firms may cause investor uncertainty regarding China-based, United States-listed companies and the market price of our ADSs may be adversely affected.

If the Chinese affiliate of our independent registered public accounting firm were 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 ADSs from the NYSE or the deregistration of our ADSs from the SEC, or both, which would substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of our ADSs in the United States.

 

33


Table of Contents

Risks Related to Our ADSs

The market price for our ADSs may be volatile.

The market price for our ADSs has fluctuated significantly since our ADSs became listed on the New York Stock Exchange, or the NYSE, on September 7, 2006. See “Item 9. The Offer and Listing—C. Markets” for more information. The market price for our ADSs is likely to be highly volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in response to factors such as:

 

   

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our operating results,

 

   

changes in financial estimates by securities research analysts,

 

   

changes in the economic performance or market valuation of other education companies,

 

   

announcements by us or our competitors of material acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments,

 

   

addition or departure of our executive officers,

 

   

detrimental negative publicity about us, our competitors or our industry,

 

   

regulatory investigation or other governmental proceedings against us,

 

   

substantial sales or perception of sales of our ADSs in the public market, and

 

   

general economic, regulatory or political conditions in China and the U.S.

In addition, the stock market in general, and the market prices for companies with operations in China in particular, have experienced volatility that often has been unrelated to the operating performance of such companies. In addition, any negative news or perceptions about inadequate corporate governance practices or fraudulent accounting, corporate structure or other matters of other Chinese companies may also negatively affect the attitudes of investors towards Chinese companies in general, including us, regardless of whether we have conducted any inappropriate activities. Further, the global financial crisis and the ensuing economic recessions in many countries and the slowing Chinese economy have contributed and may continue to contribute to extreme volatility in the U.S. stock market. These broad market and industry fluctuations may adversely affect our operating performance. Volatility or a lack of positive performance in our ADS price may also adversely affect our ability to retain key employees, some of whom have been granted options and other share incentives under our share incentive plans.

We may need additional capital, and the sale of additional ADSs or other equity securities could result in additional dilution to our shareholders.

We believe that our current cash and cash equivalents and anticipated cash flow from operations will be sufficient to meet our anticipated cash needs for the near future. We may, however, require additional cash resources to finance our continued growth or other future developments, including any investments or acquisitions we may decide to pursue. The amount and timing of such additional financing needs will vary principally depending on the timing of new school and learning center openings, investments and/or acquisitions, and the amount of cash flow from our operations. If our existing cash resources are insufficient to satisfy our cash requirements, we may seek to sell additional equity or debt securities or obtain a credit facility. The sale of additional equity securities could result in additional dilution to our shareholders. The incurrence of indebtedness would result in increased debt service obligations and could result in operating and financing covenants that would restrict our operations.

 

34


Table of Contents

Our ability to obtain additional capital on acceptable terms is subject to a variety of uncertainties, including:

 

   

investors’ perception of, and demand for, securities of educational service providers;

 

   

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

 

   

our future results of operations, financial condition and cash flows;

 

   

PRC governmental regulation of foreign investment in education in China;

 

   

economic, political and other conditions in China; and

 

   

PRC governmental policies relating to foreign currency borrowings.

We cannot assure you that financing will be available in amounts or on terms acceptable to us, if at all, especially in the event of a severe and prolonged global economic recession. If we fail to raise additional funds, we may need to reduce our growth to a level that can be supported by our cash flow. Without additional capital, we may not be able to open additional schools and learning centers, acquire necessary technologies, products or businesses, hire, train and retain teachers and other employees, market our programs, services and products, or respond to competitive pressures or unanticipated capital requirements.

If securities or industry analysts publish negative reports about our business, the price and trading volume of our ADSs securities could decline.

The trading market for our ADSs is influenced by the research reports and ratings that securities or industry analysts or ratings agencies publish about us, our business and the private education market in China in general. We do not have any control over these analysts or agencies. If one or more of the analysts or agencies who cover us downgrades us or our securities, the price of our ADSs may decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which could cause the price of our ADSs or trading volume to decline.

You may not have the same voting rights as the holders of our common shares and may not receive voting materials in time to be able to exercise your right to vote.

Except as described in the deposit agreement, holders of our ADSs will not be able to exercise voting rights attaching to the common shares evidenced by our ADSs on an individual basis. Holders of our ADSs will appoint the depositary or its nominee as their representative to exercise the voting rights attaching to the common shares represented by the ADSs. You may not receive voting materials in time to instruct the depositary to vote, and it is possible that you, or persons who hold their ADSs through brokers, dealers or other third parties, will not have the opportunity to exercise a right to vote. Upon our written request, the depositary will mail to you a shareholder meeting notice which contains, among other things, a statement as to the manner in which your voting instructions may be given, including an express indication that such instructions may be given or deemed given to the depositary to give a discretionary proxy to a person designated by us if no instructions are received by the depositary from you on or before the response date established by the depositary. However, no voting instruction shall be deemed given and no such discretionary proxy shall be given with respect to any matter as to which we inform the depositary that (1) we do not wish such proxy given, (2) substantial opposition exists or (3) such matter materially and adversely affects the rights of shareholders.

You may not be able to participate in rights offerings and may experience dilution of your holdings as a result.

We may from time to time distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire our securities. Under the deposit agreement for the ADSs, the depositary will not offer those rights to ADS holders unless both the rights and the underlying securities to be distributed to ADS holders are either registered under the Securities Act, or exempt from registration under the Securities Act with respect to all holders of ADSs. We are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to any such rights or underlying securities or to endeavor to cause such a registration statement to be declared effective. In addition, we may not be able to take advantage of any exemptions from registration under the Securities Act. Accordingly, holders of our ADSs may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution in their holdings as a result.

 

35


Table of Contents

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 transfer books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. In addition, the depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of ADSs generally when our books or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary deems it 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.

We have been named as a defendant in a putative shareholder class action lawsuit that could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operation, cash flows and reputation.

We will have to defend against the putative shareholder class action lawsuit described in “Item 8, Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Legal Proceedings,” including any appeals of such lawsuit should our initial defense be unsuccessful. We are currently unable to estimate the possible outcome or loss or possible range of loss, if any, associated with the resolution of the lawsuit. In the event that our initial defense of the lawsuit is unsuccessful, there can be no assurance that we will prevail in any appeal. Any adverse outcome, including any plaintiff’s appeal of a judgment in the lawsuit, could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operation, cash flows and reputation. In addition, there can be no assurance that our insurance carriers will cover all or part of the defense costs, or any liabilities that may arise from these matters. The litigation process may utilize a significant portion of our resources and divert management’s attention from the day-to-day operations of our company, all of which could harm our business. We also may be subject to claims for indemnification related to these matters, and we cannot predict the impact that indemnification claims may have on our business or financial results.

You may experience difficulties in effecting service of legal process, enforcing foreign judgments or bringing original actions in the Cayman Islands or China based on United States or other foreign laws against us or our management.

We are incorporated in the Cayman Islands and conduct substantially all of our operations in China. Substantially all of our assets are located in China. All of our executive officers reside in China and some or all of the assets of those persons are located outside of the United States. As a result, it may be difficult for you to effect service of process within the United States or elsewhere outside the Cayman Islands and China upon us or our executive officers, including with respect to matters arising under U.S. federal securities laws or applicable state securities laws. It may also be difficult or impossible for you to bring an action against us or against our executive officers in the Cayman Islands or in China in the event that you believe that your rights as an ADS holder have been infringed under the securities laws of the United States or otherwise. Even if you are successful in bringing an action of this kind in the United States, the respective laws of the Cayman Islands and China may render you unable to enforce a judgment against our assets or the assets of our directors and officers. There is no statutory recognition in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the United States, although the courts of the Cayman Islands will generally recognize and enforce a non-penal judgment of a foreign court of competent jurisdiction without retrial on the merits. Moreover, our PRC counsel has advised us that the PRC does not have treaties with the United States or many other countries providing for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of judgment of courts.

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

Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association and by the Companies Law (2013 Revision) and common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take legal action against our directors and us, 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 precedents in the Cayman Islands as well as from English common law, which has persuasive, but not binding, authority on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedents in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws as compared to the United States, and provides significantly less protection to investors. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action before the federal courts of the United States.

 

36


Table of Contents

As a result of all of the above, holders and beneficial owners of our ADSs may have more difficulties in protecting their interests through actions against our management, directors or major shareholders than would shareholders of a corporation incorporated in a jurisdiction in the United States.

Our articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could have a material adverse effect on the rights of holders of our common shares and ADSs.

Our articles of association contain provisions that 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, without further action by our shareholders, 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 common 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 common shares and ADSs may be materially and adversely affected.

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

A non-U.S. corporation, such as our company, will be a “passive foreign investment company,” or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes for any taxable year if either, (1) 75% or more of its gross income for such year consists of certain types of “passive” income or (2) 50% or more of its average quarterly assets as determined on the basis of fair market value during such year produce or are held for the production of passive income.

Although the law in this regard is unclear, we treat our VIEs (including their subsidiaries) as being owned by us for U.S. federal income tax purposes, not only because we control their management decisions but also because we are entitled to substantially all of the economic benefits associated with these entities, and, as a result, we consolidate these entities’ operating results in our combined financial statements. If it were determined, however, that we are not the owner of our VIEs (including their subsidiaries) for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we may be or become a PFIC. Assuming that we are the owner of our VIEs (including their subsidiaries) for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and based upon an analysis of our company’s income and assets in respect of the 2019 taxable year, we do not believe that we were a PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, for the taxable year ended May 31, 2019. Because the value of our assets for purposes of the PFIC test will generally be determined by reference to the market value of our ADSs, the determination of whether we will be or become a PFIC will depend in large part upon the market value of our ADSs, of which we cannot control. Accordingly, fluctuations in the market price of our ADSs may cause us to become a PFIC for the current taxable year or future taxable years. The determination of whether we will be or become a PFIC will also depend, in part, upon the nature of our income and assets over time, which are subject to change from year to year. There can be no assurance that our business plans will not change in a manner that will affect the composition of our income and assets and our PFIC status. Because there are uncertainties in the application of the relevant rules and PFIC status is a fact-intensive determination made on an annual basis, no assurance can be given that we are not or will not become classified as a PFIC.

If we were to be classified as a PFIC in any taxable year, a U.S. Holder (as defined in “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Taxation”) may incur significantly increased U.S. income tax on gain recognized on the sale or other disposition of the ADSs or common shares and on the receipt of distributions on the ADSs or common shares to the extent such gain or distribution is treated as an “excess distribution” under U.S. federal income tax rules. Further, if we are classified as a PFIC for any year during which a U.S. Holder holds our ADSs or common 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 common shares. U.S. Holders of our ADSs or common shares are urged to consult their tax advisors concerning the United States federal income tax consequences if we are or become classified as a PFIC. See “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Taxation—Passive Foreign Investment Company Rules.”

 

37


Table of Contents

ITEM 4. INFORMATION ON THE COMPANY

 

A.

History and Development of the Company

Our first school was established by Michael Minhong Yu, our executive chairman, in Beijing, China in 1993 to offer TOEFL test preparation courses to college students. We established New Oriental China in 2001 as a domestic holding company to act as the sponsor of our schools and hold some operating subsidiaries. Since our inception, we have grown rapidly and transformed ourselves from primarily a language training and test preparation company to the largest provider of private educational services in China offering a wide range of educational programs, services and products to a varied student population throughout China.

In order to facilitate foreign investment in our company, we established our offshore holding company, New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., in the British Virgin Islands in August 2004. On January 25, 2006, our shareholders approved the change of our offshore holding company’s corporate domicile to the Cayman Islands, and we are now a Cayman Islands company. Since December 2007, we have established three wholly-owned subsidiaries in Hong Kong, which now directly own our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China.

We and certain selling shareholders of our company completed an initial public offering and listed our ADSs on the NYSE under the symbol “EDU” in September 2006. In February 2007, we and certain selling shareholders of our company completed an additional public offering of ADSs. On August 18, 2011, we effected a change in the ratio of our ADSs to common shares from one ADS representing four common shares to one ADS representing one common share.

Beijing Xuncheng, a then majority-owned subsidiary of New Oriental China, which operates our several online education platforms together with its subsidiaries, one of which is koolearn.com, listed its shares on the National Equities Exchange and Quotations in China for trading from March 21, 2017 to February 14, 2018 whereby it completed a voluntary delisting from the National Equities Exchange and Quotations. Subsequent to its delisting, Beijing Xuncheng went through a series of restructuring transactions and became a variable interest entity controlled by Koolearn Technology Holding Limited, or Koolearn, a majority-owned subsidiary of our offshore holding company. On March 28, 2019, Koolearn completed its initial public offering and the listing of its shares on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited.

In October 2018, we announced a US$200 million share repurchase program and repurchased an aggregate of 952,000 ADSs at an average purchase price of US$58.78 per ADS as of May 31, 2019.

Our principal executive offices are located at No. 6 Hai Dian Zhong Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100080, People’s Republic of China. Our telephone number at this address is +(8610) 6090-8000. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at Conyers Trust Company (Cayman) Limited, Cricket Square, Hutchins Drive, P.O. Box 2681, Grand Cayman KY1-1111, Cayman Islands. We have branch offices in 83 cities in China.

 

B.

Business Overview

We are the largest provider of private educational services in China based on the number of program offerings, total student enrollments and geographic presence. We offer a wide range of educational programs, services and products, consisting primarily of language training and test preparation, pre-school, primary and secondary school education, online education, content development and distribution, overseas study consulting services, and study tour. We provide educational services primarily under our “New Oriental” brand, which we believe is the leading consumer brand in China’s private education sector.

Since our inception in 1993, we have had approximately 44.8 million cumulative student enrollments. In the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, we had approximately 8.4 million student enrollments, including approximately 7.5 million student enrollments in our K-12 after-school tutoring courses, and approximately 0.6 million student enrollments in our test preparation courses. We deliver our educational programs, services and products to students through an extensive physical network of schools, learning centers and bookstores, as well as through our virtual online network.

 

38


Table of Contents

Our total net revenues increased from US$1,799.5 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$3,096.5 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, representing a compound annual growth rate, or CAGR, of 31.2%. Net revenues from our language training and test preparation courses accounted for 83.9%, 82.7%, and 84.2% respectively, of our total net revenues in the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Net income attributable to New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. decreased from US$274.5 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$238.1 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, representing a CAGR of negative 6.9%.

Our Network

As of May 31, 2019, we deliver our educational programs, services and products to students through our extensive network of 95 schools, 1,159 learning centers and 15 bookstores operated by us, approximately 33,900 teachers in 83 cities and websites, as well as through 174 third-party distributors, who provided us with access to a nationwide network of online and offline bookstores. In addition, we have an extensive network of students and alumni, which has been essential in helping us promote our brand and our programs, services and products by word-of-mouth referrals and through our students’ and alumni’s academic and career achievements. We plan to continue to open new schools and learning centers in cities that exhibit strong enrollment potential.

All of our schools, learning centers and bookstores operate under our “New Oriental” brand. Our hub schools in major cities consist of classrooms and administrative facilities with full student and administrative services, while our schools in satellite cities and our learning centers consist primarily of classroom facilities and limited course registration and management capabilities. We select new locations based on various factors, including demographics and the number of colleges in, and the economic condition of, the particular region. We have opened bookstores in our established schools to primarily sell educational materials relating to our courses and also sell self-help, know-how, inspirational and other books.

We lease all of our facilities except for our Yangzhou school, part of the premises for our headquarters in Beijing and our schools in Xi’an, Tianjin, Kunming, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Xiamen, Changsha, Hangzhou and Zhengzhou. The following table sets forth information concerning the locations of our schools, learning centers and bookstores as of May 31, 2019.

 

City

   Number of Schools      Number of learning centers      Number of bookstores  

Beijing

     6        114        1  

Shanghai

     1        64        1  

Guangzhou

     1        42        1  

Wuhan

     1        65        1  

Yangzhou

     3        —          —    

Tianjin

     1        33        —    

Xi’an

     1        34        1  

Nanjing

     2        34        —    

Shenyang

     1        28        —    

Chongqing

     1        26        1  

Chengdu

     1        37        —    

Shenzhen

     1        24        —    

Xiangyang

     1        15        —    

Taiyuan

     1        34        —    

Haerbin

     1        16        1  

Changsha

     1        32        —    

Jinan

     1        19        —    

Zhengzhou

     1        34        —    

Hangzhou

     1        53        —    

Changchun

     3        20        1  

Shijiazhuang

     1        19        —    

Suzhou

     2        44        1  

 

39


Table of Contents

City

   Number of Schools      Number of learning centers      Number of bookstores  

Zhuzhou

     1        2        —    

Anshan

     1        —          —    

Hefei

     1        42        —    

Kunming

     1        13        —    

Wuxi

     1        15        —    

Foshan

     1        9        —    

Fuzhou

     1        27        —    

Yichang

     1        5        —    

Nanchang

     1        38        1  

Jingzhou

     1        3        —    

Dalian

     1        6        1  

Lanzhou

     1        12        1  

Huangshi

     1        2        —    

Ningbo

     1        9        —    

Xiamen

     1        30        —    

Qingdao

     2        24        —    

Nanning

     1        10        —    

Xuzhou

     1        6        1  

Xiangtan

     1        3        —    

Zhenjiang

     1        4        —    

Luoyang

     1        12        —    

Nantong

     1        4        —    

Jilin

     1        10        —    

Guiyang

     1        9        —    

Hohhot

     1        7        1  

Tangshan

     1        9        —    

Urumqi

     1        7        —    

Shiyan

     1        4        —    

Quanzhou

     1        —          —    

Wenzhou

     1        6        —    

Weifang

     1        2        —    

Zhuhai

     1        1        1  

Jinzhou

     1        7        —    

Baoding

     1        3        —    

Yantai

     1        4        —    

Taian

     1        —          —    

Kaifeng

     1        1        —    

Cangzhou

     1        —          —    

Qinhuangdao

     1        —          —    

Anyang

     1        —          —    

Handan

     1        1        —    

Zhangzhou

     1        —          —    

Nanyang

     1        1        —    

Zhongshan

     1        —          —    

Yinchuan

     1        1        —    

Shaoxing

     1        10        —    

Huzhou

     1        1        —    

Hong Kong

     1        —          —    

Yancheng

     1        1        —    

Lianyungang

     1        —          —    

Jiaozuo

     1        8        —    

Dongguan

     1        —          —    

Haikou

     1        —          —    

Yiwu

     1        1        —    

Jinhua

     1        1        —    

 

40


Table of Contents

City

   Number of Schools      Number of learning centers      Number of bookstores  

Xining

     1        —          —    

Mianyang

     1        —          —    

Xinxiang

     1        —          —    

Baotou

     1        —          —    

Changshu

     1        1        —    

Total

     95        1,159        15  

Our Programs, Services and Products

We provide a wide variety of educational programs, services and products. We deliver education to our students primarily in traditional classroom settings and also through online instruction. With the exception of the full-time primary and secondary school in Yangzhou and a full-time secondary school in Beijing, our classroom-based courses are generally designed to be completed in 2 to 16 weeks. Course fees are determined based on the length of the course, the size and the subject of the class, the area of study and the geographic location of the school. We update and expand our course offerings frequently in response to evolving market needs. We currently have a full-time staff of approximately 1,800 people involved in our centralized curriculum development process. Our program, service and product offerings are generally divided into seven areas: test preparation; K-12 after-school tutoring; language training; pre-school, primary and secondary schools; educational content, software and other technology development and distribution; online education; and other services and products.

Test Preparation Courses

We offer test preparation courses to students taking language and entrance exams used by educational institutions in the United States, the PRC and Commonwealth countries. In our fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, we had approximately 570,000 student enrollments in our test preparation courses, of which approximately 296,000 were in overseas test preparation courses, 274,000 were in PRC test preparation courses.

We offer test preparation courses for the following major overseas exams: IELTS, TOEFL, SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT and LSAT. In addition, we offer test preparation classes for the following major PRC admissions tests: CET 4, CET 6 and National Tests for Entrance into Master’s Degree Programs.

In our fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, approximately 27.8% and 8.0% of the total student enrollments in our overseas test preparation courses took place in Beijing and Shanghai, respectively, and approximately 9.7% and 8.8% of the total student enrollments in our PRC test preparation courses took place in Haerbin and Wuhan, respectively. Our test preparation courses focus on quality instruction and test-taking techniques designed to help students achieve high scores on the admissions and assessment tests. Except for the customized VIP class, our experienced teachers generally teach in classes ranging from 6 to 50 students. Our students enroll in a 50 to 280 hour program with classes meeting one to six times per week for approximately 1 to 3 hours per class. We also offer intensive and condensed versions of our courses, which are compacted into shorter time periods. Course fees for our test preparation courses range from RMB1,500 to RMB37,000 per course.

K-12 After-School Tutoring Courses

After-School Tutoring Courses for Middle School and High School Students. Given the intense competition to gain admission into top high schools and higher education institutions in China, exam scores can be a deciding factor in gaining admission. Our after-school tutoring courses for middle school and high school students are designed to supplement students’ regular school curricula and help students achieve better scores on entrance exams for admission into high schools or higher education institutions.

English proficiency is tested as a major subject of entrance exams for admission into China’s high schools, colleges and universities. In 2002, we first established English after-school training program for middle and high school students. In March 2008, we launched our “New Oriental U-Can All Subjects” training program, which targets middle and high school Chinese students from ages 13 to 18 who are preparing for the high school entrance examination in China, known as the zhongkao and the college entrance examination, known as the gaokao. The gaokao is required for admission to bachelor degree programs and most associate degree programs at Chinese colleges and universities. To complement New Oriental U-Can All Subjects training program, we provide tutoring services to students who seek to retake the gaokao through Tongwen Gaokao School, a private school based in Changchun. In February 2009, we launched a customized learning program for students from ages 12 to 18, offering small class size tutoring ranging from one to five students per class, in all subjects required for the college and high school entrance examinations, respectively. With this strategy of offering affordable larger classes and higher priced individualized small classes for school aged children, we aim to capture more market share in the after-school training market in China.

 

41


Table of Contents

Our typical U-Can All Subjects after-school tutoring courses for middle school and high school students last for 8 to 16 weeks with classroom instruction one to four times per week for 1.5 to 4 hours per visit. We also offer more intensive and condensed versions of our courses, in particular during the summer months when many academic institutions are on summer break. The sizes of these courses typically range from 12 to approximately 50 students per class.

In our fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, we had approximately 3,994,000 student enrollments in our after-school tutoring courses for middle school and high school students, and approximately 9.4% and 8.4% of the enrollments took place in Beijing and Xi’an, respectively. Course fees for our all subject after-school tutoring courses for middle school and high school students range from approximately RMB800 to approximately RMB5,000 per course.

After-School Tutoring Courses for Children. English is a major subject in primary schools. We established our English for children program in 2002 for children in kindergarten through grade six and it has achieved rapid growth since that time. We designed our English for children program based upon the following principles: (1) we use localized materials originally published by international education content providers and publishers while taking into account the local public schools’ curricula and the skills and abilities of the individual child and adapting to his or her particular needs; (2) we assist students in mastering the basics of the language in various fun ways, including interactive games, activities and cultural studies; and (3) we help children develop a passion for learning the language and guide and inspire them to develop their self-learning abilities. In 2008, we launched our “Pop Kids All Subjects” training program, which offered after-school tutoring courses in English, Chinese, math, writing, music and arts for children in kindergarten and primary schools.

Our after-school tutoring courses for children are typically divided into classes of 8 to approximately 24 students per class. Students attend class approximately two times per week for 2 to 3 hours per class. We test our students to measure their progress and make sure they are progressing as needed to advance to the next book and class level without jeopardizing the fundamentals that will allow them to excel in the future.

In our fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, we had approximately 3,523,000 student enrollments in our Pop Kids All Subjects after-school tutoring courses and approximately 7.4% and 7.4% of the enrollments took place in Beijing and Wuhan, respectively. Course fees for these courses range from approximately RMB300 to approximately RMB4,000 per course.

Language Training Courses for Adults

We provide various types of English language training courses as well as training courses for other foreign languages, including German, Japanese, French, Korean, Italian and Spanish.

English language training courses is a primary component of our language training courses. Many employers in China, including foreign-invested enterprises, multinational corporations’ branch offices as well as domestic enterprises involved in international business transactions or the tourism industry, require their employees to have a high level of English proficiency. Our English for adults program offers courses designed to teach and improve students’ English writing, reading, listening and speaking skills. Our schools and learning centers also have language labs at which our students can listen to and recite spoken passages on CDs and audio tapes to improve their listening and speaking skills. A typical course lasts for 4 to 12 weeks with classroom instruction 1 to 5 times per week for 1.5 to 2.5 hours per visit. We also offer more intensive and condensed versions of our courses, in particular during the summer months when many academic institutions are on summer break. The sizes of our English courses for adults typically range from 6 to approximately 40 students per class.

In our fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, we had approximately 66,000 student enrollments in our English courses for adults and approximately 39.4% and 11.0% of the total enrollments were for courses taught in Beijing and Shanghai, respectively. Course fees for our English courses for adults range from approximately RMB400 to approximately RMB5,900 per course.

 

42


Table of Contents

Pre-school, Primary and Secondary Schools

We established the first full-time private primary and secondary school in Yangzhou in 2002. This is a private boarding school for students in grades 1 to 12 seeking a full curriculum taught in both Chinese and English, with a strong emphasis on English language training. We target parents who desire to provide their children with a global vision and an understanding and appreciation of both traditional Chinese culture and the modern world, a competitive advantage in academics and social development and English language proficiency. Our goal is to develop the Yangzhou school, and other new schools to be established in the future, into elite schools whose students consistently gain acceptance into the top universities in China and around the world.

We attempt to immerse our students in the English language at an early age through native English speaking teachers and activities designed to emphasize early and significant exposure to a bilingual environment. The Yangzhou private school has a capacity of up to 4,000 students. As of May 31, 2019, there were over 3,550 students at the Yangzhou school, approximately 40% to 50% of whom came from Yangzhou, with the remainder from various parts of China. Our students must take an admission test and undergo an interview to gain acceptance into our school.

There are over 347 teachers and 248 supporting staff at the Yangzhou school. The school has been regarded as one of the best primary and secondary schools in the local market since shortly after its inception. In our fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, the school accepted 1,238 students out of over approximately 1,815 applicants from the local market as well as elsewhere in China.

The Yangzhou school has received various accreditations from local authorities. We work closely with the local educational authorities to make sure that our curriculum is compatible with public school curriculums and covers the full spectrum of required courses. We have also expanded our curriculum to include subjects, activities and techniques that teach the students to learn and think independently. There is less emphasis on memorization and recitation and greater emphasis on creative thinking and analytical activities. We use computers as a major part of our teaching and learning methods and encourage students to learn in an interactive format. In our fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, tuition at the Yangzhou school ranged from RMB75,000 to RMB95,000 per year.

In July 2006, we established an international high school program within the Yangzhou school. In July 2010, we opened an international high school in Beijing. Our international high school aims to provide students with a full curriculum of high school education in a bilingual environment while preparing them for admission into foreign universities. Of the students of the class of 2019 of the international high school program at our Yangzhou school, 91.8% was admitted into at least one of the top 100 universities in the United States. In our fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, tuition at our international school ranges from RMB95,000 to RMB120,000 per year.

In September 2007, we established our pre-school business with the opening of our first kindergarten in Beijing. We opened our second kindergarten in Nanjing in April 2009, the third one in Yangzhou in August 2014, the fourth one in Beijing in January 2017, and the fifth one in Hong Kong in September 2017. As of May 31, 2019, there were approximately 900 students at these kindergartens. In December 2014, we acquired a kindergarten chain in the city of Qingdao with three leaning centers, which had approximately 710 students as of May 31, 2019. In September 2018, we acquired a kindergarten chain in the city of Suzhou with 14 learning centers, which had approximately 4,800 students as of May 31, 2019. In September 2018, we acquired a kindergarten chain in Beijing with seven learning centers, which had approximately 490 students as of May 31, 2019.

Educational Content, Software and other Technology Development and Distribution

We develop and edit educational materials for language training and test preparation, such as books, software, CD-ROMs, magazines and other periodicals. We distribute these materials through various distribution channels, consisting of our classrooms and bookstores as well as third-party distributors. In the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, we developed and edited about 455 titles and distributed approximately 20.5million books authored or licensed by us in China. Most of the materials distributed by us are education-related and include the materials that we use in our courses and titles that we market for use in English language area.

 

43


Table of Contents

Our extensive distribution channels have attracted international education content providers to cooperate with us in distributing localized versions of their materials in China. We currently have arrangements with British Council, Cengage Learning, NCUK, International Baccalaureate, Bell Education, ETS, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge English Language Assessment, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Oxford University Press, Harper Collins, ACT or their respective authorized local publishers, to develop and distribute localized versions of selected educational materials in China, some of which bear both our logo and the original publisher’s logo. We plan to establish additional strategic relationships with leading international education content providers to enrich our content offerings.

Online Education

We primarily offer online education courses to students covering a full spectrum of ages in three core categories—college education, K-12 education and pre-school education. We provide our courses and products through different online platforms and mobile applications in multiple formats, including live and pre-recorded courses for different class sizes.

College education. Our college education services primarily include college test preparation, overseas test preparation, and English language learning. Our courses target college students and working professionals preparing for standardized tests or seeking to improve their English language proficiency. Our services in the college category were launched in 2005 and are provided through Koolearn and Koo platforms.

K-12 education. Our K-12 education services comprise after-school tutoring courses which cover the majority of standard school subjects from primary to high school in China, and we offer preparation courses designed for standardized college and high school entrance exams. We launched our K-12 course offerings in 2015. Leveraging our expertise in K-12, in 2017, we also launched our innovative DFUB courses, a location-based live interactive tutoring service targeting students in lower-tier cities where offline infrastructure may not be as convenient and there is growing demand for an effective online platform accessible anytime, anywhere.

Pre-school education. Our pre-school education category offers child-friendly online educational content delivered through our Donut English-learning and child education apps and Donut live online English classroom courses. We launched our Donut app series in 2012 and Donut live online classroom in 2017.

In addition, using our online education modules, we also provide educational content packages to schools and institutional customers such as universities, public libraries, telecom operators and online video streaming providers.

Other Services

Overseas Studies Consulting. Our consultants help students through the application and admission process for overseas educational institutions and provide useful college, graduate and career counseling advice to help students make informed decisions. We also counsel students with the immigration process for overseas studies, such as obtaining visas and housing. We charge each student a fee based on the scope of consulting services requested by the student.

Brand Name Cooperation. In January 2010, we established a small pilot program whereby we permit third parties in certain small cities to offer our “Pop Kids” English program and “New Oriental Star” kindergarten program under a brand name cooperation model. The cooperation schools operated by such third parties are not included in the counts of our schools and learning centers, and student enrollments from these schools are not included as our student enrollments. In October 2013, we terminated the brand name cooperation for “New Oriental Star” kindergarten program. As of May 31, 2019 there were a total of 12 brand cooperation schools offering our “Pop Kids” English program. For the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017,2018 and 2019, we recognized revenues in an aggregate amount of US$311 thousand, US$591 thousand and US$552 thousand, respectively, from license and training fees received from these schools.

Overseas Study Tour. In May 2012, we started our overseas study tour business, organizing primary and middle school students to go overseas to learn foreign languages and other short-term curriculum, attend summer/winter school programs, or take part in other educational activities. For the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, we recognized revenues of US$18.6 million from organizing overseas study tour.

 

44


Table of Contents

Marketing and Student Recruitment

We employ a variety of marketing and recruiting methods to attract students. We have positioned ourselves as a provider of private educational services that inspires students to achieve their potential and build self-confidence and that boosts students’ enthusiasm for learning. We believe prospective students are attracted to our schools due to our excellent brand name, the quality of our programs and our relatively long operating history in the private education sector.

We employ the following marketing methods to attract new and returning students:

Speeches and Seminars. Our management, most of whom are experienced teachers and were among our earliest teachers, and our top teachers frequently give speeches at colleges, universities, high schools and middle schools and to student groups, parent groups and educational organizations. They also participate in educational seminars and workshops. Their speeches include direct program promotion speeches during which they directly explain the merits and advantages of our programs or general English learning methods, as well as inspirational speeches designed to motivate students to reach their full potential and strive for success.

Referrals. Historically, our student enrollments have grown primarily through word-of-mouth referrals. Our student enrollments have benefited and will continue to benefit by referrals from our extensive network of students and alumni and the successful academic and professional careers that many of them have achieved.

Distribution of Marketing Materials. We use New Oriental “booths” and “information tables” to distribute free inspirational books authored by our executive chairman Michael Minhong Yu and others, informational brochures, posters and flyers at various on-campus events, educational expos, conferences and college and employment fairs. We also conduct extensive free information sessions to introduce our programs to our target markets.

Advertisements. We advertise through our own websites and also on China’s mainstream online media, such as social media, search engines, news and vertical websites. We also have advertising arrangements with traditional media, such as national and regional newspapers, outdoors, building lobby or elevator LCD displays. In addition, we have established a large number of communities where we interact with customers directly through the provision of content and services.

Social Events and Activities. We participate in and host community events designed to promote awareness of the virtues of education. We believe that these events enhance our public image and increase brand awareness. We also host English speech competitions, English drama performances and cultural events designed to raise enthusiasm for English language learning and to further promote awareness of our brand.

Cross-Selling. As we gain footholds in many different markets, we use our programs in one market as an opportunity to advertise our programs in other markets. With a variety of programs aimed at different age groups, our goal is to create a brand name that permeates every stage of our potential students’ educational, career and life progression, from English for children to English for adults to test preparation to continuing professional education, and to encourage our students to introduce their children to the same system and courses. Outside of our organization, we have established cross-promotional relationships with a number of companies to promote our programs, services and products and awareness of our brand.

Competition

The private education sector in China is rapidly evolving, highly fragmented and competitive, and we expect competition in this sector to persist and intensify. We face competition in each major program we offer and each geographic market in which we operate. For example, we face nationwide competition for our IELTS preparation courses from Global IELTS School, which offers IELTS preparation courses in many cities in China. We face regional competition for our English for children program from several competitors that focus on children’s English language training in specific regions, including English First. We face limited competition from many competitors that focus on providing international and/or PRC test preparation courses in specific geographic markets in China. We also face competition from companies that focus on providing after-school tutoring services, such as TAL Education Group.

 

45


Table of Contents

We believe that the principal competitive factors in our markets include the following:

 

   

brand recognition;

 

   

overall student experience;

 

   

ability to effectively market programs, services and products to a broad base of prospective students; and

 

   

scope and quality of program, service and product offerings.

We believe that our primary competitive advantages are our well-known “New Oriental” brand, our innovative and inspirational instruction methods and the breadth and quality of our programs, services and products. However, some of our existing and potential competitors may have more resources than we do. These competitors may be able to devote greater resources than we can to the development, promotion and sale of their programs, services and products and respond more quickly than we can to changes in student demands, testing materials, admissions standards, market needs or new technologies. In addition, we face competition from many different smaller sized organizations that focus on some of our targeted markets, which may be able to respond more promptly to changes in student preferences in these markets.

The increasing use of the internet and advances in internet- and computer-related technologies, such as web video conferencing and online testing simulators, are eliminating geographic and cost-entry barriers to providing private educational services. As a result, many of our international competitors that offer online test preparation and language training courses may be able to more effectively penetrate the China market. Many of these international competitors have strong education brands, and students and parents in China may be attracted to the offerings of our international competitors based in the country that the student wishes to study in or in which the selected language is widely spoken. In addition, many smaller companies are able to use the internet to quickly and cost-effectively offer their programs, services and products to a large number of students with less capital expenditure than previously required.

Seasonality

We have experienced, and expect to continue to experience, seasonal fluctuations in our operations, primarily due to seasonal changes in student enrollments. Historically, our courses tend to have the largest student enrollments in our first fiscal quarter, which runs from June 1 to August 31 of each year, primarily because many students enroll in our courses during the summer vacation to enhance their foreign language skills and/or prepare for admissions and assessment tests in subsequent school terms. In addition, we have generally experienced larger student enrollments in our third fiscal quarter, which runs from December 1 to February 28 of each year, primarily because many students enroll in our language training and other courses during the winter school holidays. We expect quarterly fluctuations in our revenues and results of operations to continue.

Regulation

This section summarizes the principal PRC regulations relating to our businesses.

We operate our business in China under a legal regime consisting of the State Council, which is the highest authority of the executive branch of the PRC central government, and several ministries and agencies under its authority, including the Ministry of Education, or the MOE, the General Administration of Press and Publication, or GAPP, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or the MIIT, the SAMR, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and their respective authorized local counterparts.

Regulations on Private Education

The principal regulations governing private education in China consist of the Education Law of the PRC, the Law for Promoting Private Education, as most recently amended in November 2016, and the Implementation Rules for the Law for Promoting Private Education, and the Regulations on Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Operating Schools. Below is a summary of the relevant provisions of these regulations.

 

46


Table of Contents

Education Law of the PRC

The National People’s Congress enacted the Education Law of the PRC, or the Education Law, most recent amendment effective on June 1, 2016. The Education Law sets forth provisions relating to the fundamental education systems of the PRC, including a school system of pre-school education, primary education, secondary education and higher education, a system of nine-year compulsory education and a system of education certificates. The Education Law stipulates that the government should formulate plans for the development of education and establish and operate schools and other institutions of education, and that in principle, enterprises, social organizations and individuals are encouraged to operate schools and other types of educational organizations in accordance with PRC laws and regulations.

On December 27, 2015, the National People’s Congress amended the Education Law of the PRC, which became effective on June 1, 2016. The amended Education Law of the PRC, among other things, abolished the provision that prohibits any organization or individual from establishing or operating a school or any other education institution for profit-making purposes. Nevertheless, schools and other education institutions sponsored wholly or partially by government financial funds and donated assets remain prohibited from being established as for-profit organizations

The Law for Promoting Private Education and the Implementation Rules for the Law for Promoting Private Education

Under the Law for Promoting Private Education and the Implementation Rules for the Law for Promoting Private Education, “private schools” are defined as schools established by social organizations or individuals using non-government funds. In addition, private schools providing certifications, pre-school education, education for self-study aid and other academic education shall be subject to approval by the education authorities, while private schools engaging in occupational qualification training and occupational skill training shall be subject to approvals from the authorities in charge of labor and social welfare. A duly approved private school will be granted a Permit for Operating a Private School, and shall be registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs or its local counterparts as a privately run non-enterprise institution.

Under the above regulations, private schools have the same status as public schools, though private schools are prohibited from providing military, police, political and other kinds of education which are of a special nature. Government-run schools that provide compulsory education are not permitted to be converted into private schools. In addition, under the above regulations, the operation of a private school is highly regulated. For example, the types and amounts of fees charged by a private school providing certifications shall be approved by the governmental pricing authority and be publicly disclosed. A private school that does not provide certifications shall file its pricing information with the governmental pricing authority and publicly disclose such information. Except for our primary and secondary school in Yangzhou and a private secondary school in Beijing, which provide graduation certifications to students, none of the schools operated by New Oriental China provides a diploma or certification to students.

Before September 1, 2017, the date the Amended Private Education Law became effective, private education is treated as a public welfare undertaking in all aspects under the Law for Promoting Private Education and its Implementation Rules. Nonetheless, investors of a private school may choose to require “reasonable returns” from the annual net balance of the school after deduction of costs, donations received, government subsidies, if any, the reserved development fund and other expenses as required by the regulations. Private schools were divided into three categories: private schools established with donated funds; private schools that require reasonable returns and private schools that do not require reasonable returns.

The election to establish a private school requiring reasonable returns was required to be provided in the articles of association of the school. The percentage of the school’s annual net balance that can be distributed as reasonable return was required to be determined by the school’s board of directors, taking into consideration the following factors: (1) items and criteria for the school’s fees, (2) the ratio of the school’s expenses used for educational activities and improving the educational conditions to the total fees collected, and (3) the admission standards and educational quality. The relevant information relating to the above factors was required to be publicly disclosed before the school’s board determines the percentage of the school’s annual net balance that can be distributed as reasonable returns. Such information and the decision to distribute reasonable returns was also required to be filed with the approval authorities within 15 days from the decision made by the board. However, none of the current PRC laws and regulations provided a formula or guidelines for determining “reasonable returns.” In addition, none of the current PRC laws and regulations set forth different requirements or restrictions on a private school’s ability to operate its education business based on such school’s status as a school that requires reasonable returns or a school that does not require reasonable returns.

 

47


Table of Contents

Every private school was required to allocate a certain amount to its development fund for the construction or maintenance of school facilities or procurement or upgrade of educational equipment. In the case of a private school that required reasonable returns, this amount shall be no less than 25% of the annual net income of the school, while in the case of a private school that did not require reasonable returns, this amount shall be equal to no less than 25% of the annual increase in the net assets of the school, if any. Private schools that do not require reasonable returns shall be entitled to the same preferential tax treatment as public schools, while the preferential tax treatment policies applicable to private schools requiring reasonable returns shall be formulated by the finance authority, taxation authority and other authorities under the State Council. To date, however, no regulations have been promulgated by the relevant authorities in this regard.

On November 7, 2016, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the Amended Private Education Law, which became effective on September 1, 2017.

Under the Amended Private Education Law, the term “reasonable return” is no longer used, and sponsors of private school may choose to establish non-profit or for-profit private schools at their own discretion. Nevertheless, school sponsors are not allowed to establish for-profit private schools that are engaged in mandatory education according to the Amended Private Education Law. Therefore, schools engaged in mandatory education must retain their non-profit status after the effectiveness of the Amended Private Education Law.

The Amended Private Education Law further establishes a new classification system for private schools on whether they are established and operated for profit-making purposes. Key features of this system include the following:

 

   

sponsors of for-profit private schools are entitled to retain the profits and proceeds from the schools and the operation surplus may be allocated to the sponsors pursuant to the PRC Company Law and other relevant laws and regulations, whereas sponsors of non-profit private schools are not entitled to the distribution of profits or proceed from the non-profit schools and all operation surplus of non-profit schools shall be used for the operation of the schools;

 

   

for-profit private schools are entitled to set their own tuition and other miscellaneous fees without seeking prior approval from or reporting to the relevant government authorities. whereas the collection of fees by non-profit private schools shall be regulated by the provincial, autonomous regional or municipal governments;

 

   

private schools (for-profit and non-profit alike) may enjoy preferential tax treatments; non-profit private schools will be entitled to the same tax benefits as public schools whereas taxation policies for for-profit private schools are still unclear as more specific provisions are yet to be introduced;

 

   

for construction or expansion of the school, non-profit schools may acquire the required land use rights in the form of allocation by the government as a preferential treatment, whereas for-profit private schools shall acquire the required land use rights by purchasing them from the government;

 

   

the remaining assets of non-profit private schools after liquidation shall continue to be used for the operation of non-profit schools, whereas the remaining assets of for-profit private schools shall be distributed to the sponsors in accordance with the PRC Company Law; and

 

   

governments at or above the prefecture level may support private schools (for-private and non-private alike) by subscribing to their services, providing student loans and scholarships, and leasing or transferring unused state assets to the schools, and the governments may further support non-profit private schools in the form of government subsidies, bonus funds and incentives for donation.

 

48


Table of Contents

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, which require to ease the access to the operation of private schools and encourage social forces to enter into the education industry. The opinions also provide that each level of the government shall increase their support to the private schools in terms of financial investment, financial support, autonomy policies, preferential tax treatments, land policies, fee policies, autonomy operation, protection of the rights of teachers and students etc. Further, the opinions require each level of the government to improve local policies on government support to for-profit and non-profit private schools by such means as preferential tax treatments.

On December 30, 2016, the MOE, Ministry of Civil Affairs, the SAMR, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Welfare and the State Commission Office of Public Sectors Reform jointly issued the Implementation Rules on the Classification Registration of Private Schools to reflect the new classification system for private schools as set out in the Amended Private Education Law. Generally, if a private school established before promulgation of the Amended Private Education Law chooses to register as a non-profit school, it shall amend its articles of association, continue its operation and complete the new registration process. If such private school chooses to register as a for-profit school, it shall conduct financial liquidation process, have the property rights of its assets such as lands, school buildings and net balance being authenticated by relevant government authorities, pay up relevant taxes, apply for a new Permit for Operating a Private School, re-register as for-profit schools and continue its operation. Specific provisions regarding the above registration process are yet to be introduced by governments at the provincial level.

On December 30, 2016, the MOE, the SAMR and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Welfare jointly issued the Implementation Rules on the Supervision and Administration of For-profit Private Schools, pursuant to which the establishment, division, merger and other material changes of a for-profit private school shall first be approved by the education authorities or the authorities in charge of labor and social welfare, and then be registered with the competent branch of the SAMR.

On September 1, 2017, SAMR and MOE jointly issued the Notice of Relevant Work on the Registration and Management of the Name of For-Profit Private Schools, which specifies the requirements on the names of for-profit private schools.

Besides the Amended Private Education Law and the above regulations, other details of the requirements on the operation of non-profit schools and for-profit schools will be provided in implementation regulations that are yet to be introduced, such as

 

   

an amendment to the Implementation Rules for the Law for Promoting Private Education;

 

   

local regulations relating to legal person registration of for-profit and non-profit private schools in some provinces; and

 

   

specific measures to be formulated and promulgated by the competent authorities responsible for the administration of private schools in the province(s) in which our schools are located, including specific measures for registration of pre-existing private schools and the collection of non-profit private schools’ fees, specific requirements for authenticating various parties’ property rights of for-profit private schools, detailed taxation policies for for-profit private schools.

As of the date of this annual report, certain local governments, for example, Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu province, Hebei province, Shaanxi province and Hainan province, have promulgated their local regulations relating to legal person registration and administration for private schools and certain local governments, for example, Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu province, Hubei province, Hebei province, Zhejiang province, Yunnan province, Gansu province, Anhui province and Liaoning province, have promulgated general guidance to encourage the development of private schools. Among these local regulations and guidance, some local governments, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hubei province, Hebei province, Anhui province, Yunnan province and Zhejiang province require the existing private schools to register either as for-profit or non-profit schools within a specific time period. Preferential tax treatments granted to our schools by governmental authorities are subject to review and may be adjusted or revoked at any time in the future.

 

49


Table of Contents

Sponsorship of Private Schools

Under the Law for Promoting Private Education and the Implementation Rules for Promoting Private Education, entities and individuals that establish private schools are referred to as “sponsors.” As of May 31, 2019, New Oriental China was the sponsor of 95 schools.

Before September 1, 2017, the date the Amended Private Education Law became effective, the “sponsorship interest” that a sponsor holds in a private school is, for all practical purposes, substantially equivalent under PRC law and practice to the “equity interest” a shareholder holds in a company. Pursuant to the Implementation Rules for Promoting Private Education, a sponsor of a private school has the obligation to make capital contributions to the school in a timely manner. The contributed capital can be in the form of tangible or non-tangible assets such as materials in kind, land use rights or intellectual property rights. Pursuant to the Law for Promoting Private Education, the capital contributed by the sponsor becomes assets of the school and the school has independent legal person status. In addition, pursuant to the Law for Promoting Private Education and the Implementation Rules for Promoting Private Education, the sponsor of a private school has the right to exercise ultimate control over the school. Specifically, the sponsor has control over the private school’s constitutional documents and has the right to elect and replace the private school’s decision making bodies, such as the school’s board of directors, and therefore controls the private school’s business and affairs.

As of September 1, 2017, we were not aware that PRC law provides that upon liquidation of a private school, the sponsor is legally restricted to receive only its invested capital and is not allowed to have other return. As of September 1, 2017, there was no national law that addresses this subject one way or the other. In the absence of a national law providing for the sponsor’s rights upon liquidation of a private school, provincial regulations and interpretations are ambiguous and inconsistent on this subject. There were local regulations or interpretations that specifically provide that sponsors are entitled to private schools’ residual assets pro rata based on their respective capital contribution. Nevertheless, there were also local regulations that are less clear in this regard.

Notwithstanding the legal uncertainties surrounding this issue, we believe that the potential risk that we will not receive all of the residual assets upon the liquidation of a school is immaterial. There were no capital contributions made by any PRC governmental authorities to our schools. Nor did any of our schools ever receive donations from any third parties, including PRC governmental authorities or any third party enterprises. Neither we nor our PRC counsel is aware of any case in China where a private school which has been solely funded by private sponsors without any government or donated funds became state property or was otherwise appropriated by a government authority upon liquidation without the prior consent of its sponsor. We historically have never liquidated any school that was profitable and we have no plan to do so in the future unless required by the laws and regulations. If, for any reason, we would like to divest a profitable school, a commercially sensible way to do so is to sell the school, rather than to liquidate the school. In this situation, the sponsor is entitled to receive consideration for transferring sponsorship, which often exceeds its initial investment in the school.

Upon the effectiveness of the Amended Private Education Law in September 2017, sponsors of for-profit private schools are entitled to retain the profits and proceeds from the schools and the operation surplus may be allocated to the sponsors pursuant to the PRC Company Law and other relevant laws and regulations, whereas sponsors of non-profit private schools are not entitled to the distribution of profits or proceed from the non-profit schools and all operation surplus of non-profit schools shall be used for the operation of the schools. The remaining assets of non-profit private schools after liquidation shall continue to be used for the operation of non-profit schools, whereas the remaining assets of for-profit private schools shall be distributed to the sponsors in accordance with the PRC Company Law.

Regulations on After-School Tutoring

The State Council issued an Opinion on Supervising After-School Tutoring Institutions on August 22, 2018, which provided various guidance on regulating after-school tutoring institutions that target primary and secondary school students (the “State Council Circular 80”). The State Council Circular 80 provides for the standardization of approval and registration of after-school tutoring institutions, and requires relevant governmental authorities to conduct special administration strengthening regulations on after-school tutoring institutions. The State Council Circular 80 specifies operating requirements that after-school tutoring institutions must meet. Such requirements include, among other things, that after-school tutoring institutions are required to (i) have a fixed training premise that conforms to specified safety criteria, with an average area per student of no less than three square meters during the applicable training period; (ii) comply with relevant fire safety, environmental protection, hygiene, food operation and other specified requirements; (iii) purchase personal safety insurance for students to reduce safety risks; and (iv) not hire teachers who are working concurrently in primary or secondary schools, and teachers for tutoring in academic subjects such as English are required to have the corresponding teaching qualifications. After-school tutoring institutions are prohibited from carrying out exam-oriented training, training that goes beyond the school syllabus, training in advance of the corresponding school schedule and any training activities associated with student admission, nor shall they organize any level test, rank examination or competition on academic subjects for primary and secondary students. According to State Council Circular 80, extracurricular training institutions are also required to disclose and file relevant information, including their training content, schedule, targeted students and school timetable to the relevant education authority, and their training classes may not end later than8:30pm each day. After-school tutoring institutions can only collect in advance fees for courses spanning three months or shorter. Additionally, State Council Circular 80 requests that competent local authorities formulate relevant local standards for after-school tutoring institutions within their administrative area.

 

50


Table of Contents

In connection to the online education service providers, the State Council Circular 80 provides that the administrative departments of networking, culture, industry and information technology, radio and television shall cooperate with the education department to supervise online education within their respective responsibilities.

In order to guide and regulate private tutoring institutions, certain local education bureaus, including education bureaus of Beijing, Shaanxi province, Tianjin, Guangdong province, and Shanghai, have issued standards for private tutoring institutions, which provide requirements for sponsors, premises, curriculums, teachers and other aspects of private tutoring institutions.

Regulations on Kindergarten

On September 11, 1989, the MOE issued the Kindergarten Management Regulations. The Kindergarten Management Regulations provide some basic principles for the establishment and management of kindergartens enrolling children aged three years or above and call for local regulations following such principles. The Kindergarten Management Regulations set out the procedures for approval of a kindergarten, as well as the requirements for the establishment of a kindergarten which include the following factors: (1) safety and sanitary conditions of the locations and facilities, (2) professional qualifications of the teaching and administrative staff, and (3) financial capacity of the sponsors. The Kindergarten Management Regulations further set out provisions on the operation and management of a kindergarten, including: (1) educational activities shall be suitable for the children’s developments; (2) no corporal punishment is allowed; (3) sanitation and hygiene rules and safety protection system shall be formulated and followed; and (4) financial management shall be enhanced to prevent the misappropriation of the kindergarten funding.

On November 7, 2018, the CPC Central Committee and State Council jointly promulgated Opinions of the CPC Central Committee and State Council on Deepening Reform in Preschool Education (the “Preschool Opinions”). The Preschool Opinions laid out overall requirements for the reform and development of preschool education and specified measures to be taken in eight areas: planning and distribution of kindergartens, expansion of preschool education resources, long-term funding mechanisms, teaching workforce, supervision systems, regulation of private kindergartens, childcare and teaching quality, and administrative systems. The Preschool Opinions aim to increase the accessibility of preschool education to children and see the pre-school gross enrollment rate reach 85% by 2020. The Preschool Opinions propose to build a preschool education system centered on kindergartens with universal access (including public kindergartens and private kindergartens with universal access) and expect the coverage of kindergartens with universal access amount to 80% by 2020. The Preschool Opinions demand the regulation on the development of private kindergartens, including that the social capital is prohibited from controlling non-profit kindergartens through M&A and contractual arrangements, and that (i) social capital is not allowed to control non-profit kindergartens or kindergartens that are sponsored by state-owned assets or collectively-owned assets through ways such as mergers and acquisitions, delegating operation, franchising, variable interest entities or contractual arrangements, in breach of which, the kindergartens shall not be allowed to issue additional share capital until the education department jointly with other relevant authorities have remedied such breach, and (ii) public companies are not allowed to invest in for-profit kindergartens through ways such as financing from the capital market, or acquire assets of for-profit kindergartens through ways such as issuing shares or paying cash. It is uncertain whether it would become illegal to use contractual arrangements to consolidate operation results of kindergartens under the new regulation regime, and the above rules may materially affect our expansion and operation of kindergartens in the future.

 

51


Table of Contents

Regulations on Compulsory Education

The Compulsory Education Law of the PRC was promulgated by the NPC on April 12, 1986, and last amended on December 29, 2018. According to the Compulsory Law of the PRC, a system of nine-year compulsory education, including six-year primary school and three-year middle school, was adopted.

Further, the MOE issued the Reform Guideline on the Curriculum System of Basic Education (Trial) on June 8, 2001, which became effective on the same day, pursuant to which schools providing basic education shall follow a “state-local-school” three-tier curriculum system. In other words, schools must follow the state curriculum standard for state courses, while the local educational authorities have the power to determine the curriculum standard for other courses, and schools may also develop curricula that are suitable for their specifics needs.

According to the Interim Administrative Measures on the Compilation and Vetting of Primary and Secondary School Textbooks amended on November 10, 2015 by the MOE, textbooks must be vetted before being used in primary and secondary schools. According to the Interim Administrative Measures on the Selection of the Primary and Secondary School Textbooks promulgated on September 30, 2014, the MOE is responsible for publishing the catalog of textbooks for selection, and the provincial education authority is in charge of textbook selection within its relevant administrative jurisdiction.

On June 23, 2019, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and the State Council jointly promulgated the Opinions on Deepening the Education Reform and Comprehensively Improving the Quality of Compulsory Education, which emphasizes, among other issues, that schools providing compulsory education shall not admit students based on the results of any examination or competition, training scores, or any certificate, and shall not choose students based on interview or evaluation. The admission process of private schools providing compulsory education will be brought into a unified administration system and take place at the same time as that of public schools; and if the application exceeds the enrollment plan, applicants will be admitted randomly using computers. The above opinions also underline that it is prohibited for schools to replace the national curriculums with local or their specific curriculums, or to use uncertified textbooks, and schools providing compulsory education are not allowed to introduce overseas curriculums or use overseas textbooks.

Regulations on Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Operating Schools

Chinese-foreign cooperation in operating schools or training programs is specifically governed by the Regulations on Operating Chinese-Foreign Schools, promulgated by the State Council in accordance with the Education Law of the PRC, the Occupational Education Law and the Law for Promoting Private Education, and the Implementation Rules for the Regulations on Operating Chinese-Foreign Schools. The Regulations on Operating Chinese-foreign Schools and its implementation rules encourage substantive cooperation between overseas educational organizations with relevant qualifications and experience in providing high-quality education and Chinese educational organizations to jointly operate various types of schools in the PRC, with such cooperation in the areas of higher education and occupational education being encouraged. Chinese-foreign cooperative schools are not permitted, however, to engage in compulsory education and military, police, political and other kinds of education that are of a special nature in the PRC.

Permits for Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Operating Schools shall be obtained from the relevant education authorities or the authorities that regulate labor and social welfare in the PRC. We have not applied for a Permit for Chinese-Foreign Cooperation in Operating Schools at this stage since we currently do not have Chinese-foreign Cooperation Schools.

Foreign Investment Access Special Management Measures (Negative List) (2019 Version)

The Catalogue of Industries for Guiding Foreign Investment (Amended in 2017), or the 2017 Catalog was promulgated by the NDRC and MOFCOM on June 28, 2017 with effect from July 28, 2017. For the purpose of regulating foreign investment, the 2017 Catalog divides all industries into two categories, namely (i) industries where foreign investment is encouraged; and (ii) industries subject to special administrative measures for access of foreign investment. On June 28, 2018, the NDRC and MOFCOM jointly promulgated the Special Administrative Measures for Access of Foreign Investment (Negative List) (2018 Version), or the 2018 Negative List with effect from July 28, 2018 to replace the previous list of industries subject to special administrative measures for access of foreign investment under the 2017 Catalogue. On June 30, 2019, the MOFOCOM and the NDRC jointly promulgated the Catalog of Industries Encouraging Foreign Investment (2019 Version), or the 2019 Encouraged Catalog, which became effective on July 30, 2019 and replaced the previous list of the industries where foreign investment is encouraged under the 2017 Catalog, and the Special Administrative Measures for Access of Foreign Investment (Negative List) (2019 Version), or the 2019 Negative List, which became effective on July 30, 2019 and replaced the 2018 Negative List. Unless otherwise provided in PRC Laws, foreign investment in areas not listed on the 2019 Negative List is permitted and treated equally with domestic investment.

 

52


Table of Contents

Under such 2019 Negative List, pre-school education, senior high school education in grades 10 to 12, and higher education are in a restricted industry, meaning foreign educational organizations with relevant qualifications and experience and Chinese educational organizations are only allow to operate pre-school education, senior high schools and higher education in cooperative ways by the form of a cooperative joint venture in the PRC. Foreign investment is banned from compulsory education, which means grades 1 to 9. Foreign investment is allowed in after-school tutoring services and training services which do not grant certificates or diplomas and non-academic vocational training institutions.

The PRC Foreign Investment Law

On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress promulgated the Foreign Investment Law, which will come into effect on January 1, 2020 and replace the trio of existing laws regulating foreign investment in China, namely, the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law and the Wholly Foreign-invested Enterprise Law, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations. The existing foreign-invested enterprises established prior to the effective of the Foreign Investment Law may keep their corporate forms within five years. The implementing rules of the Foreign Investment Law will be stipulated separately by State Council. Pursuant to the Foreign Investment Law, “foreign investors” means natural person, enterprise, or other organization of a foreign country, “foreign-invested enterprises” (FIEs) means any enterprise established under PRC law that is wholly or partially invested by foreign investors and “foreign investment” means any foreign investor’s direct or indirect investment in mainland China, including: (i) establishing FIEs in mainland China either individually or jointly with other investors; (ii) obtaining stock shares, stock equity, property shares, other similar interests in Chinese domestic enterprises; (iii) investing in new projects in mainland China either individually or jointly with other investors; and (iv) making investment through other means provided by laws, administrative regulations, or State Council provisions.

The Foreign Investment Law stipulates that China implements the management system of pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list to foreign investment and the government generally will not expropriate foreign investment, except under special circumstances, in which case it will provide fair and reasonable compensation to foreign investors. Foreign investors are barred from investing in prohibited industries on the negative list and must comply with the specified requirements when investing in restricted industries on that list. When a license is required to enter a certain industry, the foreign investor must apply for one, and the government must treat the application the same as one by a domestic enterprise, except where laws or regulations provide otherwise. In addition, foreign investors or FIEs are required to file information reports and foreign investment shall be subject to the national security review.

Regulations on Online and Distance Education

Pursuant to the Administrative Regulations on Educational Websites and Online and Distance Education Schools issued by the MOE, educational websites and online education schools may provide educational services in relation to higher education, elementary education, pre-school education, teaching education, occupational education, adult education, other education and public educational information services. “Educational websites” refer to organizations providing education or education-related information services to website visitors by means of a database or online education platform connected via the internet or an educational television station through an Internet Service Provider, or ISP. “Online education schools” refer to education websites providing academic education services or training services with the issuance of various certificates within the issuance of various certificates.

 

53


Table of Contents

Setting up education websites and online education schools was subject to approval from relevant education authorities, depending on the specific types of education. Any education website and online education school had to, upon the receipt of approval, indicate on its website such approval information as well as the approval date and file number.

On June 29, 2004, the State Council promulgated the Decision on Setting Down Administrative Licenses for the Administrative Examination and Approval Items Really Necessary to Be Retained, pursuant to which the administrative license for “online education schools” was retained, while the administrative license for “educational websites” was not retained. On January 28, 2014, the State Council promulgated the Decision on Abolishing and Delegating Certain Administration Examination and Approval Items, pursuant to which the administrative approval for “online education schools” of higher education was abolished.

Notwithstanding these decisions formulated by the State Council, as the Administrative Regulations on Educational Websites and Online Education Schools were not explicitly abolished, in practice, certain local authorities continue to implement the approval requirement for setting up education websites and online education schools until February 3, 2016, when the State Council promulgated the Decision on Cancelling the Second Batch of 152 Items Subject to Administrative Examination and Approval by Local Governments Designated by the Central Government, explicitly withdrew the approval requirements for operating educational websites and online education schools as provided by the Administrative Regulations on Educational Websites and Online Education Schools, and reiterated the principle that administrative approval requirements may only be imposed in accordance with the PRC Administrative Licensing Law.

In December 2017, Shanghai Municipal Government promulgated the Management Methods of Classified Registration of Private Schools, the Setting Standards for Private Training Institutions of Shanghai, the Management Measures for the For-profit Private Training Institutions of Shanghai, and the Management Methods for the Non-Profit Private Training Institutions of Shanghai, or the Shanghai Implementation Regulations, collectively. Pursuant to the Shanghai Implementation Regulations, any management measures and regulations applied to institutions that provide training services only through the Internet will be further promulgated separately. These management measures and regulations have not yet been introduced as of the date hereof.

The recent Implementation Opinion on Regulating Online After-school Tutoring Activities restates certain requirements that apply to all after-school tutoring institutions and further provides that, among others: (1) online after-school tutoring institutions shall publicly make available their teachers’ name, photograph, teaching classes and teaching qualification number at prominent location on their home page, and shall publicly make available education background as well as working and education experience of foreign teachers; (2) information including licenses (including ICP), administration of funds, system of privacy and information safety, courses, course schedules, advertisement for student enrollment and teacher qualifications shall be filed with education administration authorities at provincial level before October 31, 2019 and education administration authorities at provincial level shall examine these materials and inspect the online tutoring institutions by December 2019, and education administration authorities at provincial level are authorized to issue detailed rules to implement the filing process; (3) the tutoring contents and data shall be kept for more than one year and the videos of live-streaming tutoring courses shall be kept for at least six months; (4) each class shall not last for more than 40 minutes and the break between two courses shall last for more than 10 minutes; (5) live-streaming tutoring activities for students in the compulsory education stage shall end before 9:00 p.m.; (6) online after-school tutoring institutions shall implement the internet safety procedures and establish privacy protection system; (7) fee policies, standards and refund policies shall be made public at prominent location on the online tutoring platform, and the advance payment shall not be used for investing purpose and the scale of advance payment shall fit the tutoring capability; and (8) tutoring fees for more than 60 classes shall not be collected at one time, if the students are charged according to numbers of classes they take, and tutoring fees for a period spanning more than three months should not be collected at one time, if the students are charged for a period of time.

Opinion on Guiding and Regulating the Healthy Development of Online Education Applications, issued by MOE and seven other authorities on August 11, 2019, restates certain requirements that apply to online education application providers, as stated above, and further provides that: (1) online after-school tutoring institutions shall examine the teaching qualifications, education background and capability of their foreign teachers; (2) online education applications providers shall file information about themselves as well as their applications with education administration authorities at provincial level, and MOE will promulgate detailed filing rules to guide such filing and make such filing results publicly available on official website; (3) online education applications providers whose applications mainly faces juveniles shall limit the length of using time, specify age group of target users and strictly review the content of the applications, and the collection of personal information of juveniles shall be permitted by the custodian of such juveniles; (4) online education application providers shall build up data security systems covering the collection, storage, transfer, using and other respects of personal information, and shall set up a name verification system; (5) education authorities at provincial level shall set up negative lists of the online education applications.

 

54


Table of Contents

Regulations on Publishing and Distribution of Publications

The State Council promulgated the Administrative Regulations on Publication, or the Publication Regulations, which was most recently amended on February 6, 2016. The Publication Regulations apply to publication activities, i.e., the publishing, printing, copying, importation or distribution of publications, including books, newspapers, periodicals, audio and video products and electronic publications, each of which requires approval from the relevant publication administrative authorities. According to the Publication Regulations, any entity engaging in the activities of publishing, printing, copying, importation or distribution of publications, shall obtain relevant permits of publishing, printing, copying, importation or distribution of publications. In addition, according to the effective Negative List, foreign investors are prohibited from engaging in the publishing business. Therefore, our subsidiaries and New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries are not permitted to engage in the publishing business under this regulation. Beijing New Oriental Dogwood Cultural Communications Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of New Oriental China, has been cooperating with qualified PRC publishing companies to publish our self-developed teaching materials and other content, to comply with the Publication Regulations.

According to the prior Measures for the Administration of Internal Informative Publications, entities engaging in printing internal informative publications may obtain an internal informative publications printing permit instead of the permit of publishing. Such internal informative publications are defined as publications used for internal information communication and work guidance purpose and are not for sale. In April 2015, the current Measures for the Administration of Internal Informative Publications took effect and abolished the prior measures. Under the new regulation, the internal informative publications printing permit is not available for printing and publishing of textbooks and teaching materials for primary and secondary school students. In addition, the new regulation prohibits entities which have obtained the internal permit from offering the internal informative publications to its client or to the public. New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries engage in printing and providing teaching handouts and other materials to our students. Under the new regulation, it is uncertain whether printing and providing teaching handouts and other materials to our students would be deemed publishing activities. If the GAPP or its local branches or other competent authorities deem such activities as publishing, we may become subject to significant penalties, fines, legal sanctions or an order suspending our printing and providing of teaching handouts and other materials to our students.

GAPP issued new Administrative Regulations on Publications Market, effective on June 1, 2016, which abolished the old regulation. According to the new regulation, any organization or individual engaged in whole sale or retail of publications shall obtain a Permit for Operating Publications. Distribution of publications in the PRC is regulated on different administrative levels. An entity engaged in wholesaling of publications shall obtain such permit from the provincial counterpart of GAPP; and an entity engaged in retail distribution of publications shall obtain such permit from the local counterpart of GAPP at the county level. According to the new regulation, foreign-invested enterprises are allowed to engage in the business of distribution of publications. Foreign investors who intends to establish an enterprise engaging in the business of distribution of publications and foreign-invested enterprise which intends to engage in the business of distribution of publications shall firstly obtain the approval from local branch of the Ministry of Commerce. If and upon approval, the Ministry of Commerce will issue the Approval Certificate for Foreign-Invested Enterprises, on which the business scope of distribution of publications is specified along with the word “subject to the permission in this industry.” Afterwards, the foreign-invested enterprise shall file with its business scope of distribution of publications local office of the SAMR and shall obtain the Permit for Operating Publications Business from relevant offices of the GAPP before engaging in the business of distribution of publications.

In addition, pursuant to the Administrative Regulations on Publishing Audio-Video Products promulgated by the State Council on December 25, 2001, which became effective as of February 1, 2002, any entity engaged in the wholesale or retail distribution of audio-video products was required to secure a Business Certificate for Audio-Video Products from the relevant culture authorities. The Administrative Regulations on Publishing Audio-Video Products was later amended in 2011, 2013 and was most recently amended on January 2, 2016, pursuant to which the Business Certificate for Audio-Video Products was replaced by the Permit for Operating Publications Business and entities or individuals engaging in distribution of audio-video products shall only need to hold a Permit for Operating Publications Business, while a Business Certificate for Audio-Video Products shall no longer be needed.

 

55


Table of Contents

The subsidiaries of New Oriental China engaged in the wholesale and retail distribution of books, periodicals, audio-visual products and electronic publications have obtained the relevant Permits for Operating Publications Business. During the term of the above-mentioned permits or licenses, GAPP or its local counterparts or other competent authorities may conduct annual or random examination or inspection from time to time to ascertain their compliance with applicable regulations and may require for change or renewal of such permits or licenses. If the subsidiaries of New Oriental China engaged in the wholesale and retail distribution of books, periodicals, audio-visual products and electronic publications are not able to pass the subsequent inspection or examination, they may not be able to maintain such permits or licenses necessary for their business.

Regulations on Consulting Services for Overseas Studies or Other Overseas Visits for Private Matters

The Ministry of Public Security and SAMR jointly issued the Administrative Measures on Intermediate Activities relating to Entry and Exit for Private Purpose on June 6, 2001, which requires that any entity engaged in intermediate and consulting services for Chinese citizens going abroad to visit families, relatives or friends, to reside abroad, to inherit properties, or to conduct other non-business matters other than studying, working or touring, shall obtain a license granted by the relevant provincial authority on public security.

With respect to intermediate and consulting business activities relating to self-funded overseas studies, the Education Commission of Beijing and Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce jointly issued the Beijing Measures of Supervisions and Recognition of Intermediate Services for Self-Funded Overseas Studies (Trial) in September 2015, which require that any intermediate service organization engaged in such services in Beijing shall satisfy certain requirements set up therein, including having employees with experience in educational services, having established stable and cooperative relations with an overseas educational institution, and having sufficient funds to protect the rights and interests of customers. The intermediate service organizations which satisfy such requirements may apply with the Education Commission of for the Recognition on the Intermediate Service Organization for Self-funded Overseas Studies. Organizations or individuals without such Recognition from the Education Commission of Beijing are not allowed to engage in any intermediate and consulting business activities relating to self-funded overseas studies.

On January 12, 2017, the State Council promulgated the Decision of the State Council on the Third Installment of the Cancellation of the Administrative Licensing Matters Delegated to Local Governments, which, among other things, cancelled the Recognition on the Intermediate Service Organization for Self-funded Overseas Studies, which means that the requirement for intermediate service organizations to obtain Recognition on the Intermediate Service Organization for Self-funded Overseas Studies from the provincial government for their engaging in intermediate and consulting business activities relating to self-funded overseas studies is cancelled. This Decision provided that after the cancellation of such requirements, the MOE and the SAMR shall study and develop contract template for reference and strengthen their guidance, regulating and service to intermediate service organizations and that the relevant industrial association shall play their role in self-discipline.

Guidelines for Overseas Study Tour participated by Primary and Middle School Students (Trial)

The MOE promulgated the Guidelines for Overseas Study Tour participated by Primary and Middle School Students (Trial) (the “Guidelines”) in July 2014. Under the Guidelines, overseas study tours participated in by primary and middle school students(the “Overseas Study Tour”) means, by adapting to the characteristics of primary and middle school students and the educational needs, programs that organize primary and middle school students to go overseas to learn foreign languages and other short-term curriculum, perform art shows, compete in contests, visit schools, attend summer/winter school programs, or take part in other activities that help students expand their horizon and promote enrichment and enhancement, in the manner of group travel and group accommodation during the academic semesters or vacations. Overseas Study Tours attended by primary and middle school students shall follow the principles of safety, civility and efficiency. The schedule for study, from the perspective of both the content and the duration, shall be no less than 1/2 of the total schedule. The organizer shall choose legitimate and qualified cooperation institutions, and stress the importance of safe education, and shall appoint a guiding teacher for each group. The organizer shall apply the rules of cost accounting, notify the students and their supervisors of the composition of the fees and expenses, and enter into an agreement as required by law. The school and its staff shall not seek any economic benefit from organizing its own students to attend an Overseas Study Tour.

 

56


Table of Contents

Regulations on Tourism

Tourism Law of the PRC, which was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the NPC and most recently amended on October 26, 2018, provides that, among other things, to engage in the businesses of outbound tourism, a travel agency shall obtain corresponding business permit, and the specific conditions shall be provided for by the State Council and that when organizing an outbound touring group, or organizing or receiving an inbound touring group, a travel agency shall, in accordance with the relevant provisions, arrange for a tour leader or tour guide to accompany the touring group in the whole tour. Regulations on Travel Agencies promulgated by the State Council, revised on March 1, 2017, and the implementation rules of Regulations on Travel Agencies, provide that, among other things, travel agent shall mean any entity that engages in the business of attracting, organizing, and receiving tourists, providing tourism services for tourists and operating domestic, outbound or border tourism; the aforementioned business shall include but not limit to arranging for transport services, arranging for accommodation services, providing services for tour guides or team leaders, providing services of tourism consultation and tourism activities design. According to the Regulations on Travel Agencies and its implementation rules, any tourism agent engages in the outbound tourism shall apply for a permit to engage in the outbound tourism from the administrative department of tourism under the State Council, the governments of provinces, autonomous regions, or municipalities.

The touring group for the Overseas Study Tour shall be organized by a qualified travel agent. Beijing New Oriental Walkite International Travel Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of the Company engaging the businesses of outbound tourism has obtained the aforementioned permit.

Regulations on Value-added Telecommunications Services

Under the PRC Telecommunications Regulations, promulgated by the State Council and most recently amended in February 2016, a telecommunication services provider in China must obtain an operating license from the MIIT, or its provincial authorities. The PRC Telecommunications Regulations categorize all telecommunication services in China as either basic telecommunications business or value-added telecommunications business. Internet information services and the business of online data transaction processing are two of the subsectors of the value-added telecommunications business.

As a subsector of the value-added telecommunications business, business of online data transaction processing refers to the business to provide online data processing and transaction processing services through public communication network or Internet for users through various data/transaction application platform connected to the public communication network or Internet, including transaction processing services, electronic data exchange services and network or electronic equipment data processing services. Under the PRC Telecommunications Regulations, any entity engages in the business of transaction processing services as an online marketplace platform is required to obtain a license from the MITT or its provincial authorities in providing transaction processing services.

As a subsector of the value-added telecommunications business, Internet information services are also regulated by the Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services promulgated by the State Council, or the Internet Information Measures. The Internet Information Measures require that commercial Internet content providers, or ICP providers, obtain a license for Internet information services, or ICP license, from the appropriate telecommunications authorities in order to carry on any commercial Internet information services in the PRC. ICP providers shall display their ICP license number in a conspicuous location on their home page. In addition, the Internet Information Measures also provide that ICP providers that operate in sensitive and strategic sectors, including news, publishing, education, health care, medicine and medical devices, must obtain additional approvals from the relevant authorities in charge of those sectors as well. Beijing Xuncheng has obtained the ICP license.

The Notice on Strengthening Management of Foreign Investment in Operating Value-Added Telecom Services issued by the MIIT prohibits PRC Internet content providers from leasing, transferring or selling their ICP licenses or providing facilities or other resources to any illegal foreign investors. The notice states that PRC Internet content providers should directly own the trademarks and domain names for websites operated by them, as well as servers and other infrastructure used to support these websites.

 

57


Table of Contents

Regulations on Internet Culture Activities

The Ministry of Culture of the PRC promulgated the Internet Culture Administration Tentative Measures, or the Internet Culture Measures, on May 10, 2003, which were last amended on December 15, 2017. The Internet Culture Measures require ICP operators engaging in Internet culture activities to obtain an Internet culture business operations license from the Ministry of Culture in accordance with the Internet Culture Measures. The term “Internet culture activities” includes, among other things, acts of online dissemination of Internet cultural products, such as audio-visual products, games, performances of plays or programs, works of art and cartoons, and the production, reproduction, importation, sale (wholesale or retail), leasing and broadcasting of Internet cultural products.

According to a response published on the official website of the local counterpart of MOC in Beijing on August 2, 2017, educational products are not deemed as “internet cultural products” defined under the Internet Culture Provisions. Currently, Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries are all located in Beijing and are therefore not required to obtain the Internet Culture Operation License.

Regulation on Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs through the Internet or Other Information Network

The Rules for Administration of Broadcasting of Audio-Video Programs through the Internet and Other Information Networks, or the Broadcasting Rules, promulgated by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, or SARFT, apply to the activities of broadcasting, integration, transmission, downloading of audio-video programs with computers, televisions or mobile phones as the main terminals and through various types of information networks. Pursuant to the Broadcasting Rules, a Permit for Broadcasting Audio-video Programs via Information Network is required to engage in these Internet broadcasting activities. The State Council announced a policy on private investments in businesses in China that relate to cultural matters, which prohibits private investments in businesses relating to the dissemination of audio-video programs through information networks.

The SARFT and MIIT issued the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures, revised in August 2015. Among other things, the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures stipulate that no entities or individuals may provide Internet audio-video program services without a license for disseminating audio-video programs through information network issued by SARFT or its local counterparts or completing the relevant registration with SARFT or its local counterparts and only entities wholly owned or controlled by the PRC government may engage in the production, editing, integration or consolidation, and transfer to the public through the Internet, of audio-video programs, and the provision of audio-video program uploading and transmission services. The SARFT promulgated the Notice on Several Issues regarding the license for disseminating audio-video programs through information network in 2009. The Notice restates the necessity of applying for such license and sets forth the legal liabilities for those providing Internet audio-video program services without the license.

On April 25, 2016, the SAPPRFT promulgated the Private Network and Directional Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs Regulations, which came into effect on June 1, 2016 and replaced the Broadcasting Rules. The Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs Regulations provides, among other things, that a Permit for Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs via Information Network is required for engaging in broadcasting services through private network and directional communication. According to such Regulations, the Broadcasting Services through Private Network and Directional Communication shall mean the services and activities provided to the public through the private transmission channels that include internet, LAN and VPN based on Internet and through the receiving terminals of televisions, and other handheld electronic equipment, and such services and activities include the activities of content supply, integrated broadcast control, transmission and distribution with IPTVs, private-network mobile televisions, internet televisions. According to such Regulations, only the entities wholly or substantially owned by the State could apply for such Permit.

According to an answer published on the official website of the SAPPRFT on December 10, 2018, provision of online educational courses do not fall within the definition of “online audio-visual program services” under the Audio-Visual Program Provisions and as a result, the License for Online Transmission of Audio-Visual Programs is not required for the operation of Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries.

 

58


Table of Contents

Regulations on Protection of the Right of Dissemination through Information Networks

The Regulations on Protection of the Right of Dissemination through Information Networks, promulgated by the State Council, require that every organization or individual who disseminates a third party’s work, performance, audio or visual recording products to the public through information networks shall obtain permission from, and pay compensation to, the legitimate copyright owner of such products, unless otherwise provided under relevant laws and regulations. The legitimate copyright owner may take technical measures to protect his or her right of dissemination through information networks and any organization or individual shall not intentionally avoid, destroy or otherwise assist others in avoiding such protective measures unless permissible under law. This regulation also provides that permission from and compensation for the copyright owner are not required in the event of limited dissemination to teaching or research staff for the purpose of school teaching or scientific research only.

Regulations on Copyright and Trademark Protection

China has adopted legislation governing intellectual property rights, including copyrights, trademarks and domain names. China is a signatory to the main international conventions on intellectual property rights and became a member of the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights upon its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Copyright. The National People’s Congress amended the Copyright Law to widen the scope of works and rights that are eligible for copyright protection. The amended Copyright Law extends copyright protection to Internet activities, products disseminated over the Internet and software products. In addition, there is a voluntary registration system administered by the China Copyright Protection Center.

To address the problem of copyright infringement related to the content posted or transmitted over the Internet, the National Copyright Administration and the MIIT jointly promulgated the Administrative Measures for Copyright Protection Related to the Internet.

Trademark. The PRC Trademark Law, most recently revised in April 2019, protects the proprietary rights to registered trademarks. The Trademark Office under SAMR handles trademark registrations and grants a term of ten years to registered trademarks and another ten years to trademarks as requested upon expiry of the prior term. Trademark license agreements must be filed with the Trademark Office for record. We have registered certain trademarks and logos, including “New Oriental” and “Pop Kids,” with the Trademark Office and are in the process of registering additional marks. In addition, if a registered trademark is recognized as a well-known trademark in a specific case, the proprietary right of the trademark holder may be extended beyond the registered sphere of products and services of the trademark in such case. In July 2014, the State Administration for Market Regulation released Provisions on the Recognition and Protection of Well-Known Trademarks. According to these provisions, well-known trademarks shall be recognized on a case-by-case basis, and be subject to the principle of passive protection. Our trademarks “ LOGO ” and “New Oriental” were recognized as well-known trademarks in a civil action adjudicated by the Intermediate People’s Court of Jilin City, Jilin Province and an adjudication on disputed registered trademark issued by trademark appraisal committee.

Domain names. Pursuant to the Measures for the Administration of Internet Domain Names, which was promulgated by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the PRC on August 24, 2017 with effect from November 1, 2017, “domain name” shall refer to the character mark of hierarchical structure, which identifies and locates a computer on the internet and corresponds to the Internet protocol (IP) address of that computer and the principle of “first come, first serve” is followed for the domain name registration service. Domain name applicants shall provide true, accurate and complete identification of the domain name holder as requested by the domain name registration service provider.

Foreign Currency Exchange

Pursuant to applicable PRC regulations on foreign currency exchange, RMB is freely convertible to current account items, such as trade-related receipts and payments, interest and dividend. Capital account items, such as direct equity investments, loans and repatriation of investment, require the prior approval from SAFE or its local counterpart or prior registration with banks for conversion of RMB into a foreign currency.

 

59


Table of Contents

Domestic companies or individuals can repatriate payments received from abroad in foreign currencies or deposit those payments abroad. Foreign-invested enterprises may retain foreign exchange in accounts with designated foreign exchange banks. Foreign exchange on the current account and capital account can be either retained or sold to financial institutions that have foreign exchange settlement or sales business based on the need of the enterprise without prior approval from SAFE, subject to certain restrictions.

SAFE promulgated the Circular on the Relevant Operating Issues Concerning the Improvement of the Administration of the Payment and Settlement of Foreign Currency Capital of Foreign Invested Enterprises, or SAFE Circular 142, to regulate the conversion by a foreign-invested company of its capital contribution in foreign currency into RMB. The circular requires that the paid-in capital of a foreign-invested company settled in RMB converted from foreign currencies shall be used only for purposes within the business scope as approved by the authorities in charge of foreign investment or by other competent authorities and as registered with the local branch of Administration for Industries and Commerce and, unless set forth in the business scope or in PRC regulations, may not be used for equity investments within the PRC. In addition, SAFE has strengthened its oversight of the flow and use of the paid-in capital of a foreign-invested company settled in RMB converted from foreign currencies. The use of such RMB paid-in capital may not be changed without SAFE’s approval. Violations of Circular 142 will result in severe monetary or other penalties.

SAFE promulgated the Notice on Reforming the Management Method relating to Conversion of the Capital Contribution of Foreign Invested Company from Foreign Exchange to Renminbi, or SAFE Circular 19, effective in June 2015 to abolish SAFE Circular 142, but the foregoing rules have been retained in SAFE Circular 19. SAFE promulgated the Notice on Further Simplifying and Improving the Policies of Foreign Exchange Administration Applicable to Direct Investment, or SAFE Circular 13, effective in June 2015, pursuant to which annual foreign exchange inspection of direct investment is not required anymore and the registration of existing equity is required. SAFE Circular 13 also grants the authority to banks to directly examine and process foreign exchange registration with respect to both domestic and overseas direct investment. SAFE issued Notice on reform and regulations of the Administration Policy of Foreign Exchange under Capital Account, or SAFE Circular 16, effective June 9, 2016. Pursuant to SAFE Circular 16, enterprises registered in China may also convert their foreign debts from foreign currency to Renminbi on a self-discretionary basis. SAFE Circular 16 provides an integrated standard for conversion of foreign exchange under capital account items (including but not limited to foreign currency capital and foreign debts) on a self-discretionary basis which applies to all enterprises registered in China. SAFE Circular 16 reiterates the principle that Renminbi converted from foreign currency-denominated capital of a company may not be directly or indirectly used for purposes beyond its business scope or prohibited by PRC laws or regulations, while such converted Renminbi shall not be provided as loans to its non-affiliated entities. As SAFE Circular 16 is newly issued and SAFE has not provided detailed guidelines with respect to its interpretation or implementations, it is uncertain how these rules will be interpreted and implemented.

Foreign Exchange Registration of Offshore Investment by PRC Residents

Pursuant to the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on the Administration of Foreign Exchange Involved in Overseas Investment, Financing and Round-Trip Investment Conducted by Domestic Residents through Special-Purpose Companies, or SAFE Circular 37, effective in July 2014 and repealed the previous SAFE’s Notice on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Administration for PRC Residents to Engage in Financing and Inbound Investment via Overseas Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 75 on the same date, a PRC Resident, including both PRC domestic institutions and PRC domestic individual residents, shall register with the local branch of SAFE before it establishes or controls an company outside of China with the domestic or overseas assets or equity they legally hold for the purpose of investment and financing and conducting roundtrip investment in China. Such a company located outside of China is referred to as an offshore special purpose vehicle.

Under SAFE Circular 37, failure to comply with the registration procedures set forth above may result in the penalties, including imposition of restrictions on a PRC subsidiary’s foreign exchange activities and its ability to distribute dividends to the SPV.

In June 2015, SAFE promulgated SAFE Circular 13, according to which, in order to simplify the procedures of performing the foreign exchange control policy of direct investment, the registration authorities under the SAFE foreign exchange control policies, including the registration of PRC residents under SAFE Circular 37 change from local SAFE branches to local banks authorized by SAFE and SAFE will strengthen the training and supervision for banks in performing the foreign exchange control policy of direct investment. Thus, according to SAFE Circular 13, the registration of PRC residents under SAFE Circular 37 shall be conducted with local banks authorized by SAFE.

 

60


Table of Contents

Our beneficial owners immediately before our initial public offering who are PRC residents had registered with the local branch of SAFE prior to our initial public offering in 2006.

Regulations on Dividend Distribution

The principal regulations governing dividend distributions by wholly foreign-owned enterprises and Sino-foreign equity joint ventures include:

 

   

Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise Law (1986), as amended;

 

   

Wholly Foreign-Owned Enterprise Law Implementing Rules (1990), as amended;

 

   

Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law (1979), as amended; and

 

   

Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law Implementing Rules (1983), as amended.

Under these regulations, wholly foreign-owned enterprises and Sino-foreign equity joint ventures in the PRC may pay dividends only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. Additionally, these foreign-invested enterprises are required to set aside certain amounts of their accumulated profits each year, if any, to fund certain reserve funds. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends.

Regulations on Offshore Lending

On November 19, 2012, the SAFE promulgated the Circular regarding Further Improvement and Adjustment of Policies on Foreign Exchange Administration of Direct Investment, or Circular 59, which aims to simplify foreign exchange administration procedures concerning inbound and outbound direct investment. Pursuant to Circular 59, foreign invested enterprises are permitted to make loans to its offshore parent company provided that the amount of the lending is not greater than the sum of the distributed but unremitted profits and the proportionate undistributed profits.

Regulations on Labor

Pursuant to the PRC Labor Law, the PRC Labor Contract Law and its Implementing Regulations of the Employment Contracts Law, labor contracts in written form shall be executed to establish labor relationships between employers and employees. Wages cannot be lower than local minimum wage. The employer must establish a system for labor safety and sanitation, strictly abide by state standards, and provide relevant education to its employees. Employees are also required to work in safe and sanitary conditions meeting State rules and standards, and carry out regular health examinations of employees engaged in hazardous occupations.

In the respect of the employment of foreigner in PRC, Provision on the Employment of Foreigners in China provides that, among other things, to employ a foreigner who does not have Chinese nationality, an employer shall apply for an employment license for such foreigner, and may only employ him or her after such foreigner obtains a Foreigners’ Employment License of the People’s Republic of China, or Employment License; prior to obtaining employment in China, a foreigner shall enter China with an employment visa (or in accordance with an agreement on mutual exemption of visas if there is such an agreement); and after entering China, such foreigner shall obtain an Employment Permit for Foreigners, or Employment Permit, and a residence permit for foreigners, save that the foreigners holding the Foreign Expert Permit issued by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs are not required to hold Employment Licenses and Employment Permit. Provision on the Employment of Foreigners in China also provides that the Employment License is valid only in the area defined by the authority which issued such license; the actual employer of a foreigner shall be consistent with the employer recorded on the Employment License; if the actual employer changed but the foreigner is employed in a similar job by another employer within the same area defined by the authority which issued such license, the foreigner shall file with such authority to change information on the Employment License.

 

61


Table of Contents

The Notice of Issues Related to the Management of Employment of Foreigners in China provides that, among other things, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security should cooperate with Ministry of Public Security to carry out regular and irregular investigation on the entities that employ relatively large number of foreigners about their employment of foreigners.

In the respect of hiring foreigners as teachers in schools, State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, promulgated a Notice of Issuing Regulations for Foreign Experts to Apply Permit to Work in China and Other Regulations, or SAFEA Circular 139. SAFEA Circular 139 provides that foreign experts shall obtain Foreign Expert Permit. Any foreign expert that apply the Foreign Expert Permit shall obey the laws and regulations of PRC, shall be healthy, shall have no criminal record, and shall meet one of the following requirement: (i) such foreign expert is employed to work in China in order to perform agreements between governments or international organizations, or to perform economic or trade agreements between Chinese party(s) and foreign party(s) as a professional person with foreign nationality who has technology or management skills; (ii)such foreign expert is employed to perform the work in the fields of education, scientific research, press, publication, culture, arts, health, or sport as a professional person with foreign nationality; (iii) such foreign expert is employed to perform a position higher than vice president of a domestic enterprise or equivalent position as a professional person with foreign nationality who has technology or management skills; (iv) such foreign expert is a representative with foreign nationality, who is a PRC representative officer of a experts association or recruitment agent approved by State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs; or (v) such foreign expert is employed to perform the work in the fields of economy, technology, engineering, trade, finance, accounting, tax, tourism who possesses specialty as a professional person with foreign nationality in urgent need with technology or management skills. According to SAFEA Circular 139, to apply a Foreign Expert Permit as a foreign expert to perform the work in the field of education, the applicant shall submit the application together with a copy of the employer’s Certificate of Employing Foreign Experts and the agreement entered by such applicant and its employer to the provincial Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs where the employer located, provided that if the employer is the ministry, commission directly under the State Council, the authority directly under the State Council, the public institution or the professional corporation, the applicant shall submit the application to the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. SAFEA Circular 139 also provides that entity shall obtain Certificate of Employing Foreign Experts to employ foreign experts and the application of Certificate of Employing Foreign Experts shall submit to the provincial Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs where the employer located, provided that the non-educational public institution located in Beijing that is directly under the ministry, commission of the State Council, the authority directly under the state council, the application shall submit to the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs. According to SAFEA Circular 139, the Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs will carry out annual inspection on the entity that has obtained Certificate of Employing Foreign Experts in January of each year.

In addition, State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs promulgated an Opinion on Further Regulating the Employment of Foreign Experts in Education and Culture, which provides that, among other things, any entity that dispatches and introduce foreign experts in education and culture to work in China shall obtain Certificate of Employing Foreign Experts; the entity that dispatches the foreign experts, the dispatched foreign expert and the entity that employs the dispatched expert shall enter into an agreement to confirm each party’s obligations and rights related to the employment of such foreign expert, and the entity that dispatches the foreign expert and the entity that employs the foreigner expert shall have the joint liability in the management of such foreign expert. Such Opinion on Further Regulating the Employment of Foreign Experts in Education and Culture also provides that any entity that engages in dispatching foreign expert in education and culture with Certificate of Employing Foreign Experts shall not introduce foreign experts working in the entity that without Certificate of Employing Foreign Experts, the provincial and regional Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs shall cooperate with the public security authorities and their exit-entry administration divisions to investigate and handle the illegal employment of foreign experts under applicable laws.

On February 19, 2016, the State Council promulgated the Decision of the State Council on the Second Installment of the Cancellation of the Administrative Licensing Matters Delegated to Local Governments, which among other things, cancelled Certificate of Employing Foreign Experts, which means that the requirements for the entity to obtain Certificate of Employing Foreign Experts for employing foreign experts from the provincial Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs is cancelled. According to a Q&A in relation to the cancellation of the requirement to obtain Certificate of Employing Foreign Experts in employing foreign experts publicized by the Education, Culture, Heath Experts Department of State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs on March 31, 2016, the provincial education authorities shall pay close attention to the study the necessity of setting up the requirements for qualification in employing foreign experts in their area, and set up the requirements through the development of local laws and temporary regulations if necessary. As of the date of this annual report, we are not aware of any local laws and temporary regulations was set up regarding the requirements to obtaining Certificate of Employing Foreign Experts for employing foreign experts.

 

62


Table of Contents

According to the Circular on the Comprehensive Implementation of the Permit System for Foreigners to Work in China promulgated by the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Welfare, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Public Security on March 28, 2017, from April 1, 2017, a foreigner who is approved to work in China will be issued a Permit to Working in China, which supersedes the Employment License or Foreign Expert Permit. The Employment License or Foreign Expert Permit issued before April 1, 2017 remain valid subject to its expiration date. According to the circular, the process of application and approval of the Permit to Working in China will be further simplified and standardized, with new and detailed regulation of the application and approval process of Permit to Working in China to be promulgated shortly. As of the date of this annual report, we are not aware of any new and detailed regulation set up regarding application and approval of the Permit to Working in China.

If the employment of foreigners is not in compliance with the above relevant regulations, the employer may become subject to penalties, fines or an order to terminate such employment and to bear all the expenses and costs arising from the repatriation of such foreigner.

Regulations on Employee Share Incentive Awards Granted by Listed Companies

According to a series of notices concerning individual income tax on earnings from employee share incentive awards, issued by the Ministry of Finance and the SAT, companies that implement employee stock ownership programs shall file the employee stock ownership plans and other relevant documents with the local tax authorities having jurisdiction over such companies before implementing such plans, and shall file share option exercise notices and other relevant documents with local tax authorities before exercise by their employees of any share options, and clarify whether the shares issuable under the employee share options referenced in the notice are shares of publicly listed companies.

The SAFE issued the Notices on Issues Concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in a Stock Incentive Plan of an Overseas Publicly-Listed Company, or SAFE Circular 7, in February 2012, pursuant to which if “domestic individuals” (meaning 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) participate in any stock incentive plan of an overseas listed company, a qualified PRC domestic agent, which could be the PRC subsidiaries of such overseas listed company, shall, among other things, file, on behalf of such individuals, an application with SAFE to conduct the SAFE registration with respect to such stock incentive plan, and obtain approval for an annual allowance with respect to the purchase of foreign exchange in connection with the stock purchase or stock option exercise. Such PRC individuals’ foreign exchange income received from the sale of stocks and dividends distributed by the overseas listed company and any other income shall be fully remitted into a collective foreign currency account in China 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 the exercise of their stock options and their purchase and sale of stock. The PRC domestic agent also needs to update registration with SAFE within three months after the overseas-listed company materially changes its stock incentive plan or make any new stock incentive plans.

According to SAFE Circular 7, from time to time, we need to make applications or update our registration with SAFE or its local branches on behalf of our employees who are affected by our new share incentive plan or material changes in our current share incentive plan. However, we may not always be able to make applications or update our registration on behalf of our employees who hold our restricted shares or other types of share incentive awards in compliance with SAFE 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 plans who are PRC citizens fail to comply with SAFE Circular 7, we and/or such participants of our share incentive plans may be subject to fines and legal sanctions, there may be additional restrictions on the ability of such participants to exercise their stock options or remit proceeds gained from sale of their stock into China, and we may be prevented from further granting share incentive awards under our share incentive plans to our employees who are PRC citizens.

 

63


Table of Contents

Provisions Regarding Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors

On August 8, 2006, six PRC regulatory agencies, including the CSRC, promulgated the M&A Rule to more effectively regulate foreign investment in PRC domestic enterprises. The M&A Rule, as amended on June 22, 2009, provides that the Ministry of Commerce must be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise and any of the following situations exists: (1) the transaction involves an important industry in China, (2) the transaction may affect national “economic security,” or (3) the PRC domestic enterprise has a well-known trademark or historical Chinese trade name in China. Complying with the requirements of the M&A Rules to complete acquisitions of PRC companies by foreign investors could be time-consuming, and any required approval processes, including obtaining approval from the MOFCOM, may delay or inhibit the ability to complete such transactions.

Regulations on Taxation

PRC Enterprise Income Tax. The National People’s Congress, the Chinese legislature, passed the EIT Law, as last amended in 2018. The EIT Law applies a uniform 25% enterprise income tax rate to both foreign-invested enterprises and domestic enterprises Preferential tax treatments grants to industries and projects that are strongly supported and encouraged by the state, and enterprises otherwise classified as “high and new technology enterprises strongly supported by the state” upon re-examination will be entitled to a 15% enterprise income tax rate. The State Council promulgated the implementation rules of the EIT Law in 2007, as last amended in 2019, and the Ministry of Science and Technology, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation promulgated other supplemental rules in 2008 which were amended in 2016, respectively, regarding new criteria for the granting of “high and new technology enterprises” status. Upon the expiration of the initial term, the enterprise shall file a new application to obtain such status. Loss of any preferential tax treatments previously granted to us could have a material and adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

According to the Circular On Several Policies for Further Encouraging the Development of Software Industry and Integrated Circuit Industry promulgated by the State Council in January 2011 and the Circular On Policies of Enterprises Income Tax for Further Encouraging the Development of Software Industry and Integrated Circuit Industry, jointly promulgated by the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation in April 2012 and effective from January 1, 2011, or Circular 27, an enterprise that qualifies as a “software enterprise” established after January 1, 2011, or a software enterprise, is exempt from enterprise income tax for two years beginning in the enterprise’s first profitable year followed by a tax rate of 12.5% for the succeeding three years.

Enterprises which have been entitled to similar tax preferential treatments according to previous tax regulations are allowed to continue enjoying the above preferential treatments until the tax holiday granted to them expires, even though they were established before January 1, 2011.

Pursuant to the Notice on Issues Related to the Enterprise Income Tax Preferential Policies of Software and Integrated Circuit Industry on May 4, 2016, the software enterprises which enjoy preferential tax treatments shall provide filing documents with respect to preferential tax treatments to the relevant tax authority when filing annual enterprise income tax returns for the settlement of tax payments. In addition, pursuant to the Measures for Handling Matters Relating to Preferential Enterprise Income Tax Policies promulgated by the State Administration of Taxation on April 25, 2018, or Circular 23, an enterprise shall independently judge whether it satisfies the conditions prescribed under preferential taxation policies. The enterprises which satisfy such conditions shall calculate the tax reduction amount and enjoy the preferential tax treatments by filling out and submitting the enterprise income tax returns to the competent tax authority, and properly collect and retain relevant materials for future reference. For software enterprises, materials listed in the “follow-up management requirements,” which are contained in the catalogue attached to Circular 23, shall be prepared and submitted to the competent tax authority after annual financial settlement completed every year.

 

64


Table of Contents

The EIT Law also provides that enterprises established outside of China whose “de facto management bodies” are located in China are considered “resident enterprises” and will generally be subject to the uniform 25% enterprise income tax rate on their global income. Although the term “de facto management bodies” is defined as “management bodies which has substantial and overall management and control power on the operation, human resources, accounting and assets of the enterprise,” the circumstances under which an enterprise’s “de facto management body” would be considered to be located in China are currently unclear. A circular issued by the State Administration of Taxation in April 2009 provides that a foreign enterprise controlled by a PRC company or a PRC company group will be classified as a “resident enterprise” with its “de facto management bodies” located within China if the following requirements are satisfied: (1) the senior management and core management departments in charge of its daily operations function mainly in the PRC; (2) its financial and human resources decisions are subject to determination or approval by persons or bodies in the PRC; (3) its major assets, accounting books, company seals, and minutes and files of its board and shareholders’ meetings are located or kept in the PRC; and (4) at least half of the enterprise’s directors or senior management with voting rights reside in the PRC.

In addition, the State Administration of Taxation issued a bulletin in August 2011, effective as of September 1, 2011, to provide more guidance on the implementation of the above circular. The bulletin clarified certain matters relating to resident status determination, post determination administration and competent tax authorities. It also specifies that when provided with a copy of a PRC tax resident determination certificate from a resident PRC-controlled offshore incorporated enterprise, the payer should not withhold 10% income tax when paying the PRC-sourced dividends, interest and royalties to the PRC-controlled offshore incorporated enterprise. 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 SAT’s general position on how the “de facto management body” test should be applied in determining the tax residency status of offshore enterprises and how 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 in January 2014, to provide more guidance on the implementation of the above circular. This bulletin further provided 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 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 Article 26 of EIT law and the Article 17 and Article 83 of its implementation rules.

The EIT Law provides that a maximum income tax rate of 20% may apply to dividends payable to non-PRC investors that are “non-resident enterprises,” to the extent such dividends are derived from sources within the PRC. The State Council has reduced such rate to 10%, in the absence of any applicable tax treaties that may reduce such rate. We are a Cayman Islands holding company and substantially all of our income may be derived from dividends we receive from our operating subsidiaries located in the PRC. If we are required under the EIT Law to pay income tax for any dividends we receive from our PRC subsidiaries, the amount of dividends, if any, we may pay to our shareholders and ADS holders may be materially and adversely affected.

PRC Withholding Tax. According to the Arrangement between Mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion and the Notice of the State Administration of Taxation Regarding Interpretation and Recognition of Beneficial Owners under Tax Treaties, dividends paid to shareholders residing in Hong Kong are subject to a withholding tax of 5% provided that a Hong Kong resident enterprise owns over 25% of the PRC enterprise distributing the dividend and can be considered as a “beneficial owner” and entitled to treaty benefits under the DTA. In January 2018, the State Administration of Taxation promulgated Circular 9, to clarify the definition of beneficial owner under PRC tax treaties and tax arrangements. According to Circular 9, a beneficial owner refers to a party who holds ownership and control over incomes or the rights or assets from which the incomes are derived. In determining whether a resident of the other contracting party to a double taxation agreement, or a DTA, who is applying for enjoying preferential treatment under the DTA has the status as a beneficial owner, comprehensive analysis shall be conducted in light of the actual circumstances of the specific case and based on several factors, include among others, if (1) an applicant is under the obligation to pay 50% or more of the incomes received to any resident of any third country (region) within 12 months upon receipt of the incomes; and (2) if the business activities carried out by an applicant constitutes substantive business activities. Substantive business activities shall include substantive manufacturing, distribution, management and other activities. Whether an applicant’s business activities are substantive shall be determined based on the functions actually performed by the applicant and the risks assumed thereby. The substantive investment and shareholding management activities carried out by the applicant may constitute substantive business activities. Where the applicant concurrently engages in investment and shareholding management activities that do not constitute substantive business activities and other business activities, if the other business activities are not significant enough, the applicant will not be considered as engaging in substantive business activities and hence more likely not a beneficial owner. In addition, if the incomes derived by any of the following applicants from China are dividends, the relevant applicant may be directly determined as having the status of a “beneficial owner”:

 

   

The government of the other contracting party to the relevant DTA;

 

65


Table of Contents
   

A company that is a resident of, and is listed on the market of, the other contracting party to the relevant DTA;

 

   

A resident individual of the other contracting party to the relevant DTA; or

 

   

Where one or more parties referred to in Item (1) through Item (3) directly or indirectly hold 100% of the shares of the applicant, and the mid-tier in the case of indirect shareholding is a resident of China or a resident of the other contracting party to the relevant DTA.

Further, According to Circular 9, agents or designated payees are not beneficial owners. The fact that an applicant collects incomes via an agent or a designated payee does not affect the determination of whether the applicant has the status of a beneficial owner irrespective of whether an agent or a designated payee is a resident of the other contracting party to the relevant DTA.

According to such SAT Circular 9, if the business activities carried out by an applicant do not constitute substantive business activities, then such applicant is likely not to be regarded as a beneficial owner. Our wholly-owned Hong Kong subsidiaries, Elite Concept Holdings Limited, Winner Park Limited and Smart Shine International Limited, own 100% of our PRC subsidiaries. Thus, dividends paid to us by our PRC subsidiaries through our Hong Kong wholly-owned subsidiaries may be subject to the 5% withholding tax if we and our Hong Kong subsidiaries are considered as “non-resident enterprises” under the EIT Law and our Hong Kong subsidiaries are considered as “beneficial owners” and entitled to treaty benefits under the DTA. If our Hong Kong subsidiaries are not regarded as the beneficial owners of any such dividends, it will not be entitled to the treaty benefits under the DTA. As a result, such dividends would be subject to regular withholding tax of 10% as provided by the PRC domestic law rather than the favorable rate of 5% applicable under the DTA.

In addition, in September 2018, SAT and other authorities jointly promulgated Notice on Expanding Application Scope of the Policy for Temporary Exemption of Withholding Income Tax on Direct Investment by Overseas Investors with Distributed Profits, or Circular 102, which became effective retroactively in January 2018. According to the Circular 102, where overseas investors use the profits obtained from resident enterprises within China to invest directly in the projects that are not prohibited from foreign investment, the deferred tax payment policy shall apply thereto and withholding income tax thereon shall be exempted temporarily. An overseas investor that is entitled to but has not actually enjoyed the policy of temporary exemption of withholding income tax under this Notice may apply to retroactively enjoy such policy within three years from the date of actual payment of relevant tax and for refund of the tax already paid.

According to the Circular 102, for the temporary exemption of overseas investors from payment of withholding income tax, the following conditions must be satisfied at the same time:

(1) Direct investment made by overseas investors with the profits distributed thereto, includes their activities of equity investment with the distributed profits such as capital increase, new establishment and equity purchase and excludes the increase through purchase or distribution and purchase of the shares of listed companies (excluding the conforming strategic investment), specifically including: (i) Increasing through purchase or distribution of the paid-in capital or capital reserve of resident enterprises within PRC; (ii) Investing in new establishment of resident enterprises within PRC; (iii) Purchasing the shares of resident enterprises within China from nonaffiliated parties; and (iv) Other methods prescribed by the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation. The enterprises in which overseas investors invest through above investment activities shall be collectively referred to the invested enterprises.

 

66


Table of Contents

(2) The profits distributed to overseas investors fall under the dividends, bonus and other equity investment income formed from the actual distribution of the retained income already realized by resident enterprises within China to investors.

(3) Where the profits used by overseas investors for direct investment are paid in cash, relevant amounts shall be transferred directly from the accounts of the profits distributing enterprises to the accounts of the invested enterprises or equity transferors and shall not be circulated among other domestic and overseas accounts before direct investment; where the profits used by overseas investors for direct investment are paid in kind, negotiable securities and other non-cash form, the ownership to relevant assets shall be transferred directly from the profits distributing enterprises to the invested enterprises or equity transferors and shall not be held by other enterprises and individuals on behalf thereof or temporarily.

In October 2018, SAT further promulgated Notice on Issues Relating to Expanding Application Scope of the Policy for Temporary Exemption of Withholding Income Tax on Direct Investment by Overseas Investors with Distributed Profits, which became effective retroactively in January 2018, to implement Circular 102 in detail.

PRC Value-Added Tax (VAT). The VAT reform program change the charge of sales tax from business tax to VAT for certain pilot industries, and was initially applied only to certain pilot industries in Shanghai and was extended to apply nationwide and to cover more additional industry sectors. On March 24, 2016, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration promulgated the Circular Regarding Overall Promotion of Pilot Practice of Replacing Business Tax with Value-Added Tax, effective on May 1, 2016. On June 18, 2016, the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation promulgated the Circular Regarding Overall Promotion of Pilot Practice of Replacing Business Tax with Value-Added Tax in the Policy of Reinsurance, Real Estate Leasehold and Non-degree Education, in which the general taxpayers providing non-academic education services may apply a simple method for calculating the tax payable amount in accordance with the tax rate of 3%.

Laws of Protection of Personal Information of Citizen

According to the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests, business operators must collect and use personal information of consumers in a lawful and proper manner by following the principle that information collection or use is genuinely necessary. They must expressly state the purposes, methods and scope of information collection or use, and obtain the consent of the consumers whose information is to be collected. To collect or use the personal information of consumers, business operators must disclose their information collection or use rules, and may not collect or use information in violation of laws or regulations, or in breach of any agreements between the parties concerned. Business operators and their staff members must strictly keep confidential the personal information of consumers collected, and may not divulge, sell or illegally provide others with such information.

According to the Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in Handling Criminal Cases of Infringing Personal Information of Citizens, if a business operator collects personal information of citizens by purchasing, accepting or exchanging, or collects personal information of citizens in the course of performing their duties and providing services in violation of relevant laws and regulations of the State and meet one of the following standards, such operator will be considered in breach of criminal law and such operator and its responsible personnel must undertake criminal liabilities: (i) illegal acquisition, sale or provision of more than 50 pieces of track information, communication content, credit information or property information; (ii) illegal acquisition, sale, or provision of more than 500 pieces of accommodation information, communication records, health and physiological information, trading information, and other personal information which may affect the safety of personal and property; (iii) illegal acquisition, sale, or provision of more than 5000 pieces of personal information other than the information mentioned in the preceding (i) and (ii); (iv) the profits generated from using the illegally collected and acquired personal information is more than RMB50,000; and (v) resale the personal information collected during the course of performing their duties and providing service and the amount of resold personal information reaches 50% of the prescribed standard mentioned in (i) (ii), (iii) or (iv), as applicable.

 

67


Table of Contents

Laws of Network Security

According to the Law of Network Security promulgated in November 7, 2016 and effective on June 1, 2017, in construction or operation of networks or supply of services through networks, technical measures and other necessary measures must be implemented in accordance with laws and regulations as well as the compulsory requirements of the national and industrial standards to safeguard the safe and stable operation of the networks, effectively respond to network security incidents, prevent illegal and criminal activities, and maintain the integrity, confidentiality and availability of network data. Law of Network Security provides that, among other things, the network operators must perform the following obligations:

 

   

protect networks from disturbance, damage or unauthorized access and prevent network data from being divulged, stolen or tampered with in accordance with the requirements of security graded protection system;

 

   

comply with the compulsory requirements of relevant national standards and take remedial measures to promptly notify users in accordance with relevant provisions and report the same to relevant competent authorities in a timely manner if they find that their network products or services have security defects, loopholes or other risks;

 

   

provide security maintenance for their products and services on a continuous basis;

 

   

comply with relevant laws and administrative regulations on protection of personal information;

 

   

require users to provide authentic identity information when they enter into agreements with the users or when they confirm the supply of services where the network operators handle the network access or domain name registration services, the access formalities for fixed-line telephone or mobile phone for users, or provide users with the services of information release or instant messaging;

 

   

formulate emergency response plans for network security incidents and dispose of system loopholes, computer virus, network attack, network intrusion and any other security risks in a timely manner and initiate the emergency response plans, take appropriate remedial measures, and report the same to relevant competent authorities in accordance with relevant provisions in the event of any incidents endangering network security;

 

   

strengthen the management of the information published by their users; if they find any information that is prohibited from publication or transmission by laws or administrative regulations, they must immediately stop the transmission of such information, take disposal measures such as removal to prevent the spread of such information, keep relevant records, and report the same to relevant competent authorities; and

 

   

set up complaint and reporting platform for network information security, make public the complaint or reporting methods and other relevant information, accept and handle the complaints and reports on network information security in a timely manner, and cooperate with supervision and inspections conducted by Internet information department and other relevant departments in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations.

Administrative Measures for Outbound Investment by Enterprises

Administrative Measures for Outbound Investment by Enterprises, or Circular 11, is promulgated by NDRC, on December 26, 2017 and became effective on March 1, 2018. According to Circular 11, to make Outbound Investment, the investor shall go through verification and approval, record-filing and other procedures applicable to outbound investment projects, report relevant information, and cooperate with supervision and inspection. Outbound investments for purpose of Circular 11 are the investment activities whereby an enterprise within PRC, directly or via overseas enterprises under its control, acquires ownership, controlling power, rights of operation and management and other relevant rights and interests overseas by making asset or equity investment, providing financing or guarantee, etc., and the aforementioned investment activities shall include but not limited to (1) acquiring land ownership, land-use rights and other rights and interests overseas; (2) acquiring concession rights to explore or exploit natural resources and other rights and interests overseas; (3) acquiring ownership, rights of operation and management and other rights and interests of infrastructure overseas; (4) acquiring ownership, rights of operation and management and other rights and interests of enterprises or assets overseas; (5) constructing new fixed assets overseas, or renovating or expanding existing fixed assets overseas; (6) establishing a new enterprise overseas or increasing investment in an existing enterprise overseas; (7) setting up a new overseas equity investment fund or purchasing units in an existing overseas equity investment fund; and (8) controlling enterprises or assets overseas by agreements or trusts. Individual resident of PRC who invest overseas via overseas enterprises or enterprises in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions which are under their control shall also be subject to this Circular 11.

 

68


Table of Contents

According to Circular 11, sensitive outbound investment projects carried out by an enterprise within PRC directly or via the overseas enterprises under their control should obtain verification and prior approval from NDRC. For the purpose of the Circular 11, sensitive outbound investment projects include: (1) Projects involving sensitive countries and regions, including (i) countries and regions that have not established diplomatic relations with China; (ii) countries and regions where war or civil unrest has broken out; (iii) countries and regions in which investment by enterprises shall be restricted pursuant to the international treaties, agreements, etc. concluded or acceded to by China; and (iv) other sensitive countries and regions, and (2) Projects involving sensitive industries, including (i) research, production and maintenance of weaponry and equipment; (ii) development and utilization of cross-border water resources; (iii) news media; and (iv) other industries in which outbound investment needs to be restricted pursuant to China’s laws and regulations as well as related control policies.

Further according to Circular 11, the non-sensitive projects carried out by the overseas enterprise directly controlled by PRC residents, including by means of making asset or equity investment by companies established for financing and investing, such as fund institutions, or providing financing or guarantee, shall complete record-filing with the competent authority prior to the implementation of such project. The non-sensitive projects carried out by the overseas enterprise indirectly controlled by PRC residents with the investment amount over RMB300 million shall be reported to the NDRC of relevant information by submitting an information reporting form for large-amount non-sensitive projects.

Where an outbound investment project falls within the scope of administration by verification and approval or record-filing but its investor within the PRC fails to obtain a valid verification and approval document or notice of record-filing, departments in charge of foreign exchange administration and customs, should, pursuant to the law, not process its application, and no financial enterprises should, pursuant to the law, provide relevant fund settlement and financing services.

 

C.

Organizational Structure

Except our online education business that is operated by our majority-owned subsidiary, Koolearn, and its subsidiaries and consolidated variable interest entities, substantially all of our operations are conducted in China through contractual arrangements between our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, New Oriental China (our variable interest entity) and New Oriental China’s schools and subsidiaries and shareholder. The wholly-owned subsidiaries that are currently parties to these contractual arrangements are Beijing Hewstone, Beijing Decision and Beijing Pioneer. Beijing Hewstone primarily engages in the educational software development business and also sub-licenses our trademarks to New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries. Beijing Decision primarily engages in the business of providing educational technology services and educational management services. Beijing Pioneer primarily engages in the educational software development business.

 

69


Table of Contents

The following diagram sets out details of our significant subsidiaries and New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries as of the date of this annual report:

 

LOGO

 

 

LOGO   Equity interest for companies.
   LOGO   Sponsorship interest for schools and kindergartens.
   LOGO   Contractual arrangements including equity pledge agreements, option agreement and proxy agreement, power of attorney, master exclusive service agreement and related service agreements. See “—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with New Oriental China, Its Schools and Subsidiaries and Its Shareholder.”
   LOGO   Contractual arrangements including equity pledge agreements, option agreement and proxy agreement, power of attorney, master exclusive service agreement and related service agreements. See “—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with Beijing Xuncheng, Its Subsidiaries and Shareholders.”

 

(1)

Beijing Century Friendship Education Investment Co., Ltd is 80% owned by Mr. Michael Minhong Yu, our company’s founder and executive chairman, and 20% owned by Ms. Bamei Li, Mr. Yu’s mother.

(2)

Excluding Guangzhou Panyu Privately-Funded New Oriental Training Center, Guangzhou New Oriental School and Fuyang New Oriental Training School, which are separate legal entities but have been counted to our learning centers from the perspective of our internal management.

(3)

Consisting of various PRC companies operating our educational content and other technology development and distribution business, and overseas studies consulting business in China.

 

70


Table of Contents

PRC laws and regulations currently require any foreign entity that invests in the education business in China to be an educational institution with relevant experience in providing educational services outside China. Our offshore holding companies are not educational institutions and do not provide educational services outside China. In addition, in the PRC, foreign ownership of high schools for students in grades ten to twelve is restricted and foreign ownership of primary and middle schools for students in grades one to nine is prohibited. As a result, our offshore holding companies are not allowed to directly own and operate schools in China. We conduct substantially all of our education business in China through contractual arrangements between our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, and our variable interest entities, their schools and subsidiaries and their shareholders. In the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, our variable interest entities contributed in aggregate 98.8%, 98.8% and 98.7%, respectively, of our total net revenues.

Contractual Arrangements with New Oriental China, Its Schools and Subsidiaries and Its Shareholder

New Oriental China is our variable interest entity which is directly wholly owned by Century Friendship, a PRC domestic company controlled by Mr. Michael Minhong Yu, our founder and executive chairman. New Oriental China’s schools and subsidiaries hold the requisite licenses and permits necessary to conduct our education business and have been directly conducting our education business. We have been and are expected to continue to be dependent on New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries to operate our education business until we qualify for direct ownership of our education business in China under PRC laws and regulations and acquire New Oriental China as our direct, wholly-owned subsidiary. We have entered into contractual arrangements with New Oriental China, its schools and subsidiaries and its shareholder, which enable us to:

 

   

have power to direct the activities that most significantly affect the economic performance of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries;

 

   

receive substantially all of the economic benefits from New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries in consideration for the services provided by our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China; and

 

   

have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in New Oriental China, when and to the extent permitted by PRC law, or request the existing shareholder of New Oriental China to transfer all or part of the equity interest in New Oriental China to another PRC person or entity designated by us at any time in our discretion.

These contractual arrangements are summarized in the following paragraphs.

Equity Pledge Agreements. Pursuant to the equity pledge agreements dated as of May 25, 2006 among New Oriental China, all of the eleven shareholders of New Oriental China, Beijing Hewstone and Beijing Decision, each shareholder of New Oriental China agreed to pledge his or its equity interests in New Oriental China to Beijing Hewstone and Beijing Decision to secure the performance of obligations of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries under the existing service agreements and any such agreements to be entered into in the future. The shareholders of New Oriental China agreed not to transfer, sell, pledge, dispose of or otherwise create any encumbrance on their equity interests in New Oriental China without the prior written consent of Beijing Decision and Beijing Hewstone. All parties to the equity pledge agreement have agreed that the equity pledge agreement is binding upon New Oriental China’s shareholders and their successors.

In January 2012, the ten former shareholders of New Oriental China completed the transfer of all of their equity interests in New Oriental China to Century Friendship, a PRC domestic enterprise controlled by Mr. Michael Minhong Yu, our founder and executive chairman, without consideration. Prior to the transfer, Century Friendship had held 53% of the equity interests in the New Oriental China while the ten former shareholders of New Oriental China held the remaining equity interests. The purpose of the transfers was to further strengthen our corporate structure by simplifying the shareholding structure of New Oriental China.

Pursuant to the five equity pledge agreements dated April 23, 2012 among New Oriental China, Century Friendship and five of our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, namely Beijing Hewstone, Beijing Decision, Shanghai Smart Words, Beijing Pioneer and Beijing Smart Wood, Century Friendship agreed to pledge its equity interests in New Oriental China to these five subsidiaries to secure New Oriental China’s and its schools and subsidiaries’ performance of their obligations under the relevant principal agreements, and Century Friendship has agreed not to transfer, sell, pledge, dispose of or otherwise create any encumbrance on its equity interests in New Oriental China without the prior written consents of our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China. Upon the conclusion of the master exclusive service agreement on September 19, 2014 between Beijing Pioneer and New Oriental China, the list of principal agreements has been updated to include the master exclusive service agreement and the relevant service agreements. The equity pledges of Century Friendship under these equity pledge agreements have been registered with the Haidian District, Beijing branch of the SAMR. The terms of the April 2012 equity pledge agreements are substantially the same as the 2006 equity pledge agreements.

 

71


Table of Contents

In February 2017, as part of our efforts to streamline the corporate structure, we removed Shanghai Smart Words as a party to the contractual arrangements with New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries and shareholder. The rights and obligations of Shanghai Smart Words under these contractual arrangements have been assumed by Beijing Decision. The April 2012 equity pledge agreements have been amended to reflect the foregoing change while the terms of these agreements remain unchanged. The equity pledges of Century Friendship under the amended agreements have been registered with the Haidian District, Beijing branch of the SAMR.

Exclusive Option Agreement. Exclusive option agreements were entered into by us and New Oriental China and the shareholders of New Oriental China on various dates, and amended on May 25, 2006. After the ten former shareholders of New Oriental China completed the transfer of all of their equity interests in New Oriental China to Century Friendship in early 2012, Century Friendship, as the sole shareholder of New Oriental China, executed a new option agreement with Shanghai Smart Words, one of our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, and New Oriental China on April 23, 2012, replacing previous exclusive option agreements. On February 16, 2017, Beijing Decision entered into a new option agreement with Century Friendship and New Oriental China, replacing the previous option agreement dated April 23, 2012. Pursuant to the current option agreement, Century Friendship is obligated to sell to Beijing Decision, and Beijing Decision has an exclusive, irrevocable and unconditional right to purchase from Century Friendship, in its sole discretion, part or of all of Century Friendship’s equity interests in New Oriental China when and to the extent that applicable PRC law permits it to own part or all of the equity interest in New Oriental China. In addition, Beijing Decision has an exclusive option to require Century Friendship to transfer all or part of Century Friendship’s equity interest in New Oriental China to another PRC person or entity designated by Beijing Decision at any time in its discretion. The purchase price to be paid by Beijing Decision will be the minimum amount of consideration permitted by applicable PRC law at the time when such share transfer occurs.

Power of Attorney. On December 3, 2012, Century Friendship, in the capacity of the sole shareholder of New Oriental China, executed a proxy agreement and power of attorney with Beijing Pioneer, one of our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, and New Oriental China, whereby Century Friendship irrevocably appoints and constitutes Beijing Pioneer as its attorney-in-fact to exercise on Century Friendship’s behalf any and all rights that Century Friendship has in respect of its equity interests in New Oriental China. This proxy agreement and power of attorney became effective on December 3, 2012 and replaces the powers of attorney executed by Century Friendship on April 23, 2012. The proxy agreement and power of attorney will remain effective as long as New Oriental China exists. Century Friendship does not have the right to terminate the proxy agreement and power of attorney or revoke the appointment of the attorney-in-fact without the prior written consent of Beijing Pioneer.

Service Agreements. Our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China have entered into a series of service agreements with New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries to enable them to receive substantially all of the economic benefits of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries. On September 19, 2014, one of our wholly-owned subsidiaries, Beijing Pioneer, has entered into a master exclusive service agreement, as amended, with New Oriental China to enable our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China to receive substantially all of the economic benefits of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries. After the conclusion of the master exclusive service agreement, the various existing service agreements between our wholly-owned subsidiaries will remain effective; however, if they have any conflict with the terms and conditions of the master exclusive service agreement, the master exclusive service agreement will prevail.

Under the master exclusive service agreement, Beijing Pioneer has the exclusive right to provide or designate any entities affiliated with it to provide New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries the technical and business support services set forth in schedule 2 of the agreement, including new enrollment system development service, sale of educational software and other operating services. Each service provider has the right to determine the fees associated with the services it provides based on the technical difficulty and complexity of the services and the actual labor costs it incurs for providing the services during the relevant period. The term of this agreement is ten years and will be automatically extended upon the expiration. Beijing Pioneer may terminate the agreement at any time with a 30-day prior written notice to New Oriental China, whereas none of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries can terminate this agreement. In the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the total amount of service fees that our PRC subsidiaries received from New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries under all the service agreements was US$269.2 million, US$252.2 million and US$402.3 million, respectively.

 

72


Table of Contents

Contractual Arrangements with Beijing Xuncheng, Its Subsidiaries and Shareholders

Subsequent to the voluntary delisting from the National Equities Exchange and Quotations in China in February 2018, Beijing Xuncheng went through a series of restructuring transactions and became a variable interest entity controlled by Koolearn, our majority-owned subsidiary which operates our online education business, through a series of contractual arrangements. Beijing Dexin Dongfang Network Technology Co., Ltd., or Dexin Dongfang, a wholly-owned PRC subsidiary of Koolearn, has entered into contractual arrangements with Beijing Xuncheng, its subsidiaries and shareholders, which enables us, through Koolearn, to:

 

   

have the power to direct the activities and most significantly affect the economic performance of Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiary;

 

   

receive substantially all of the economic benefits from Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiary; and

 

   

have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interest in Beijing Xuncheng, when and to the extent permitted by PRC law, or request any existing shareholder of Beijing Xuncheng to transfer all or part of the equity interest in Beijing Xuncheng to another PRC person or entity designated by us at any time in our discretion.

These contractual arrangements are summarized in the following paragraphs.

Equity Pledge Agreement. Pursuant to share pledge agreements dated as of May 10, 2018 among Dexin Dongfang, Beijing Xuncheng and all of its shareholders, each shareholder of Beijing Xuncheng agreed to irrevocably and unconditionally pledge its equity interest in Beijing Xuncheng to Dexin Dongfang to secure the performance of obligations of Beijing Xuncheng, its shareholders, and relevant subsidiaries under the exclusive option agreement, the powers of attorney, the exclusive management consultancy and business cooperation agreement, and the letters of undertaking. Beijing Xuncheng’s shareholders agreed not to transfer or dispose of the pledged equity interests or create or allow any third party to create any encumbrance on the pledged equity interests without prior written consent of Dexin Dongfang. The pledge takes effect upon registration with the relevant authorities and will remain in effect until the satisfaction of all contractual obligations of Beijing Xuncheng, its subsidiaries and its shareholders under the principal agreements or the termination of the principal agreements or 30 days after Dexin Dongfang provides a written termination notice to other parties, whichever is later.

Exclusive Option Agreement. Exclusive Option Purchase Agreement dated as of May 10, 2018 was entered into by Dexin Dongfang, Beijing Xuncheng and all of its shareholders. Pursuant to this agreement, Beijing Xuncheng’s shareholders unconditionally and irrevocably agreed to grant Dexin Dongfang an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in Beijing Xuncheng for the minimum amount of consideration permitted by PRC law. Where the purchase price is required by PRC law to be an amount other than nil consideration, Beijing Xuncheng’s shareholders undertake to return the amount of purchase price they shall have received to Dexin Dongfang or any of its designated third party. Dexin Dongfang has the sole discretion to decide whether to exercise the option in part, in full or at all. Without the prior written consent of Dexin Dongfang, none of the assets of Beijing Xuncheng may be sold, transferred or otherwise disposed of. In addition, without Dexin Dongfang’s prior written consent, none of Beijing Xuncheng’s shareholders may transfer or permit to create any encumbrance, guarantee or security over its equity interests in Beijing Xuncheng. Beijing Xuncheng’s shareholders also undertook that if they receive any profit distribution or dividend from Beijing Xuncheng, they will immediately pay or transfer such amount, subject to the relevant tax payment being made under the relevant laws and regulations, to Dexin Dongfang or its designated third party. This agreement will remain in effect until Dexin Dongfang or its designated third parties have acquired all the equity interests in Beijing Xuncheng. Dexin Dongfang may unilaterally terminate this agreement through a 30-day prior written notice.

 

73


Table of Contents

Powers of Attorney. On May 10, 2018, each of Beijing Xuncheng’s shareholders executed a power of attorney whereby such shareholder irrevocably appoints Dexin Dongfang or any person designated by Dexin Dongfang as its attorney-in-fact to exercise on the shareholder’s behalf any and all rights the shareholder has in respect of its equity interests in Beijing Xuncheng. The power of attorney will remain effective as long as the shareholder holds any equity interest in Beijing Xuncheng. On May 10, 2018, Beijing Xuncheng also executed a power of attorney whereby it irrevocably appoints Dexin Dongfang or any person designated by Dexin Dongfang as its attorney-in-fact to exercise on its behalf any and all rights it has in respect of its equity interest in its current or future majority-owned subsidiaries. The power of attorney will remain effective as long as Beijing Xuncheng continues to hold any equity interest in its subsidiaries.

Exclusive Management Consultancy and Cooperation Agreement. Exclusive Management Consultancy and Cooperation Agreement dated as of May 10, 2018 was entered into by and among Dexin Dongfang, Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries, and all of its shareholders. Pursuant to the agreement, Dexin Dongfang has the exclusive right to provide, or designate any third party to provide Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries with corporate management services, intellectual property licenses, technical and business supports, and other additional services as the parties may agree from time to time. Without Dexin Dongfang’s prior written consent, neither Beijing Xuncheng nor any of its subsidiaries may accept foregoing services from a third party. Dexin Dongfang owns all intellectual property rights arising out of the performance of this agreement. In exchange for the services, Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries agree to pay their entire income to Dexin Dongfang as the service fee. In addition, without Dexin Dongfang’s prior written consent, Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries shall not enter into any transactions that may affect its assets, obligations, rights or operations, other than those transactions entered into in the ordinary course of business. Dexin Dongfang has the right to appoint directors, general managers, financial controllers and other senior managers Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries. Without Dexin Dongfang’s prior written consent, Beijing Xuncheng shall not change or remove directors appointed by Dexin Dongfang or make any distribution to its shareholders. This agreement will remain effective until terminated upon the agreement of the parties.

Letters of Undertaking. As of the date of this annual report, Century Friendship directly held the entire equity interest in New Oriental China, the largest shareholder of Beijing Xuncheng. To ensure stability and continued validity and enforceability of the foregoing agreements, Century Friendship and its shareholders, our founder Mr. Yu and Ms. Li Bamei, have executed a letter of undertaking dated May 10, 2018 whereby they undertake not to enter into any arrangement, including pledge, sale, disposal or creation of other third party rights, in relation to Century Friendship’s equity interests in New Oriental China which may adversely affect the implementation of the foregoing agreements entered into by New Oriental China unless they have obtained consent from Koolearn or Dexin Dongfang, and the counterparties or beneficiaries of such arrangement have executed written undertaking(s) to the effect that they will not affect the performance of the foregoing agreements entered into by New Oriental China. In addition, Century Friendship and its shareholders undertake not to participate in, invest in, own or manage any businesses competing with that of Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries as long as they continue to hold equity interest in Beijing Xuncheng. The general partner of each limited partnership that holds equity interest in Beijing Xuncheng executed a similar letter of undertaking as of May 10, 2018 to the same effect.

In the opinion of Tian Yuan Law Firm, our PRC legal counsel:

 

   

(i) the corporate structure of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries, and our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, and (ii) the corporate structure of Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries and Dexin Dongfang are in compliance with existing PRC laws and regulations; and

 

   

(i) the contractual arrangements among our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries and the shareholder of New Oriental China and (ii) the contractual arrangements among Dexin Dongfang, Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries and shareholders are valid, binding and enforceable under, and do not violate, PRC laws or regulations currently in effect.

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, there can be no assurance that the PRC regulatory authorities will not 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 counsel that if the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our education business in China do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the education business, we could be subject to severe penalties. The imposition of any of these penalties could result in a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our China business do not comply with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we could be subject to severe penalties” and “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could adversely affect us.”

 

74


Table of Contents
D.

Property, Plants and Equipment

Our headquarters are located in Beijing, China, where we own approximately 19,000 square meters of office and classroom space. In addition, we own approximately 210,000 square meters of schools in Yangzhou and an aggregate of approximately 63,000 square meters of space for our schools, learning centers and bookstores in various cities in China, including Hangzhou, Xiamen, Zhengzhou, Xi’an, Tianjin, Kunming, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Changsha and Beijing.

ITEM 4A. UNRESOLVED STAFF COMMENTS

None.

ITEM 5. OPERATING AND FINANCIAL REVIEW AND PROSPECTS

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this annual report on Form 20-F. This discussion may contain forward-looking statements based upon current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those set forth under “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” or in other parts of this annual report on Form 20-F.

 

A.

Operating Results

General Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations

We have benefited significantly from favorable demographic trends, the overall economic growth and the demand for high-quality private education and English language training in China. The overall economic growth and the increase in the GDP per capita in China have led to a significant increase in spending on education in China. At the same time, China’s integration into the global economy has continued, resulting in more career opportunities for Chinese citizens who are able to communicate effectively in English. We anticipate that the demand for private education and English language training in China will continue to increase as China’s economy continues to grow and as disposable income of urban households continues to rise. However, any adverse changes in the economic conditions or regulatory environment in China may have a material adverse effect on the private education industry in China, which in turn may harm our business and results of operations.

Specific Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations

While our business is influenced by factors affecting the private education industry in China generally and by conditions in each of the geographic markets we serve, we believe our business is more directly affected by company-specific factors such as the number of student enrollments, the amount of course fees and our operating costs and expenses. The number of student enrollments is in turn largely driven by the demand for our courses, the effectiveness of our marketing and brand promotion efforts, our ability to optimize our comprehensive online and offline integrated education ecosystem on a constant basis, the locations of our schools and learning centers, our ability to maintain the consistency and quality of our teaching, and our ability to respond to competitive pressure, as well as seasonal factors. We determine course fees primarily based on demand for our courses, the targeted market for our courses, the subject of the course, the geographic location of the school, cost of services, and the course fees charged by our competitors for the same or similar courses.

 

75


Table of Contents

Our future results of operations will depend significantly upon our ability to increase paying users for our online courses, increase student enrollments at existing schools and learning centers and further expand our school network throughout China, as well as offer a greater variety of courses, including smaller-size classes. Our planned expansion may result in substantial demands on our management, operational, technological, financial and other resources. To manage and support our growth, we must improve our existing operational, administrative and technological systems and our financial and management controls, and recruit, train and retain additional qualified teachers and school management personnel as well as other administrative and sales and marketing personnel, particularly as we grow outside of our existing markets. We will continue to implement additional systems and measures and recruit qualified personnel in order to effectively manage and support our growth. If we cannot achieve these improvements, our financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

Due to certain restrictions and qualification requirements under PRC law that apply to foreign investment in China’s education industry, we conduct substantially all of our education business in China through contractual arrangements between our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, our variable interest entities and their schools and subsidiaries and their shareholders. Our variable interest entities’ schools and subsidiaries hold the requisite licenses and permits necessary to conduct our educational services business in China and operate our schools and learning centers and have been directly conducting our education business and operating our schools and learning centers.

Net Revenues. In the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, we generated total net revenues of US$1,799.5 million, US$2,477.4 million and US$3,096.5 million, respectively. Our revenues are net of PRC business taxes and related surcharges as well as refunds.

We currently derive revenues from the following sources:

 

   

educational programs and services, which accounted for 89.4%, 88.5% and 89.9% of our total net revenues in the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively; and

 

   

books and other services, which accounted for 10.6%,11.5% and 10.0% of our total net revenues in the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Educational Programs and Services. Our educational programs and services consist of language training and test preparation courses, pre-school education, primary and secondary school education and online education. Revenues from language training courses and test preparation courses accounted for 83.9%, 82.7% and 84.2%, respectively, of our total net revenues in the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019.

We recognize revenues from course fees collected for enrollment in our language training and test preparation courses and online education proportionally as we deliver the instruction over the period of the course. Course fees are generally paid in advance by students and are initially recorded as deferred revenue. Students are entitled to a short-term trial period which commences on the date the course begins. Tuition refunds are provided to students if they decide within the trial period that they no longer want to take the course. After the trial period, if a student withdraws from a class, usually only those collected but unearned portion of the fee is available to be refunded. We recognize revenues from school fees collected for enrollment in our pre-school education and primary and secondary schools ratably over the corresponding academic year.

The most significant factors that directly affect our revenues from educational programs and services are the number of student enrollments and the amount of course fees. We believe our students are attracted to us primarily because of our established brand and reputation in the private education sector, especially in the areas of English language training, overseas admissions and assessment test preparation and K-12 after-school tutoring program, the quality of our instruction and the variety of our programs, services and products. For the past several years, our revenue growth has been driven primarily by increased enrollments in our K-12 after-school tutoring courses and overseas test preparation courses and other programs and services. The number of student enrollments for our courses is affected by the demand for our courses, the effectiveness of our marketing and brand promotion, the demographic composition of the cities where we have schools and learning centers, our ability to respond to competitive pressure, as well as seasonal factors. To further penetrate the K-12 after-school tutoring market, we have expanded the scope of our course offerings to cover non-English subjects, including through our New Oriental U-Can (Non-English) all subjects training program for middle and high school students and Pop Kids (Non-English) all subjects training program for primary school students, and plan to further expand our course offerings and geographic coverage in the future to capture a larger share of the huge after-school training market in China. In order to use new technology to reshape our traditional offline classroom-teaching offerings and enhance customers’ learning experience, we developed our own O2O two-way interactive learning platform, or the O2O platform, by standardizing and digitalizing our education content and user data. We established a database of learning modules for internet-based self-learning practice and assessment. The O2O platform complements and supports students’ offline learning activities by offering online learning components, such as pushing customized content to students, recommending additional courses based on their online study records and performance, facilitating interaction between students, teachers and parents across a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets and PCs.

 

76


Table of Contents

Our courses generally have the largest student enrollments in our first fiscal quarter, which runs from June 1 to August 31 of each year, primarily because many students enroll in our courses during the summer vacation to enhance their foreign language skills and/or prepare for admissions and assessment tests in subsequent school terms. We expect this seasonality in enrollment pattern to continue, especially for most of our language training courses for college and middle school students and test preparation courses.

We determine course fees primarily based on demand for our courses, the targeted market for our courses, the subject of the course, the geographic location of the school, cost of services, and the course fees charged by our competitors for the same or similar programs. Our test preparation courses are generally delivered in class settings ranging from 1 student to 100 students per class. Our K-12 after-school tutoring courses and our English language training courses are delivered in class settings generally ranging from 1 student to 50 students per class. In November 2013, we launched an online test preparation program on our own online education website koolearn.com, which features live broadcasts of a series of our most popular offline test preparation classes. We typically adjust course fees or school fees based on the market conditions of the city where the particular school is located, subject to the relevant local governmental authority’s advance approval, if required. We expect to continue to derive a substantial majority of our revenues from educational programs and services.

A significant portion of our revenues has been derived from test preparation courses. The success of our test preparation courses depends on the continued use of admissions and assessment tests by educational institutions and governmental authorities both in China and abroad. If the use of admissions and assessment tests declines or falls out of favor with educational institutions, government authorities and other entities, the markets for our test preparation courses will shrink and our business may be materially and adversely affected.

Books and Other Services. We distribute and sell books and other educational materials developed or licensed by us through our own distribution channels, which consist of our bookstores and websites, and also through third-party distributors. We normally provide books and other educational materials that are required for our courses and do not separately charge students for these items. We recognize revenues from sales of books and other educational materials when the products are sold to end customers. As we believe successful content development is important to the success of our business, we intend to continuously enhance the quality and breadth of our education content offerings and distribute more books and other educational materials through our own bookstores, as well as third-party distributors.

We also provide consulting services to students regarding overseas studies and related processes, such as visa applications. We charge each student a fee based on the scope of consulting services requested by the student and recognize revenues when our consulting services are delivered. We expect that revenues from these consulting services will continue to increase in the future.

Operating Costs and Expenses. Our operating costs and expenses consist of cost of revenues, selling and marketing expenses and general and administrative expenses. The following table sets forth the components of our operating costs and expenses, both in absolute amount and as a percentage of total net revenues for the periods indicated.

 

     For the Year Ended May 31,  
     2017     2018     2019  
(in thousands, except percentages)    US$     %     US$     %     US$     %  

Net revenues

     1,799,509       100.0       2,447,430       100.0       3,096,491       100.0  

Operating costs and expenses:

            

Cost of revenues

     (749,586     (41.7     (1,065,740     (43.5     (1,376,269     (44.5

 

77


Table of Contents
     For the Year Ended May 31,  
     2017     2018     2019  
(in thousands, except percentages)    US$     %     US$     %     US$     %  

Selling and marketing

     (232,826     (12.9     (324,249     (13.2     (384,287     (12.4

General and administrative

     (554,948     (30.8     (794,482     (32.5     (1,034,028     (33.4

Total operating costs and expenses

     (1,537,360     (85.4     (2,184,471     (89.2     (2,794,584     (90.3

We rely on our teachers to deliver educational services. Our teachers consist of both full-time teachers and contract teachers. Full-time teachers deliver instruction and may also be involved in management, administration and other functions at our schools. Full-time teachers’ compensation and benefits primarily consist of teaching fees based on hourly rates, performance-linked bonuses based on student evaluations, as well as base salary, annual bonus and standard employee benefits in connection with their services other than teaching. Compensation of our contract teachers is comprised primarily of teaching fees based on hourly rates and performance-linked bonuses based on student evaluations and other factors. We account for teaching fees and performance-linked bonuses paid to our teachers as cost of revenues as they are directly associated with the provision of educational services.

Cost of Revenues. Cost of revenues for educational programs and services primarily consists of teaching fees and performance-linked bonuses paid to our teachers and rental payments for our schools and learning centers and, to a lesser degree, depreciation and amortization of property and equipment used in the provision of educational services, as well as costs of course materials. Cost of books and other materials primarily consist of printing costs of books and other materials, and licenses fees, royalties and other fees paid to content licensors, publishing companies and third-party distributors. We anticipate that our total cost of revenues will continue to increase as we continue to open new schools and learning centers and hire additional teachers.

Selling and Marketing Expenses. Our selling and marketing expenses primarily consist of expenses relating to advertising, seminars, marketing and promotional trips and other community activities for brand promotion purpose. We expect that our selling and marketing expenses will continue to increase as we further expand into new geographic locations and enhance our brand recognition.

General and Administrative Expenses. Our general and administrative expenses primarily consist of compensation and benefits of administrative staff, compensation and benefits of full-time teachers excluding teaching fees and performance-linked bonuses and, to a lesser extent, costs to develop curriculum, costs of third-party professional services, rental and utilities payments relating to office and administrative functions, and depreciation and amortization of property and equipment used in our general and administrative activities. We expect that our general and administrative expenses will increase in the near term as we hire additional personnel and incur additional costs in connection with the expansion of our business.

Share-based Compensation Expenses.

In January 2016, we adopted the 2016 Share Incentive Plan, under which we are authorized to issue up to 10,000,000 common shares pursuant to awards (including options) granted to our employees, directors and consultants. Since the adoption of our 2016 Share Incentive Plan, we have granted a total of 2,514,934 non-vested equity shares, among which, 1,485,630 and 1,029,304 were granted in the years ended May 31, 2018 and 2019, respectively. 47,006 and 77,224 shares were forfeited in the years ended May 31, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

On July 13, 2018, the board of directors of Koolearn approved an employee’s share option plan, or the Koolearn Pre-IPO Share Option Scheme, under which Koolearn is authorized to issue up to 47,836,985 ordinary shares pursuant to awards granted to the directors, senior management, employees and contractors of Koolearn. Since the adoption of the Koolearn Pre-IPO Share Option Scheme, Koolearn has granted options to obtain an aggregate of 47,836,985 shares in Koolearn to 144 grantees. 3,065,500 shares were forfeited and 31,000 shares were cancelled in the year ended May 31, 2019.

We account for share-based compensation expenses in accordance with an authoritative accounting pronouncement, which requires share-based compensation expense to be determined based on the fair value of our common shares as of their grant date. The following table sets forth the allocation of our share-based compensation expenses (including Koolearn’s share-based compensation expenses), both in absolute amount and as a percentage of total share-based compensation expenses, among our employees based on the nature of work which they were assigned to perform.

 

78


Table of Contents
     For the Year Ended May 31,  
     2017      2018      2019  
(in thousands, except percentages)    US$      %      US$      %      US$      %  

Allocation of Share-based Compensation Expense:

                 

Cost of revenues

     —          —          —          —          134        0.2  

Selling and marketing

     —          —          —          —          1,205        1.7  

General and administrative

     20,287        100.0        57,443        100.0        69,997        98.1  

For options granted to our employees and directors, we record share-based compensation expenses based on the fair value of our common shares underlying options as of the date of option grant and amortize the expenses over the vesting periods of the options. For non-vested equity shares granted to employees and directors, we record share-based compensation expenses based on the quoted market price of our ADSs on the grant date and amortize the expenses over the vesting periods of the non-vested equity shares.

Taxation

Cayman Islands

We are incorporated in the Cayman Islands. Under the current law of the Cayman Islands, we are not subject to income or capital gains tax. In addition, dividend payments are not subject to withholding tax in the Cayman Islands.

Hong Kong

Under the current Hong Kong Inland Revenue Ordinance, from the year of assessment 2018/2019 onwards, the subsidiaries in Hong Kong are subject to profits tax at the rate of 8.25% on assessable profits up to HK$2,000,000; and 16.5% on any part of assessable profits over HK$2,000,000. No Hong Kong profit tax has been levied as we did not have assessable profit that was earned in or derived from any Hong Kong subsidiary during the periods presented. Under the Hong Kong tax law, our Hong Kong subsidiaries are exempted from the Hong Kong income tax on its foreign-derived income. Hong Kong does not impose a withholding tax on dividends.

PRC

Other than our primary and secondary schools, our operating entities in China are subject to a value-added tax (“VAT”) at varying rates ranging from 3% to 16% (or 13% starting April 1, 2019) on their respective net revenues. Our operating entities that provide education services are subject to a simple VAT collection method and apply for a 3% VAT rate since June 2016 according to the Notice of the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation on Further Clarifying the Policies regarding Reinsurance, Immovable Property Leasing and Non-Academic Education in the Comprehensive Promotion of the Pilot Program of Replacing Business Tax with Value-Added Tax, or the Circular 68. VAT is reported as a deduction to revenue when incurred. Circular 68 and the subsequent relevant implementation measures and rules are relatively new, and the interpretation and enforcement of this circular and its implementation measures and rules involve uncertainties.

With regard to income tax, enterprises in China are generally subject to enterprise income tax at a rate of 25%. Enterprises that qualify as “high and new technology enterprises” are entitled to a favorable enterprise income tax rate of 15% rather than the 25% uniform statutory tax rate. Such qualification is reassessed by relevant governmental authorities every three years. Seven of our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, including Beijing Hewstone, Beijing Decision and Five other subsidiaries, are qualified as “high and new technology enterprises.” Beijing Smart Wood, one of our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, is in the process of renewing its qualification of “high and new technology enterprises.” Once the renewal is completed, Beijing Smart Wood will be eligible for a the favorable enterprise income tax rate of 15% starting January 1, 2019. Beijing Xuncheng, one of our variable interest entities, is also qualified as “high and new technology enterprises.”

An enterprises that qualifies as a “software enterprise” is exempt from enterprise income tax for the two years beginning from such enterprise’s first profitable year and then is entitled to a reduced tax rate of 12.5% for the succeeding three years. Two of our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China, Beijing Jinghong Software Technology Company Limited and Beijing Magnificence Technology Company Limited, are qualified as software enterprises. For those subsidiaries that are qualified as both “high and new technology enterprises” and “software enterprises,” they have elected to enjoy income tax exemption for the two years beginning from their first profitable year, then a reduced tax rate of 12.5% for the succeeding three years, and then a reduced tax rate of 15% so long as they continue to meet the qualification of “high and new technology enterprises.”

 

79


Table of Contents

In addition, under the current regulatory regime, whether our schools are entitled to any preferential income tax treatment remains unclear, and practice varies across different cities in China. Pursuant to the Implementation Rules for the Law for Promoting Private Education (2004), private schools that do not require reasonable returns enjoy the same preferential tax treatment as public schools, while the preferential tax treatment policies applicable to private schools requiring reasonable returns shall be separately formulated by the relevant authorities under the State Council. To date, no regulations have been promulgated by the relevant authorities with regard to the preferential income tax treatment applicable to private schools requiring reasonable returns. As of May 31, 2019, 19 of our schools elected as schools not requiring reasonable returns, and 40 of our schools elected as requiring reasonable returns and the remaining schools were not classified or registered as companies. The Amended Private Education Law, which became effective on September 1, 2017, no longer uses the term “reasonable return.” Instead, under the Amended Private Education Law, sponsors of private schools may choose to establish non-profit or for-profit private schools at their own discretion, except that private schools in compulsory education area can only be registered as non-profit private schools. Pursuant to the Amended Private Education Law, non-profit private schools will be entitled to the same tax benefits as public schools while taxation policies for for-profit private schools are still unclear. Due to a lack of implementation rules, whether our schools can be entitled to any preferential income tax treatment remains unclear. In practice, tax treatments for private schools vary across different cities in China. For example, private schools in certain cities are subject to a 25% standard enterprise income tax, while in other cities, private schools are subject to a fixed amount of enterprise income tax each year as determined by the local tax authority in lieu of the 25% standard enterprise income tax or are not required to pay enterprise income tax at all. Among our schools in the four major cities from which we derived a significant portion of our revenues in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, three schools are subject to the standard 25% enterprise income tax rate and one school was not required by the governing tax bureau to pay any EIT from its establishment through May 31, 2019.

Preferential tax treatments granted to our schools by local governmental authorities are subject to review and may be adjusted or revoked at any time. In addition, if the government regulations or authorities were to phase out preferential tax benefits currently granted to “high and new technology enterprises,” our wholly-owned subsidiaries and variable interest entities in China would be subject to the 25% uniform statutory tax rate. The discontinuation of any preferential tax treatments currently available to our schools, especially those schools in major cities, and to our wholly-owned subsidiaries and variable interest entities, will cause our effective tax rate to increase, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

For additional information on PRC regulations on taxation, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Regulation—Regulations on Taxation.”

Recent Acquisition

In October 2017, we acquired the entire equity interest in Hangzhou Shengshen Technology Co., Ltd, a K-12 education group located in Zhejiang, for a total consideration of US$11.0 million.

In September 2018, we acquired the entire equity interest in Suzhou Hongyi Education Investment Co., Ltd, a kindergarten group located in Suzhou, for a total consideration of US$41.7 million.

In April and November 2017, we invested an aggregate of US$11.2 million in Asia Pacific Montessori Education Co., Ltd., or Asia Pacific, a kindergarten group located in Beijing and Hangzhou engaging in pre-school education, for 35% of its equity interest. In December 2018, we acquired the remaining 65% of equity interest of Asia Pacific, for a total consideration of US$12.6 million. We currently hold the entire equity interest in Asia Pacific.

Recent Disposal

In April 2019, we disposed 60% equity interest in Beijing Dongfang Heli Investment and Developement Co., Ltd for a cash consideration of US$15.3 million and recorded a gain of US$0.1 million from this disposal.

 

80


Table of Contents

Results of Operations

The following table sets forth a summary of our consolidated results of operations for the periods indicated. This information should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this annual report. The operating results in any period are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for any future period.

 

     For the Year Ended May 31,  
(in thousands of US$)    2017      2018      2019  

Net revenues:

        

Educational programs and services

     1,608,954        2,165,152        2,785,254  

Books and other services

     190,555        282,278        311,237  

Total net revenues

     1,799,509        2,447,430        3,096,491  

Operating costs and expenses(1):

        

Cost of revenues

     (749,586      (1,065,740      (1,376,269

Selling and marketing

     (232,826      (324,249      (384,287

General and administrative

     (554,948      (794,482      (1,034,028

Total operating costs and expenses

     (1,537,360      (2,184,471      (2,794,584

Gain on disposal of subsidiaries

     —          —          3,627  

Operating income

     262,149        262,959        305,534  

Other income, net

     68,560        94,065        10,315  

Provision for income taxes

     (50,624      (59,408      (85,714

Loss from equity method investments

     (3,289      (379      (2,289

Net income

     276,796        297,237        227,846  

Net loss (gain) attributable to the noncontrolling interests

     (2,339      (1,107      10,219  

Net income attributable to New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc.

     274,457        296,130        238,065  

 

(1)

Share-based compensation expenses are included in our operating costs and expenses as follows:

 

     For the Year Ended May 31,  
(in thousands of US$)    2017      2018      2019  

Cost of revenues

     —          —          134  

Selling and marketing

     —          —          1,205  

General and administrative

     20,287        57,443        69,997  

Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2019 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2018

Net Revenues. Our total net revenues increased by 26.5% from US$2,447.4 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$3,096.5 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019. This increase was due to the increased revenues from both educational programs and services as well as from books and other services.

 

   

Educational Programs and Services. Net revenues from our educational programs and services increased by 28.6% from US$2,165.2 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$2,785.3 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019. This increase was primarily due to the growth in revenues from language training and test preparation courses from US$2,023.0 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$2,606 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019. The increase in revenues from language training and test preparation courses was mainly attributable to the increase in the number of student enrollments from approximately 6.3 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to approximately 8.4 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, and in particular, the increased number of student enrollments in test preparation courses for middle and high school students and language training courses for children. The significant increase in the number of student enrollments is primarily due to the division of the spring semester into two parts since November 2018, in order to comply with the latest regulatory requirements. Under this method, student enrollments in the spring semester are recorded separately for each part and the student enrollments for each part fall into separate quarters. Our total numbers of schools and learning centers were 95 and 1,159, respectively, as of May 31, 2019, compared to 87 and 994, respectively, as of May 31, 2018.

 

81


Table of Contents
   

Books and Other services. Net revenues from sales of books and other educational materials and services increased by 10.3% from US$282.3 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$311.2 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, primarily due to the increased revenue of US$26.8 million from the overseas consulting business in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019.

Operating Costs and Expenses. Our total operating costs and expenses increased by 27.9% from US$2,184.5 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$2,794.6 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019. This increase resulted from increases in our cost of revenues, selling and marketing expenses and general and administrative expenses line items.

 

   

Cost of Revenues. Our cost of revenues increased by 29.1% from US$1,065.7 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$1,376.3 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019. This increase was primarily due to an increase in teaching fees and performance-linked bonuses paid to our teachers during the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019.

 

   

Selling and Marketing Expenses. Our selling and marketing expenses increased by 18.5% from US$324.2 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$384.3 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019. This increase was primarily due to the addition of over 3,800 new sales and marketing personnel during the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019.

 

   

General and Administrative Expenses. Our general and administrative expenses increased by 30.1% from US$794.5 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$1,034.0 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019. This increase was primarily due to an increase of US$601.1 million in human resources expenses and an increase of US$138.2 million in general operational expenses during the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019.

Other Income, Net. Our other income, net which primarily includes interest income, increased from US$94.1 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$10.3 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019.

Provision for Income Tax. Our income tax expense increased by 44.3% from US$59.4 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$85.7 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019. The increase was primarily due to higher income tax rate incurred in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019.

Net Income. As a result of the foregoing, our net income for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019 was US$227.8 million, compared to US$297.2 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018.

Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2018 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2017

Net Revenues. Our total net revenues increased by 36.0% from US$1,799.5 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$2,447.4 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018. This increase was due to the increased revenues from both educational programs and services as well as from books and other services.

 

   

Educational Programs and Services. Net revenues from our educational programs and services increased by 34.6% from US$1,609.0 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$2,165.2 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018. This increase was primarily due to the growth in revenues from language training and test preparation courses from US$1,510.5 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$2,023.0 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018. The increase in revenues from language training and test preparation courses was mainly attributable to the increase in the number of student enrollments from approximately 4.8 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to over 6.3 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018, and in particular, the increased number of student enrollments in test preparation courses for middle and high school students and language training courses for children. Our total numbers of schools and learning centers were 87 and 994, respectively, as of May 31, 2018, compared to 77 and 778, respectively, as of May 31, 2017.

 

   

Books and Other services. Net revenues from sales of books and other educational materials and services increased by 48.1% from US$190.6 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$282.3 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018, primarily due to the increased revenue of US$74.6 million from the overseas consulting business in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018.

 

82


Table of Contents

Operating Costs and Expenses. Our total operating costs and expenses increased by 42.1% from US$1,537.4 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$2,184.5 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018. This increase resulted from increases in our cost of revenues, selling and marketing expenses and general and administrative expenses line items.

 

   

Cost of Revenues. Our cost of revenues increased by 42.2% from US$749.6 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$1,065.7 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018. This increase was primarily due to an increase in teaching fees and performance-linked bonuses paid to our teachers during the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018.

 

   

Selling and Marketing Expenses. Our selling and marketing expenses increased by 39.3% from US$232.8 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$324.2 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018. This increase was primarily due to the addition of over 4,000 new sales and marketing personnel during the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018.

 

   

General and Administrative Expenses. Our general and administrative expenses increased by 43.2% from US$554.9 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$794.5 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018. This increase was primarily due to an increase of US$141.8 million in human resources expenses and an increase of US$22.7 million in general operational expenses during the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018.

Other Income, Net. Our other income, net which primarily includes interest income, increased from US$68.6 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$94.1 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018.

Provision for Income Tax. Our income tax expense increased by 17.4% from US$50.6 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$59.4 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018. The increase was primarily due to higher income tax rate incurred in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018.

Net Income. As a result of the foregoing, our net income for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 was US$297.2 million, compared to US$276.8 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017.

Discussion of Segment Operations

For the years ended May 31, 2017,2018 and 2019, we identified seven operating segments, including language training and test preparation, primary and secondary school education, online education, content development and distribution, pre-school education, overseas study consulting services, and study tour. In the year ended May 31, 2019, we identified language training and test preparation as a reportable segment. Primary and secondary school education, online education, content development and distribution, pre-school education, overseas study consulting services and study tour operating segments were aggregated as others because individually they do not exceed the 10% quantitative threshold.

Net revenues from our language training and test preparation courses accounted for 83.9%, 82.7% and 84.2%, respectively, of our total net revenues in the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019. We recognize revenues from course fees collected for enrollment in our language training and test preparation courses proportionally as we deliver the instruction over the period of the course.

Cost of revenues for our language training and test preparation courses primarily consists of teaching fees and performance-linked bonuses paid to our teachers, rental payments for our schools and learning centers and, to a lesser degree, depreciation and amortization of property and equipment used in the provision of educational services.

 

83


Table of Contents

Selling and marketing expenses for each of our language training and test preparation courses primarily consist of marketing and promotion expenses and other costs related to our selling and marketing activities for the corresponding reportable segment.

General and administrative expenses for our language training and test preparation courses primarily consist of compensation and benefits of administrative staff of our language training and test preparation courses segment, compensation and benefits, rental and utilities payments relating to office and administrative functions of our language training and test preparation courses segment, depreciation and amortization of property and equipment used in the general and administrative activities of our language training and test preparation courses segment and, to a lesser extent, costs to develop our curriculum.

The following table lists our net revenues and operating costs and expenses by reportable segment for the periods indicated.

 

     For the Year Ended May 31,  
(in thousands of US$)    2017      2018      2019  

Net revenues of reportable segments:

        

Language training and test preparation courses

     1,510,497        2,022,978        2,605,829  

Total net revenues of reportable segments

     1,510,497        2,022,978        2,605,829  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total net revenues of our company

     1,799,509        2,447,430        3,096,491  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Operating costs and expenses of reportable segments:

        

Cost of revenues:

        

Language training and test preparation courses

     (623,364      (869,012      (1,128,355

Selling and marketing:

        

Language training and test preparation courses

     (146,544      (193,851      (212,170

General and administrative:

        

Language training and test preparation courses

     (363,949      (504,985      (675,315
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total operating costs and expenses of reportable segments

     (1,133,857      (1,567,848      (2,015,840
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Total operating costs and expenses of our company

     (1,537,360      (2,184,471      (2,794,584
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2019 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2018

Net Revenues of Language Training and Test Preparation Courses

Net revenues from our language training and test preparation courses increased by 28.8% from US$2,023.0 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$2,605.8 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, primarily due to the factors discussed in “—Results of Operations—Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2019 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2018—Net Revenues—Educational Programs and Services.”

Operating Costs and Expenses of Language Training and Test Preparation Courses

 

   

Cost of Revenues. Cost of revenues for our language training and test preparation courses increased by 29.8% from US$869.0 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$1,128.4 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, primarily due to the factors discussed in “—Results of Operations—Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2019 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2018—Operating Costs and Expenses—Cost of Revenues.”

 

   

Selling and Marketing Expenses. Selling and marketing expenses for our language training and test preparation courses increased by 9.5% from US$193.9 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$212.2 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, primarily due to the factors discussed in “—Results of Operations—Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2019 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2018—Operating Costs and Expenses—Selling and Marketing Expenses.”

 

84


Table of Contents
   

General and Administrative Expenses. General and administrative expenses for our language training and test preparation courses increased by 33.7% from US$505.0 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 to US$675.3 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, primarily due to the factors discussed in “—Results of Operations—Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2019 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2018—Operating Costs and Expenses—General and Administrative Expenses.”

Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2018 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2017

Net Revenues of Language Training and Test Preparation Courses

Net revenues from our language training and test preparation courses increased by 33.9% from US$1,510.5 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to 2,023.0 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018, primarily due to the factors discussed in “—Results of Operations—Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2018 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2017—Net Revenues—Educational Programs and Services.”

Operating Costs and Expenses of Language Training and Test Preparation Courses

 

   

Cost of Revenues. Cost of revenues for our language training and test preparation courses increased by 39.4% from US$623.4 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$869.0 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018, primarily due to the factors discussed in “—Results of Operations—Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2018 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2017—Operating Costs and Expenses—Cost of Revenues.”

 

   

Selling and Marketing Expenses. Selling and marketing expenses for our language training and test preparation courses increased by 32.3% from US$146.5 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$193.9 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018, primarily due to the factors discussed in “—Results of Operations—Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2018 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2017—Operating Costs and Expenses—Selling and Marketing Expenses.”

 

   

General and Administrative Expenses. General and administrative expenses for our language training and test preparation courses increased by 38.8% from US$363.9 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 to US$505.0 million for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018, primarily due to the factors discussed in “—Results of Operations—Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2018 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended May 31, 2017—Operating Costs and Expenses—General and Administrative Expenses.”

Inflation

According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the year-over-year percent changes in the consumer price index in China for May 2017, 2018 and 2019 were increases of 1.5%, 1.8% and 2.5%, respectively. Inflation has had some impact on our operations in recent years, in the form of higher salaries for our teachers and other staff and higher rental payments for certain of the properties we lease. Additionally, because a substantial portion of our assets consists of cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments in RMB, high inflation could significantly reduce the value and purchasing power of these assets. We are not able to hedge our exposure to higher inflation in China. We can provide no assurance that we will not be affected in the future should rates of inflation increase again in China.

Critical Accounting Policies

We prepare our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, which requires us to make judgments, estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of our assets and liabilities and the disclosure of our contingent assets and liabilities at the end of each fiscal period and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during each fiscal period. We continually evaluate these judgments and estimates based on our own historical experience, knowledge and assessment of current business and other conditions, our expectations regarding the future based on available information and assumptions that we believe to be reasonable, which together form our basis for making judgments about matters that are not readily apparent from other sources. Since the use of estimates is an integral component of the financial reporting process, our actual results could differ from those estimates. Some of our accounting policies require a higher degree of judgment than others in their application.

 

85


Table of Contents

The selection of critical accounting policies, the judgments and other uncertainties affecting application of those policies and the sensitivity of reported results to changes in conditions and assumptions are factors that should be considered when reviewing our financial statements. We believe the following accounting policy involves the most significant judgments and estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements.

Revenue recognition

On June 1, 2018, we adopted ASC Topic 606 Revenue from Contracts with Customers (“Topic 606”), applying the modified retrospective method to all contracts that were not completed as of June 1, 2018. Results for the year ended May 31, 2019 are presented under Topic 606, while revenues for the year ended May 31, 2017 and 2018 are not adjusted and continue to be reported under ASC Topic 605, Revenue Recognition (“Topic 605”).

Revenue is recognized when control of promised goods or services is transferred to our customers in an amount of consideration to which we expect to be entitled to in exchange for those goods or services. We follow the five steps approach for revenue recognition under Topic 606: (i) identify the contract(s) with a customer, (ii) identify the performance obligations in the contract, (iii) determine the transaction price, (iv) allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract, and (v) recognize revenue when (or as) we satisfy a performance obligation.

The primary sources of our company’s revenues are as follows:

Educational programs and services

The educational programs and services consist of language training and test preparation courses, pre-school education, primary and secondary school education and online education. Each contract of educational programs and services is accounted for as a single performance obligation which is satisfied proportionately over the service period. Tuition is generally collected in advance and is initially recorded as deferred revenue. Refunds are provided to students if they decide within the trial period that they no longer want to take the course. After the trial period, if a student withdraws from a class, usually only those unearned portion of the fee is available to be returned. Historically, we haven’t had material refund. We recognize the revenue, net of VAT and surcharges from the educational programs and services proportionately when the services are delivered.

Books and other services

Other service revenues are primarily derived from consulting services to students regarding overseas studies and study tours. Revenue is reconized when promised services are delivered to the customers in an amount of consideration to which we expect to be entitled to in exchange for those services. Each contract includes certain milestones and each of the milestones is considered a single performance obligation which is satisfied at the point of time when the related milestone is reached. Upon the adoption of Topic 606, we estimate the variable consideration to be earned and recognize revenue related to each milestone when the related milestone is achieved. Under the prior revenue recognition standard, such revenue is deferred and recognized when student admission is reasonably assured. Our company sells books or other educational materials developed or licensed by our own book stores or websites or through third party distributors. Revenue from sales of books and other educational materials is recognized when control of the promised goods is transferred to the customers, in an amount that reflects the consideration we expects to be entitled to in exchange for the goods. Our company provides books and other educational materials that are required for its courses and does not separately charge students for these items.

Our contract assets consist of accounts receivable and our contract liabilities mainly consist of prepayments from customers (deferred revenue).

Refund liability mainly related to the estimated refunds that are expected to be provided to students if they decide they no longer want to take the course. Refund liability estimates are based on historical refund ratio on a portfolio basis using the expected value method.

Consolidation of Variable Interest Entity

PRC laws and regulations currently require any foreign entity that invests in the education business in China to be an educational institution with relevant experience in providing educational services outside China. Our offshore holding companies are not educational institutions and do not provide educational services outside China. To comply with the PRC laws and regulations, we conduct substantially all of our business through New Oriental China and its subsidiaries and schools. We have, through our wholly-owned subsidiaries in the PRC, entered into contractual arrangements with New Oriental China, its schools and subsidiaries, and their shareholders such that New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries (collectively the “VIEs”) are considered variable interest entities for which we are considered their primary beneficiary. We believe we have substantive kick-out rights per the terms of the option agreement, which gives us the power to control the shareholder of New Oriental China. More specifically, we believe that the terms of the exclusive option agreement are currently exercisable and legally enforceable under PRC laws and regulations. We also believe that the minimum amount of consideration permitted by the applicable PRC law to exercise the option does not represent a financial barrier or disincentive for us to exercise our rights under the exclusive option agreement. A simple majority vote of our board of directors is required to pass a resolution to exercise our rights under the exclusive option agreement, for which consent of the shareholder of New Oriental China is not required. Therefore, we believe this gives us the power to direct the activities that most significantly impact the VIEs’ economic performance. We believe that our ability to exercise effective control, together with the service agreements and the equity pledge agreements, give us the rights to receive substantially all of the economic benefits from the VIEs in consideration for the services provided by our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China. Accordingly, as the primary beneficiary of the VIEs and in accordance with U.S. GAAP, we consolidate their financial results and assets and liabilities in our consolidated financial statements.

 

86


Table of Contents

On May 10, 2018, Dexin Dongfang, a wholly-owned PRC subsidiary of Koolearn, our controlled subsidiary, entered into contractual arrangements with Beijing Xuncheng, its subsidiaries, and its shareholders such that Beijing Xuncheng and its subsidiaries (collectively the “Xuncheng VIEs”) are considered variable interest entities for which Koolearn is considered as their primary beneficiary. We believe Koolearn has substantive kick-out rights per the terms of the exclusive option agreement, which gives Koolearn the power to control the shareholders of Beijing Xuncheng. More specifically, we believe that the terms of the exclusive option agreement are currently exercisable and legally enforceable under PRC laws and regulations. We also believe that the minimum amount of consideration permitted by the applicable PRC law to exercise the option does not represent a financial barrier or disincentive for Koolearn to exercise its rights under the exclusive option agreement. A simple majority vote of Koolearn’s board of directors is required to pass a resolution to exercise its rights under the exclusive option agreement, for which consent of the shareholders of Beijing Xuncheng is not required. Therefore, we believe this gives Koolearn the power to direct the activities that most significantly impact the Xuncheng VIEs’ economic performance. We believe that Koolearn’s ability to exercise effective control, together with the exclusive management consultancy and business cooperation agreement and the equity pledge agreement, give Koolearn the rights to receive substantially all of the economic benefits from the Xuncheng VIEs in consideration for the services provided by Koolearn’s wholly-owned subsidiaries in China. Accordingly, as the primary beneficiary of the Xuncheng VIEs and in accordance with U.S. GAAP, we consolidate their financial results and assets and liabilities in our consolidated financial statements.

As advised by Tian Yuan Law Firm, our PRC counsel, our corporate structure in China complies with all existing PRC laws and regulations. However, our PRC legal counsel has also advised us that as there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of PRC laws and regulations, and we cannot assure you that the PRC government would agree that our corporate structure or any of the above contractual arrangements comply with current or future PRC laws or regulations. PRC laws and regulations governing the validity of these contractual arrangements are uncertain and the relevant government authorities may have broad discretion in interpreting these laws and regulations. See “Item 3. Risk factors—D. Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our China business do not comply with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we could be subject to severe penalties” and “—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure —We rely on contractual arrangements for our operations in China, which may not be as effective in providing operational control as direct ownership,” “—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure —Our ability to enforce the equity pledge agreements between us and the shareholders our variable interest entities may be subject to limitations based on PRC laws and regulations” and “—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure —The controlling shareholder of Century Friendship, which is the sole shareholder of New Oriental China, may have potential conflicts of interest with us, and if any such conflicts of interest are not resolved in our favor, our business may be materially and adversely affected.”

We are a holding company with no material operations of our own. We conduct substantially all of our education business in China through contractual arrangements with the VIEs. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with New Oriental China, Its Schools and Subsidiaries and Its Shareholder” and “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with Beijing Xuncheng, Its Subsidiaries and Shareholders” for a summary of these contractual arrangements. In the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2018, and 2019, the VIEs contributed in aggregate 98.8%, 98.8% and 98.7%, respectively, of our total net revenues. Our operations not conducted through contractual arrangements with the VIEs primarily consist of the leasing of our commercial property. As of May 31, 2018 and 2019, the VIEs accounted for an aggregate of 71.2% and 67.5%, respectively, of our total assets, and 95.8% and 90.5%, respectively, of our total liabilities. The assets not associated with the VIEs primarily consist of cash, investments and commercial property.

 

87


Table of Contents

Business Combinations

Business combinations are recorded using the acquisition method of accounting. The purchase price of the acquisition is allocated to the tangible assets, liabilities, identifiable intangible assets acquired and non-controlling interest, if any, based on their estimated fair values as of the acquisition date. The excess of the purchase price over those fair values is recorded as goodwill. Acquisition-related expenses and restructuring costs are expensed as incurred.

Consideration transferred in a business combinations is measured at the fair value as of the date of acquisition. Where the consideration in an acquisition includes contingent consideration, and the payment of which depends on the achievement of certain specified conditions post-acquisition, the contingent consideration is recognized and measured at its fair value at the acquisition date and is recorded as a liability. It is subsequently carried at fair value with changes in fair value reflected in earnings.

In a business combination achieved in stages, we remeasure the previously held equity interest in the acquire immediately before obtaining control at its acquisition-date fair value and the remeasurement gain or loss, if any, is recognized in the consolidated statements of operations.

Share-based Compensation

Share-based payments to employees and directors are measured based on the grant-date fair value of the equity instrument issued and recognized as compensation expense net of forfeitures on a straight-line basis over the requisite service period, with a corresponding addition to additional paid-in capital. We use the binomial option pricing model to measure the fair value of options granted and the quoted market price of our common shares or the fair value of underlying ordinary shares of Koolearn Holding before its IPO by using the discounted cash flow method to measure the fair value of options and non-vested equity shares granted to employees at each measurement date. The binomial option pricing model is adopted because we believe that considering the possibility of exercise of an option over the life of the option, as affected by the reality of changing stock prices and non-constant risk free rates, would better reflect the measurement objective of relevant accounting literature.

The amount of compensation expense recognized at any date is at least equal to the portion of the fair value of the awards that are vested as of that date. The forfeitures are recognized as they occur.

Equity securities

On June 1, 2018, we adopted ASU No. 2016-01 Financial Instruments-Overall: Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities and 2018-03 Technical Corrections and Improvements to Financial Instruments – Overall (Subtopic 825-10): Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities. We adopted this ASU using a modified retrospective method and reclassified unrealized losses of US$97.9 million, net of tax on investment securities which were previously accounted for as available-for-sales investments, from accumulated other comprehensive losses to the opening balance of retained earnings. The adjustment related to the fair value measurement of equity securities which were previously classified as available for sales investments.

Equity securities with readily determinable fair values

Prior to the adoption of ASU 2016-01, equity securities that have readily determinable fair values and were not accounted for using the equity method or those that result in consolidation of the investee were classified as available-for-sale investments, and were carried at fair value with unrealized gains and losses recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) as a component of shareholders’ equity. Upon the adoption of ASU 2016-01, we carry these equity securities at fair value with unrealized gains and losses recorded in the consolidated income statements.

Equity securities without readily determinable fair values

Starting on June 1, 2018, we elected a practicability exception to fair value measurement for the equity securities without readily determinable fair values, under which these investments are measured at cost, less impairment, plus or minus observable price changes of an identical or similar investment of the same issuer with fair value change recorded in the consolidated income statements.

 

88


Table of Contents

We review our equity securities without readily determinable fair value for impairment at each reporting period. If a qualitative assessment indicates that the investment is impaired, we estimate the investment’s fair value in accordance with the principles of ASU No. 2011-4: Fair Value Measurement (ASC 820). If the fair value is less than the investment’s carrying value, we recognize an impairment loss equal to the difference between the carrying value and fair value in the consolidated statements of operations.

Equity Method Investments

Investee companies over which we have the ability to exercise significant influence, but do not have a controlling interest through investment in common shares or in-substance common shares, are accounted for using the equity method. Significant influence is generally considered to exist when we have an ownership interest in the voting stock of the investee between 20% and 50%. Other factors, such as representation on the investee’s board of directors, voting rights and the impact of commercial arrangements, are also considered in determining whether the equity method of accounting is appropriate. For certain investments, where we hold more than 50% equity interest, we may only have significant influence but not control over the investees. For certain investments, where we hold less than a 20% equity or voting interest, we may also have significant influence. Equity method is also used to account for these investments.

Under the equity method, we initially record investments at cost and subsequently recognize proportionate share of each equity investee’s net income or loss after the date of investment into earnings and accordingly adjust the carrying amount of the investment.

An impairment charge is recorded if the carrying amount of the investment exceeds its fair value and this condition is determined to be other-than-temporary. We estimated the fair value of the investee company based on comparable quoted price for similar investment in active market, if applicable, or discounted cash flow approach which requires significant judgments, including the estimation of future cash flows, which is dependent on internal forecasts, the estimation of long term growth rate of a company’s business, the estimation of the useful life over which cash flows will occur, and the determination of the weighted average cost of capital. We did not record any impairment losses on our equity method investment during the years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Available-for-sale Investments

For investments in investees’ preferred shares which are determined to be debt securities, we account for them as long-term available-for-sale investments when they are not classified as either trading or held-to-maturity investments.

Available-for-sale investments are carried at their fair values and the unrealized gains or losses from the changes in fair values are included in accumulated other comprehensive income. Realized gains or losses, and provision for decline in value judged to be other than temporary, if any, are recognized in the consolidated statements of operations.

We review our available-for-sale investments for other-than-temporary impairment based on the specific identification method. We consider available quantitative and qualitative evidence in evaluating potential impairment of our investments. If the cost of an investment exceeds the investment’s fair value, we consider, among other factors, general market conditions, government economic plans, the duration and the extent to which the fair value of the available-for-sale investment is less than the cost, our intent and ability to hold the investment, and the financial condition and near term prospects of the investees. We recorded US$2.3 million, US$980 thousand and US$5.9 million impairment losses during the years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Non-controlling interests and redeemable non-controlling interests

Our consolidated financial statements include entities in which we have a controlling financial interest. Earnings or losses attributable to minority shareholders of a consolidated affiliated company are classified separately as “non-controlling interest” in our consolidated statements of operations.

Non-controlling interests in subsidiaries that are redeemable outside of our control for cash or other assets are classified outside of permanent equity at redemption value. If the redemption event is probable to occur, we adjust the redeemable non-controlling interests to the redemption values on each balance sheet date with changes recognized as an adjustment to retained earnings, or in the absence of retained earnings, as an adjustment to additional paid-in capital.

 

89


Table of Contents

Income Taxes

As part of the process of preparing our consolidated financial statements, we are required to estimate our income taxes in each of the jurisdictions in which we operate. Significant judgment is required in determining our provision for income taxes and income tax assets and liabilities, including evaluating uncertainties in the application of accounting principles and complex tax laws.

We account for income taxes using the asset and liability approach. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on the difference between the financial reporting and tax bases of assets and liabilities, net of operating loss carry forwards and credits, by applying enacted tax rates that will be in effect for the period in which the differences are expected to reverse. The effect on deferred taxes of a change in tax rates is recognized in the consolidated statements of operations in the period of change. Deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance when it is considered more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized.

We account for uncertain tax positions by reporting a liability for unrecognized tax benefits resulting from uncertain tax positions taken or expected to be taken in a tax return. Tax benefits are recognized from uncertain tax positions when we believe that it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained on examination by the taxing authorities based on the technical merits of the position. We recognize interest and penalties, if any, related to unrecognized tax benefits in income tax expenses.

Uncertainties exist with respect to how the PRC’s Enterprise Income Tax Law applies to our overall operations, and more specifically, with regard to our tax residency status. The Enterprise Income Tax Law includes a provision specifying that legal entities organized outside of the PRC will be considered residents for PRC income tax purposes if their place of effective management or control is within the PRC. The implementation rules to the Enterprise Income Tax Law provide that non-resident legal entities will be considered PRC residents if substantial and overall management and control over the manufacturing and business operations, personnel, accounting, properties, among others, occur within the PRC. Despite the present uncertainties resulting from the limited PRC tax guidance on the issue, we do not believe that our legal entities organized outside of the PRC should be treated as residents for the Enterprise Income Tax Law’s purposes. If one or more of our legal entities organized outside of the PRC were characterized as PRC tax residents, the impact would adversely affect our results of operation. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We may be treated as a resident enterprise for PRC tax purposes under the EIT Law, which may subject us to PRC income tax for our global income and withholding for any dividends we pay to our non-PRC shareholders and ADS holders.”

Economic lives and impairment of property and equipment

Property and equipment are stated at cost less accumulated depreciation and amortization. Depreciation and amortization are calculated on a straight line basis over the following estimated useful lives:

 

Buildings

   20-50 years

Transportation equipment

   10 years

Furniture and education equipment

   5 years

Computer equipment and software

   3 years

Leasehold improvements

   Shorter of the lease term or estimated useful life

Judgment is required to determine the estimated useful lives of property and equipment, especially for the equipment, including determining how long existing equipment can function and when new technologies will be introduced at cost-effective price points to replace existing equipment. Changes in these estimates and assumptions could materially impact our financial position and results of operations.

We review our long-lived assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may no longer be recoverable. When these events occur, we measure impairment by comparing the carrying value of the long-lived assets to the estimated undiscounted future cash flows expected to result from the use of the assets and their eventual disposition. If the sum of the expected undiscounted cash flow is less than the carrying amount of the assets, we would recognize an impairment loss based on the fair value of the assets. We did not record any impairment loss on long-lived assets during the years ended May 31, 2017,2018 and 2019.

 

90


Table of Contents

Impairment of goodwill

Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price over the fair value of identifiable net assets acquired in business combinations. Goodwill is not amortized but is tested for impairment annually or more frequently if events or changes in circumstances indicate that it might be impaired.

Goodwill is tested for impairment at the reporting unit level on an annual basis (May 31 of each year) and between annual tests if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit below its carrying value. These events or circumstances could include a significant change in the stock prices, business climate, legal factors, operating performance indicators, competition, or sale or disposition of a significant portion of a reporting unit.

Application of the goodwill impairment test requires judgment, including the identification of reporting units, assignment of assets and liabilities to reporting units, assignment of goodwill to reporting units, and determination of the fair value of each reporting unit. The estimation of fair value of each reporting unit using a discounted cash flow methodology also requires significant judgments, including estimation of future cash flows, which is dependent on internal forecasts, estimation of the long-term rate of growth for our business, estimation of the useful life over which cash flows will occur, and determination of our weighted average cost of capital. The estimates used to calculate the fair value of a reporting unit change from year to year based on operating results and market conditions. Changes in these estimates and assumptions could materially affect the determination of fair value and goodwill impairment for the reporting unit.

In order to test goodwill for impairment, we first assess qualitative factors to determine whether it is “more likely than not” that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount as a basis for determining whether it is necessary to perform the two-step goodwill impairment test. If it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount, goodwill is then tested following a two-step process. The first step compares the fair value of each reporting unit to its carrying amount, including goodwill. If the fair value of each reporting unit exceeds its carrying amount, goodwill is not considered to be impaired and the second step will not be required. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit exceeds its fair value, the second step compares the implied fair value of goodwill to the carrying value of a reporting unit’s goodwill.

The implied fair value of goodwill is determined in a manner similar to accounting for a business combination with the allocation of the assessed fair value determined in the first step to the assets and liabilities of the reporting unit. The excess of the fair value of the reporting unit over the amounts assigned to the assets and liabilities is the implied fair value of goodwill. An impairment loss is recognized for any excess in the carrying value of goodwill over the implied fair value of goodwill.

We recorded US$1.7 million, nil and US$5.2 million impairment losses during the years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively.

Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements

Refer to Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements regarding recent issued accounting pronouncements.

 

B.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

Our principal source of liquidity has been cash generated from operating activities. As of May 31, 2019, we had US$1,414.2 million and US$4.0 million in cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash, respectively. Our cash and cash equivalents consist of cash on hand and liquid investments that are unrestricted as to withdrawal or use, have maturities of three months or less and are placed with banks and other financial institutions. Although we consolidate the results of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries, we do not have direct access to the cash and cash equivalents or future earnings of New Oriental China. However, a portion of the cash balances of New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries are paid to our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China pursuant to contractual arrangements for the services our subsidiaries provide to New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries.

 

91


Table of Contents

We expect to require cash to fund our ongoing business needs, particularly the rent and other costs and expenses relating to opening new schools and learning centers. We opened 296 new learning centers and closed 123existing centers in fiscal year 2019. We plan to continue to add schools and learning centers in the future with a focus on opening new learning centers in fast growing, high profit margin cities. We expect to incur capital expenditures ranging from approximately RMB1.0 million (US$0.1 million) to RMB4.0 million (US$0.6 million) per new school depending primarily on the size and geographic location of the school. Other cash needs include acquisitions of businesses and properties that complement our operations when suitable opportunities arise. We have not encountered any difficulties in meeting our cash obligations to date. We believe that our current cash and cash equivalents and anticipated cash flow from operations will be sufficient to meet our anticipated cash needs for the foreseeable future.

The following table sets forth a summary of our cash flows for the periods indicated:

 

     For the Year Ended May 31,  
(in thousands of US$)    2017      2018      2019  

Net cash provided by operating activities(1)

     622,694        781,127        805,648  

Net cash used in investing activities

     (672,400      (407,143      (574,712

Net cash (used in) provided by financing activities(1)

     4,792        (74,881      266,649  

Effect of foreign exchange rate changes

     (23,546      42,992        (66,123

Net change in cash and cash equivalents

     (68,460      342,095        431,462  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash at beginning of period

     713,130        644,670        986,765  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

Cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash at end of the period

     644,670        986,765        1,418,227  
  

 

 

    

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

(1)

The reclassification of restricted cash in the cash flows in the years ended May 31, 2018 and 2019 is due to the adoption of ASU 2016-18: Statement of Cash Flows by using the retrospective application.

Operating Activities

Net cash provided by operating activities amounted to US$805.6 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019. Our net cash provided by operating activities in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019 reflected net income of US$227.8 million, as adjusted by the reconciliation of certain non-cash items, including US$110.0 million in depreciation and US$71.3 million in share-based compensation expense. Additional factors affecting operating cash flow included an increase in the deferred revenues in the amount of US$336.9 million due to the increased amount of course fees received during the period, and an decrease in the accrued expenses and other current liabilities account of US$18.3 million, primarily due to an increase in accrued employee salary expenses and welfare benefits.

Net cash provided by operating activities amounted to US$781.1 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018. Our net cash provided by operating activities in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 reflected net income of US$297.2 million, as adjusted by the reconciliation of certain non-cash items, including US$77.1 million in depreciation and US$57.4 million in share-based compensation expense. Additional factors affecting operating cash flow included an increase in the deferred revenues in the amount of US$334.4 million due to the increased amount of course fees received during the period, and an increase in the accrued expenses and other current liabilities account of US$68.2 million, primarily due to an increase in accrued employee salary expenses and welfare benefits.

Net cash provided by operating activities amounted to US$622.7 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017. Our net cash provided by operating activities in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 reflected net income of US$276.8 million, as adjusted by the reconciliation of certain non-cash items, including US$53.9 million in depreciation and US$20.3 million in share-based compensation expense. Additional factors affecting operating cash flow included an increase in deferred revenues in the amount of US$237.6 million due to the increased amount of course fees received during the period, and an increase in the accrued expenses and other current liabilities account of US$40.3 million, primarily due to an increase in accrued employee salary expenses and welfare benefits.

 

92


Table of Contents

Investing Activities

We lease all of our facilities except for part of the premises for the Beijing, Xi’an, Tianjin, Kunming, Wuhan, Guangzhou, Changsha, Xiamen, Zhengzhou, Hangzhou and Yangzhou schools, which premises we own. Our cash used in investing activities is primarily related to our purchase of land use rights and the premises for the facilities we own and equipment used in our operations, our investment in term deposits and short term investments. Net cash used in investing activities amounted to US$574.7 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, compared to US$407.1 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 and US$672.4 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017.

Net cash used in investing activities in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019 was primarily attributable to net purchase of short term investments in the amount of US$162.7 million, term deposit in the amount of US$104.2 million and the purchase of property and equipment in the amount of US$269.1 million in connection with the expansion of our school network.

Net cash used in investing activities in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 was primarily attributable to net purchase of short term held-to-maturity investments in the amount of US$224.5 million, term deposits in the amount of US$117.2 million and the purchase of property and equipment in the amount of US$214.3 million in connection with the expansion of our school network.

Net cash used in investing activities in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 was primarily attributable to net purchase of short term held-to-maturity investments in the amount of US$522.8 million, term deposits in the amount of US$130.0 million and the purchase of property and equipment in the amount of US$105.7 million in connection with the expansion of our school network.

Financing Activities

Net cash provided by financing activities amounted to US$266.6 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, compared to net cash used in financing activities of US$74.9 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 and net cash provided by financing activities of US$4.8 million in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017.

Net cash provided by financing activities in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019 was primarily attributable to proceeds from issuance of ordinary shares relating to the IPO of Koolearn in the amount of US$233.3 million.

Net cash used in financing activities in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2018 was primarily attributable to dividend paid to the shareholders in the amount of US$71.2 million.

Net cash provided by financing activities in the fiscal year ended May 31, 2017 was primarily attributable to capital contribution from noncontrolling interests of US$8.8 million.

Holding Company Structure

Overview

We are a holding company with no material operations of our own. We conduct substantially all of our education business in China through contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities, and their schools and subsidiaries and shareholders. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with New Oriental China, Its Schools and Subsidiaries and Its Shareholder” and “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with Beijing Xuncheng, Its Subsidiaries and Shareholders” for a summary of these contractual arrangements. In the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, our variable interest entity(ies) contributed in aggregate 98.8% ,98.8% and 98.7%, respectively, of our total net revenues. Our operations not conducted through contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities primarily consist of the leasing of our commercial property. As of May 31, 2018 and 2019, our variable interest entity(ies) accounted for an aggregate of 71.2% and 67.5%, respectively, of our total assets, and 95.8% and 90.5%, respectively, of our total liabilities. The assets not associated with our variable interest entity(ies) primarily consist of cash and cash equivalents, term deposits and short-term investments. As of May 31, 2018 and 2019, US$105.0 million and US$421.7 million, respectively, of these assets were denominated in U.S. dollars, and US$454.6 million and US$2,774.0 million, respectively, of these assets were denominated in RMB.

 

93


Table of Contents

As a holding company, our ability to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders depends in part upon dividends and other distributions paid to us by our PRC subsidiaries. The amount of dividends paid by our PRC subsidiaries to us primarily depends on the service fees paid to our PRC subsidiaries from our variable interest entity(ies), and, to a lesser degree, our PRC subsidiaries’ retained earnings. As of May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, the total amount of service fees payable to our PRC subsidiaries from our variable interest entity(ies) under the service agreements was US$267.5 million, US$369.6 million and US$412.8 million, respectively. Conducting our operations through contractual arrangements with our variable interest entities entails a risk that we may lose the power to direct the activities that most significantly affect the economic performance of our variable interest entities, which may result in our being unable to consolidate their financial results with our results and may impair our access to their cash flow from operations and thereby reduce our liquidity. See “Item 3. Risk Factors—D. Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure” for more information, including the risk factors titled “If the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our China business do not comply with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we could be subject to severe penalties” and “We rely on contractual arrangements for our operations in China, which may not be as effective in providing operational control as direct ownership.”

Dividend Distributions

Under PRC law, each of our PRC subsidiaries, variable interest entities and their respective subsidiaries which is not a for-profit private school is required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund a statutory surplus reserve until such reserve reaches 50% of its registered capital and to further set aside a portion of its after-tax profit to fund the reserve fund at the discretion of our board of directors. Although the statutory reserves can be used, among other ways, to increase the registered capital and eliminate future losses in excess of retained earnings of the respective companies, the reserve funds are not distributable as cash dividends except in the event of liquidation. In addition, each of our schools that requires or does not requires reasonable returns in China is required to allocate a certain amount out of its annual net income or annual increase in the net assets, if any, to its development fund for the construction or maintenance of the school or procurement or upgrade of educational equipment. For our schools which have elected to require reasonable returns, this amount shall be no less than 25% of the annual net income of the school, and for our schools which have elected not to require reasonable returns, this amount shall be equivalent to no less than 25% of the annual increase in the net assets of the school, if any. Upon the effectiveness of the Amended Law for Promoting Private Education in September 2017, sponsors of for-profit private schools are entitled to retain the profits and proceeds from the schools and the operation surplus may be allocated to the sponsors pursuant to the PRC Company Law and other relevant laws and regulations. Our PRC subsidiaries are permitted to pay dividends to us only out of their retained earnings, if any, as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations.

Pursuant to contractual arrangements that our wholly-owned subsidiaries in China have with our variable interest entities, the earnings and cash of variable interest entities and their schools and subsidiaries are used to pay service fees in RMB to our PRC subsidiaries in the manner and amount set forth in these agreements. After paying the applicable withholding taxes and making appropriations for its statutory reserve requirement, the remaining net profits of our PRC subsidiaries would be available for distribution to three Hong Kong-incorporated intermediate holding companies wholly owned by our company, and from these three Hong Kong-incorporated intermediate holding companies to our company. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure” for a diagram of our corporate structure. As of May 31, 2019, the net assets of our PRC subsidiaries and variable interest entities and their schools and subsidiaries which were restricted due to statutory reserve requirements and other applicable laws and regulations, and thus not available for distribution, were in aggregate US$472.9 million, and the net assets of our PRC subsidiaries and variable interest entities and their schools and subsidiaries which were unrestricted and thus available for distribution were in aggregate US$1,946.2 million. We do not believe that these restrictions on the distribution of our net assets will have a significant impact on our ability to timely meet our financial obligations in the future. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our wholly-owned subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries or New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries to make payments to us could have a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business” for more information.

 

94


Table of Contents

Furthermore, cash transfers from our PRC subsidiaries to our Hong Kong-incorporated intermediate holding companies are subject to PRC government control of currency conversion. Restrictions on the availability of foreign currency may affect the ability of our PRC subsidiaries and New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries to remit sufficient foreign currency to pay dividends or other payments to us, or otherwise satisfy their foreign currency denominated obligations. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Governmental control of currency conversion may affect the value of your investment.”

Capital Expenditures

The expansion of our network of schools, learning centers, O2O ecosystem and bookstores has required significant investment. Our capital expenditures were US$105.7 million, US$214.3 million and US$269.1 million in the fiscal years ended May 31, 2017,2018 and 2019, respectively. Our capital expenditures are incurred primarily in connection with facility acquisitions, leasehold improvements and investments in equipment, technology and operating systems. Our capital expenditures for the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019 were primarily due to our investments in facilities, equipment, technology and operating systems to meet the expected growth of our operations. We intend to cost-efficiently allocate our capital resources by leasing most of our new facilities in the foreseeable future. We may also make acquisitions of businesses and properties that complement our operations when suitable opportunities arise. We believe that we will be able to fund our capital needs in the foreseeable future through cash generated from our operating activities.

 

C.

Research and Development, Patents and Licenses, etc.

Technology

Our technology platform is designed to provide systems that help distinguish us in the marketplace, operate cost-effectively and accommodate future growth. We currently use a combination of commercially available and custom developed software and hardware systems. Our technology platform is a combination of e-learning platforms, alumni platforms, content management systems, exam platforms, e-business promotion platforms and bookstore platforms, live Internet classrooms, as well as licensed speech recognition platforms. Our investment in system infrastructure has several key benefits: simplification of the storage and processing of large amounts of data, facilitation of the deployment and operation of large-scale programs and services and automation of much of the administration of our business. It also provides us with the ability to scale both capacity and functionality and build large clusters seamlessly.

One of our ongoing primary objectives is to maintain reliable systems. We have implemented performance monitoring for all key web and business systems to enable us to respond quickly to potential problems. Based on cluster technology, our system can identify errors and isolate failed servers automatically so that our clients can access our services at any time. Our websites are hosted at third party facilities in Beijing. This facility provides redundant utility systems, a backup electric generator and 24-hour a day server support. All servers have redundant power supplies and file systems to maximize system and data availability. We regularly back up our database on a server hosted at an Internet data center to minimize the impact of data loss due to system failures. We do not capitalize any related costs.

Intellectual Property

Our trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets and other intellectual property rights distinguish our services and products from those of our competitors and contribute to our competitive advantage in our target markets. To protect our brand and other intellectual property, we rely on a combination of trademark, copyright and trade secret laws as well as confidentiality agreements with our employees, contractors and others. LOGO , “New Oriental,” “ LOGO ”, LOGO and LOGO are registered trademarks in China and have been recognized as “well-known trademarks” ( LOGO ) in civil action adjudicated and/or administrative determination in China. We have also registered additional trademarks and logos, including “Pop Kids,” with the Trademark Office of the State Administration for Market Regulation in China. Our main websites are located at www.xdf.cn, www.neworiental.org, english.neworiental.org, and www.koolearn.com. In addition, we have registered other domain names, including www.dogwood.com.cn, www.ileci.com, www.okayzhihui.com, www.51zhishang.com, www.donut.cn, www.maxen.com.cn, www.blingabc.com, www.steamxdf.com, www.n-brain.ai.

 

95


Table of Contents

In order to develop, improve, market and deliver new programs and services, we are required to obtain licenses from others from time to time. For example, we currently have arrangements with international education content providers and publishers such as British Council, Cengage Learning, NCUK, International Baccalaureate, Bell Education, ETS, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge English Language Assessment, The McGraw-Hill Companies, Oxford University Press, Harper Collins, ACT, or their respective authorized local publishers, to develop and distribute localized versions of specified books in China. There can be no assurance that we will be able to continue to obtain licenses on commercially reasonable terms or at all or that rights granted under any licenses will be valid and enforceable

We cannot be sure that our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights will be adequate or that third parties will not infringe or misappropriate these rights. In addition, there can be no assurance that competitors will not independently develop similar intellectual property. If others are able to copy and use our programs and services, we may not be able to maintain our competitive position. Furthermore, the application of laws governing intellectual property rights in China and abroad is uncertain and evolving and could involve substantial risks to us. If litigation is necessary to enforce our intellectual property rights or determine the scope of the proprietary rights of others, we may have to incur substantial costs or divert other resources, which could harm our business

In addition, competitors, content providers, publishers and others may claim that we have infringed their intellectual property rights. Defending any such lawsuit, whether with or without merit, could be time-consuming, result in costly litigation or prevent us from offering our programs and services, which could harm our business. If a lawsuit against us is successful, we may lose the rights to use our products or be required to modify them, or we may have to pay financial damages.

We have adopted guidelines, procedures and safeguards designed to educate our employees and contractors regarding the importance of respecting the intellectual property rights of third parties, and detect and prevent any conduct or activities by our employees or contractors that infringe or have the potential to infringe upon such third-party rights. The guidelines specify certain key principles and policies that we require all of our employees and contractors to uphold as a fundamental condition of their employment. The procedures and safeguards we have implemented to ensure compliance with these principles and policies include the assignment of dedicated staff to monitor and enforce compliance with these intellectual property guidelines, including in particular our content control group, which reviews the content of our course materials to ensure that no infringing materials are used in our classrooms. We have also made efforts to ensure that our marketing materials are reviewed and approved by appropriate management before being distributed to the public. We believe these guidelines, procedures and safeguards will further improve our ability to avoid infringing or potentially infringing activities, minimize our exposure to third party claims and protect our reputation as a company that respects the intellectual property rights of third parties.

 

D.

Trend Information

Other than as disclosed elsewhere in this annual report, we are not aware of any trends, uncertainties, demands, commitments or events since the beginning of our fiscal year 2019 that are reasonably likely to have a material effect on our net revenues, income from operations, profitability, liquidity or capital resources, or that would cause the disclosed financial information to be not necessarily indicative of future operating results or financial condition.

 

E.

Off-balance Sheet Arrangements

We have not entered into any financial guarantees or other commitments to guarantee the payment obligations of any third parties. We have not entered into any derivative contracts that are indexed to our shares and classified as shareholders’ equity, or that are not reflected in our consolidated financial statements. Furthermore, we do not have any retained or contingent interest in assets transferred to an unconsolidated entity that serves as credit, liquidity or market risk support to such entity. We do not have any variable interest in any unconsolidated entity that provides financing, liquidity, market risk or credit support to us or engages in leasing, hedging or research and development services with us.

 

96


Table of Contents
F.

Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations

The following table sets forth our contractual obligations as of May 31, 2019:

 

     Payment due by period  
(in thousands of US$)    Total      Less than
1 year
     1-3
years
     3-5
years
     More than
5 years
 

Operating Lease Obligations(1)

     1,515,697        360,972        635,130        356,713        162,882  

Purchase and Leasehold Improvements Obligations(2)

     26,060        26,060        —          —          —    

Long-Term Loan Obligations

     100,000        —          100,000        —          —    

Other Commitment(3)

     11,077        4,322        6,755        —          —    

Total

     1,652,834        391,354        741,885        356,713        162,882  

 

(1)

Represents lease obligations under our facility leases.

(2)

Represents leasehold improvement obligations in connection with renovations of the leased facilities and purchase of property and equipment.

(3)

Represents interests to be paid for the long-term loan entered in December 2018 as discussed in Note 15.

ITEM 6. DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND EMPLOYEES

 

A.

Directors and Senior Management

The following table sets forth information regarding our executive officers and directors as of the date of this annual report.

 

Name

   Age     

Position/Title

Michael Minhong Yu

     56      Executive Chairman

Chenggang Zhou

     57      Director and Chief Executive Officer

Zhihui Yang

     45      Chief Financial Officer

Louis T. Hsieh

     55      Director

Robin Yanhong Li

     50      Independent Director

Denny Lee

     51      Independent Director

John Zhuang Yang

     64      Independent Director

Mr. Michael Minhong Yu is the founder of our company and has served as the chairman of our board of directors since 2001. He was also our chief executive officer from 2001 to September 2016. Mr. Yu also serves as vice chairman of the Beijing Young Entrepreneurs Association and vice chairman of the Committee of Education of the Central Committee of the China Democratic League. Prior to founding our first school in 1993, Mr. Yu was an English instructor at Peking University from 1985 and 1991. Mr. Yu received his bachelor’s degree in English from Peking University.

Mr. Chenggang Zhou has served as our director since November 2010 and chief executive officer since September 2016. Mr. Zhou joined New Oriental in 2000 and has held multiple positions in our company since then, including president, executive president for domestic business, executive vice president, vice president and president of Beijing and Shanghai New Oriental Schools. Prior to joining us, Mr. Zhou was a correspondent for the Asia Pacific region and a program host at BBC. Mr. Zhou received his bachelor’s degree in English from Suzhou University in China and his master’s degree in communications from Macquarie University, Australia.

Mr. Zhihui Yang has served as our chief financial officer since April 2015. Prior to that, Mr. Yang held multiple positions after he joined our company in April 2006, including vice president of finance, deputy director of president office and senior financial manager. Prior to joining us, Mr. Yang served as the financial director of Beijing Hua De Xin Investment Co., Ltd. from July 2002 to March 2006. From August 1997 and May 2002, Mr. Yang worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers as a senior auditor. Mr. Yang received his bachelor’s degree in economics from Guanghua School of Management of Peking University.

 

97


Table of Contents

Mr. Louis Hsieh has served as our director since March 2007 and senior advisor since January 2016. From May 2009 to January 2016, Mr. Hsieh served as our president, and from December 2005 to April 2015, he served as our chief financial officer. Mr. Hsieh currently serves as the chief financial officer of Nio Inc., formerly known as Nextev Inc., an NYSE-listed electronic vehicle company in China. Mr. Hsieh also serves as an independent director of JD.com Inc., a Nasdaq-listed e-commerce company and retail infrastructure service provider in China, and YUN China Holdings, an NYSE-listed fast food restaurant. Prior to joining us in 2005, Mr. Hsieh was the chief financial officer of ARIO Data Networks, Inc. in San Jose, California from 2004 to 2005. Prior to that, Mr. Hsieh was a managing director for the private equity firm of Darby Asia Investors (HK) Limited from 2002 to 2003. From 2000 to 2002, Mr. Hsieh was managing director and Asia-Pacific tech/media/telecoms head of UBS Capital Asia Pacific, the private equity division of UBS AG. From 1997 to 2000, Mr. Hsieh was a technology investment banker at JP Morgan in San Francisco, California, where he was a vice president, and Credit Suisse First Boston in Palo Alto, California, where he was an associate. From 1990 to 1996, Mr. Hsieh was a corporate and securities attorney at White & Case LLP in Los Angeles. Mr. Hsieh holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University, an MBA degree from the Harvard Business School, and a J.D. degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Mr. Robin Yanhong Li has served as our independent director since September 6, 2006. Mr. Li is a co-founder of Baidu, Inc., the leading Chinese language Internet search provider listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market. Mr. Li has served as the chairman of the board of directors of Baidu since its inception in January 2000 and as its chief executive officer since January 2004. He served as the president of Baidu from February 2000 to December 2003. Prior to founding Baidu, Mr. Li worked as an engineer at Infoseek, a pioneer in the Internet search engine industry, from July 1997 to December 1999. Currently, Mr. Li acts as the vice chairman of the Internet Society of China (ISC). Mr. Li has also been a vice chairman of All-China Federation of Industry & Commerce since December 2012. Mr. Li received a bachelor’s degree in information science from Peking University and a master’s degree in computer science from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Mr. Denny Lee has served as our independent director since September 6, 2006. Mr. Lee has served as a director of NetEase, Inc., formerly known as Netease.com, Inc., a leading internet technology company in China listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market, since April 2002. He was the chief financial officer of NetEase.com, Inc. from April 2002 to June 2007 and its financial controller from November 2001 to April 2002. Prior to joining NetEase.com, Inc. in 2001, Mr. Lee worked in the Hong Kong office of KPMG for more than ten years. Mr. Lee currently serves as the chairman of the audit committees and an independent non-executive director on the boards of Concord Medical Services Holdings Limited, Jianpu Technology Inc. and NIO Inc., which are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, and as an independent non-executive director on the board of China Metal Resources Utilization Ltd., which is listed on the main board of Hong Kong Stock Exchange. Mr. Lee graduated from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University majoring in accounting and is a member of The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants and The Chartered Association of Certified Accountants.

Dr. John Zhuang Yang has served as our independent director since September 3, 2007. Dr. Yang is currently the Co-Dean of the Beijing International M.B.A. Program at Peking University. He also serves as a full-time professor of management at National School of Development of Peking University. Dr. Yang holds a Ph.D. degree in business administration from Columbia University, a master’s degree in sociology from Columbia University, a master’s degree in international and public affairs from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and a bachelor’s degree from the English Language and Literature Department of Peking University.

Employment Agreements

We have entered into employment agreements with each of our executive officers. We may terminate employment for cause, at any time, without notice or remuneration, for certain acts of the executive officer, such as a conviction of or plea of guilty to a felony, negligence or dishonesty to our detriment and failure to perform agreed duties after a reasonable opportunity to cure the failure, death, or physical or mental incapacitation. We may also terminate an executive officer’s employment without cause. In such case we are required to provide severance compensations as expressly required by applicable law. An executive officer may terminate his employment with us at any time with a one-month prior notice if there is a material reduction in his or her authority, duties and responsibilities or if there is a material reduction in his or her annual salary before the next annual salary review. An executive officer may also resign prior to the expiry of the term of his or her employment agreement if our board approves his or her resignation or agrees to an alternative arrangement with such executive officer.

 

98


Table of Contents

Each executive officer has agreed to hold, both during and after the termination or expiry of his or her employment agreement, in strict confidence and not to use, except as required in the performance of his or her duties in connection with the employment, any of our confidential information or trade secrets, any confidential information or trade secrets of our clients or prospective clients, or the confidential or proprietary information of any third party received by us and for which we have confidential obligations. Our executive officers have also agreed to disclose in confidence to us all inventions, designs and trade secrets which they conceive, develop or reduce to practice and to assign all right, title and interest in them to us, and assist us in obtaining patents, copyrights and other legal rights for these inventions, designs and trade secrets. In addition, each executive officer has agreed to be bound by non-competition and non-solicitation restrictions during the term of his or her employment and one year following the termination or expiry of such employment agreement. Specifically, each executive officer has agreed not to (1) approach our clients, customers or contacts or other persons or entities introduced to the executive officer for the purpose of doing business with such person or entities that will harm our business relationships with these persons or entities; (2) assume employment with or provide services as a director for any of our competitors, or engage, whether as principal, partner, licensor or otherwise, in any business which is in direct or indirect competition with our business or (3) seek directly or indirectly, to solicit the services of any of our employees who is employed by us on or after the date of the executive officer’s termination, or in the year preceding such termination.

 

B.

Compensation of Directors and Executive Officers

For the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, we paid an aggregate of approximately US$3.2 million in cash to our executive officers and non-executive directors as a group. In addition, we made contributions to the pension insurance, medical insurance, housing fund, unemployment and other benefits for the benefits of our executive officers and non-executive directors in the aggregate amount of US$133,000. See “—Share Incentives” below for more information. No executive officer is entitled to any severance benefits upon termination of his employment with our company except as required under applicable PRC law.

Share Incentives

2006 Share Incentive Plan

Our 2006 Share Incentive Plan, as amended, or the 2006 plan, is designed to attract and retain the best available personnel, provide additional incentives to employees, directors and consultants and promote the success of our business. The maximum aggregate number of shares which may be issued pursuant to all awards (including options) granted under the 2006 plan is 8,000,000 shares, plus (1) 5,000,000 shares added on January 1, 2007, (2) 5,000,000 shares added on January 1, 2008 and (3) an annual increase on the first business day of each calendar year beginning in 2009 equal to the lesser of (x) 3,000,000 shares, (y) two percent (2%) of the number of shares outstanding as of such date, and (z) a lesser number of shares determined by the administrator of the 2006 plan. The 2006 plan expired in January 2016. No additional awards may be granted under the 2006 plan after its expiration, but the expiration of the plan would not impair any award previously granted under the plan.

The following paragraphs describe the principal terms of the 2006 plan.

Types of Awards. We may grant the following types of awards under our 2006 plan:

 

   

options to purchase our common shares;

 

   

restricted shares, which are common shares issued to the grantee that are subject to transfer restrictions, right of first refusal, repurchase, forfeiture, and other terms and conditions as established by our plan administrator; and restricted share units, which may be earned upon the passage of time or the attainment of performance criteria and which may be settled for cash, common shares or other securities, or a combination of cash, common shares or other securities as established by our plan administrator;

 

99


Table of Contents
   

share appreciation rights, which entitle the grantee the right to common shares or cash compensation measured by the appreciation in the value of common shares; and

 

   

dividend equivalent rights, which entitle the grantee to compensation measured by dividends paid with respect to common shares.

Plan Administration. Our board of directors, or a committee designated by our board or directors, administers the 2006 plan. The committee or the full board of directors, as appropriate, determines the provisions and terms and conditions of each award grant.

Award Agreement. Awards granted under our 2006 plan are evidenced by an award agreement that sets forth the terms, conditions and limitations for each award. In addition, the award agreement also specifies whether the option constitutes an incentive share option, or ISO, or a non-qualifying stock option.

Eligibility. We may grant awards to our employees, directors and consultants, including those of our parent companies and subsidiaries. However, we may grant options that are intended to qualify as ISOs only to our employees and employees of our parent companies and subsidiaries.

Acceleration of Awards upon Corporate Transactions. The outstanding awards will terminate and accelerate upon occurrence of certain significant corporate transactions, including amalgamations, consolidations, liquidations or dissolutions, sales of substantially all or all of the assets, reverse takeovers or acquisitions resulting in a change of control. If the successor entity assumes or replaces our outstanding awards under the 2006 plan, such assumed or replaced awards will become fully vested and immediately exercisable and payable, and be released from repurchase or forfeiture rights immediately upon termination of the grantee’s continuous service to us if such service is terminated by the successor entity without cause within 12 months after the effective date of the corporate transaction. Furthermore, if the successor entity does not assume or replace our outstanding awards, each outstanding award will become fully vested and immediately exercisable and payable, and will be released from any repurchase or forfeiture rights immediately before the effective date of the corporate transaction, as long as the grantee’s continuous service with us has not been terminated before this date.

Exercise Price and Term of Awards. In general, the plan administrator determines the exercise price of an option and sets forth the price in the award agreement. The exercise price may be a fixed or variable price related to the fair market value of our common shares. In September 2012, we amended the 2006 plan to clarify that the plan administrator has the power to reduce the exercise price of an outstanding option and also reduce the number of the underlying common shares without seeking shareholders’ approval, if such modification would not result in significant additional share-based compensation expenses to be incurred by our company.

The term of each award under our 2006 plan will be specified in an award agreement, but the term of an ISO shall not exceed ten years from the date of grant thereof.

Vesting Schedule. In general, one-sixth of the common shares underlying the option will vest on each six-month anniversary of the vesting commencement date specified in the option award notice. The vesting will be suspended if the grantee’s leave of absence exceeds 90 days and will resume upon the grantee’s return to service to us. The vesting schedule of equity share awards is subject to the applicable award agreement.

2016 Share Incentive Plan

We adopted our 2016 Share Incentive Plan, or the 2016 plan, in January 2016 to continue to provide incentives to employees, directors and consultants after the expiration of our 2006 plan. The maximum aggregate number of shares which may be issued pursuant to all awards (including options) granted under the 2016 plan is 10,000,000 shares.

The following paragraphs describe the principal terms of the 2016 plan.

Amendment of the Plan. Our board of director may at any time amend, suspend or terminate the 2016 plan. Unless we decide to follow home country practice, the following amendments to the 2016 plan require approval from our shareholders (i) increase of the number of shares available under the 2016 plan, (ii) extension of the term of the 2016 plan, (iii) extension of the exercise period of an option beyond ten years, and (iv) any other amendments about which shareholders’ approval are necessary and desirable under applicable laws or stock exchange rules.

 

100


Table of Contents

The remaining terms of the 2016 plan are substantially identical to the terms of the 2006 plan described above.

The following table summarizes, as of September 20, 2019, the outstanding non-vested equity shares granted under our 2006 plan and 2016 plan to several of our directors and executive officers.

 

Name

   Common Shares
Underlying
Outstanding NES
     Exercise Price
(US$/Share)
     Date of Grant      Date of Expiration  

Chenggang Zhou

     *             10/27/2017        12/31/2020  
     *             10/24/2018        12/31/2020  

Zhihui Yang

     *             10/27/2017        12/31/2020  
     *             10/24/2018        12/31/2020  

Louis T. Hsieh

     *             10/27/2017        12/31/2020  
     *             10/24/2018        12/31/2020  

 

*

Less than 1% of our total outstanding voting securities.

Non-vested equity share awards.

Koolearn Share Incentive Plan

On July 13, 2018, Koolearn adopted a share option plan, or the Koolearn Pre-IPO Share Option Scheme, to provide incentives to directors, senior management, employees and contractors Koolearn. The maximum aggregate number of shares which may be issued pursuant to all awards granted under the Koolearn Pre-IPO Share Option Scheme is 47,836,985 shares. Since the adoption of the Koolearn Pre-IPO Share Option Scheme, Koolearn has granted options to obtain an aggregate of 47,836,985 shares in Koolearn to 144 grantees. The exercise price of all the options granted under the plan is HK$8.88 (US$1.13) per share.

 

C.

Board Practices

Our board of directors currently consists of six directors, which consist of three independent directors and three directors who are, or have been within the past three years, also our executive officers. Section 303A.01 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual requires each listed company to have a majority of independent directors on the board of directors after the first anniversary of the company’s listing on the NYSE. We are not required under the laws of the Cayman Islands to have a majority of independent directors on our board of directors. Pursuant to the exception granted to foreign private issuers under Section 303A.00 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual, we have elected to follow our home country practice with respect to our board of directors. A director is not required to hold any shares in the company by way of qualification. A director may vote with respect to any contract, proposed contract or arrangement in which he is materially interested. A director may exercise all the powers of the company to borrow money, mortgage its undertaking, property and uncalled capital, and issue debentures or other securities whenever money is borrowed or as security for any obligation of the company or of any third party. Our independent directors hold executive sessions, during which only the independent directors are present, at least once a year. Depending on the nature of the discussion at an executive session, each of the three independent directors may preside at the executive sessions. In the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, our board held meetings or passed resolutions by unanimous written consent 12 times.

Committees of the Board of Directors

We have established three fully independent committees under the board of directors: the audit committee, the compensation committee and the nominating and corporate governance committee. We have adopted a charter for each of the three committees. The committee charters are available on our website at http://investor.neworiental.org. Each committee’s members and functions are described below.

 

101


Table of Contents

Audit Committee. Our audit committee consists of Mr. Denny Lee, Mr. Robin Yanhong Li and Dr. John Zhuang Yang. Mr. Lee is the chairman of our audit committee. All of the members of our audit committee satisfy the “independence” requirements of Section 303A of the NYSE Listed Company Manual and Rule 10A-3 under the Exchange Act. Our board of directors has determined that Mr. Denny Lee’s simultaneous service on the audit committee of two other public companies would not impair his ability to effectively serve on our audit committee. The audit committee oversees our accounting and financial reporting processes and the audits of the financial statements of our company. The audit committee is responsible for, among other things:

 

   

selecting the independent registered public accounting firm and pre-approving all auditing and non-auditing services permitted to be performed by the independent registered public accounting firm;

 

   

reviewing with the independent registered public accounting firm any audit problems or difficulties and management’s response;

 

   

reviewing and approving all proposed related party transactions, as defined in Item 404 of Regulation S-K under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended;

 

   

discussing the annual audited financial statements with management and the independent registered public accounting firm;

 

   

reviewing major issues as to the adequacy of our internal controls and any special audit steps adopted in light of material control deficiencies; and

 

   

meeting separately and periodically with management and the independent registered public accounting firm.

In the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, the audit committee held meetings or passed resolutions by unanimous written consent twice, and also approved certain other matters together with the rest of the board members four times, including the audit committee’s approval of four quarterly earnings releases.

Compensation Committee. Our compensation committee consists of Mr. Robin Yanhong Li, Mr. Denny Lee and Dr. John Zhuang Yang. Mr. Li is the chairman of our compensation committee. All of the members of our compensation committee satisfy the “independence” requirements of Section 303A of the NYSE Listed Company Manual. The compensation committee assists the board in reviewing and approving the compensation structure, including all forms of compensation, relating to our directors and executive officers. Our chief executive officer may not be present at any committee meeting during which his compensation is deliberated. The compensation committee is responsible for, among other things:

 

   

reviewing and approving the total compensation package for our chief executive officer;

 

   

reviewing and recommending to the board with respect to the compensation of our directors; and

 

   

reviewing periodically and approving any long-term incentive compensation or equity plans, programs or similar arrangements, annual bonuses, and employee pension and welfare benefit plans.

In the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, the compensation committee passed resolutions by unanimous written consent once, and also approved certain matters together with the rest of the board members once.

Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Our nominating and corporate governance committee consists of Dr. John Zhuang Yang, Mr. Robin Yanhong Li and Mr. Denny Lee. Dr. Yang is the chairman of our nominating and corporate governance committee. All of the members of our nominating and corporate governance committee satisfy the “independence” requirements of Section 303A of NYSE Listed Company Manual. The nominating and corporate governance committee assists the board of directors in selecting individuals qualified to become our directors and in determining the composition of the board and its committees. The nominating and corporate governance committee is responsible for, among other things:

 

   

selecting and recommending to the board nominees for election or re-election to the board, or for appointment to fill any vacancy;

 

102


Table of Contents
   

reviewing annually with the board the current composition of the board with regards to characteristics such as independence, age, skills, experience and availability of service to us;

 

   

advising the board periodically with regards to significant developments in the law and practice of corporate governance as well as our compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and making recommendations to the board on all matters of corporate governance and on any remedial action to be taken; and

 

   

monitoring compliance with our code of business conduct and ethics, including reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of our procedures to ensure proper compliance.

In the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, the nominating and corporate governance committee passed resolutions by unanimous written consent once, and also approved certain matters together with the rest of the board members once.

Duties of Directors

Under Cayman Islands law, our directors have a duty of loyalty to act honestly in good faith with a view to our best interests. Our directors also have a duty to exercise the skill they actually possess and such care and diligence that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances. In fulfilling their duty of care to us, our directors must ensure compliance with our memorandum and articles of association. A shareholder has the right to seek damages if a duty owed by our directors is breached.

Terms of Directors and Officers

Our officers are elected by and serve at the discretion of the board of directors. Our directors are not subject to a term of office and hold office until such time as they resign or are removed from office by ordinary resolution or the unanimous written resolution of all shareholders. A director will be removed from office automatically if, among other things, the director (1) becomes bankrupt or makes any arrangement or composition with his creditors; or (2) dies or is found by our company to be or becomes of unsound mind.

 

D.

Employees

We had 34,217, 44,531 and 54,758 full time employees and 8,767, 9,711 and 9,569 contract teachers and staff as of May 31, 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. Our employees are not covered by any collective bargaining agreement. We consider our relations with our employees to be generally good.

 

E.

Share Ownership

The following table sets forth information with respect to the beneficial ownership of our common shares by:

 

   

each of our directors and executive officers; and

 

   

each person known to us who owns beneficially more than 5% of our common shares.

Except as specifically noted, the beneficial ownership is as of September 20, 2019.

 

     Shares Beneficially Owned  
     Number(1)      %(2)  

Directors and Executive Officers:

     

Michael Minhong Yu(3)

     20,738,554        13.1  

Chenggang Zhou

     *        *  

Zhihui Yang

     *        *  

Louis T. Hsieh

     *        *  

Robin Yanhong Li

     *        *  

Denny Lee

     *        *  

John Zhuang Yang

     *        *  

All Directors and Executive Officers as a Group(4)

     21,506,081        13.6  

Principal Shareholders:

     

Tigerstep Developments Limited(5)

     20,738,554        13.1  

Davis Selected Advisers, L.P.(6)

     10,273,245        6.4  

 

*

Less than 1%

 

103


Table of Contents
(1)

Beneficial ownership is determined in accordance with the rules of the SEC.

(2)

For each person and group included in this table, percentage ownership is calculated by dividing the number of shares beneficially owned by such person or group by the sum of (i)158,429,080, being the number of common shares outstanding as of September 20, 2019 and (ii) the number of common shares underlying share options held by such person or group that are exercisable within 60 days after September 20, 2019 and the number of non-vested equity shares held by such person or group that will vest within 60 days after September 20, 2019.

(3)

Includes 20,738,554 common shares held by Tigerstep Developments Limited, a British Virgin Islands company wholly owned by Minhong Yu. Through a trust arrangement, Michael Minhong Yu, together with his family, holds beneficial interest in Tigerstep Development Limited. The business address of Mr. Yu is No. 6 Hai Dian Zhong Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100080, People’s Republic of China.

(4)

Includes (i) common shares, (ii) common shares issuable upon exercise of all of the options that are exercisable within 60 days after September 20, 2019 and (iii) non-vested equity shares that will vest within 60 days after September 20, 2019 held by all of our directors and senior executive officers as a group.

(5)

Tigerstep Developments Limited, a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, is wholly owned by Minhong Yu. The registered address of Tigerstep Developments Limited is P.O. Box 957, Offshore Incorporation Centre, Road Town, Tortola, the British Virgin Islands.

(6)

The number of common shares beneficially owned is as of February 13, 2019, as reported in a Schedule 13G filed by Davis Selected Advisers, L.P. on February 13, 2019. As set forth in the Schedule 13G, Davis Selected Advisers, L.P. has sole power to vote 10,132,773 common shares and sole power to dispose of 10,273,245 common shares. The business address of Davis Selected Advisers, L.P. is 2949 East Elvira Road, Suit 101 Tucson, Arizona 85756.

None of our existing shareholders have different voting rights from other shareholders. To our knowledge, we are not owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by another corporation, by any foreign government or by any other natural or legal persons, severally or jointly. We are not aware of any arrangement that may, at a subsequent date, result in a change of control of our company. As of September 21, 2019, we had 158,429,080 common shares issued and outstanding, and Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, as the depositary of our ADS facility, was the only record holder of our common shares in the United States, holding approximately 90% of our total outstanding common shares. The number of beneficial owners of our ADSs in the United States is likely much larger than the one record holder of our common shares in the United States.

ITEM 7. MAJOR SHAREHOLDERS AND RELATED PARTY TRANSACTIONS

 

A.

Major Shareholders

Please refer to “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—E. Share Ownership.”

 

B.

Related Party Transactions

Agreements with Koolearn

Deed of Non-Competition Undertakings

On March 28, 2019, Koolearn completed its initial public offering and the listing of its shares on the Main Board of The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, or the HKEx. We issued a deed of non-competition undertakings on August 28, 2018 in favor of Koolearn with respect to the ongoing relationship between us and Koolearn after the listing of Koolearn’s securities on the HKEx. Pursuant to this deed, we undertake, among other things, not to, and procure our group entities not to, carry on engage or participate in online education services within China, except for (i) making minority investments in a business that provide online education services in China, or (ii) operating our existing Blingabc and Leci businesses with the restrictions set forth in the deed of non-competition undertakings, provided, however, if we propose to issue or transfer any equity interest in these businesses, Koolearn has the option to purchase all or any portion of the offered equity interest. The foregoing undertaking will end if Koolearn’s securities cease to be listed on HKEx or 12 months after we cease to be the controlling shareholder of Koolearn, whichever is earlier.

 

104


Table of Contents

Contractual Arrangements with New Oriental China, Its Schools, Subsidiaries and Shareholder

See “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with New Oriental China, Its Schools and Subsidiaries and Its Shareholder” for a summary of the contractual arrangements we have entered into with New Oriental China and its subsidiaries and shareholder.

Contractual Arrangements with Beijing Xuncheng, Its Subsidiaries and Shareholders

See “Item 4. Information on the Company—C. Organizational Structure—Contractual Arrangements with Beijing Xuncheng, Its Subsidiaries and Shareholders” for a summary of the contractual arrangements we have entered into with Beijing Xuncheng, its subsidiaries and shareholders.

Employment Agreements

See “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—A. Directors and Senior Management” for a description of the employment agreements we have entered into with our senior executive officers.

Share Incentives

See “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—B. Compensation of Directors and Executive Officers” for a description of share-based compensation we have provided to our directors, officers and other individuals as a group.

Lease Arrangements with an Affiliate

Since April 2010, we have been renting several floors of office space in a building in Beijing owned by Metropolis Holding (Tianjin) Co., Ltd., or Metropolis Holding. In February 2012, Fine Talent Holdings Limited, a British Virgin Islands company owned by Mr. Michael Minhong Yu, our executive chairman, purchased all of the equity interests in Metropolis Holding from its former owner which was and is unrelated to us. As a result, our lease agreements with Metropolis Holding became related parties transactions. As of May 31, 2019, twenty two of our operating entities rented office space from Metropolis Holding pursuant to a series of lease agreements. The terms and conditions, including rental rates, of these lease agreements are generally the same as other tenants in the same building. These lease agreements are typically three years and can be renewed upon mutual agreements upon expiration. The lease arrangements were approved by all of our directors, including all of the disinterested directors. During the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, we accrued a total of US$7.9 million rent to Metropolis Holding. As of May 31, 2019, amounts due from Metropolis Holding were US$3.0 million, which represented prepaid rent and rental deposit.

Disposal to a Related Party

In May 2019, we sold 60% equity interests in Dongfang Heli to the management of Dongfang Heli, Metropolis Holding, for a cash consideration of US$15,289, of which US$1,529 had been received during the year ended May 31, 2019.

New Oriental Education and Culture Industrial Investment Fund

In July 2018, New Oriental Education Industry Fund, a 7-year growth equity fund with the total committed capital of RMB1.5 billion, was established. An entity controlled by Mr. Michael Minhong Yu and an unrelated third party act as the joint general partners of the fund. We participate in the fund as a limited partner and invested RMB500 million in the fund. The fund will focus on investment opportunities in the education industry and expects to invest in the whole industry chain of education with emphasis on six main themes, including pre-school education, K-12 education, non-disciplinary education, occupational education, international education and AI in education.

Loans to a Related Party

Beijing Dianshi Jingwei Technology Co., Ltd., or Dianshi Jingwei, is an equity method investee of us. During the year ended May 31, 2019, we provided certain loans to Dianshi Jingwei. As of May 31, 2019, the outstanding balance of the loans provided to Dianshi Jingwei is US$15.2 million, with an annual interest rate of 10%. The original periods of these loans were 180 days which were expired and we extended the maturity date of US$5.8 million of the loan to October 9, 2019 and US$9.4 million of the loan to December 30, 2019.

The extended loans were personally guaranteed by Mr. Michael Minhong Yu, our executive chairman, and Mr. Yunhai Jia, the chief executive officer of Dianshi Jingwei. During the year ended May 31, 2019, no interests were received by us. In addition, a total of US$45.9 million in loans were borrowed and repaid by Dianshi Jingwei to us within a short period during the year ended of May 31, 2019. Subsequent to May 31, 2019, we provided RMB50.0 million in loans to Dianshi Jingwei with the maturity date extended to December 31, 2019.

 

105


Table of Contents

Transactions with Other Related Parties

During the fiscal year ended May 31, 2019, we recorded revenue in the amount of US$1,060 thousand from other related parties. As of May 31, 2019, we had US$3,160 thousand in aggregate due from other related parties and US$472 thousand in aggregate due to other related parties.

 

C.

Interests of Experts and Counsel

Not applicable.

ITEM 8. FINANCIAL INFORMATION

 

A.

Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information

See Item 18 “Financial Statements.”

Legal and Administrative Proceedings

From time to time, we are subject to legal proceedings, investigations and claims incidental to the conduct of our business.

Litigation

Our Company and certain of our officers and directors have been named as defendants in a putative securities class action filed in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey: Amy Chan v. New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., et al., Civil Action No. 16-cv-9279-KSH-CLW (filed on December 15, 2016). On March 30, 2017, the court entered an order appointing lead plaintiffs of this action. On May 30, 2017, the lead plaintiffs filed a first amended complaint.

The pending action was purportedly brought on behalf of a class of persons who allegedly suffered damages as a result of their trading in our ADSs between September 28, 2016 and December 1, 2016. The first amended complaint alleges that our Company’s public filings contained material misstatements and omissions in violation of the federal securities laws. On July 31, 2017, our Company filed a motion to dismiss the first amended complaint,. On July 3, 2019, the court granted the Company’s motion to dismiss the first amended complaint in its entirety for failure to state a claim.

On August 19, 2019, the lead plaintiffs filed a second amended complaint advancing similar allegations against defendants as the first amended complaint. On September 3, 2019, our Company filed a motion to dismiss the second amended complaint which motion is currently pending before the court.

The action remains in its preliminary stages, with the court still to rule on New Oriental’s motion to dismiss the second amended complaint. We believe the case is without merit and intend to defend the action vigorously. For risks and uncertainties relating to the pending case against us, please see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our ADSs—We have been named as a defendant in a putative shareholder class action lawsuit that could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operation, cash flows and reputation.”

We have been subject to copyright, trademark and trade name infringement claims and legal proceedings in the past which related to, among other things, infringement of third parties’ copyrights in materials distributed by us and the unauthorized use of a third party’s name in connection with the marketing and promotion of one of our programs, and we may be subject to similar claims and legal proceedings from time to time in the future. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Third parties have in the past brought intellectual property infringement claims against us based on the content of the books and other teaching or marketing materials that we or our teachers authored and/or distributed and may bring similar claims against us in the future.”

 

106


Table of Contents

Dividend Policy

On April 17, 2012, our board of directors declared a special cash dividend in the amount of US$0.30 per ADS. The cash dividend was paid on September 28, 2012 to shareholders of record at the close of business on August 31, 2012. The aggregate amount of cash dividends paid was US$47.0 million, which was funded by surplus cash on our balance sheet. On July 23, 2013, our board of directors declared a special cash dividend in the amount of US$0.35 per ADS. The cash dividend was paid on October 7, 2013 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 6, 2013. The aggregate amount of cash dividends paid was US$54.5 million, which was funded by surplus cash on our balance sheet. On July 21, 2015, our board of directors declared a special cash dividend in the amount of US$0.4 per ADS. The cash dividend was paid in October 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 4, 2015. The aggregate amount of cash dividends paid was approximately US$62.7 million. On July 25, 2017, our board of directors declared a special cash dividend in the amount of US$0.45 per ADS. The cash dividend was paid in October 2017 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 6, 2017. The aggregate amount of cash dividends paid was approximately US$71.2 million.

Other than the declaration of the special cash dividend described in the preceding paragraph, we have not declared any dividend since the completion of our initial public offering and have no present intention to declare any additional dividends on our shares in the future. We currently intend to retain all of our available funds and any future earnings to operate and expand our business and we have no plan to repatriate the remaining undistributed earnings from our subsidiaries in China.

We are a holding company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. We rely on dividends from our subsidiaries in China and consulting, license and other fees paid to us by New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries. Current PRC regulations permit our subsidiaries to pay dividends to us only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, each of our PRC subsidiaries and New Oriental China and its subsidiaries are required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund a statutory reserve until such reserve reaches 50% of its registered capital, and to further set aside a portion of its after-tax profits to fund the employee welfare fund at the discretion of the board. These reserves may not be distributed as cash dividends. Further, if our PRC subsidiaries or New Oriental China and its schools and subsidiaries 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. Moreover, at the end of each fiscal year, every private school in China is required to allocate a certain amount out of its annual net income or annual increase in the net assets, if any, to its development fund for the construction or maintenance of the school or procurement or upgrade of educational equipment. In the case of a private school that requires reasonable returns, this amount shall be no less than 25% of the annual net income of the school, while in the case of a private school that does not require reasonable returns, this amount shall be equivalent to no less than 25% of the annual increase in the net assets of the school, if any.

Our board of directors has complete discretion regarding whether to declare and distribute dividends. Even if our board of directors decides to pay dividends, the form, frequency and amount will depend upon our future operations and earnings, capital requirements and surplus, general financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors that the board of directors may deem relevant. If we pay any dividends, we will pay our ADS holders to the same extent as holders of our common shares, subject to the terms of the deposit agreement, including the fees and expenses payable thereunder.

 

B.

Significant Changes

Except as disclosed elsewhere in this annual report, we have not experienced any significant changes since the date of our audited consolidated financial statements included in this annual report.

ITEM 9. THE OFFER AND LISTING

 

A.

Offering and Listing Details

See “—C. Markets.”

 

B.

Plan of Distribution

Not applicable.

 

107


Table of Contents
C.

Markets

Our ADSs have been listed on the NYSE since September 7, 2006 and trade under the symbol “EDU.” Prior to August 18, 2011, each of our ADSs represented four common shares. On August 18, 2011, we effected a change in the ratio of our ADSs to common shares from one ADS representing four common shares to one ADS representing one common share.

 

D.

Selling Shareholders

Not applicable.

 

E.

Dilution

Not applicable.

 

F.

Expenses of the Issue

Not applicable.

ITEM 10. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

A.

Share Capital

Not applicable.

 

B.

Memorandum and Articles of Association

We are a Cayman Islands company and our affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, the Companies Law, Cap 22 (Law 3 of 1961, as consolidated and revised) of the Cayman Islands, or the Companies Law, and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The following are summaries of material provisions of our amended and restated memorandum and articles of association in effect as of the date of this annual report insofar as they relate to the material terms of our common shares.

Registered Office and Objects

Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at Conyers Trust Company (Cayman) Limited, Cricket Square, Hutchins Drive, P.O. Box 2681, Grand Cayman KY1-1111, Cayman Islands, or at such other place as our board of directors may from time to time decide. The objects for which our company is established are unrestricted and we have full power and authority to carry out any object not prohibited by the Companies Law, as amended from time to time, or any other law of the Cayman Islands.

Board of Directors

A director is not required to hold any shares in our company by way of qualification. A director may vote with respect to any contract, proposed contract or arrangement in which he is materially interested. A director may exercise all the powers of our company to borrow money, mortgage its undertaking, property and uncalled capital, and issue debentures or other securities whenever money is borrowed or