F-1 1 h04316fv1.htm F-1 fv1
Table of Contents

 
As filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on September 29, 2010
Registration No. 333-      
 
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, DC 20549
 
FORM F-1
REGISTRATION STATEMENT
UNDER
THE SECURITIES ACT OF 1933
 
TAL Education Group
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
Not Applicable
(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)
 
 
 
 
         
Cayman Islands   8200   Not Applicable
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
  (Primary Standard Industrial
Classification Code Number)
  (I.R.S. Employer
Identification Number)
 
18/F, Hesheng Building
32 Zhongguancun Avenue, Haidian District
Beijing 100080
People’s Republic of China
+86 (10) 5292 6669
(Address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of Registrant’s principal executive offices)
 
 
 
 
Law Debenture Corporate Services Inc.
400 Madison Avenue, 4th Floor
New York, New York 10017
(212) 750-6474
(Name, address, including zip code, and telephone number, including area code, of agent for service)
 
 
 
 
Copies to:
 
     
Z. Julie Gao, Esq.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
c/o 42/F, Edinburgh Tower, The Landmark
15 Queen’s Road, Central
Hong Kong
+852 3740 4700
  Alan Seem, Esq.
Shearman & Sterling LLP
12th Floor, East Tower, Twin Towers
B-12 Jianguomenwai Dajie, Beijing 100022
People’s Republic of China
+86 (10) 5922 8000
 
 
 
 
Approximate date of commencement of proposed sale to the public:  as soon as practicable after the effective date of this registration statement
 
If any of the securities being registered on this Form are to be offered on a delayed or continuous basis pursuant to Rule 415 under the Securities Act of 1933, check the following box.  o
 
If this Form is filed to register additional securities for an offering pursuant to Rule 462(b) under the Securities Act, please check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  o
 
If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(c) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  o
 
If this Form is a post-effective amendment filed pursuant to Rule 462(d) under the Securities Act, check the following box and list the Securities Act registration statement number of the earlier effective registration statement for the same offering.  o
 
 
 
 
CALCULATION OF REGISTRATION FEE
 
             
      Proposed maximum
     
Title of each class of
    aggregate
    Amount of
securities to be registered     offering price(2)     registration fee
Class A Common shares, par value $0.001 per share(1)(3)
    $100,000,000     $7,130.00
             
 
 
(1) Includes           Class A common shares that may be purchased by the underwriters to cover over-allotments, if any. Also includes Class A common shares initially offered and sold outside the United States that may be resold from time to time in the United States either as part of their distribution or within 40 days after the later of the effective date of this registration statement and the date the shares are first bona fide offered to the public. These Class A common shares are not being registered for the purpose of sales outside the United States.
 
(2) Estimated solely for the purpose of determining the amount of registration fee in accordance with Rule 457(o) under the Securities Act of 1933.
 
(3) American depositary shares issuable upon deposit of the Class A common shares registered hereby will be registered under a separate registration statement on Form F-6 (Registration No. 333-     ). Each American depositary share represents           Class A common shares.
 
The Registrant hereby amends this Registration Statement on such date or dates as may be necessary to delay its effective date until the Registrant shall file a further amendment which specifically states that this Registration Statement shall thereafter become effective in accordance with Section 8(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or until the Registration Statement shall become effective on such date as the Commission, acting pursuant to such Section 8(a), may determine.
 


Table of Contents

The information in this preliminary prospectus is not complete and may be changed. These securities may not be sold until the registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission is effective. This preliminary prospectus is not an offer to sell these securities and is not soliciting an offer to buy these securities in any jurisdiction where the offer or sale is not permitted.
 
Subject to Completion. Dated          , 2010.
 
(TAL EDUCATION GROUP LOGO)
 
TAL Education Group
 
American Depositary Shares
Representing
Class A Common Shares
 
 
 
 
This is an initial public offering of American depositary shares, or ADSs, of TAL Education Group. We are offering           ADSs. Each ADS represents           of our Class A common share(s), par value $0.001 per share.
 
Prior to this offering, there has been no public market for our ADSs or our common shares. We currently estimated that the initial public offering price per ADS will be between $      and $      . We intend to list the ADSs on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “XRS.”
 
See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 12 to read about risks you should consider before buying the ADSs.
 
 
PRICE $           PER ADS
 
 
                         
        Underwriting
  Proceeds,
        discounts and
  before expenses,
    Price to public   commissions   to us
 
Per ADS
  $                $                $             
Total
  $       $       $  
 
The underwriters have an option to purchase up to an additional           ADSs from us at the initial public offering price less underwriting discounts and commissions, within 30 days from the date of this prospectus.
 
Neither the United States Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission or other regulatory body has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the accuracy or adequacy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.
 
The underwriters expect to deliver the ADSs to purchasers on or about          , 2010.
 
 
Credit Suisse Morgan Stanley
 
Piper Jaffray Oppenheimer & Co.
 
 
 
 
The date of this prospectus is          , 2010.


Table of Contents

(GRAPHIC)


 

 
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
         
    1  
    12  
    40  
    41  
    42  
    43  
    44  
    46  
    47  
    49  
    55  
    58  
    85  
    90  
    103  
    113  
    119  
    121  
    122  
    130  
    140  
    142  
    149  
    155  
    156  
    157  
    158  
    F-1  
 EX-3.1
 EX-4.1
 EX-4.4
 EX-5.1
 EX-8.1
 EX-8.3
 EX-10.1
 EX-10.2
 EX-10.3
 EX-10.4
 EX-10.5
 EX-10.6
 EX-10.7
 EX-10.8
 EX-10.9
 EX-10.10
 EX-10.11
 EX-21.1
 EX-23.1
 EX-23.4
 EX-23.5
 EX-23.6
 EX-23.7
 EX-99.1
 
 
You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus. We have not authorized anyone to provide you with information different from that contained in this prospectus. We are offering to sell, and seeking offers to buy, the ADSs only in jurisdictions where offers and sales are permitted. The information contained in this prospectus is current only as of the date of this prospectus, regardless of the time of delivery of this prospectus or of any sale of the ADSs.
 
We have not taken any action to permit a public offering of the ADSs outside the United States or to permit the possession or distribution of this prospectus outside the United States. Persons outside the United States who come into possession of this prospectus must inform themselves about and observe any restrictions relating to the offering of the ADSs and the distribution of the prospectus outside the United States.
 
Through and including          , 2010 (the 25th day after the date of this prospectus), all dealers effecting transactions in these securities, whether or not participating in this offering, may be required to deliver a prospectus. This is in addition to a dealer’s obligation to deliver a prospectus when acting as an underwriter and with respect to an unsold allotment or subscription.


i


Table of Contents

 
THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY LEFT BLANK
 


Table of Contents

 
SUMMARY
 
This summary highlights information contained elsewhere in this prospectus and does not contain all of the information that you should consider in making your investment decision. Before investing in the ADSs, you should carefully read the entire prospectus, including our financial statements and related notes included in this prospectus and the information set forth under the headings “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” In addition, we commissioned iResearch Consulting Group, or iResearch, an independent market research firm, to prepare a report for the purpose of providing various industry and other information and illustrating our position in the K-12 after-school tutoring service market in China. Information from the report prepared by iResearch, or the iResearch Report, appears in “Summary”, “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” “Market Opportunity,” “Business” and other sections of this prospectus. We have taken such care as we consider reasonable in the reproduction and extraction of information from the iResearch Report and other third-party sources. Student enrollments in this prospectus refer 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; if one student enrolls in two separate tutoring courses, we count that as two student enrollments.
 
Our Business
 
We are the largest K-12 after-school tutoring service provider in China in terms of revenues in 2009, according to iResearch. We offer comprehensive tutoring services to K-12 students covering core academic subjects, including mathematics, English, Chinese, physics, chemistry and biology. We have successfully established “Xueersi” as a leading brand in China’s K-12 private education market closely associated with high teaching quality and academic excellence in China, as evidenced by our students’ outstanding academic performance, our over 70% annual retention rate, our ability to recruit most of our students through word-of-mouth referrals as well as the numerous recognitions and awards we have received. The K-12 after-school tutoring service market in China is highly fragmented. In 2009, we had a 0.26% market share in China and a 4.5% market share in Beijing, in each case as measured by revenues for the year according to iResearch.
 
We deliver our tutoring services through small classes, personalized premium services (i.e., one-on-one tutoring) and online course offerings. Our extensive network consists of 109 learning centers and 87 service centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Wuhan, as well as our online platform. Our student enrollments increased from 67,996 in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to 382,505 in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, representing a compound annual growth rate, or CAGR, of 137.2%. Our student enrollment growth has been predominantly driven by new students.
 
We are committed to providing our students with high-quality services and an exceptional learning experience. Our commitment is reflected in our continual focus on recruiting, training and retaining teachers with strong academic credentials, relevant experience and a passion for education; our emphasis on developing, updating and improving our curricula and course materials; and our focus on standardizing operating procedures throughout our network. This in turn has led to a strong track record of outstanding student achievement. In 2010, 169 out of our 430 high school graduates were admitted to Peking University or Tsinghua University, the two most prestigious universities in China that collectively enroll only less than 0.1% of the high school graduates across the country. In the same year, approximately 5,700 of our students in Beijing and Shanghai were admitted to key high schools, representing over 60% enrollment rate in comparison to the regional average of approximately 30%; and more than 5,500 of our students in Beijing and Shanghai were admitted to key middle schools, representing over 80% enrollment rate in comparison to the regional average of 15-25%. In addition, our students have won a significant number of regional, national and international math competitions, including three gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2008 and 2009.
 
Our online platform, www.eduu.com, hosts China’s largest and most active online education community for our existing and potential students and their parents, and is the largest Internet education portal in China, based on the average monthly page views and average monthly unique visitors in the first six months of 2010. It provides our existing and potential students access to learning resources beyond our physical network,


1


Table of Contents

increases student loyalty and stickiness and enhances our brand awareness. In addition, our online platform enables us to continue to roll out and expand our online course offerings. As word-of-mouth referrals and our online communities have contributed significantly to student recruitment, we have not incurred significant advertising expenses in the past. Revenues generated from our online course offerings have accounted for less than 1.5% of our total net revenues since we began offering online courses in 2010.
 
We have experienced significant growth in recent years. Our total net revenues increased from $8.9 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $69.6 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, representing a CAGR of 179.9%. Our net income increased from $1.5 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $14.2 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, representing a CAGR of 206.9%. Our total net revenues for the six months ended August 31, 2010 were $53.0 million, and our net income for the same period was $13.2 million.
 
Due to PRC legal restrictions on foreign ownership and investment in the education business in China, we operate our after-school tutoring service business primarily through our variable interest entities and their subsidiaries and schools in China. We do not hold equity interests in our variable interest entities; however, through a series of contractual arrangements with these variable interest entities and their respective shareholders, we effectively control, and are able to derive substantially all of the economic benefits from, these variable interest entities.
 
Market Opportunity
 
We believe that the K-12 after-school tutoring market is the most attractive sector in China’s private education market given the large addressable market it serves, its rapid growth rate and its highly fragmented nature. According to statistics published by the Ministry of Education of China, there were approximately 180 million students in primary, middle and high schools in China at the end of 2008, presenting a large addressable market for K-12 after-school tutoring services. The growth of the K-12 after-school tutoring market is also compelling. According to iResearch, the K-12 after-school tutoring market in China grew from RMB123.8 billion in 2007 to RMB189.7 billion ($27.8 billion) in 2009, representing a CAGR of 23.8%, and is projected to grow to RMB447.2 billion ($65.5 billion) in 2014, representing a CAGR of 18.7% from 2009. We believe that rising levels of disposable income, increasing spending on private education, and intense competition for quality education and job opportunities in China are among the key factors that will contribute to the future growth of the K-12 after-school tutoring market. Moreover, the K-12 after-school tutoring market in China is highly fragmented with no player holding over 1% market share. This fragmented market presents opportunities for private tutoring service providers that offer high-quality services and have a strong track record, brand and reputation to attract and retain more students and increase market share.
 
Our Competitive Strengths and Strategies
 
We believe that the following competitive strengths have contributed to our success and differentiate us from our competitors:
 
  •   largest K-12 after-school tutoring service provider in China;
 
  •   brand strength;
 
  •   outstanding student performance;
 
  •   high teaching quality, strong content development and efficient education management system;
 
  •   largest Internet education platform in China; and
 
  •   innovative and entrepreneurial management team with a passion for education.
 
We intend to pursue the following key growth strategies:
 
  •   further penetrate our existing markets;
 
  •   extend our geographic network into attractive new markets;


2


Table of Contents

 
  •   expand our personalized premium services; and
 
  •   further develop our online course offerings.
 
Our Challenges
 
The successful execution of our strategies is subject to risks and uncertainties related to our business and industry, including those relating to:
 
  •   our ability to continue to attract students to enroll in our courses;
 
  •   our ability to continue to recruit, train and retain qualified teachers;
 
  •   our ability to improve the content of our existing course offerings and to develop new courses in a timely and cost-effective manner;
 
  •   our ability to maintain and enhance our brand;
 
  •   our historical financial and operating results, growth rates and profitability may not serve as an adequate basis to judge our future prospects and results of operations;
 
  •   our ability to maintain and continue to improve our teaching results in terms of student performance and the level of satisfaction with our services; and
 
  •   our ability to compete effectively against our competitors.
 
In addition, we are subject to risks and uncertainties related to our corporate structure and doing business in China, including, but not limited to:
 
  •   risks associated with our control of our variable interest entities, which control is based upon contractual arrangements rather than equity ownership;
 
  •   risks associated with our ability to fund our expansion plan due to PRC legal restrictions on foreign currency conversion and restrictions on distribution of school profits, among others;
 
  •   uncertainties with respect to PRC regulatory restrictions on after-school tutoring services, including regulations issued by certain provincial governmental authorities prohibiting private schools from offering after-school tutoring classes to primary and secondary school students; and
 
  •   risks associated with our ability to obtain various operating licenses and permits and to make registrations and filings for all of our learning centers in China.
 
See “Risk Factors” and “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” for a discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties associated with our business and investing in our ADSs.
 
Our Corporate History and Structure
 
Our founders, Mr. Bangxin Zhang and Mr. Yundong Cao, offered our first after-school mathematics tutoring class in August 2003 when they were still attending graduate school in Peking University. In 2005, our founders established a domestic company in China named Beijing Xueersi Education Technology Co., Ltd., or Xueersi Education. In order to facilitate foreign investment in our company, in January 2008, we incorporated TAL Education Group, or TAL Group, to become our offshore holding company under the laws of the Cayman Islands. TAL Group established Xueersi International Education Group Limited, or Xueersi Hong Kong, in Hong Kong in March 2008 as our intermediary holding company. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Taxation—PRC” for a discussion of tax implications of having Xueersi Hong Kong as our intermediary holding company. Xueersi Hong Kong subsequently established three wholly owned subsidiaries in China: TAL Education Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd., or TAL Beijing, in May 2008; Beijing Huanqiu Zhikang Shidai Education Consulting Co., Ltd, or Huanqiu Zhikang, in September 2009; and Beijing Yidu Huida Education Technology Co., Ltd., or Yidu Huida, in November 2009.


3


Table of Contents

The following diagram illustrates our current corporate structure:
 
(PERFORMANCE GRAPH)
 
 
(1) Each person is an ultimate beneficial owner and also a director or executive officer of TAL Group.
 
Due to the PRC legal restriction on foreign ownership and investment in the education business in China, we rely on a series of contractual arrangements among TAL Beijing, Beijing Xueersi Education Technology Co., Ltd., or Xueersi Education, Beijing Xueersi Network Technology Co., Ltd., or Xueersi Network, and their respective shareholders, subsidiaries and schools to conduct most of our tutoring services in China, while our personalized premium services in Beijing are offered through our subsidiary, Huanqiu Zhikang. These contractual arrangements enable us to:
 
  •   exercise effective control over Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and their respective subsidiaries;
 
  •   receive substantially all of the economic benefits of Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and their respective subsidiaries in consideration for the services provided by us; and
 
  •   have an exclusive option to purchase all of the equity interests in Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network when and to the extent permitted under PRC law.
 
We do not have equity interests in Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network; however, as a result of these contractual arrangements, we are the primary beneficiary of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network and treat them as our variable interest entities under generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, or


4


Table of Contents

U.S. GAAP. Accordingly, we refer to Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network collectively as our “variable interest entities,” or “VIEs.” We refer to our VIEs and the VIEs’ direct and indirect subsidiaries and schools collectively as “affiliated entities.” Moreover, in the contractual arrangements, the shareholders of the VIEs, in exchange for relinquishing effective control over the VIEs, received pro rata equity interests in TAL Group, which serves to align their interests with our company’s in performing those contracts. For a more detailed discussion of the risk of potential conflicts of interest associated with our corporate structure, see “Risk Factors — Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure — The beneficial owners of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.”
 
We have consolidated the financial results of our VIEs and their subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. For the fiscal years ended February 29, 2008 and February 28, 2009 and 2010, $8.9 million, $37.5 million and $68.9 million, or 100%, 100% and 99.0% of our total net revenues, respectively, are attributable to our VIEs.
 
Huanqiu Zhikang operates our personalized premium services in Beijing. Except for our personalized premium services in Beijing, none of our existing services is conducted directly by our subsidiaries. Yidu Huida was formed as part of our corporate strategic planning and has yet to conduct any significant business operations. Yidu Huida may in the future provide information technology support to our other subsidiaries and affiliated entities, which is within the business scope of Yidu Huida.
 
For a more detailed description of our corporate history and structure, see “Our Corporate History and Structure.” For a detailed description of the regulatory environment for private education that necessitates the adoption of our corporate structure, see “Regulation.” For a detailed description of the risks associated with our corporate structure and the contractual arrangements that support our corporate structure, see “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure.”
 
Our Corporate Information
 
Our principal executive offices are located at 18/F, Hesheng Building, 32 Zhongguancun Avenue, Haidian District, Beijing 100080, People’s Republic of China. Our telephone number at this address is +86 (10) 5292 6669. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at Maples Corporate Services Limited, PO Box 309, Ugland House, Grand Cayman, KY1-1104, Cayman Islands.
 
Our corporate website address is www.xueersi.com. The information contained on our websites is not a part of this prospectus. Our agent for service of process in the U.S. is Law Debenture Corporate Services Inc.


5


Table of Contents

Conventions Used in this Prospectus
 
In this prospectus, unless otherwise indicated or the context otherwise requires, references to:
 
  •   “we,” “us,” “our company,” or “our” refers to TAL Education Group, its subsidiaries and its affiliated entities;
 
  •   “common shares” refers to our Class A and Class B common shares, par value US$0.001 per share;
 
  •   “preferred shares” or “Series A preferred shares” refers to our Series A convertible redeemable preferred shares, par value US$0.001 per share;
 
  •   “ADSs” refers to American depositary shares, each of which representing           Class A common shares;
 
  •   “variable interest entities,” or “VIEs,” refer to Beijing Xueersi Network Technology Co., Ltd. and Beijing Xueersi Education Technology Co., Ltd., which are domestic PRC companies in which we do not have equity interests but whose financial results have been consolidated into our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP due to our having effective control over, and our being the primary beneficiary of, these companies; and “affiliated entities” refers to our VIEs and the VIEs’ direct and indirect subsidiaries and schools;
 
  •   “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;
 
  •   “annual retention rate” refers to the percentage of our students who subsequently enroll in one or more of our courses after enrolling in at least one course in the previous fiscal year;
 
  •   “China” or “PRC” refers to the People’s Republic of China, excluding for purposes of this prospectus only, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau;
 
  •   “K-12” refers to the year before the first grade through the last year of high school;
 
  •   “Renminbi” or “RMB” refers to the legal currency of China; and
 
  •   ‘‘$,” “dollars” or “U.S. dollars” refers to the legal currency of the United States.
 
Except as otherwise indicated, all information in this prospectus assumes no exercise by the underwriters of their option to purchase additional ADSs.


6


Table of Contents

THE OFFERING
 
Offering price We currently expect that the initial public offering price will be between $      and $      per ADS.
 
ADSs offered by us            ADSs.
 
ADSs outstanding immediately after this offering
           ADSs.
 
Common shares outstanding immediately after this offering
           shares, par value $0.001 per share, comprised of (i)            Class A common shares, and (ii)            Class B common shares.
 
ADSs to Class A common share ratio
 
Proposed New York Stock Exchange symbol
XRS.
 
Common shares Our common shares are divided into Class A common shares and Class B common shares. Holders of Class A common shares and Class B common shares have the same rights except for voting and conversion rights. In respect of matters requiring shareholders’ vote, each Class A common share is entitled to one vote, and each Class B common share is entitled to ten votes. Each Class B common share is convertible into one Class A common share at any time by the holder thereof. Class A common shares are not convertible into Class B common shares under any circumstances. Upon any transfer of Class B common shares by a holder thereof to any person or entity which is not an affiliate of such holder, such Class B common shares shall be automatically and immediately converted into the equal number of Class A common shares.
 
Depositary JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.
 
Over-allotment option The underwriters have a 30-day option to purchase up to           additional ADSs from us at the initial public offering price less underwriting discounts and commissions.
 
Reserved ADSs At our request, the underwriters have reserved for sale, at the initial public offering price, up to 5% of the total number of ADSs offered in this offering (assuming no exercise of the over-allotment option) to some of our directors, officers, employees, business associates and related persons through a directed share program.
 
Use of proceeds We plan to use the net proceeds received from this offering to expand our network of learning centers and service centers, build a national training center, pay a declared cash dividend conditional upon the completion of this offering, strengthen our curriculum and course material development capabilities and improve our existing facilities, and for other general corporate purposes, including strategic investments in and acquisitions of complementary businesses, although we are not currently negotiating any such investment or acquisition. See “Use of Proceeds” for more information.


7


Table of Contents

 
Lock-up We, our directors and executive officers and all of our existing shareholders have agreed with the underwriters, subject to certain exceptions, not to sell, transfer or dispose of any ADSs, common shares or similar securities for a period of 180 days after the date this prospectus becomes effective. See “Underwriting” for more information.
 
Risk factors See “Risk Factors” and other information included in this prospectus for a discussion of risks you should carefully consider before investing in the ADSs.
 
The number of common shares that will be outstanding immediately after this offering:
 
  •   assumes that the underwriters do not exercise their over-allotment option to purchase additional ADSs;
 
  •   reflects the conversion of all outstanding Series A preferred shares into 5,000,000 Class B common shares immediately prior to the completion of this offering;
 
  •   excludes 5,419,500 Class A common shares issuable upon the vesting of restricted shares issued under our 2010 share incentive plan that are outstanding as of the date of this prospectus; and
 
  •   excludes Class A common shares reserved for future grants under our 2010 share incentive plan.


8


Table of Contents

Summary Consolidated Financial Data and Operating Data
 
You should read the following information concerning us in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this prospectus.
 
The following summary consolidated statements of operations data for the three fiscal years ended February 29, 2008 and February 28, 2009 and 2010 and the summary consolidated balance sheet data as of February 28, 2009 and 2010 are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. The summary consolidated balance sheet data as of February 29, 2008 are derived from our audited financial statements, which are not included in this prospectus. Our audited consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP and have been audited by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CPA Ltd., an independent registered public accounting firm.
 
The summary consolidated statements of operations data for the six months ended August 31, 2009 and 2010 and the summary consolidated balance sheet data as of August 31, 2010 have been derived from our unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. We have prepared the unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial information on the same basis as our audited consolidated financial statements. The unaudited financial information includes all adjustments, consisting only of normal and recurring adjustments, that we consider necessary for a fair presentation of our financial position and operating results for the periods presented. You should read the summary consolidated financial information in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this prospectus. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected in any future period.
 


9


Table of Contents

                                         
    For the Year Ended February 29/28,     For the Six Months Ended August 31,  
    2008     2009     2010     2009     2010  
    (in thousands of $, except for shares,
 
    per share and per ADS data)  
 
Summary Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:
                                       
Net revenues
  $ 8,882     $ 37,476     $ 69,594     $ 32,983     $ 53,022  
                                         
Total cost of revenues
    (4,367 )     (18,554 )     (37,649 )     (16,068 )     (26,255 )(1)
                                         
Gross profit
    4,515       18,922       31,945       16,915       26,767  
                                         
Operating expenses
                                       
Selling and marketing
    (370 )     (2,353 )     (5,608 )     (1,958 )     (4,184 )(2)
General and administrative
    (2,478 )     (5,890 )     (10,872 )     (4,602 )     (7,808 )(3)
Impairment losses on intangible assets and goodwill
    —        (1,615 )     —        —        —   
                                         
Total operating expenses
    (2,848 )     (9,858 )     (16,480 )     (6,560 )     (11,992 )
                                         
Income from operations
    1,667       9,064       15,465       10,355       14,775  
                                         
Interest income, net
    11       77       283       103       162  
Other expenses
    —        (210 )     (124 )     (119 )     (27 )
Impairment loss on available-for-sale securities
    —        (363 )     —        —        —   
Gain from sales of available-for-sale securities
    —        —        —        —        6  
Gain on extinguishment of liabilities
    —        731       —        —        —   
                                         
Income before income tax provision
    1,678       9,299       15,624       10,339       14,916  
Provision for income tax
    (165 )     (2,018 )     (1,379 )     (912 )     (1,670 )
                                         
Net income
  $ 1,513     $ 7,281     $ 14,245     $ 9,427     $ 13,246  
                                         
Deemed dividends on Series A convertible redeemable preferred shares
    —        (4,113 )     —        —        —   
                                         
Net income attributable to common shareholders
  $ 1,513     $ 3,168     $ 14,245     $ 9,427     $ 13,246  
                                         
Net income per common share:
                                       
Basic
  $ 0.01     $ 0.03     $ 0.11     $ 0.08     $ 0.11  
Diluted
  $ 0.01     $ 0.03     $ 0.11     $ 0.08     $ 0.11  
Net income per Series A convertible redeemable preferred share-basic
    —      $ 17.69     $ 0.11     $ 0.08     $ 0.11  
Net income per ADS:
                                       
Basic
                                       
Diluted
                                       
Weighted average shares used in calculating net income per common share
                                       
Basic
    120,000,000       120,000,000       120,000,000       120,000,000       120,000,000  
Diluted
    120,000,000       120,000,000       125,000,000       125,000,000       125,193,360  
 
 
Notes:
 
(1) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $110 thousand.
 
(2) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $163 thousand.
 
(3) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $647 thousand.
 
(4) Each ADS represents           Class A common shares.
 

10


Table of Contents

                                         
    As of February 29/28,     As of August 31,  
    2008     2009     2010     2010  
                      Actual     Pro Forma(1)  
    (in thousands of $)  
 
Summary Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:
                                       
Cash and cash equivalents
  $ 5,704     $ 29,693     $ 50,752     $ 81,495     $ 81,495  
Total assets
    8,131       38,553       65,504       97,515       97,515  
Deferred revenue
    5,714       18,023       29,408       42,101       42,101  
Convertible loan
                500       500       500  
Total liabilities
    7,012       26,198       38,578       56,234       56,234  
Net assets
    1,119       12,355       26,926       41,281       41,281  
Series A convertible redeemable preferred shares
    —        9,000       9,000       9,000       —   
Total equity
    1,119       3,355       17,926       32,281       41,281  
 
 
Note:
 
(1) Reflects the automatic conversion of all of our Series A preferred shares into 5,000,000 Class B common shares immediately prior to the completion of this offering.
 
The following table sets forth a summary of our cash flow data for the periods indicated:
 
                                         
    For the Year Ended February 29/28,     For the Six-Month Period Ended August 31,  
    2008     2009     2010     2009     2010  
    (in thousands of $)  
 
Summary Consolidated Cash Flow Data:
                                       
                                         
Net cash provided by operating activities
  $ 6,324     $ 23,468     $ 27,175       16,198       30,955  
Net cash provided by/(used in) investing activities
    (1,470 )     (5,116 )     (5,250 )     (696 )     (214 )
Net cash provided by/(used in) financing activities
    132       5,252       (903 )     (1,622 )     (163 )
 
The following table presents our selected operating data as of the dates and for the periods indicated:
 
                                         
          As of and for the
 
    As of and for the Year Ended February 29/28,     Six Months Ended August 31,  
    2008     2009     2010     2009     2010  
 
Selected Operating Data:
                                       
Student enrollments
    67,996       215,080       382,505       175,638       236,919  
Learning centers
    30       73       98       83       108  
 

11


Table of Contents

 
RISK FACTORS
 
You should consider carefully all of the information in this prospectus, including the risks and uncertainties described below, before making an investment in our ADSs. Any of the following risks could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently deem to be immaterial may also materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. In any such case, the market price of our ADSs could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment.
 
Risks Related to Our Business
 
If we are not able to continue to attract students to enroll in our courses, our business and prospects will be materially and adversely affected.
 
The success of our business depends primarily on the number of students enrolled in our courses. Therefore, our ability to continue to attract students to enroll in our courses 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 consistent and high teaching quality, effectively market our programs to a broader base of prospective students, develop additional high-quality educational content and respond effectively to competitive pressures. If we are unable to continue to attract students to enroll in our courses, our revenues may decline, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We may not be able to continue to recruit, train and retain qualified teachers, who are critical to the success of our business and effective delivery of our tutoring services to students.
 
Our teachers are critical to maintaining the quality of our services and our reputation. We seek to hire highly qualified teachers who are dedicated to teaching and are able to deliver effective and inspirational instruction. There is a limited pool of teachers with these attributes, and we must provide highly competitive compensation packages to attract and retain such qualified teachers. We must also provide continued training to our teachers to ensure that they stay abreast of changes in student demands, academic standards and other key trends necessary to teach effectively. Although we have not experienced major difficulties in recruiting, training or retaining qualified teachers in the past, we may not always be able to recruit, train and retain enough qualified teachers in the future to keep pace with our growth while maintaining consistent teaching quality in the different markets we serve. A shortage of qualified teachers or a decrease in the quality of our teachers’ classroom performance, whether actual or perceived, or a significant increase in compensation we must pay to retain qualified teachers, would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
We may not be able to improve the content of our existing courses or to develop new courses on a timely basis and in a cost-effective manner.
 
We constantly update and improve the content of our existing courses and develop new courses to meet market demands. Revisions to our existing courses and our newly developed courses may not always be well received by existing or prospective students or their parents. If we cannot respond effectively to changes in market demands, our business may be adversely affected. Even if we are able to develop new courses that are well received, we may not be able to introduce them as quickly as our students may require. If we do not respond adequately to changes in market requirements, our ability to attract and retain students could be impaired and our financial results could suffer.
 
Offering new courses or modifying existing courses may require us to make investments in content development, increase marketing efforts and re-allocate resources away from other uses. We may have limited experience with the content of new courses and may need to modify our systems and strategies to incorporate new courses into our existing course offerings. If we are unable to improve the content of our existing courses,


12


Table of Contents

offer new courses on a timely basis and in a cost-effective manner, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.
 
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 “Xueersi” brand has contributed significantly to the success of our business, and that maintaining and enhancing our brand is critical to maintaining our competitive advantage. If we are unable to successfully promote and market our brand and services, our ability to attract and enroll new students could be adversely impacted and, consequently, our financial performance could suffer. We mainly rely on word-of-mouth referrals to attract prospective students. We also use marketing tools such as the Internet, public lectures, outdoor advertising campaigns and distribution of marketing materials to promote our brand and service offerings. In order to maintain and increase our brand recognition and promote our new service offerings, we have increased our marketing personnel and expenses over the last several years. A number of factors could prevent us from successfully promoting our brand, including student dissatisfaction with our services and the failure of our marketing tools and strategies to attract prospective students. If we are unable to maintain and enhance our brand or utilize marketing tools in a cost-effective manner, our revenues and profitability may suffer.
 
Moreover, we offer a variety of courses to primary, middle and high school students in some of the largest cities in China. As we continue to grow in size, expand our course offerings and extend our geographic reach, it may be more difficult to maintain quality and uniform standards of our services and to protect and promote our brand name.
 
We cannot provide assurance that our sales and marketing efforts will be successful in further promoting our brand in a competitive and cost-effective manner. If we are unable to further enhance our brand recognition and increase awareness of our services, or if we incur excessive sales and marketing expenses, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.
 
Our historical financial and operating results, growth rates and profitability may not be indicative of future performance.
 
Although we commenced operations in 2003, our significant growth in terms of employees, operations and revenues has occurred since 2008. Our total net revenues increased from $8.9 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $69.6 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010. Any evaluation of our business and our prospects must be considered in light of the risks and uncertainties encountered by companies at our stage of development. In addition, the after-school tutoring service market in China is still at the early stage of development, which makes it difficult to evaluate our business and future prospects. Furthermore, our results of operations may vary from period to period in response to a variety of other factors beyond our control, including general economic conditions and regulations or government actions pertaining to the private education service sector in China, changes in spending on private education, our ability to control cost of revenues and operating expenses, and non-recurring charges incurred in connection with acquisitions or other extraordinary transactions or under unexpected circumstances. Due to the above factors, we believe that our historical financial and operating results, growth rates and profitability may not be indicative of our future performance and you should not rely on our past results or our historic growth rates as indications of our future performance.
 
If our students’ level of performance falls or satisfaction with our services declines, our annual retention rate may decline and our business, financial condition, results of operations and reputation would be adversely affected.
 
The success of our business depends on our ability to deliver a satisfactory learning experience and improved academic results. Our tutoring services may fail to improve a student’s academic performance and a student may perform below expectations even after completing our courses. Additionally, student and parent satisfaction with our services may decline. A student’s learning experience may also suffer if his or her


13


Table of Contents

relationship with our teachers does not meet expectations. We generally offer refunds for remaining classes to students who decide to withdraw from a course. Although we have not experienced any significant refunds in the past, if an increasing number of students request refunds, our revenues and results of operations may be adversely affected. In addition, if a significant number of students fail to improve their performance after attending our courses or if their learning experiences with us are unsatisfactory, they may decide not to continue to enroll in our courses, and our business, financial condition, results of operations and reputation would be adversely affected.
 
We face significant competition, and if we fail to compete effectively, we may lose our market share and our profitability may be adversely affected.
 
The private education market in China is rapidly evolving, highly fragmented and competitive, and we expect competition to persist and intensify. We face competition in each type of services we offer and in each geographic market in which we operate. Our competitors include New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc., Juren Education, Ambow Education Holding Ltd., China Xueda Education Ltd., and ChinaEdu Corporation.
 
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, admission standards, market trends or new technologies. In addition, some smaller local companies may be able to respond more quickly to changes in student preferences in some of our targeted markets. Moreover, 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 physical facility-related entry barriers to providing private education services. As a result, smaller local companies may be 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. Consequently, we may be required to reduce course fees or increase spending in response to competition in order to retain or attract students or pursue new market opportunities, which could result in a decrease in our revenues and profitability. We will also face increased competition as we expand our operations. 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 pressure effectively, we may lose our market share and our profitability may be adversely affected.
 
Failure to effectively and efficiently manage the expansion of our service network may materially and adversely affect our ability to capitalize on new business opportunities.
 
Our business has experienced significant growth in recent years. The number of our learning centers increased from 30 as of February 29, 2008 to 109 to date. We plan to continue to expand our operations in different geographic markets in China. Establishing new learning centers poses challenges and requires us to make investments in management, capital expenditures, marketing expenses and other resources. The expansion has resulted, and will continue to result, in substantial demands on our management and staff as well as our financial, operational, technological and other resources. Our planned expansion will also place significant pressure on us to maintain the teaching quality and uniform standards, controls and policies to ensure that our brand does not suffer as a result of any decrease, whether actual or perceived, in the quality of our programs. To manage and support our expansion, 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 management personnel as well as other administrative and marketing personnel. We cannot assure you that we will be able to effectively and efficiently manage the growth of our operations, maintain or accelerate our current growth rate, recruit and retain qualified teachers and management personnel, successfully integrate new learning centers into our operations and otherwise effectively manage our growth. Our 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.


14


Table of Contents

If we fail to successfully execute our growth strategies, our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.
 
Our growth strategies include further penetrating our existing markets, extending the geographic scope of our network into attractive markets, expanding personalized premium services and further developing our online course offerings. We may not succeed in executing our growth strategies due to a number of factors, including, without limitation, the following:
 
  •   we may fail to identify new cities with sufficient growth potential into which to expand our network;
 
  •   it may be difficult to increase the number of learning centers in more developed cities;
 
  •   we may fail to effectively market our services in new markets or promote new courses in existing markets;
 
  •   we may not be able to replicate our successful growth model in Beijing and Shanghai to other geographic markets;
 
  •   our analysis for selecting suitable new locations may not be accurate and the demand for our services at such new locations may not materialize or increase as rapidly as we expect;
 
  •   we may fail to obtain the requisite licenses and permits necessary to open learning centers at our desired locations from local authorities;
 
  •   we may not be able to continue to enhance our online course offerings, generate profits from online courses, or adapt online courses to changing student needs and technological advances; and
 
  •   we may fail to achieve the benefits we expect from our expansion.
 
If we fail to successfully execute our growth strategies, we may not be able to maintain our growth rate and our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected as a result.
 
At present, we derive a majority of our revenues from Beijing and Shanghai. Any event negatively affecting the private education market in Beijing or Shanghai could have a material adverse effect on our overall business and results of operations.
 
Our services in Beijing and Shanghai currently contribute to most of our revenues. We derived approximately 98% and 97% of our total net revenues for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010 and the six months ended August 31, 2010, respectively, from these two cities and we expect our services in Beijing and Shanghai to continue to represent the main sources of our income. If either city experiences an event negatively affecting its private education market, such as a serious economic downturn, natural disaster or outbreak of contagious disease, or if either city 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 fail to expand our personalized premium services efficiently and cost-effectively, our business and prospects could be harmed.
 
One of our growth strategies is to further expand our personalized premium services in Beijing and replicate that model in other geographic regions in China. The expansion may entail significant investment of human capital, financial resources and management time and attention as such one-on-one tutoring services impose a different set of requirements on our teachers and many other aspects of our operations than small classes, which currently constitute the main format of our service offerings. If we fail to manage our expansion in personalized premium services efficiently and cost-effectively, it could have an adverse effect on our business and prospects.


15


Table of Contents

Accidents or injuries suffered by our students or other people on our premises may adversely affect our reputation, subject us to liability and cause us to incur substantial costs.
 
Even though we carry certain liability insurance for our students and their parents, in the event of accidents or injuries or other harm to students or other people on our premises, including those caused by or otherwise arising from the actions of our employees or contractors on our premises, our facilities may be perceived to be unsafe, which may discourage prospective students from attending our classes. We could also face claims alleging that we were negligent, provided inadequate supervision to our employees or contractors and therefore should be held jointly liable for harm caused by them or are otherwise liable for injuries suffered by our students or other people on our premises. For instance, in 2009, a student was injured while attending our classes in a learning center in Beijing and claimed that we were negligent and thus liable for the injury. Although that incident was resolved without any material damages to our reputation or business, there may be similar incidents in the future. A liability claim against us or any of our teachers or independent contractors could adversely affect our reputation, enrollment and revenues. Even if unsuccessful, such a claim could create unfavorable publicity, cause us to incur substantial expenses and divert the time and attention of our management.
 
Failure to adequately and promptly respond to changes in examination systems, admission standards and technologies in China could render our courses and services less attractive to students.
 
Under China’s education system, school admissions rely heavily on examination results. College and high school entrance examinations in most cases are mandatory for graduating seniors in high schools and middle schools in order to gain admission to colleges and high schools, respectively, and therefore, a student’s performance in those examinations is critical to his or her education career and future employment prospects. Although examinations are not required for entering middle schools, many key middle schools administer their own assessment tests to disqualify prospective students. It is therefore common for students to take after-school tutoring classes to improve test performance, and the success of our business to a large extent depends on the continued use of assessment tests by schools and colleges in their admissions. However, such heavy emphasis on examination scores may decline or fall out of favor with educational institutions or education authorities in China. For example, education authorities in Yunnan Province stopped administering provincial-level middle school entrance examinations in 2010. Instead, high schools in Yunnan will start to admit students based on a combination of middle school examination results that have replaced raw scores with letter grades and comprehensive evaluations of students’ aptitude and performance by their middle schools. Yunnan Province also prohibits subject competitions in primary and middle schools. Although we do not offer after-school tutoring services in the Yunnan Province, nor do we expect to do so in the near future, it is possible that the local governments in the areas where we have operations may adopt similar measures. Furthermore, approximately 80 universities in China have been allowed to recruit generally no more than 5% of their students through independently administered examinations and admission procedures in recent years. Candidates for admission to those universities are still required to take college entrance examinations and meet certain threshold requirements for minimum scores, but their college entrance exam scores are no longer the sole determining factor in the admission processes of those universities. If we fail to adjust our services to respond to any such material changes, our business may be materially and adversely affected. In addition, admission and assessment tests in China constantly undergo changes and development in terms of subject and skill focus, question type, examination format and the manner in which tests are administered. We therefore must continually update and improve our course materials and our teaching methods. A failure to track and respond to any such changes in a timely and cost-effective manner could make our courses and services less attractive to students, which may materially and adversely affect our reputation and ability to continue to attract students and in turn have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
 
Our new courses and services may compete with our existing offerings.
 
We are constantly developing new courses and services to meet changes in student demands, testing materials, admission standards, market trends and technologies. While some of the courses and services that


16


Table of Contents

we develop will expand our current offerings and increase student enrollment, others may compete with or render obsolete our existing offerings without increasing our total student enrollment. For example, our online courses might attract students away from our classroom-based courses. If we are unable to increase our total student enrollment and profitability as we expand our course and service offerings, our business and growth may be adversely affected.
 
If we are not able to continually enhance our online courses and services and adapt to rapid changes in technological demands and student needs, we may lose market share and our business could be adversely affected.
 
Widespread use of the Internet for educational purposes is a relatively recent occurrence, and the market for Internet-based courses and services is characterized by rapid technological changes and innovations, as well as unpredictable product life cycles and user preferences. We have limited experience with generating revenues from online courses and services, and their results are largely uncertain. We must be able to adapt quickly to changing student needs and preferences, technological advances and evolving Internet practices in order to compete successfully in online education. Ongoing enhancement of our online offerings and technologies may entail significant expenses and technological risks. We may not be able to use new technologies effectively or may fail to adapt to changes in the online education market on a timely and cost-effective basis. Revenues generated from our online course offerings have been insignificant, accounting for less than 1.5% of our total net revenues since we began offering online courses in 2010. We expect that revenues from our online course offerings will increase. However, if improvements to our online offerings and technologies are delayed, result in systems interruptions or are not aligned with market expectations or preferences, we may not gain market share and our growth prospects could be adversely affected.
 
Our success depends on the continuing efforts of our senior management team and other key personnel and our business may be harmed if we lose their services.
 
Our future success depends heavily upon the continuing services of the members of our senior management team, which includes Bangxin Zhang, our chairman and chief executive officer, Yundong Cao, our director and president, Yachao Liu, our vice president, Yunfeng Bai, our vice president and Joseph Kauffman, our chief financial officer. If any member of our senior management team leaves us and we fail to effectively manage a transition to new personnel, or if we fail to attract and retain qualified and experienced professionals on acceptable terms, our business, financial conditions and results of operations could be adversely affected. Competition for experienced management personnel in the education industry is intense, and we may not be able to retain the services of our senior executives or key personnel, or to attract and retain high quality senior executives or key personnel in the future.
 
Our success also depends on our having highly trained financial, technical, human resource, sales and marketing staff, management personnel and qualified teachers for local markets. We will need to continue to hire additional personnel as our business grows. A shortage in the supply of personnel with requisite skills or our failure to recruit them could impede our ability to increase revenues from our existing courses and services, to launch new course and service offerings and to expand our operations, and would have an adverse effect on our business and financial results.
 
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.
 
All of our offices and service and learning centers are presently located on leased premises. At the end of each lease term, which generally ranges from two to five years, we must negotiate an extension of the lease and if we are not able to negotiate an extension on terms acceptable to us, we will be forced to move to a different location, or the rent may increase significantly. This could disrupt our operations and adversely affect our profitability. All of our leases are subject to renewal at market prices, which could result in a substantial rent increase at each time of renewal. We compete with many other businesses for sites in certain highly desirable locations and some landlords may have entered into long-term leases with our competitors for prime locations. As a result, we may not be able to obtain new leases at desirable locations or renew our existing


17


Table of Contents

leases on acceptable terms or at all, which could adversely affect our business. In addition, we have not been able to receive from our lessors copies of title certificates or proof of authorization to lease the properties to us for five of our leased properties of approximately 26,000 square feet in total involving aggregate annual rentals of approximately RMB2.3 million. Operations on these five leased properties contributed approximately 3.2% and 2.8% of our total net revenues for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010 and the six months ended August 31, 2010, respectively. As of the date of this prospectus, we are not aware of any actions, claims or investigations threatened against us or our lessors with respect to the defects in our leasehold interests. However, if any of our leases are terminated as a result of challenges by third parties or governmental 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. 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. We were aware of the defects when we entered into those leases. In many cases, we entered into leases upon promises from the lessors that relevant certificates and authorizations would be delivered at a later time, which did not eventually materialize. 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.
 
Capacity constraints of our teaching facilities could cause us to lose students to our competitors.
 
The teaching facilities of our physical network are limited in size and number of classrooms. We may not be able to admit all students who would like to enroll in our courses due to the capacity constraints of our teaching facilities. This would deprive us of the opportunity to serve them and to potentially develop a long-term relationship with them for continued services. If we fail to expand our physical capacity as quickly as the demand for our classroom-based services grows, we could lose potential students to our competitors, and our results of operations and business prospects could suffer as a result.
 
If we fail to protect our intellectual property rights, our brand and business may suffer.
 
We consider our copyrights, trademarks, trade names and Internet domain names invaluable to our ability to continue to develop and enhance our brand recognition. Unauthorized use of our copyrights, trademarks, trade names and domain names may damage our reputation and brand. Our major brand names and logos are registered trademarks in China. Our proprietary curricula and course materials are protected by copyrights. However, preventing copyright, trademark and trade name infringement or misuse could be difficult, costly and time-consuming, particularly in China. The measures we take to protect our copyrights, trademarks and other intellectual property rights are currently based upon a combination of trademark and copyright laws in China and may not be adequate to prevent unauthorized uses. Furthermore, application of laws governing intellectual property rights in China is uncertain and evolving, and could involve substantial risks to us. There had been several incidents in the past where third parties used our brand “Xueersi” without our authorization and we had to resort to litigation to protect our intellectual property rights. These proceedings were all resolved in our favor and our brand and business were not materially harmed. However, if we are unable to adequately protect our trademarks, copyrights and other intellectual property rights in the future, we may lose these rights, our brand name may be harmed, and our business may suffer materially. Furthermore, our management’s attention may be diverted by violations of our intellectual property rights, and we may be required to enter into costly litigation to protect our proprietary rights against any infringement or violation.
 
We may encounter disputes from time to time relating to our use of the intellectual property of third parties.
 
We cannot assure you that our course materials, online platform or other intellectual property developed or used by us do not or will not infringe upon valid copyrights or other intellectual property rights held by third parties. We may encounter disputes from time to time over rights and obligations concerning intellectual


18


Table of Contents

property, and we may not prevail in those disputes. Our teachers may, against our policies, use third-party copyrighted materials without proper authorization in our classes or our students may post unauthorized third-party content on our websites. We may incur liability for unauthorized duplication or distribution of materials posted on our websites or used in our classes. Third parties may bring claims against us alleging our infringement of their intellectual property rights. Any such intellectual property infringement claim could result in costly litigation and divert our management attention and resources.
 
If we fail to integrate or negotiate successfully any future acquisitions, our business and operating results could be adversely affected.
 
We may acquire complementary businesses in the future. If we are unable to successfully integrate the acquired businesses, it could harm our business and operating results. In addition, we may revalue or write down the value of goodwill and other intangible assets in connection with future acquisitions which would harm our operating results. For example, we recognized an impairment loss on goodwill of $1.2 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 in connection with some of our acquisitions. In order to remain competitive or to expand our business, we may find it necessary or desirable to acquire other businesses and we may be unable to identify appropriate acquisition targets. If we identify an appropriate acquisition target, we may not be able to negotiate the terms of the acquisition successfully, finance the acquisition or integrate the acquired businesses into our existing business and operations. Furthermore, completing a potential acquisition and integrating an acquired business may strain our resources and require significant management time.
 
Seasonal and other fluctuations in our results of operations could adversely affect the trading price of the ADSs.
 
Our revenues and operating results may fluctuate as a result of seasonal variations in our business, principally due to changes in student enrollments. The fluctuations may result in volatility or have an adverse effect on the market price of the ADSs. In addition, comparisons of our operating results between different periods within a single financial year, or between the same periods in different financial years, may not be meaningful and should not be relied upon as good indicators of our performance.
 
We have limited liability insurance coverage and do not carry business disruption insurance.
 
We have limited liability insurance coverage for our students and their parents in our major learning centers. A successful liability claim against us due to injuries suffered by our students or other people on our premises could materially and adversely affect our financial conditions, results of operations and reputation. Even if unsuccessful, such a claim could cause adverse publicity to us, require substantial cost to defend and divert the time and attention of our management. In addition, we do not have any business disruption insurance. Any business disruption event could result in substantial cost to us and diversion of our resources.
 
System disruptions to our websites or computer systems or a leak of student data could damage our reputation and limit our ability to retain students and increase student enrollment.
 
The performance and reliability of our websites and computer systems is critical to our reputation and ability to retain students and increase student enrollment. Any system error or failure, or a sudden and significant increase in online traffic, could disrupt or slow access to our websites. We cannot assure you that we will be able to expand our online infrastructure in a timely and cost-effective manner to meet the increasing demands of our students and their parents. In addition, our computer systems store and process important information including, without limitation, class schedules, registration information and student data and could be vulnerable to interruptions or malfunctions due to events beyond our control, such as natural disasters and technology failures. For instance, we have in the past experienced interruptions to our operations due to temporary computer system failures. Although we have a daily 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. Moreover, we would suffer economic and reputational damages if a technical failure of our systems causes a leak of student data, including


19


Table of Contents

identification or contact information, although there has not been any such leak in the past. Any disruption to our computer systems could therefore have a material adverse effect on our on-site operations and ability to retain students and increase student enrollments.
 
We face risks related to natural disasters, health epidemics and other outbreaks, which could significantly disrupt our operations.
 
Our business could be materially and adversely affected by natural disasters or widespread epidemics. On May 12, 2008 and April 14, 2010, severe earthquakes affected parts of Sichuan province in southeastern China and parts of Qinghai province in western China, respectively, resulting in significant numbers of casualties and property damages. While we did not suffer any loss or experience any significant increase in costs as a result of the earthquakes, if a similar disaster were to occur in the future affecting any of the cities in which we have major operations, our business could be materially and adversely affected. In April 2009, a new strain of influenza A virus subtype H1N1, commonly known as “swine flu,” was first discovered in North America and quickly spread to other parts of the world, including China. In early June 2009, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak to be a pandemic. Any outbreak of similar epidemics in China, including severe acute respiratory syndrome, could require temporary closure of our learning centers and have a material and adverse effect on our business operations.
 
In the course of preparing our consolidated financial statements, a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting was identified. If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud, and investor confidence and the market price of our ADSs may be adversely affected.
 
Our reporting obligations as a public company will place a significant strain on our management, operational and financial resources and systems for the foreseeable future. Prior to this offering, we have been a private company and have had limited accounting personnel and other resources with which to address our internal control over financial reporting. We and our independent registered public accounting firm, in connection with the preparation and external audit of our consolidated financial statements as of and for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting. The material weakness identified related to insufficient accounting personnel with appropriate U.S. GAAP knowledge. We have not undertaken a comprehensive assessment and our independent registered public accounting firm has not conducted an audit of our internal control over financial reporting. Had we performed a formal assessment of our internal control over financial reporting or had our independent registered public accounting firm performed an audit of our internal control over financial reporting, additional material weakness and deficiencies may have been identified. A “material weakness” is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.
 
We have taken measures and plan to continue to take measures to remedy these deficiencies. However, the implementation of these measures may not fully address the control deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting. Our failure to address any control deficiency could result in inaccuracies in our financial statements and could also impair our ability to comply with applicable financial reporting requirements and related regulatory filings on a timely basis. Moreover, effective internal control over financial reporting is important to prevent fraud. As a result, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, as well as the trading price of our ADSs, may be materially and adversely affected.
 
Upon completion of this offering, we will become subject to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires that we include a report from management on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting in our annual report on Form 20-F beginning with our annual report for the fiscal year ending February 29, 2012. In addition, beginning at the same time, our independent registered public accounting firm must report on the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. Our management and our independent registered public accounting firm may conclude that our internal control over financial reporting is not effective. This could adversely impact the market price of


20


Table of Contents

our ADSs due to a loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our reporting processes. We will need to incur significant costs and use significant management and other resources in order to comply with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.
 
Implementation of the new labor laws in China may adversely affect our business operations.
 
On June 29, 2007, the Chinese government promulgated a new labor contract law which became effective on January 1, 2008, and subsequently issued the implementation rules of the new labor contract law. Pursuant to the new law, employers are subject to stricter requirements in terms of signing labor contracts, fixing compensation levels, setting lengths of employees’ probation periods and unilaterally terminating labor contracts. The new law and the related implementation rules impose greater liabilities on employers and may significantly increase the costs to an employer if it decides to reduce its workforce. In the event we decide to significantly reduce our workforce, the new labor contract law could adversely affect our ability to downsize based on business needs or to do so in a timely and cost-effective manner, which in turn may materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
 
We may be classified as a passive foreign investment company under US tax law, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. holders of our ADSs.
 
Depending upon the value of our assets based on the market value of our common shares and ADSs and the nature of our assets and income over time, we could be classified as a passive foreign investment company or PFIC, for U.S. federal income tax purposes. Based on our current income and assets and projections as to the value of our common shares and ADSs pursuant to this offering, we do not expect to be classified as a PFIC for the current taxable year. While we do not anticipate becoming a PFIC for the current taxable year, fluctuations in the market price of our ADSs or common shares may cause us to become a PFIC for the current or any subsequent taxable year. We will make a separate determination for each taxable year as to whether we are a PFIC (after the close of each taxable year) and disclose such determination in our annual reports on Form 20-F to be filed with the SEC.
 
We will be classified as a PFIC for any taxable year if either (i) at least 75% of our gross income for the taxable year is passive income or (ii) at least 50% of the value of our assets (determined on the basis of a quarterly average) is attributable to assets that produce or are held for the production of passive income. Although the law in this regard is unclear, we treat Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and their respective subsidiaries as being owned by us for United States 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 consolidated U.S. GAAP financial statements. If it were determined, however, that we are not the owner of Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and their respective subsidiaries for United States federal income tax purposes, we would likely be treated as a PFIC for our taxable year ending on February 28, 2011 and any subsequent taxable year. Because of the uncertainties in the application of the relevant rules and because PFIC status is a factual determination made annually after the close of each taxable year on the basis of the composition of our income and the value of our active versus passive assets, there can be no assurance that we will not be a PFIC for the taxable year ending on February 28, 2011 or any future taxable year. The overall level of our passive assets will also be affected by how, and how quickly, we spend our liquid assets and the cash raised in this offering. Under circumstances where we determine not to deploy significant amounts of cash for active purposes, our risk of becoming classified as a PFIC may substantially increase.
 
If we were to be or become classified as a PFIC, a U.S. Holder (as defined in “Taxation—Material United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—General”) may be subject to reporting requirements and may incur significantly increased United States 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 the United States federal income tax rules. Further, if we were a PFIC for any year during which a U.S. Holder held our ADSs or common shares, we generally would continue to be treated as a PFIC for all succeeding years during which such U.S. Holder held our ADSs or common shares. You are urged to consult your tax advisor concerning the


21


Table of Contents

United States federal income tax consequences of acquiring, holding, and disposing of ADSs or common shares if we are or become classified as a PFIC. For more information see “Taxation—Material United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—PFIC Considerations.”
 
We have granted and will continue to grant restricted shares, share options and other share-based awards in the future, which may materially reduce our net income.
 
We adopted a share incentive plan in 2010 that permits granting of options to purchase our Class A common shares, restricted shares and restricted share units under the plan. The maximum aggregate number of Class A common shares that may be issued pursuant to all awards under our share incentive plan is 18,750,000. As of the date of this prospectus, we have granted 5,419,500 restricted shares under our share incentive plan to our employees. As a result of these grants and potential future grants under the plan, we have incurred and will continue to incur share-based compensation expenses. We had share-based compensation expenses of $0.9 million for the six months ended August 31, 2010. As of August 31, 2010, the unrecognized compensation expenses related to the non-vested restricted shares amounted to $22.8 million, which will be recognized over vesting periods up to 4 years. Expenses associated with share-based compensation awards granted under our share incentive plan may materially reduce our future net income. However, if we limit the size of grants under our share incentive plan to minimize share-based compensation expenses, we may not be able to attract or retain key personnel.
 
Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure
 
If the PRC government determines that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business in China are not in compliance 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 education services outside China. Our Cayman Islands holding company is not an educational institution and does not provide education services. We conduct our education business in China through contractual arrangements with Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network and their respective subsidiaries, schools and shareholders. Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network are directly owned by four of our directors or officers who are citizens of the PRC. To comply with PRC laws and regulations, we rely on a series of contractual arrangements entered into among TAL Beijing, Xueersi Network, Xueersi Education and their respective shareholders, subsidiaries and schools to conduct most of our tutoring services in China. We have been and are expected to continue to be dependent on our affiliated entities in China to operate our education business until we qualify for direct ownership of educational businesses in China. Pursuant to our contractual arrangements with our affiliated entities, we, through our wholly owned subsidiaries in China, provide exclusive teaching support, technical service support and other services to our affiliated entities in exchange for payments from them. In addition, we have entered into agreements with Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network, and each of their respective shareholders, which provide us with the ability to effectively control Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network and their respective existing and future subsidiaries and schools.
 
If the corporate structure and contractual arrangements through which we conduct our business in China are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or if we fail to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, we would be subject to potential actions by the relevant PRC regulatory authorities with broad discretions, which actions could include:
 
  •   revoking the business and operating licenses of our PRC subsidiaries and affiliated entities;
 
  •   restricting or prohibiting related party transactions between our PRC subsidiaries and affiliated entities;
 
  •   imposing fines or other requirements with which we or our PRC subsidiaries and affiliated entities may find difficult or impossible to comply;


22


Table of Contents

 
  •   requiring us or our PRC subsidiaries and affiliated entities to restructure the relevant ownership structure or operations; and
 
  •   restricting or prohibiting the use of any proceeds from our additional public offering to finance our business and operations in China.
 
The imposition of any of these penalties could result in a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business.
 
We rely on contractual arrangements with our affiliated entities for our China operations, 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 affiliated entities to operate our education business. For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Our Corporate History and Structure—Contractual Arrangements with Our Consolidated Affiliated Entities.” These contractual arrangements may not be as effective in providing us with control over these affiliated entities as direct ownership. If we had direct ownership of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network, we would be able to exercise our rights as a shareholder to effect changes in the board of directors of Xueersi Network or Xueersi Education, which in turn could effect changes, subject to any applicable fiduciary obligations, at the management level. However, under the current contractual arrangements, we rely on the performance by our affiliated entities and their respective shareholders of their obligations under the contracts to exercise control over our affiliated entities. In addition, we may not be able to renew these contracts with Xueersi Network, Xueersi Education and their respective subsidiaries or shareholders if the beneficial owners of Xueersi Network or Xueersi Education do not act in the best interests of our company when conflicts of interest arise. Therefore, our contractual arrangements with our affiliated entities may not be as effective in ensuring our control over our China operations as direct ownership would be.
 
Any failure by our affiliated entities or their respective shareholders to perform their obligations under our contractual arrangements with them would have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.
 
If Xueersi Network, Xueersi Education or any of their respective subsidiaries or schools or any of their respective shareholders fails to perform its obligations under the contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and resources to enforce our rights under the contracts, and rely on legal remedies under the PRC law, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief and claiming damages, which may not be effective. For example, if the shareholders of Xueersi Network or Xueersi Education were to refuse to transfer their equity interest in Xueersi Network or Xueersi Education to us or our designee when we exercise the call option pursuant to these contractual arrangements, or if they were otherwise to act in bad faith toward us, then we may have to take legal actions to compel them to perform their contractual obligations.
 
All the material agreements under our contractual arrangements are governed by the PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes under the agreements through arbitration in Beijing. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with the PRC law and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal system in the PRC is not as developed as 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. Under PRC law, rulings by arbitrators are final, parties cannot appeal the arbitration results in courts, and the prevailing parties may only enforce the arbitration awards in PRC courts through arbitration award recognition proceedings, which would incur additional expenses and delay. In the event we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, we may not be able to exert effective control over our affiliated entities, and our ability to conduct our business may be negatively affected.


23


Table of Contents

The beneficial owners of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.
 
The four beneficial owners of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network are also beneficial owners, directors or officers of TAL Group. Among them, Mr. Bangxin Zhang and Mr. Yundong Cao are directors of TAL Group and also directors of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network. Currently, these four individuals beneficially own an aggregate of 76% of the outstanding share capital of TAL Group on an as-converted basis. Upon the completion of this offering, these four shareholders will beneficially own an aggregate of     % of the outstanding share capital of TAL Group assuming no exercise of the over-allotment option granted to the underwriters. As such, the beneficial owners of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network may have potential conflicts of interest with us. We cannot assure you that when conflicts of interest arise, any or all of these individuals will act in the best interests of our company or such conflicts will be resolved in our favor. In addition, these individuals may breach, or cause our affiliated entities to breach, or refuse to renew, the existing contractual arrangements we have with them and our affiliated entities. Currently, we do not have any arrangements to address potential conflicts of interest between these individuals and our company. We rely on these individuals to abide by the laws of the Cayman Islands and China, which provide that directors owe a fiduciary duty to the company that requires them to act in good faith and in the best interests of the company and not to use their positions for personal gains. If we cannot resolve any conflict of interest or dispute between us and the beneficial owners of Xueersi Network or Xueersi Education, 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.
 
Our affiliated entities may be subject to significant limitations on their ability to operate private schools or make payments to related parties, or otherwise be materially and adversely affected by changes in PRC laws governing private education providers.
 
The principal regulations governing private education in China are The Law for Promoting Private Education (2003) and The Implementation Rules for The Law for Promoting Private Education (2004). Under these regulations, 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 balance 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. A private school that requires reasonable returns must publicly disclose such election and additional information required under the regulations. A private school shall consider factors such as the school’s tuition, ratio of the funds used for education-related activities to the course fees collected, admission standards and educational quality when determining the percentage of the school’s net income that would be distributed to the investors as reasonable returns. However, none of the current PRC laws and regulations provides a formula or guidelines for determining “reasonable returns.” In addition, none of the current PRC laws and regulations sets forth clear 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.
 
Our schools are registered as schools that require reasonable returns in some cities and as schools that do not require reasonable returns in others. Unlike typical schools in China’s K-12 system which grant diplomas to students upon graduation, we provide after-school tutoring services and do not grant any diploma or certification to our students. However, the current PRC laws and regulations governing private education may be amended or replaced by new laws and regulations that (i) impose significant limitations on the ability of our schools to operate their business, charge course fees or make payments to related parties for services, (ii) specify the formula for calculating “reasonable returns,” or (iii) change the preferential tax treatment policies applicable to private schools. We cannot predict the timing and effects of any such amendments or new laws and regulations. Changes in PRC laws and regulations governing private education could materially and adversely affect our business prospects and results of operations.


24


Table of Contents

Contractual arrangements our subsidiaries have entered into with our affiliated entities may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and a finding that we or our affiliated entities owe additional taxes could substantially reduce our consolidated net income and the value of your investment.
 
Under PRC laws and regulations, arrangements and transactions among related parties may be subject to audit or challenge by the PRC tax authorities within ten years after the taxable year when the transactions are conducted. We could face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the contractual arrangements between our wholly owned subsidiaries in China and our affiliated entities do not represent an arm’s-length price and consequently adjust our 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 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 affiliated entities for unpaid taxes. Our consolidated net income may be materially and adversely affected if our affiliated entities’ tax liabilities increase or if they are subject to late payment fees or other penalties.
 
If any of our PRC subsidiaries, affiliated entities and their subsidiaries becomes the subject of a bankruptcy or liquidation proceeding, we may lose the ability to use and enjoy certain important 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.
 
We currently conduct our operations in China through contractual arrangements with our affiliated entities. As part of these arrangements, our affiliated entities hold operating permits and licenses and some of the assets that are important to the operation of our business. If any of these entities goes bankrupt and all or part of their assets become subject to liens or rights of third-party creditors, we may be unable to continue some or all of our business activities, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. If any of our affiliated entities undergoes a voluntary or involuntary liquidation proceeding, its shareholders or unrelated third-party creditors may claim rights to some or all of these assets, thereby hindering our ability to operate our business, which could materially and adversely affect our business, our ability to generate revenue and the market price of our ADSs.
 
Risks Related to Doing Business in China
 
Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could have a material adverse effect on us.
 
The PRC legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes. Unlike the common law system, prior court decisions in a civil law system may be cited for reference but have limited precedential value. Since 1979, PRC legislation and regulations have significantly enhanced the protections afforded to various forms of foreign investments in China. However, since these laws and regulations are relatively new and the PRC legal system continues to rapidly evolve, the interpretations of many laws, regulations and rules are not always consistent, and enforcement of these laws, regulations and rules involve uncertainties, which may limit the available legal protections. In addition, the PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing or enforcing statutory rules and contractual terms, and it may be more difficult to predict the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we may enjoy in the PRC than under some more developed legal systems. These uncertainties may affect our judgment on the relevance of legal requirements and our decisions on the measures and actions to be taken to fully comply therewith and may affect our ability to enforce our contractual or tort rights. In addition, the regulatory uncertainties may be exploited through unmerited legal actions or threats in an attempt to extract payments or benefits from us. Such uncertainties may therefore increase our operating expenses and costs, and materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.


25


Table of Contents

Uncertainties with respect to PRC regulatory restrictions on after-school services could have a material adverse effect on us.
 
In 2009, the Ministry of Education, together with a few other PRC government agencies, issued implementation rules on administration of education-related fee collection, which provide, among other things, that schools that are part of the compulsory education system are not allowed to charge students additional fees for any type of after-school tutoring classes, and that public schools and their teachers, whether or not in cooperation with private schools, are prohibited from offering any type of after-school tutoring or training classes for a fee outside the school. Private schools, which are not part of the compulsory education system, generally are permitted to offer after-school tutoring services pursuant to their private school operating permits issued by the relevant PRC governmental authorities pursuant to the Law for Promoting Private Education and implementation rules promulgated thereunder. However, several provincial government agencies issued notices or rules applicable in their respective provinces expressly prohibiting even private schools from offering after-school tutoring classes to primary and secondary school students. Among the areas where we offer after-school tutoring services, local governments in Shanghai and Tianjin issued notices in 2004 and 2005, respectively, prohibiting private schools from offering after-school tutoring services to primary and secondary school students. Nevertheless, we are not aware of any instances in Shanghai or Tianjin where the governmental authorities took actions enforcing the aforementioned notices; nor have we received any notices, warnings or inquiries from these governmental authorities with respect to our tutoring services. Net revenues attributable to tutoring services in Shanghai and Tianjin accounted for less than 10% of our total net revenues for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010 and the six months ended August 31, 2010. The aforementioned notices do not provide any monetary penalties for violations and thus we are not able to quantify the penalties that we may be subject to if we are deemed not to be in compliance with these notices. We are not aware of any imminent risks in connection with the aforementioned notices. However, since PRC regulatory authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing rules and regulations and that regulatory enforcements can be inconsistent, we cannot assure you that we will not in the future be subject to the above mentioned regulations, fined or otherwise penalized by government authorities for offering such classes, in which case our business and operations could be materially and adversely affected.
 
We are required to obtain various operating licenses and permits and to make registrations and filings for our after-school tutoring services in China; failure to comply with these requirements may materially adversely affect our business 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 after-school tutoring business. For instance, to establish and operate a school to provide after-school tutoring services, we are required to obtain a private school operating permit and to make necessary filings for each learning center with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Civil Affairs or their local bureaus. As of the date of this prospectus, 26 of our 109 centers in operation may be subject to fines or other penalties due to their failure to obtain the requisite operating permits from, or make requisite filings with, the relevant governmental authorities. These 26 learning centers in the aggregate accounted for 15.3% of our total net revenues for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010. We were unable to obtain certain requisite permits or make certain filings in some districts in Beijing because the local authorities discontinued granting permits or accepting filings for administrative reasons for a period of time. Some of these local authorities have recently begun to accept applications and filings, and we are in the process of preparing filings and applying for permits for these learning centers and expect to complete and obtain most filings and permits in the near future. In a few other cases, we were not able to obtain certain permits because we have not yet met all the detailed requirements set forth by the local authorities for granting the permits, and we are taking steps to meet these requirements. We intend to ensure compliance with applicable rules and regulations in establishing new learning centers. Our business and legal teams are required to follow an internal guideline to obtain all requisite permits and make necessary filings on a timely basis for our new learning centers. However, there is no assurance that our efforts will result in full compliance given the significant amount of discretion the PRC authorities have in interpreting, implementing or enforcing rules and regulations and due to other factors beyond our control. Although we have not been subject to any material fines or other penalties in relation to any non-compliance of licensing requirements in the past, if we fail to cure any non-compliance in a timely manner, we may be subject to fines, confiscation of the gains derived from our noncompliant


26


Table of Contents

operations or the suspension of our noncompliant operations, which may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
 
If the relevant PRC regulatory authorities subsequently determine that personalized premium services must be operated through registered schools or non-foreign-invested PRC companies, our personalized premium services business may be exposed to increased risks associated with the contractual arrangements.
 
We currently offer our personalized premium tutoring services in Beijing through Huanqiu Zhikang, our wholly owned subsidiary, which is a foreign-invested company under PRC laws and regulations. Huanqiu Zhikang’s sole business is offering personalized premium tutoring services in Beijing, which contributed less than 1% of our total net revenues for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010. In Shanghai, our personalized premium tutoring services are offered through our affiliated schools pursuant to the local legal requirements. We offer the personalized premium tutoring services in Beijing through Huanqiu Zhikang, as opposed to through our PRC affiliated entities, primarily because we believe that one-on-one tutoring services fall within the scope of “for-profit training activities” and are not “educational activities” under the jurisdiction of the Beijing Municipal Education Commission, based on telephone inquiries we and our PRC counsel made to the Beijing Municipal Education Commission, which is the local bureau of the Ministry of Education in Beijing. In addition, Huanqiu Zhikang has obtained a business license from Beijing Administration of Industry and Commerce, expressly permitting Huanqiu Zhikang to conduct “educational consulting services,” which we believe covers our personalized premium services in Beijing. We also believe that providing personalized premium services through Huanqiu Zhikang, a wholly owned subsidiary, enhances our effective control over such business and improves management efficiency. To the extent we view that the benefits resulting from our current structure is greater than the risks associated with the legal uncertainties, we intend to continue to offer personalized premium services through Huanqiu Zhikang in Beijing in our future expansion plan for these services.
 
However, the differences between “educational activities,” on the one hand, and “for-profit training activities” and “educational consulting services,” on the other hand, remain unclear under the PRC laws and regulations. The Law for Promoting Private Education provides that “educational activities,” which are required to be conducted through schools or educational institutions, shall be regulated by the Ministry of Education whereas “for-profit training activities” shall be regulated by the Administration of Industry and Commerce in accordance with separate regulations to be issued by the State Council. To date, the State Council has not promulgated any regulations with respect to “for-profit training activities” and in practice, regulators in different local jurisdictions may have different views and administrative policies on one-on-one tutoring activities. Therefore, we cannot be certain that the relevant government authorities will reach the same conclusion in the future as we have regarding one-on-one personalized premium tutoring services.
 
If the relevant PRC regulatory authorities subsequently determine that personalized premium services must be operated through registered schools or non-foreign-invested PRC companies, we may be required to restructure our operations to offer personalized premium services through our affiliated schools, which may expose our personalized premium services business to increased risks associated with the contractual arrangements with affiliated entities. See “—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure.” If we fail to cure our non-compliance in a timely manner, we may be subject to fines of up to RMB100,000, suspension of such operations or other penalties, which may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
 
Adverse changes in political and economic policies of the PRC government could have a material adverse effect on the overall economic growth of China, which could reduce the demand for our products and services and materially and adversely affect our competitive position.
 
All of our business operations are conducted in China and all of our sales are made in China. Accordingly, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects are affected significantly by


27


Table of Contents

economic, political and legal developments in China. The economy in China differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including:
 
  •   degree of government involvement;
 
  •   level of development;
 
  •   rate of economic growth;
 
  •   control of foreign exchange rates and currency conversion;
 
  •   access to financing; and
 
  •   allocation of resources.
 
Although China has been transitioning from a planned economy to a more market-oriented economy since the 1970s, the PRC government continues to exercise significant control over China’s economy through resource allocation, foreign exchange control, monetary policies and administrative regulations of certain industries and entities. In recent years, the PRC government has implemented measures emphasizing the reliance on market forces to promote economic reform, reduce state ownership of productive assets and establish corporate governance structures in business enterprises. Nevertheless, a substantial portion of the productive assets in China are still owned by the PRC government. The continued control of these assets and other aspects of the national economy by the government could materially and adversely affect our business.
 
While the Chinese economy has grown significantly in the past 30 years, the growth has been uneven geographically among various sectors of the economy, and during different periods. We cannot assure you that the Chinese economy will continue to grow, or that if there is growth, such growth will be steady and uniform, or that if there is a slowdown, such slowdown will not have a negative effect on our business.
 
We may rely on dividends paid by our subsidiaries for our cash needs, and any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to make payments to us could limit our ability to pay dividends to holders of our ADSs and common shares.
 
We are a holding company and conduct substantially all of our business through our operating subsidiaries and consolidated affiliated entities, which are limited liability companies established in China. We may rely on dividends paid by our subsidiaries for our cash needs, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders, to service any debt we may incur and to pay our operating expenses. The payment of dividends by entities organized in China is subject to limitations. In particular, regulations in China currently permit payment of dividends only out of accumulated profits as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. PRC companies are also required to set aside at least 10% of their after-tax profit based on PRC accounting standards each year to their general reserves until the accumulative amount of such reserves reaches 50% of their registered capital. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends. In addition, PRC companies may allocate a portion of their after-tax profit to their staff welfare and bonus fund at the discretion of their boards of directors. Our PRC subsidiaries and VIEs historically have not allocated any of their after-tax profits to staff welfare and bonus funds, since there is no legal requirement to do so, but they may nevertheless decide to set aside such funds in the future. There is no maximum amount of after-tax profit that a company may contribute to such funds. Moreover, each of our affiliated schools is required to allocate certain amount of profits to its development fund for the construction or maintenance of school facilities or procurement or upgrade of educational equipment at the end of each fiscal year. See “Regulation—Regulation on Private Education—The Law for Promoting Private Education (2003) and the Implementation Rules for the Law for Promoting Private Education (2004)” for a discussion on the requirements for private schools to make allocations to school development funds. Any direct or indirect limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to distribute dividends and other distributions to us could materially and adversely limit our ability to make investments or acquisitions at the holding company level, pay dividends or otherwise fund and conduct our business.


28


Table of Contents

PRC regulation of loans and direct investment by offshore holding companies to PRC entities may limit the use of the proceeds we receive from this offering for our expansion or operations.
 
In utilizing the proceeds we receive from this offering in the manner described in “Use of Proceeds,” as an offshore holding company with PRC subsidiaries, we may (i) make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, (ii) establish new PRC subsidiaries and make capital contributions to these new PRC subsidiaries, (iii) make loans to our PRC subsidiaries or our VIEs, or (iv) acquire offshore entities with business operations in China in an offshore transaction. However, most of these uses are subject to PRC regulations and approvals. For example:
 
  •   capital contributions to our subsidiaries in China, whether existing ones or newly established ones, must be approved by the PRC Ministry of Commerce or its local bureaus;
 
  •   loans by us to our 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 bureaus;
 
  •   loans by us to our VIEs and their respective subsidiaries, which are domestic PRC entities, must be approved by the National Development and Reform Commission and must also be registered with SAFE or its local bureaus.
 
In addition, on August 29, 2008, SAFE promulgated Circular 142, a notice regulating the conversion by a foreign-invested company of its capital contribution in foreign currency into Renminbi. It requires that Renminbi converted from foreign currency-denominated capital of a foreign-invested enterprise may only be used for purposes within the business scope approved by the relevant government authority and may not be used to make equity investments in China, unless specifically provided otherwise. Moreover, the approved use of such Renminbi funds may not be changed without approval from SAFE. Renminbi funds converted from foreign exchange may not be used to repay loans in Renminbi if the proceeds of such loans have not yet been used. Any violation of Circular 142 may result in severe penalties, including substantial fines. We expect that if we convert the net proceeds from this offering into Renminbi pursuant to Circular 142, our use of Renminbi funds will be for purposes within the approved business scope of our PRC subsidiaries. However, we may not be able to use such Renminbi funds to make equity investments in the PRC through our PRC subsidiaries.
 
We expect that the PRC regulations of loans and direct investment by offshore holding companies to PRC entities may continue to limit our use of proceeds of this offering. There are no costs associated with registering loans or capital contributions with relevant PRC governmental authorities, other than nominal processing charges. Under PRC laws and regulations, the PRC governmental authorities are required to process such approvals or registrations or deny our application within 90 days. The actual time taken, however, 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, with respect to our future plans to use the U.S. dollar proceeds we receive from this offering for our expansion and operations in China. If we fail to receive such registrations or approvals, our ability to use the proceeds of this offering and to capitalize our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and ability to fund and expand our business.
 
PRC regulations relating to the establishment of offshore special purpose companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident beneficial owners to personal liability and limit our ability to acquire PRC companies or to inject capital into our PRC subsidiary, limit our PRC subsidiary’s ability to distribute profits to us, or otherwise materially and adversely affect us.
 
The State Administration of Foreign Exchange issued Circular 75, requiring PRC residents, including both legal persons and natural persons, to register with the relevant local branch of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange before establishing or controlling any company outside of China, referred to as an “offshore special purpose company,” for the purpose of raising funds from overseas to acquire assets of, or equity interest in, PRC companies. In addition, any PRC resident that is the beneficial owner of an offshore special purpose company is required to amend his or her registration with the local branch of the State Administration


29


Table of Contents

of Foreign Exchange, with respect to that offshore special purpose company in connection with any increase or decrease in its capital, transfer of shares, merger, division, equity investment or creation of any security interest over any assets located in China. Any failure to comply with the above registration requirements could result in PRC subsidiaries being prohibited from distributing their profits and proceeds from any reduction in capital, share transfer or liquidation to their offshore parent companies, offshore parent companies being restricted in their ability to contribute additional capital into their PRC subsidiaries, and other liabilities under PRC laws for evasion of foreign exchange restrictions.
 
We believe that all of our shareholders who are PRC citizens or residents have completed their required registrations with SAFE, or are otherwise in the process of registering with SAFE. However, we may not at all times be fully aware or informed of the identities of all of our beneficial owners who are PRC citizens or residents, and we may not always be able to compel our beneficial owners to comply with Circular 75; nor can we ensure you that their registrations, if they choose to apply, will be successful. The failure or inability of our PRC resident beneficial owners to make any required registrations or comply with these requirements may subject such beneficial owners to fines and legal sanctions and may also limit our ability to contribute additional capital into or provide loans (including using the proceeds from this offering) to our China operations, limit our PRC subsidiary’s ability to pay dividends or otherwise distribute profits to us, or otherwise materially and adversely affect us.
 
Any requirement to obtain prior approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or the CSRC, could delay this offering and a failure to obtain this approval, if required, could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results, reputation and trading price of our ADSs.
 
On August 8, 2006, six PRC regulatory agencies, namely, the Ministry of Commerce, the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the State Administration for Taxation, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the CSRC, and SAFE, jointly adopted the Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rule, which became effective on September 8, 2006. The M&A Rule purports to require, among other things, offshore special purpose vehicles, or SPVs, formed for the purpose of acquiring PRC domestic companies and controlled by PRC companies or individuals, to obtain the approval of the CSRC prior to publicly listing their securities on an overseas stock exchange. While the application of the M&A Rule remains unclear, we believe, based on the advice of our PRC counsel, Tian Yuan Law Firm, that CSRC approval is not required in the context of this offering as we are not a special purpose vehicle formed for the purpose of acquiring domestic companies that are controlled by PRC individual shareholders, as we acquired contractual control of, rather than equity interest in, our domestic affiliated entities. However, we cannot assure you that the relevant PRC government agency, including the CSRC, would reach the same conclusion as our PRC counsel. If the CSRC or other PRC regulatory agency subsequently determines that we need to obtain the CSRC’s approval for this offering, we may face sanctions by the CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies. In such event, these regulatory agencies may impose fines and penalties on our operations in the PRC, limit our operating privileges in the PRC, delay or restrict the repatriation of the proceeds from this offering into the PRC, or take other actions that could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, and prospects, as well as the trading price of our ADSs. The CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies may also take actions requiring us to halt this offering before settlement and delivery of the ADSs offered by this prospectus.
 
The discontinuation of any of the preferential tax treatments currently available to us in China could adversely affect our overall results of operations.
 
Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, or the EIT Law, which became effective on January 1, 2008, the statutory enterprise income tax rate is 25%, except where a special preferential rate applies.
 
Our affiliated entity, Xueersi Education, was qualified as a “High and New Technology Enterprise,” under the EIT Law effective January 1, 2008 and therefore was qualified for a preferential tax rate of 15%. In addition, since Xueersi Education is located in a high and new technology industrial zone in Beijing and qualified as a High and New Technology Enterprise, it was entitled to a three-year exemption from the enterprise income tax from calendar year 2006 to 2008 and a further tax reduction to a rate of 7.5% from


30


Table of Contents

calendar year 2009 to 2011. Our wholly owned subsidiary, TAL Beijing, was qualified as a “Newly Established Software Enterprise” under the EIT Law and therefore entitled to a two-year exemption from the enterprise income tax from calendar year 2009 to 2010 and a further tax reduction to 50% of the applicable rate from calendar year 2011 to 2013. Our affiliated entities, Xueersi Network and Beijing Haidian District Xueersi Training School, were entitled to a one-year tax exemption in calendar year 2007 as newly established companies in that year.
 
On April 21, 2010, the State Administration of Taxation issued Circular 157, Further Clarification on Implementation of Preferential EIT Rate during Transition Periods, or Circular 157. Circular 157 seeks to provide additional guidance on the interaction of certain preferential tax rates under the transitional rules of the EIT Law. Prior to Circular 157, we interpreted the law to mean that if a “high and new technology enterprise strongly supported by the state” or “High and New Technology Enterprise” was in a tax holiday period that provides for “2-year exemption plus 3-year half rate” or “5-year exemption plus 5-year half rate” or other tax exemptions and reductions, where it was entitled to a 50% reduction in the tax rate and was also entitled to a 15% rate of tax due to its High and New Technology Enterprise status under the EIT Law, then it was entitled to pay tax at the rate of 7.5%. Circular 157 appears to have the effect that such an entity is entitled to pay tax at the lower of 15% and 50% of the standard PRC tax rate, which is currently 25%. It is unclear whether Circular 157 would apply retrospectively but we understand that the State Administration of Taxation has recently taken the position that Circular 157 applies only to tax years commencing from January 1, 2010.
 
Based on the interpretation of Circular 157 from the relevant local tax authority, we believe that entities that are qualified for “3-year exemption plus 3-year half rate” tax holiday as High and New Technology Enterprises and are registered in the Zhongguancun High and New Technology Industrial Zone of Beijing will continue to pay income tax at a rate of 7.5%. Since Xueersi Education enjoys “3-year exemption plus 3-year half rate” and is a High and New Technology Enterprise registered in the Zhongguancun High and New Technology Industrial Zone of Beijing, we believe that Xueersi Education will continue to pay income tax at the rate of 7.5%. We cannot assure you, however, that the tax authorities will not in the future change their position on our preferential tax treatments. The discontinuation of our preferential tax treatments may materially increase our future tax liabilities.
 
Under the EIT Law, we may be classified as a “resident enterprise” of China. Such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders.
 
Under the EIT Law, an enterprise established outside of China with “de facto management body” within China is considered a “resident enterprise,” meaning that it can be treated in a manner similar to a Chinese enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes, although the dividends paid to one resident enterprise from another may qualify as “tax-exempt income.” The implementing rules of the EIT Law define de facto management as “substantial and overall management and control over the production and operations, personnel, accounting, and properties” of the enterprise. A circular issued by the State Administration of Taxation on April 22, 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 body” located within China if all of the following requirements are satisfied: (i) the senior management and core management departments in charge of its daily operations function are mainly in the PRC; (ii) its financial and human resources decisions are subject to determination or approval by persons or bodies in the PRC; (iii) 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 (iv) at least half of the enterprise’s directors with voting right or senior management reside in the PRC.
 
We do not believe that either TAL Group or our Hong Kong subsidiary, Xueersi Hong Kong, meets all of the conditions above. Each of TAL Group and Xueersi Hong Kong is a company incorporated outside the PRC. As holding companies, these two entities’ key assets and records, including resolutions of its board of directors and resolutions of its shareholders, are located and maintained outside of the PRC. In addition, we are not aware of any offshore holding companies with a similar corporate structure as ours ever having been deemed to be PRC “resident enterprises” by the PRC tax authorities. Therefore, we believe that neither TAL


31


Table of Contents

Group nor Xueersi Hong Kong should be treated as a “resident enterprise” for PRC tax purposes. However, as the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to determination by the PRC tax authorities, there are uncertainties and risks associated with this issue. If the PRC tax authorities determine that TAL Group and Xueersi Hong Kong are “resident enterprises” for PRC enterprise income tax purposes, a number of unfavorable PRC tax consequences could follow. First, we may be subject to enterprise income tax at a rate of 25% on our worldwide taxable income, as well as PRC enterprise income tax reporting obligations. Second, although under the EIT Law and its implementing rules, dividend income between qualified resident enterprises is a “tax-exempt income,” we cannot guarantee that dividends paid to TAL Group from our PRC subsidiaries through Xueersi Hong Kong would qualify as “tax-exempt income” and will not be subject to withholding tax, as the PRC foreign exchange control authorities, which enforce the withholding tax, have not yet issued guidance with respect to the processing of outbound remittances to entities that are treated as “resident enterprises” for PRC enterprise income tax purposes. Finally, the new “resident enterprise” classification could result in a situation in which a 10% withholding tax is imposed on dividends we pay to our non-PRC enterprise shareholders and with respect to gains derived by our non-PRC enterprise shareholders from transferring our shares or ADSs, if such income is considered PRC-sourced income by the relevant PRC authorities. This could have the effect of increasing 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. In addition to the uncertainties regarding how the new “resident enterprise” classification may apply, it is also possible that the rules may change in the future, possibly with retroactive effect.
 
Moreover, pursuant to the Arrangement between the PRC and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion, dividends declared after January 1, 2008 and distributed to our Hong Kong subsidiary by our PRC subsidiaries are subject to withholding tax at a rate of 5%, provided that our Hong Kong subsidiary is deemed by the relevant PRC tax authorities to be a “non-resident enterprise” under the EIT Law and holds at least 25% of the equity interest of our PRC subsidiaries. The State Administration for Taxation promulgated the Notice on How to Understand and Determine the Beneficial Owners in Tax Agreement on October 27, 2009, or SAT Circular 601, which provides guidance for determining whether a resident of a jurisdiction with tax treaties with the PRC is the “beneficial owner” of an item of income under PRC tax treaties and tax arrangements. According to SAT Circular 601, a beneficial owner generally must engage in substantive business activities. An agent or conduit company will not be regarded as a beneficial owner and, therefore, will not qualify for treaty benefits. A conduit company normally refers to a company that is set up for the purpose of avoiding or reducing taxes or transferring or accumulating profits. Although we may use Xueersi Hong Kong as a platform to expand our business in the future, Xueersi Hong Kong currently does not engage in any substantive business activities and thus it is possible that Xueersi Hong Kong may not be regarded as a “beneficial owner” for the purposes of SAT Circular 601 and the dividends it receives from our PRC subsidiaries would be subject to withholding tax at a rate of 10%.
 
We face uncertainties with respect to application of the Circular on Strengthening the Administration of Enterprise Income Tax for Share Transfer of Non-PRC Resident Enterprises.
 
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 on December 10, 2009, where a foreign investor transfers the equity interests of 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 (i) has an effective tax rate less than 12.5% or (ii) does not tax foreign income of its residents, the foreign investor shall report the Indirect Transfer to the competent tax authority. The PRC tax authority will examine the true nature of the Indirect Transfer, and if the tax authority considers that the foreign investor has adopted an “abusive arrangement” in order to avoid PRC tax, it may disregard the existence of the overseas holding company and re-characterize the Indirect Transfer and as a result, gains derived from such Indirect Transfer may be subject to PRC withholding tax at a rate of up to 10%. Circular 698 also provides that, 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. Circular 698


32


Table of Contents

is retroactively effective from January 1, 2008. The relevant PRC authority has not yet promulgated any formal provisions or formally declared or stated how to calculate the effective tax in a foreign jurisdiction and how a foreign investor shall report to the competent tax authority an Indirect Transfer. Since Circular 698 was newly promulgated, there are uncertainties as to its application. It is possible that we or our non-resident investors may become at risk of being taxed under Circular 698 and may be required to expend valuable resources to comply with Circular 698 or to establish that we or our non-resident investors should not be taxed under Circular 698, which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations or such non-resident investors’ investment in us.
 
We face risks and uncertainties with respect to the licensing requirement for Internet audio-video programs.
 
On December 20, 2007, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, or SARFT, and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or MII, issued the Administrative Measures Regarding Internet Audio-Video Program Services, or the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures, which became effective on January 31, 2008. 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 bureaus or completing the relevant registration with SARFT or its local bureaus, and only entities wholly owned or controlled by the PRC government may engage in the production, editing, integration or consolidation, and transmission to the public through the Internet, of audio-video programs, or the provision of audio-video program uploading and transmission services. On February 3, 2008, SARFT and MII jointly held a press conference in response to inquiries related to the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures, during which SARFT and MII officials indicated that providers of audio-video program services established prior to the promulgation date of the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures that do not have any regulatory non-compliance records can re-register with the relevant government authorities to continue their current business operations. After the conference, the two authorities published a press release that confirmed the above guidelines. There are still significant uncertainties relating to the interpretation and implementation of the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures, in particular, the scope of “Internet Audio-Video Programs.”
 
Furthermore, on April 1, 2010, SARFT promulgated the Test Implementation of the Tentative Categories of Internet Audio-Visual Program Services, or the Categories, which clarified the scope of Internet audio-video programs services. According to the Categories, there are four categories of Internet audio-visual program services which are further divided into seventeen sub-categories. The third sub-category to the second category covers the making and editing of certain specialized audio-video programs concerning, among other things, educational content, and broadcasting such content to the general public online.
 
Since we began offering online courses in 2010, revenues derived from audio-video program services that may be subject to the Audio-Video Program Measures were less than 1.5% of our net revenue. In the course of offering online tutoring services, we transmit our audio-video educational courses and programs through the Internet only to enrolled course participants, not to the general public. The limited scope of our audience distinguishes us from general online audio-video broadcasting companies, such as companies operating user-generated content websites. In addition, we do not provide audio-video program uploading and transmission services. As a result, we believe that we are not subject to the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures. However, there is no further official or publicly available interpretation of these definitions, especially the scope of “Internet audio-video program service.” If the governmental authorities determine that our provision of online tutoring services falls within the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures, we may not be able to obtain the License for Disseminating Audio-Video Programs through Information Network. If this occurs, we may become subject to significant penalties, fines, legal sanctions or an order to suspend our use of audio-video content.
 
Fluctuation in the value of the Renminbi may have a material adverse effect on your investment.
 
The value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currencies is affected by, among other things, changes in China’s political and economic conditions and China’s foreign exchange policies. The conversion of


33


Table of Contents

the Renminbi into foreign currencies, including the U.S. dollar, has been based on exchange rates set by the People’s Bank of China. On July 21, 2005, the PRC government changed its decade-old policy of pegging the value of the Renminbi solely to the U.S. dollar. Under this revised policy, the Renminbi is permitted to fluctuate within a narrow and managed band against a basket of certain foreign currencies. Following the removal of the U.S. dollar peg, the Renminbi appreciated approximately 21.5% against the U.S. dollar over the following three years. Since July 2008, however, the Renminbi has traded within a narrow range against the U.S. dollar, remaining within 1% of its July 2008 high. As a consequence, the Renminbi has fluctuated significantly since July 2008 against other freely traded currencies, in tandem with the U.S. dollar. On June 20, 2010, the People’s Bank of China announced that the PRC government will further reform the Renminbi exchange rate regime and enhance the Renminbi exchange rate flexibility. It is difficult to predict how this new policy may impact the Renminbi exchange rate going forward.
 
Significant revaluation of the Renminbi may have a material adverse effect on your investment. For example, to the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars we receive from this initial public offering into Renminbi for our operations, appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the Renminbi amount we would receive from the conversion. Conversely, if we decide to convert our Renminbi into U.S. dollars for the purpose of making payments for dividends on our common shares or ADSs or for other business purposes, appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Renminbi would have a negative effect on the U.S. dollar amount available to us.
 
Governmental control of currency conversion may affect the value of your investment.
 
The PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility of the Renminbi into foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. Under our current corporate structure, our income will be primarily derived from a share of the earnings from our PRC subsidiaries. Revenues of our PRC subsidiaries are all denominated in Renminbi. Shortages in the availability of foreign currency may restrict the ability of our PRC 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, for any PRC company, dividends can be declared and paid only out of the retained earnings of that company under PRC law. Furthermore, approval from SAFE or its local branch is required where Renminbi 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. Specifically, under the existing exchange restrictions, without a prior approval of SAFE, cash generated from the operations of our subsidiaries in China may be used to pay dividends by our PRC subsidiaries to TAL Group through Xueersi Hong Kong and pay employees of our PRC subsidiaries who are located outside China in a currency other than the Renminbi. With a prior approval from SAFE, cash generated from the operations of our PRC subsidiaries and affiliated entities may be used to pay off debt in a currency other than the Renminbi owed by our subsidiaries and affiliated entities to entities outside China, and make other capital expenditures outside China in a currency other than the Renminbi. 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.
 
Risks Related to Our ADSs and This Offering
 
There has been no public market for our common shares or ADSs prior to this offering, and you may not be able to resell our ADSs at or above the price you paid, or at all.
 
Prior to this initial public offering, there has been no public market for our common shares or ADSs. We have applied to list our ADSs on the New York Stock Exchange. Our common shares will not be listed on any exchange or quoted for trading on any over-the-counter trading system. If an active trading market for our


34


Table of Contents

ADSs does not develop after this offering, the market price and liquidity of our ADSs will be materially and adversely affected.
 
The initial public offering price for our ADSs will be determined by negotiations between us and the underwriters and may bear no relationship to the market price for our ADSs after this initial public offering. We cannot assure you that an active trading market for our ADSs will develop or that the market price of our ADSs will not decline below the initial public offering price.
 
The market price for our ADSs may be volatile.
 
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 and key personnel,
 
  •   intellectual property litigation,
 
  •   release or expiration of lock-up or other transfer restrictions on our outstanding Class B common shares or ADSs, and
 
  •   economic, regulatory or political conditions in China.
 
In addition, the performance, and fluctuation in market prices, of other companies with business operations mainly located in China that have listed their securities in the United States may affect the volatility in the price and trading volume of our ADSs. Furthermore, the securities market has from time to time experienced significant price and volume fluctuations that are not related to the operating performance of particular companies. These market fluctuations may also have a material adverse effect on the market price of our ADSs.
 
Our dual-class voting structure will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any change of control transactions that holders of our Class A common shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.
 
Our common shares are divided into Class A common shares and Class B common shares. Holders of Class A common shares are entitled to one vote per share, while holders of Class B common shares are entitled to ten votes per share. We will issue Class A common shares represented by our ADSs in this offering. All of our existing shareholders as of September 29, 2010, including our founders, hold our Class B common shares, and our outstanding preferred shares will be automatically converted into Class B common shares immediately prior to the completion of this offering. We intend to maintain the dual-class voting structure after the completion of this offering. Each Class B common share is convertible into one Class A common share at any time by the holder thereof. Class A common shares are not convertible into Class B common shares under any circumstances. Upon any transfer of Class B common shares by a holder thereof to any person or entity which is not an affiliate of such holder, such Class B common shares shall be automatically and immediately converted into the equal number of Class A common shares. In addition, if at any time Mr. Bangxin Zhang, Mr. Yundong Cao, Mr. Yachao Liu, Mr. Yunfeng Bai, Tiger Global Five China Holdings and KTB China Optimum Fund and their respective affiliates collectively own less than 5% of the total number of the issued and outstanding Class B common shares (taking into account all of the issued and outstanding preferred shares on an as-converted basis), each issued and outstanding Class B common share shall be automatically and immediately converted into one share of Class A common share, and we shall not


35


Table of Contents

issue any Class B common shares thereafter. Due to the disparate voting powers attached to these two classes, we anticipate that our existing shareholders will collectively own approximately     % of the voting power of our outstanding shares immediately after this offering and will have considerable influence over matters requiring shareholder approval, including election of directors and significant corporate transactions, such as a merger or sale of our company or our assets. In particular, our founders and senior management, Mr. Bangxin Zhang, Mr. Yundong Cao, Mr. Yachao Liu and Mr. Yunfeng Bai and their respective affiliates, will beneficially own approximately     % of our total outstanding shares, representing     % of our total voting power immediately after this offering. This concentrated control will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any potential merger, takeover or other change of control transactions that holders of Class A common shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.
 
Our corporate actions are substantially controlled by our officers, directors, principal shareholders and their affiliated entities.
 
After this offering, our executive officers, directors and their affiliated entities will beneficially own approximately     % of our total outstanding shares, representing     % of our total voting power. These shareholders, if they acted together, could exert substantial influence over matters requiring approval by our shareholders, including electing directors and approving mergers or other business combination transactions and they may not act in the best interests of other minority shareholders. This concentration of ownership may also discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, which could deprive our shareholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of our company and might reduce the price of our ADSs. These actions may be taken even if they are opposed by our other shareholders, including those who purchase ADSs in this offering.
 
If securities or industry analysts publish negative reports about our business, the price and trading volume of our securities could decline.
 
The trading market for our securities depends, in part, on the research reports and ratings that securities or industry analysts or ratings agencies publish about us, our business and the K-12 after-school tutoring 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 securities 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 securities or trading volume to decline.
 
Because the initial public offering price is substantially higher than our net tangible book value per share, you will incur immediate and substantial dilution.
 
If you purchase ADSs in this offering, you will pay more for your ADSs than the amount paid by our existing shareholders for their Class A common shares on a per ADS basis. As a result, you will experience immediate and substantial dilution of approximately $      per ADS (assuming no exercise by the underwriters of their option to acquire additional ADSs), representing the difference between our net tangible book value per ADS as of August 31, 2010 after giving effect to this offering and an assumed initial public offering price of $      per ADS, the midpoint of the range shown on the front cover page of this prospectus. In addition, you may experience further dilution to the extent that our restricted shares are vested. See “Dilution” for a more complete description of how the value of your investment in our ADSs will be diluted upon completion of this offering.
 
Substantial future sales or the expectation of substantial sales of our ADSs in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline.
 
Sales of our ADSs or Class A common shares in the public market after this offering, or the perception that these sales could occur, could cause the market price of our ADSs to decline. Upon completion of this offering, we will have Class A and Class B common shares outstanding, including Class A common shares represented by ADSs. All ADSs sold in this offering will be freely transferable without restriction or


36


Table of Contents

additional registration under the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act. The remaining common shares outstanding after this offering will be available for sale upon the expiration of the 180-day lock-up period beginning from the date of this prospectus and, in the case of the Class B common shares and Class A common shares that certain option holders will receive when they exercise their share options, subject to volume and other restrictions as applicable under Rule 144 and Rule 701 under the Securities Act. Any or all of these shares (other than those held by certain option holders) may be released prior to expiration of the lock-up period at the discretion of the underwriters. To the extent shares are released before the expiration of the lock-up period and these shares are sold into the market, the market price of our ADSs could decline.
 
In addition, several of our shareholders have the right to cause us to register the sale of their shares under the Securities Act upon the occurrence of certain circumstances. See “Description of Share Capital—Shareholders’ Agreement and Registration Rights.” Registration of these shares under the Securities Act would result in these shares becoming freely tradable without restriction under the Securities Act immediately upon the effectiveness of the registration of these shares. Sales of these registered shares in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline.
 
Our post-offering articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could discourage a third party from acquiring us, which could limit our shareholders’ opportunity to sell their shares, including Class A common shares represented by our ADSs, at a premium.
 
Our articles of association that will become effective immediately upon the completion of this offering 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. These preferred shares may have better voting rights than our Class A common shares, in the form of ADSs or otherwise, and 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 rights of the holders of our common shares and ADSs may be diluted.
 
Certain actions require the approval of a supermajority of at least two-thirds of our board of directors which, among other things, would allow our non-independent directors to block a variety of actions or transactions, such as a merger or asset sale, even if all of our independent directors unanimously voted in favor of such action, thereby further depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium. See “Description of Share Capital—Common Shares—Voting Rights.”
 
Holders of ADSs have fewer rights than shareholders and must act through the depositary to exercise those rights.
 
Holders of ADSs do not have the same rights of our shareholders and may only exercise the voting rights with respect to the underlying Class A common shares in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. Under our post-offering memorandum and articles of association, the minimum notice period required to convene a general meeting is ten days. When a general meeting is convened, you may not receive sufficient notice of a shareholders’ meeting to permit you to withdraw your common shares to allow you to cast your vote with respect to any specific matter. In addition, the depositary and its agents may not be able to send voting instructions to you or carry out your voting instructions in a timely manner. We will make all reasonable efforts to cause the depositary to extend voting rights to you in a timely manner, but we cannot assure you that you will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that you can instruct the depositary to vote your ADSs. Furthermore, the depositary and its agents will not be responsible for any failure to carry out any instructions to vote, for the manner in which any vote is cast or for the effect of any such vote. As a result, you may not be able to exercise your right to vote and you may lack recourse if your ADSs are not voted as you requested. In addition, in your capacity as an ADS holder, you will not be able to call a shareholders’ meeting.


37


Table of Contents

You may not receive distributions on our common shares or any value for them if such distribution is illegal or if any required government approval cannot be obtained in order to make such distribution available to you.
 
The depositary of our ADSs has agreed to pay to you the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian receives on common shares or other deposited securities underlying our ADSs, after deducting its fees and expenses. You will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of Class A common shares your ADSs represent. However, the depositary is not responsible if it decides that it is unlawful, inequitable or impractical to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs. For example, it would be unlawful to make a distribution to a holder of ADSs if it consists of securities that require registration under the Securities Act but that are not properly registered or distributed under an applicable exemption from registration. The depositary may also determine that it is not feasible to distribute certain property through the mail. Additionally, the value of certain distributions may be less than the cost of mailing them. In these cases, the depositary may determine not to distribute such property. We have no obligation to register under U.S. securities laws any ADSs, common shares, rights or other securities received through such distributions. We also have no obligation to take any other action to permit the distribution of ADSs, common shares, rights or anything else to holders of ADSs. This means that you may not receive distributions we make on our common shares or any value for them if it is illegal or impractical for us to make them available to you. These restrictions may cause a material decline in the value of our ADSs.
 
You may be subject to limitations on transfers 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 deem 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.
 
Your right to participate in any future rights offerings may be limited, which may cause dilution to your holdings.
 
We may from time to time distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire our securities. However, we cannot make rights available to you in the United States unless we register the rights and the securities to which the rights relate under the Securities Act or an exemption from the registration requirements is available. Also, under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not make rights available to you unless the distribution to ADS holders of both the rights and any related securities are either registered under the Securities Act, or exempted from registration under the Securities Act. We are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to any such rights or securities or to endeavor to cause such a registration statement to be declared effective. Moreover, we may not be able to establish an exemption from registration under the Securities Act. Accordingly, you may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution in your holdings.
 
We are a Cayman Islands company and, because judicial precedent regarding the rights of shareholders is more limited under Cayman Islands law than that under U.S. law, you may have less protection for your shareholder rights than you would under U.S. law.
 
Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, as amended and restated from time to time, the Cayman Islands Companies Law (as amended) and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as that 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


38


Table of Contents

as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws than the United States. In addition, some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands.
 
As a result of all of the above, public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as shareholders of a U.S. public company.
 
You may experience difficulties in effecting service of legal process, enforcing foreign judgments or bringing original actions in China against us, our management or the experts named in this prospectus.
 
We are a Cayman Islands company and substantially all of our assets are located outside of the United States. All of our current operations are conducted in the PRC. In addition, most of our directors and officers are nationals and residents of the PRC. As a result, it may be difficult for you to effect service of process within the United States or elsewhere outside China upon these persons. It may also be difficult for you to enforce in U.S. courts judgments obtained in U.S. courts based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws against us and our officers and directors, most of whom are not residents in the United States and the substantial majority of whose assets are located outside of the United States. In addition, there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of the Cayman Islands or the PRC would recognize or enforce judgments of U.S. courts against us or such persons predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state and it is uncertain whether such Cayman Islands or PRC courts would be competent to hear original actions brought in the Cayman Islands or the PRC against us or such persons predicated upon the securities laws of the United States or any state. In addition, since we are incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands and our corporate affairs are governed by the laws of the Cayman Islands, it is difficult for you to bring an action against us based upon PRC laws in the event that you believe that your rights as a shareholder have been infringed. See “Enforceability of Civil Liabilities.”
 
We have not determined any specific use for a portion of the net proceeds to us from this offering and we may use such portion of the net proceeds in ways with which you may not agree.
 
We have not allocated a portion of the net proceeds from this offering to any specific purpose. Rather, our management will have considerable discretion in the application of such portion of the net proceeds. See “Use of Proceeds.” You will not have the opportunity, as part of your investment decision, to assess whether such proceeds are being used appropriately. You must rely on the judgment of our management regarding the application of such proceeds we receive from this offering. Such proceeds may be used for corporate purposes that do not improve our profitability or increase our ADS price. Such proceeds we receive from this offering may also be placed in investments that do not produce income or that may lose value.


39


Table of Contents

 
SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
 
This prospectus contains forward-looking statements that reflect our current expectations and views of future events. The forward looking statements are contained principally in the sections entitled “Summary,” “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” “Market Opportunity” and “Business.” You can identify some of these forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “is/are likely to,” “potential,” “continue,” “seek,” “should,” “predict,” “anticipate” or negative versions of these words or other similar expressions, although not all forward-looking statement contain these words.
 
Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements relating to:
 
  •   our anticipated growth strategies;
 
  •   competition in the K-12 after-school tutoring market;
 
  •   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 course offerings;
 
  •   risks associated with the expansion of our geographic reach;
 
  •   the expected increase in spending on private education in China; and
 
  •   PRC laws, regulations and policies relating to private education and providers of after-school tutoring services.
 
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. Although we believe that our expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, our expectations may later be found to be incorrect. Our actual results could be materially different from our expectations. Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, including those important risks and factors that could cause our actual results to be materially different from our expectations are generally set forth in “Summary—Our Challenges,” “Risk Factors,” “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” “Business,” “Regulation” and other sections in this prospectus. You should read thoroughly this prospectus and the documents that we refer to with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from and worse than what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements with these cautionary statements. Other sections of this prospectus include additional factors which could adversely impact our business and financial performance.
 
This prospectus contains statistical data that we obtained from various government and private publications. Statistical data in these publications also include projections based on a number of assumptions. The market for K-12 after-school tutoring services in China may not grow at the rate projected by market data, or at all. The failure of this market to grow at the projected rate may have a material adverse effect on our business and the market price of our ADSs. Furthermore, if any one or more of the assumptions underlying the market data is later found to be incorrect, actual results may differ from the projections based on these assumptions. You should not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
 
The forward-looking statements made in this prospectus relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this prospectus. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events. You should read this prospectus and the documents that we refer to in this prospectus and have filed as exhibits to the registration statement, of which this prospectus is a part, completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from what we expect.


40


Table of Contents

 
USE OF PROCEEDS
 
We estimate that we will receive net proceeds from this offering of approximately $      million, or approximately $      million if the underwriters exercise their option to purchase additional ADSs in full, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and the estimated offering expenses payable by us. These estimates are based upon an assumed initial offering price of $      per ADS (the midpoint of the estimated initial public offering price range shown on the front cover page of this prospectus). A $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $      per ADS would increase (decrease) the net proceeds to us from this offering by $      million, assuming the number of ADSs offered by us, as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, remains the same and after deducting the estimated underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
 
The primary purposes of this offering are to create a public market for our shares for the benefit of all shareholders, retain talented employees by providing them with equity incentives, and obtain additional capital. We plan to use the net proceeds from the offering as follows:
 
  •   approximately $      million to expand our network of learning centers and service centers;
 
  •   approximately $      million to build a national training center;
 
  •   approximately $30 million to pay a declared dividend conditional upon the completion of this offering (see “Dividend Policy”);
 
  •   approximately $      million to strengthen curriculum and course material development capabilities;
 
  •   approximately $      million to improve our existing facilities; and
 
  •   the balance for general corporate purposes, including strategic investments in and acquisitions of complementary businesses, although we have not identified any near-term investment or acquisition targets.
 
The foregoing represents our current intentions based upon our present plans and business conditions to use and allocate the net proceeds of this offering. Our management, however, will have significant flexibility and discretion to apply the net proceeds of this offering. If an unforeseen event occurs or business conditions change, we may use the proceeds of this offering differently than as described in this prospectus. To the extent that a certain portion or all of the net proceeds we receive from this offering are not immediately applied for the above purposes, we plan to invest the net proceeds in short-term interest-bearing debt instruments or bank deposits.
 
In using the proceeds of this offering, as an offshore holding company, we are permitted, under the PRC laws and regulations, to provide funding to our PRC subsidiaries only through loans or capital contributions and to our PRC affiliated entities only through loans, subject to satisfaction of applicable government registration and approval requirements. There are no costs associated with registering loans or capital contributions with relevant PRC authorities, other than nominal processing charges. Under PRC laws and regulations, the PRC governmental authorities are required to process such approvals or registrations or deny our application within 90 days. The actual time taken, however, 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. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—PRC regulation of loans and direct investment by offshore holding companies to PRC entities may limit the use of the proceeds we receive from this offering for our expansion or operations.”


41


Table of Contents

 
DIVIDEND POLICY
 
On September 29, 2010, we declared a $30 million cash dividend payable to our shareholders of record as of that date, subject to the completion of this offering. However, we do not have any present plan to pay any other cash dividends on our common shares in the foreseeable future. We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to operate and expand our business.
 
Our board of directors has complete discretion whether to declare dividends. Even if our board of directors decides to declare dividends, their 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.
 
Holders of our ADSs will be entitled to receive dividends, if any, subject to the terms of the deposit agreement, to the same extent as the holders of our Class A common shares. Cash dividends will be paid to the depositary of our ADSs in U.S. dollars, which will distribute them to the holders of ADSs according to the terms of the deposit agreement. Other distributions, if any, will be paid by the depositary to the holders of ADSs in any means it deems legal, fair and practical. See “Description of American Depositary Shares.”
 
We are a holding company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. We may rely on dividends from our subsidiaries in China for our cash needs. To pay dividends to us, our subsidiaries in China shall comply with the current PRC regulations. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We may rely on dividends paid by our subsidiaries for our cash needs, and any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to make payments to us could limit our ability to pay dividends to holders of our ADSs and common shares.”


42


Table of Contents

 
CAPITALIZATION
 
The following table sets forth our capitalization as of August 31, 2010:
 
  •   on an actual basis;
 
  •   on a pro forma basis to reflect the automatic conversion of all of our Series A preferred shares into 5,000,000 Class B common shares immediately upon the completion of this offering; and
 
  •   on a pro forma as adjusted basis to reflect (i) the pro forma adjustments above, (ii) the payment of a $30 million cash dividend declared to our then existing shareholders and payable upon the completion of this offering; and (iii) the sale of           Class A common shares in the form of ADSs by us in this offering at an assumed initial public offering price of $      per share, the midpoint of the estimated range of our initial public offering price, after deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and the estimated offering expenses payable by us.
 
You should read this table together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus and the information under “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”
 
                         
    As of August 31, 2010  
                Pro forma as
 
    Actual     Pro forma     adjusted  
 
Series A preferred shares ($0.001 par value, 5,000,000 shares authorized, issued and outstanding)
    9,000,000              
                         
Equity:
                       
Class A common shares ($0.001 par value, 500,000,000 shares authorized and nil issued and outstanding, actual; 500,000,000 shares authorized, nil issued and outstanding, pro forma; 500,000,000 shares authorized,           shares issued and outstanding, pro forma as adjusted)(1)
                       
Class B common shares ($0.001 par value, 495,000,000 shares authorized, 120,000,000 shares issued and outstanding, and 125,000,000 shares issued and outstanding on a pro forma basis)(1)
    120,000       125,000                   
Additional paid-in capital(2)
    1,699,503       10,694,503          
Retained earnings(3)
    30,173,018       30,173,018          
Accumulated other comprehensive income
    288,226       288,226          
                         
Total equity
    32,280,747       41,280,747          
                         
Total capitalization
    32,280,747       41,280,747          
                         
 
 
Note:
 
(1) Effective September 29, 2010, our share capital was re-designated into Class A and Class B common shares under our third amended and restated memorandum and articles of association.
 
(2) A $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed initial public offering price of $      would increase (decrease) each of additional paid-in capital, total shareholders equity and total capitalization by $      .
 
(3) Includes $4.9 million in statutory reserves that are not available for distribution pursuant to PRC laws.


43


Table of Contents

 
DILUTION
 
If you invest in our ADSs, your interest will be diluted to the extent of the difference between the initial public offering price per ADS and our net tangible book value per ADS after this offering. Dilution results from the conversion of our Series A preferred shares and the fact that the initial public offering price per ADS is substantially in excess of the book value per common share attributable to the existing shareholders for our presently outstanding common shares.
 
Our net tangible book value as of           was approximately $      million, or $      per common share and $      per ADS as of that date. Net tangible book value represents the amount of our total consolidated tangible assets less the amount of our total consolidated liabilities. Dilution is determined by subtracting net tangible book value per common share, after giving effect to the conversion of all outstanding Series A preferred shares into Class B common shares upon the completion of this offering and the additional proceeds we will receive from this offering, from the assumed initial public offering price per ADS, which is the midpoint of the estimated initial public offering price range set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us.
 
Without taking into account any other changes in net tangible book value after          , other than to give effect to (i) the conversion of all outstanding Series A preferred shares into Class B common shares upon the completion of this offering, (ii) our sale of the ADSs offered in this offering at the initial public offering price of $      per ADS after deduction of the underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by us and (iii) the payment of a $30 million cash dividend previously declared to our then existing shareholders and payable upon the closing of this offering, our pro forma net tangible book value as of           would have been $      million, or $      per outstanding common share and $      per ADS. This represents an immediate increase in net tangible book value of $      per common share and $      per ADS to the existing shareholders and an immediate dilution in net tangible book value of $      per common share and $      per ADS to investors purchasing ADSs in this offering. The following table illustrates such dilution:
 
                 
    Per Common
       
    Share     Per ADS  
 
Assumed initial public offering price
  $                $             
Net tangible book value per share as of          
  $       $    
Pro forma net tangible book value per share after giving effect to the conversion of our Series A preferred shares
  $       $    
Pro forma net tangible book value per share after giving effect to the conversion of our Series A preferred shares and this offering
  $       $    
Amount of dilution in net tangible book value per share to new investors in the offering
  $       $  
 
The following table summarizes, on a pro forma basis as of          , the differences between existing shareholders, including holders of our Series A preferred shares that will be automatically converted into Class B common shares immediately prior to the completion of this offering, and the new investors with respect to the number of Class A common shares (in the form of ADSs or shares) purchased from us, the total consideration paid and the average price per Class A common share/ADS paid before deducting the underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses. The total number of common shares


44


Table of Contents

does not include Class A common shares underlying the ADSs issuable upon the exercise of the over-allotment option granted to the underwriters.
 
                                                 
                            Average
       
                            Price Per
    Average
 
    Common shares
    Total
    Common
    Price Per
 
    Purchased     Consideration     Share     ADS  
    Number     Percent     Amount     Percent              
    ($ in thousands, except number of shares and percentages)        
 
Existing shareholders
                     %   $                  %   $                $             
New investors
            %   $         %   $       $  
                                                 
Total
            100 %   $         100 %                
                                                 
 
A $1.00 increase (decrease) in the assumed public offering price of $      per ADS would increase (decrease) our pro forma net tangible book value after giving effect to the offering by $      million, the pro forma net tangible book value per common share and per ADS after giving effect to the automatic conversion of our Series A preferred shares and this offering by $      per Class A common share and $      per ADS and the dilution in pro forma net tangible book value per common share and per ADS to new investors in this offering by $      per common share and $           per ADS, assuming no charge to the number of ADSs offered by us as set forth on the cover page of this prospectus, and after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other offering expenses.
 
The pro forma information discussed above is illustrative only. Our net tangible book value following the completion of this offering is subject to adjustment based on the actual initial public offering price of our ADSs and other terms of this offering determined at pricing.
 
The discussion and tables above also assume no vesting of any outstanding restricted shares. As of the date of this prospectus, there are 5,419,500 restricted shares granted to our directors, executive officers and employees that are outstanding and will be vested in accordance with vesting schedules ranging from one to four years. To the extent that any of these restricted shares are vested, there will be further dilution to new investors.


45


Table of Contents

 
EXCHANGE RATE INFORMATION
 
Substantially all of our operations are conducted in China and substantially all of our revenues and expenses are denominated in RMB. This prospectus contains translations of RMB amounts into U.S. dollars at specific rates solely for the convenience of the reader. Unless otherwise noted, all translations from RMB to U.S. dollars and from U.S. dollars to RMB in this prospectus were made at a rate of RMB6.8069 to $1.00, the exchange rate set forth in the Federal Reserve Statistical Release on August 31, 2010. We make no representation that any RMB or U.S. dollar amounts could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. dollars or RMB, as the case may be, at any particular rate, the rates stated herein, or at all. The PRC government imposes control over its foreign currency reserves in part through direct regulation of the conversion of RMB into foreign currencies and through restrictions on international trade. On September 24, 2010, the certified exchange rate was RMB6.7035 to $1.00.
 
The following table sets forth information concerning exchange rates between RMB and the U.S. dollar for the periods indicated. These rates are provided solely for your convenience and are not necessarily the exchange rates that we used in this prospectus or will use in the preparation of our periodic reports or any other information to be provided to you.
 
                                 
    Exchange Rate  
Period
  Period End     Average(1)     Low     High  
    (RMB per $1.00)  
 
2005
    8.0702       8.1826       8.2765       8.0702  
2006
    7.8041       7.9579       8.0702       7.8041  
2007
    7.2946       7.5806       7.8127       7.2946  
2008
    6.8225       6.9193       7.2946       6.7800  
2009
    6.8259       6.8295       6.8470       6.8176  
2010
                               
March
    6.8258       6.8262       6.8270       6.8254  
April
    6.8247       6.8256       6.8275       6.8229  
May
    6.8305       6.8275       6.8310       6.8245  
June
    6.7815       6.8184       6.8323       6.7815  
July
    6.7735       6.7762       6.7807       6.7709  
August
    6.8069       6.7873       6.8069       6.7670  
September (through September 24)
    6.7035       6.7514       6.8102       6.7035  
 
 
Source: Federal Reserve Statistical Release
 
(1) Annual averages were calculated by using the average of the exchange rates on the last day of each month during the relevant year. Monthly averages are calculated by using the average of the daily rates during the relevant month.


46


Table of Contents

 
ENFORCEABILITY OF CIVIL LIABILITIES
 
We were incorporated in the Cayman Islands in order to enjoy certain benefits, such as political and economic stability, an effective judicial system, a favorable tax system, the absence of exchange control or currency restrictions, and the availability of professional and support services. However, certain disadvantages accompany incorporation in the Cayman Islands. These disadvantages include a less developed body of Cayman Islands securities laws that provide significantly less protection to investors as compared to the laws of the United States, and the potential lack of standing by Cayman Islands companies to sue before the federal courts of the United States.
 
Our organizational documents do not contain provisions requiring that disputes, including those arising under the securities laws of the United States, between us, our officers, directors and shareholders, be arbitrated.
 
Substantially all of our operations are conducted in China, and substantially all of our assets are located in China. A majority of our officers are nationals or residents of jurisdictions other than the United States and a substantial portion of their assets are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult for a shareholder to effect service of process within the United States upon these persons, or to enforce against us or them judgments obtained in United States courts, including judgments predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state in the United States.
 
We have appointed Law Debenture Corporate Services Inc., as our agent upon whom process may be served in any action brought against us under the securities laws of the United States.
 
Maples and Calder, our counsel as to Cayman Islands law, and Tian Yuan Law Firm, our counsel as to PRC law, have respectively advised us that there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of the Cayman Islands and China would:
 
  •   recognize or enforce judgments of United States courts obtained against us or our directors or officers predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state in the United States; or
 
  •   entertain original actions brought in each respective jurisdiction against us or our directors or officers predicated upon the securities laws of the United States or any state in the United States.
 
Maples and Calder has further advised us that a final and conclusive judgment in a federal or state court of the United States under which a sum of money is payable, other than a sum payable in respect of taxes, fines, penalties or similar charges, and which was neither obtained in a manner nor is of a kind enforcement of which is contrary to natural justice or the public policy of the Cayman Islands, may be subject to enforcement proceedings as a debt in the courts of the Cayman Islands under the common law without any re-examination of the merits of the underlying dispute. However, the Cayman Islands courts are unlikely to enforce a punitive judgment of a United States court predicated upon the liabilities provision of the federal securities laws in the United States without retrial on the merits if such judgment gives rise to obligations to make payments that may be regarded as fines, penalties or similar charges.
 
Tian Yuan Law Firm has further advised us that the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments are provided for under the PRC Civil Procedures Law. PRC courts may recognize and enforce foreign judgments in accordance with the requirements of the PRC Civil Procedures Law based either on treaties between China and the country where the judgment is made or on principles of reciprocity between jurisdictions. China does not have any treaties or other form of reciprocity with the United States or the Cayman Islands that provide for the reciprocal recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments. In addition, according to the PRC Civil Procedures Law, courts in the PRC will not enforce a foreign judgment against us or our directors and officers if they decide that the judgment violates the basic principles of PRC law or national sovereignty, security or public interest. As a result, it is uncertain whether and on what basis a PRC court would enforce a judgment rendered by a court in the United States or the Cayman Islands.


47


Table of Contents

In addition, it will be difficult for U.S. shareholders to originate actions against us in China based upon Cayman Islands laws, U.S. law or PRC laws, because we are incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands and it is difficult for U.S. shareholders, by virtue only of holding our ADSs or common shares, to establish a connection to the PRC as required by the PRC Civil Procedures Law in order for a PRC court to have jurisdiction. U.S. shareholders may be able to originate actions against us in the Cayman Islands based upon Cayman Islands laws. However, we do not have any substantial assets other than certain corporate documents and records in the Cayman Islands and it may be difficult for a shareholder to enforce a judgment obtained in a Cayman Islands court in China, where all of our operations are conducted.


48


Table of Contents

 
OUR CORPORATE HISTORY AND STRUCTURE
 
Our Corporate History
 
Our founders, Mr. Bangxin Zhang and Mr. Yundong Cao, offered our first after-school mathematics tutoring class in August 2003 when they were still attending graduate schools in Peking University. Two other members of our senior management, Dr. Yachao Liu and Mr. Yunfeng Bai, joined us as teachers in 2003 and 2005, respectively, and have risen to senior management positions due to their outstanding performance. In 2005, our founders established Xueersi Education, a domestic company in China. In order to facilitate foreign investment in our company, we incorporated TAL Group to become our offshore holding company under the laws of the Cayman Islands on January 10, 2008. TAL Group established Xueersi Hong Kong in Hong Kong in March 2008 as our intermediary holding company. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Taxation—PRC” for a discussion of tax implications of having Xueersi Hong Kong as our intermediary holding company. Xueersi Hong Kong subsequently established three wholly owned subsidiaries in China: TAL Beijing in May 2008, Huanqiu Zhikang in September 2009 and Yidu Huida in November 2009.
 
Although we have expanded our business operations primarily through organic growth, we made five small business acquisitions in selected new geographic markets in 2008 to take advantage of the targets’ existing student base and operating licenses. The five acquisitions were: (i) the purchase of assets and related business of a school in Tianjin in March 2008 for consideration of $0.2 million; (ii) the acquisition of a school in Jianli, Hubei Province in July 2008 for consideration of $0.2 million; (iii) the acquisition of a school in Qianjiang, Hubei Province in July 2008 for consideration of $0.2 million; (iv) the acquisition of a school in Wuhan, Hubei Province in July 2008 for consideration of $1.6 million; and (v) the acquisition of Shanghai Leihai and its 100% owned subsidiaries in Shanghai in August 2008 for total consideration of $1.0 million.


49


Table of Contents

The following diagram illustrates our current corporate structure:
 
(FLOW CHART)
 
 
(1) Each person is an ultimate beneficial owner and also a director or executive officer of TAL Group.
 
Due to the PRC legal restrictions on foreign ownership and investment in the education business in China, we rely on a series of contractual arrangements among TAL Beijing, Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and their respective shareholders, subsidiaries and schools to conduct most of our tutoring services in China, while our personalized premium services in Beijing are offered through our subsidiary, Huanqiu Zhikang. These contractual arrangements enable us to:
 
  •   exercise effective control over Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and their respective subsidiaries;
 
  •   receive substantially all of the economic benefits of Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and their respective subsidiaries in consideration for the services provided by us; and
 
  •   have an exclusive option to purchase all of the equity interests in Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network when and to the extent permitted under PRC law.
 
We do not have equity interests in Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network; however, as a result of these contractual arrangements, we are the primary beneficiary of Xueersi Network and Xueersi Education and treat them as our variable interest entities under U.S. GAAP. Accordingly, we refer to Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network collectively as our VIEs. We refer to our VIEs and the VIEs’ direct and indirect subsidiaries


50


Table of Contents

and schools collectively as “affiliated entities.” Moreover, in the contractual arrangements, the shareholders of the VIEs, in exchange for giving up effective control over the VIEs, received pro rata equity interests in TAL Group, which serves to align their interests with ours in performing those contracts. For a more detailed discussion of the risk of potential conflicts of interest associated with our corporate structure, see “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—The shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.”
 
We have consolidated the financial results of our VIEs and their subsidiaries in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. For the three fiscal years ended February 29, 2008 and February 28, 2009 and 2010, respectively $8.9 million, $37.5 million and $68.9 million, or 100%, 100% and 99.0% of our total net revenues are attributable to our affiliated entities.
 
We currently offer our personalized premium tutoring services in Beijing through Huanqiu Zhikang, our wholly owned subsidiary, which is a foreign-invested company under PRC laws. Except for our personalized premium services in Beijing, none of our existing business is conducted directly by our subsidiaries. Yidu Huida was formed as part of our corporate strategic planning and has yet to conduct any significant business operations. Yidu Huida may in the future provide information technology support to our other subsidiaries and affiliated entities, which is within the business scope of Yidu Huida. For a description of the risks associated with our offering personalized premium tutoring services in Beijing through Huanqiu Zhikang, see “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—If the relevant PRC regulatory authorities determine that personalized premium services must be operated through registered schools or non-foreign-invested PRC companies, our personalized premium services business may be exposed to increased risks associated with the contractual arrangements.”
 
The services provided or expected to be provided by TAL Beijing, Huanqiu Zhikang and Yidu Huida are within their respective business scopes as set forth in their business licenses. In particular, the business scope of TAL Beijing includes research, development and production of computer hardware and software, system integration, sale of self-produced goods, technological services, technology transfer, technology consulting and management consulting; the business scope of Huanqiu Zhikang includes education consulting, investment consulting, business consulting and management consulting; and the business scope of Yidu Huida includes (i) research, development and production of computer hardware and software, information technology and system integration, (ii) technology consulting and training, technology transfer and technological services, (iii) management consulting and (iv) sale of self-produced goods.
 
Contractual Arrangements with Our Consolidated Affiliated Entities
 
The following is a summary of the material provisions of the agreements between TAL Beijing, our wholly owned subsidiary, and our affiliated entities and the respective shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network. For more complete information you should read these agreements in their entirety. Directions on how to obtain copies of these agreements are provided in this prospectus under “Additional Information.”
 
Agreements that Transfer Economic Benefits to Us
 
Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreement. Pursuant to the Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreement entered into by and among TAL Beijing, the shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network and each of our affiliated entities entered into in June 2010, which supersedes all agreements among parties with respect to subject matters thereof, TAL Beijing has the exclusive right to provide each of our affiliated entities comprehensive technical and business support services. Such services include educational software and course materials research and development, employee training, technology development, transfer and consulting services, public relation services, market survey, research and consulting services, market development and planning services, human resource and internal information management, network development, upgrade and ordinary maintenance services, sales of proprietary products, and software and trademark licensing and other additional services as the parties may mutually agree from time to time. Without the prior written consent of


51


Table of Contents

TAL Beijing, none of the affiliated entities may accept services covered by the Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreement provided by any third party. TAL Beijing owns the exclusive intellectual property rights created as a result of the performance of this agreement. Our affiliated entities agree to pay annual service fees to TAL Beijing and adjust the service fee rates from time to time at TAL Beijing’s discretion. The agreement will not expire unless terminated pursuant by a mutual agreement of parties. The Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreement entitles TAL Beijing to charge our affiliated entities annual service fees that amount to substantially all of the net income of the affiliated entities. TAL Beijing recognized service fees in the total amount of RMB183.3 million ($26.9 million), representing 100% of the net income before the service fees of the affiliated entities, as of August 31, 2010 in consideration for services provided to our affiliated entities; of this amount, which have been eliminated upon consolidation, RMB127.2 million ($18.7 million) has been paid. The payment of the annual service fees is determined by TAL Beijing based on our cash flow management. Under our current payment schedule, the unpaid balance of service fees is expected to be paid within next 12 to 24 months.
 
Call Option Agreement. Pursuant to a call option agreement, dated February 12, 2009, by and among TAL Beijing, Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and the respective shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network, the respective shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network unconditionally and irrevocably granted TAL Beijing or its designated third party an exclusive option to purchase from the shareholders part or all of the equity interests in Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network, as the case may be, for the minimum amount of consideration permitted by the applicable PRC laws and regulations under the circumstances where TAL Beijing or its designated third party is permitted under PRC laws and regulations to own all or part of the equity interests of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network or where we otherwise deem it necessary or appropriate to exercise the option. TAL Beijing has sole discretion to decide when to exercise the option, and whether to exercise the option in part or in full. The key factor for us to decide whether to exercise the option is whether the current regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the educational service business will be removed in the future, the likelihood of which we are not in a position to know or comment on.
 
Agreements that Provide Effective Control over Our Consolidated Affiliated Entities
 
Power of Attorney. Each of the shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network have executed an irrevocable power of attorney appointing TAL Beijing, or any person designated by TAL Beijing as their attorney-in-fact to vote on their behalf on all matters of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network requiring shareholder approval under PRC laws and regulations and the articles of association of each of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network. The power of attorney remains effective as long as the relevant person remains a shareholder of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network.
 
The articles of association of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network state that the major rights of the shareholders in a shareholders’ meeting include the power to approve the operating strategy and investment plan, elect the members of board of directors and approve their compensation and review and approve the annual budget and earning distribution plan. Therefore, through the irrevocable power of attorney arrangement, TAL Beijing has the ability to exercise effective control over Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network through shareholder votes and, through such votes, to also control the composition of the board of directors. In addition, the senior management team of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network is the same as that of TAL Beijing. As a result of these contractual rights, we have the power to direct the activities of the VIEs that most significantly impact their economic performance.
 
Equity Pledge Agreement. Pursuant to an equity pledge agreement, dated February 12, 2009, by and among TAL Beijing, Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and the respective shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network, the respective shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network unconditionally and irrevocably pledged all of their equity interests in Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network to TAL Beijing to guarantee performance of the obligations of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network and their respective subsidiaries and schools under the technology support and service agreements with TAL Beijing. The shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network agree that, without the prior written consent of TAL Beijing, they will not transfer or dispose the pledged equity interests or create or allow any encumbrance on the pledged equity interests that would prejudice TAL Beijing’s interest.


52


Table of Contents

In the opinion of Tian Yuan Law Firm, our PRC legal counsel:
 
  •   the ownership structures of our affiliated entities and wholly owned subsidiaries in China, both currently and after giving effect to this offering, are in compliance with existing PRC laws and regulations; and
 
  •   the contractual arrangements among our wholly owned subsidiaries in China, our affiliated entities, the shareholders of Xueersi Education and the shareholders of Xueersi Network are valid, binding and enforceable under, and will not result in any violation of, 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 PRC education business do not comply with PRC government restrictions on foreign investment in the education business, we could be subject to severe penalties, which could include:
 
  •   revoking the business and operating licenses of our PRC subsidiaries and affiliated entities;
 
  •   restricting or prohibiting related party transactions between our PRC subsidiaries and affiliated entities;
 
  •   imposing fines or other requirements with which we or our PRC subsidiaries and affiliated entities may find difficult or impossible to comply;
 
  •   requiring us or our PRC subsidiaries and affiliated entities to restructure the relevant ownership structure or operations; and
 
  •   restricting or prohibiting the use of any proceeds from our additional public offering to finance our business and operations in China.
 
The imposition of any of these penalties could result in a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—If the PRC government determines that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business in China are not in compliance with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we could be subject to severe penalties” and “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could have a material adverse effect on us.”
 
PRC Regulation of Loans and Direct Investment by Offshore Holding Companies
 
In utilizing the proceeds we receive from this offering in the manner described in “Use of Proceeds,” as an offshore holding company with PRC subsidiaries, we may (i) make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, (ii) establish new PRC subsidiaries and make capital contributions to these new PRC subsidiaries, (iii) make loans to our PRC subsidiaries or our affiliated entities, or (iv) acquire offshore entities with business operations in China in an offshore transaction. However, most of these uses are subject to PRC regulations and approvals. For example:
 
  •   capital contributions to our subsidiaries in China, whether existing ones or newly established ones, must be approved by the PRC Ministry of Commerce or its local bureaus;
 
  •   loans by us to our 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 bureaus; and
 
  •   loans by us to our affiliated entities, which are domestic PRC entities, must be approved by the relevant government authorities and must also be registered with SAFE or its local bureaus.


53


Table of Contents

 
In addition, on August 29, 2008, SAFE promulgated Circular 142, a notice regulating the conversion by a foreign-invested company of its capital contribution in foreign currency into Renminbi. It requires that Renminbi converted from foreign currency-denominated capital of a foreign-invested enterprise may only be used for purposes within the business scope approved by the relevant government authority and may not be used to make equity investments in China, unless specifically provided otherwise. Moreover, the approved use of such Renminbi funds may not be changed without approval from SAFE. Renminbi funds converted from foreign exchange may not be used to repay loans in Renminbi if the proceeds of such loans have not yet been used. Any violation of Circular 142 may result in severe penalties, including substantial fines. We expect that if we convert the net proceeds from this offering into Renminbi pursuant to Circular 142, our use of Renminbi funds will be for purposes within the business approved scope of our PRC subsidiaries. However, we may not be able to use such Renminbi funds to make equity investments in the PRC through our PRC subsidiaries.
 
We expect that the PRC regulation of loans and direct investment by offshore holding companies to PRC entities may continue to limit our use of proceeds of this offering. There are no costs associated with registering loans or capital contributions with relevant PRC governmental authorities, other than nominal processing charges. Under PRC laws and regulations, the PRC governmental authorities are required to process such approvals or registrations or deny our application within a maximum of 90 days. The actual time taken, however, 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, with respect to our future plans to use the U.S. dollar proceeds we receive from this offering for our operations and expansion in China. If we fail to receive such registrations or approvals, our ability to use the proceeds of this offering and to capitalize our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and ability to fund and expand our business.
 
We expect that the PRC regulations of loans and direct investment by offshore holding companies to PRC entities may continue to limit our use of proceeds of this offering. We cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain these government registrations or approvals on a timely basis, if at all, with respect to our future plans to use the U.S. dollar proceeds we receive from this offering for our expansion and operations in China. If we fail to receive such registrations or approvals, our ability to use the proceeds of this offering and to capitalize our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and ability to fund and expand our business.


54


Table of Contents

 
SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA
 
You should read the following information concerning us in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this prospectus.
 
The following selected consolidated statements of operations data for our company for the three fiscal years ended February 29, 2008 and February 28, 2009 and 2010 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of February 28, 2009 and 2010 are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. The consolidated balance sheet data as of February 29, 2008 are derived from our audited financial statements, which are not included in this prospectus. Our audited consolidated financial statements are prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP and have been audited by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu CPA Ltd., an independent registered public accounting firm. The selected consolidated statements of operations data for the six months ended August 31, 2009 and 2010 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of August 31, 2010 have been derived from our unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. We have prepared the unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial information on the same basis as our audited consolidated financial statements. The unaudited financial information includes all adjustments, consisting only of normal and recurring adjustments, that we consider necessary for a fair presentation of our financial position and operating results for the periods presented. You should read the summary consolidated financial information in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and related notes and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” included elsewhere in this prospectus. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected in any future period.
 
We have not included financial information for the fiscal years ended February 28, 2006 and 2007, as such information is not available without unreasonable effort or expense.
 


55


Table of Contents

                                         
    For the Year Ended February 29/28,     For the Six Months Ended August 31,  
    2008     2009     2010     2009     2010  
    (in thousands of $, except for shares, per share and per ADS data)  
 
Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:
                                       
Net revenues
  $ 8,882     $ 37,476     $ 69,594     $ 32,983     $ 53,022  
                                         
Total cost of revenues
    (4,367 )     (18,554 )     (37,649 )     (16,068 )     (26,255 )(1)
                                         
Gross profit
    4,515       18,922       31,945       16,915       26,767  
                                         
Operating expenses
                                       
Selling and marketing
    (370 )     (2,353 )     (5,608 )     (1,958 )     (4,184 )(2)
General and administrative
    (2,478 )     (5,890 )     (10,872 )     (4,602 )     (7,808 )(3)
Impairment losses on intangible assets and goodwill
    —        (1,615 )     —        —        —   
                                         
Total operating expenses
    (2,848 )     (9,858 )     (16,480 )     (6,560 )     (11,992 )
                                         
Income from operations
    1,667       9,064       15,465       10,355       14,775  
                                         
Interest income, net
    11       77       283       103       162  
Other expenses
    —        (210 )     (124 )     (119 )     (27 )
Impairment loss on available-for-sale securities
    —        (363 )     —        —        —   
Gain from sales of available-for-sale securities
    —        —        —        —        6  
Gain on extinguishment of liabilities
    —        731       —        —        —   
                                         
Income before income tax provision
    1,678       9,299       15,624       10,339       14,916  
Provision for income tax
    (165 )     (2,018 )     (1,379 )     (912 )     (1,670 )
                                         
Net income
  $ 1,513     $ 7,281     $ 14,245     $ 9,427     $ 13,246  
                                         
Deemed dividends on Series A convertible redeemable preferred shares
    —        (4,113 )     —        —        —   
                                         
Net income attributable to common shareholders
  $ 1,513     $ 3,168     $ 14,245     $ 9,427     $ 13,246  
                                         
Net income per common share:
                                       
Basic
  $ 0.01     $ 0.03     $ 0.11     $ 0.08     $ 0.11  
Diluted
  $ 0.01     $ 0.03     $ 0.11     $ 0.08     $ 0.11  
Net income per Series A convertible redeemable preferred share-basic
    —      $ 17.69     $ 0.11     $ 0.08     $ 0.11  
Net income per ADS:
                                       
Basic
                                       
Diluted
                                       
Weighted average shares used in calculating net income per common share
                                       
Basic
    120,000,000       120,000,000       120,000,000       120,000,000       120,000,000  
Diluted
    120,000,000       120,000,000       125,000,000       125,000,000       125,193,360  
 
 
Notes:
 
(1) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $110 thousand.
 
(2) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $163 thousand.
 
(3) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $647 thousand.
 
(4) Each ADS represents      Class A common shares.

56


Table of Contents

                                         
    As of February 29/28,              
    2008
    2009
    2010
    As of August 31, 2010  
    Actual     Actual     Actual     Actual     Pro Forma(1)  
    (in thousands of $)  
 
Selected Consolidated Balance Sheet Data
                                       
Cash and cash equivalents
  $ 5,704     $ 29,693     $ 50,752     $ 81,495       81,495  
Total assets
    8,131       38,553       65,504       97,515       97,515  
Deferred revenue
    5,714       18,023       29,408       42,101       42,101  
Convertible loan
                500       500       500  
Total liabilities
    7,012       26,198       38,578       56,234       56,234  
Net assets
    1,119       12,355       26,926       41,281       41,281  
Series A convertible redeemable preferred shares
    —        9,000       9,000       9,000       —   
Total equity
    1,119       3,355       17,926       32,281       41,281  
 
 
Note:
 
(1) Reflects the automatic conversion of all of our Series A preferred shares into 5,000,000 Class B common shares immediately prior to the completion of this offering.


57


Table of Contents

 
MANAGEMENT’S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF
FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
 
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with the section entitled “Selected Consolidated Financial Data” and our consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results and the timing of selected events could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those set forth under “Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this prospectus.
 
Overview
 
We are the largest K-12 after-school tutoring service provider in China in terms of revenues in 2009, according to iResearch. We offer comprehensive tutoring services to K-12 students, covering core academic subjects, including mathematics, English, Chinese, physics, chemistry and biology. The K-12 after-school tutoring service market in China is highly fragmented. In 2009, we had a 0.26% market share in China and a 4.5% market share in Beijing, in each case as measured by revenues for the year according to iResearch.
 
We deliver our tutoring services through small classes, personalized premium services (i.e., one-on-one tutoring) and online course offerings. Our extensive network consists of 109 learning centers and 87 service centers in Beijing, Shanghai Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin, and Wuhan, as well as our online platform. Our student enrollments increased from 67,996 in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to 382,505 in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, representing a CAGR of 137.2%. Our student enrollment growth has been predominantly driven by new students.
 
We have experienced significant growth in our business in recent years. Our total net revenues increased from $8.9 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $69.6 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, representing a CAGR of 179.9%. Our net income increased from $1.5 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $14.2 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, representing a CAGR of 206.9%. Our total net revenues and net income was $53.0 million and $13.2 million, respectively, for the six months ended August 31, 2010.
 
Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations
 
We have benefited significantly from the overall economic growth, the increase in household disposable income, the rising household spending on private education and the intense competition for quality education in China. We anticipate that the demand for K-12 after-school tutoring services will continue to grow. According to iResearch, the K-12 after-school tutoring market in China grew from RMB123.8 billion in 2007 to RMB189.7 billion ($27.8 billion) in 2009, representing a CAGR of 23.8%, and is projected to grow to RMB447.2 billion ($65.5 billion) in 2014, representing a CAGR of 18.7% from 2009. However, any adverse changes in the economic conditions in China that adversely affect the K-12 after-school tutoring service market in China may harm our business and results of operations.
 
Our results of operations are also affected by the education system or policies relating to after-school tutoring service market in China. Due to the PRC legal restrictions on foreign ownership and investment in education business in China, we rely on a series of contractual arrangements among TAL Beijing, Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and their respective shareholders, subsidiaries and schools to conduct most of our tutoring services in China, while our personalized premium services in Beijing are offered through Huanqiu Zhikang. We do not have equity interests in Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network; however, as a result of these contractual arrangements, we are the primary beneficiary of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network and treat them as our variable interest entities under U.S. GAAP. In the opinion of Tian Yuan Law Firm, our PRC legal counsel, the ownership structures of our affiliated entities and wholly owned subsidiaries in China, both currently and after giving effect to this offering, are in compliance with existing PRC laws and regulations. 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. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—If the PRC government determines that the agreements that establish the


58


Table of Contents

structure for operating our business in China are not in compliance with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we could be subject to severe penalties” and “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could have a material adverse effect on us.”
 
While our business is influenced by factors affecting the private education industry in China generally and by conditions in each of the geographic markets covered by our service network, we believe that our results of operations are more directly affected by company-specific factors, including the number of student enrollments, the pricing of our tutoring services and the amount of our costs and expenses.
 
Number of Student Enrollments
 
Our revenue growth is primarily driven by the increase in the number of student enrollments, which is directly affected by the number of our learning centers, the number and varieties of our courses and service offerings, our annual retention rate, our ability to attract new students and the effectiveness of our cross-selling efforts.
 
We have, over the past three fiscal years, opened new learning centers to further penetrate our existing markets and enter new markets. The number of our learning centers grew from 30 in Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan as of February 29, 2008, to 109 in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Wuhan to date. We plan to open additional learning centers in these six cities and explore opportunities to open learning centers in other targeted geographic markets in China in order to continue to attract new student enrollments.
 
In addition, we have significantly expanded our course offerings to cover new subjects and additional grade levels over the past three fiscal years. In Beijing, we grew from primarily offering tutoring classes in mathematics to becoming a comprehensive after-school tutoring service provider, covering all core subjects in China’s school curricula at each grade level of the K-12 system. We initially offered only small-class tutoring services, and then added personalized premium services in September 2007 and began offering online courses in January 2010. Our expansion of courses and service offerings allows us to better attract new students with different needs and provide us greater cross-selling opportunities with respect to our existing students.
 
To date, we have enjoyed a high annual retention rate of over 70%, as a result of our high quality services. A high annual retention rate coupled with our ability to cross-sell additional courses and service offerings to existing students has also contributed to our total student enrollment growth.
 
We expect our student enrollments will continue to grow and the tuition fees will remain relatively stable in the near term. We raised the hourly rates of our courses in the summer of 2010 and have no immediate plan for further increases. We believe that the K-12 after-school tutoring service market is not very sensitive to changes in economic conditions, and we therefore do not expect the current economic conditions to have any significant impact on our business.
 
Pricing
 
Our results of operations are also affected by the pricing for our tutoring services. We generally charge students based on the hourly rates of our courses and the total number of hours for all the courses taken by each student. We determine hourly rates for our courses primarily based on the demand for our courses, cost of our services, the geographic markets where the courses are offered, and the fees charged by our competitors for the same or similar courses. Due to our high quality services and the outstanding performance track record of our students, we have been able to price above the market rates and increase our hourly rates in fiscal years 2009 and 2011.
 
Costs and Expenses
 
Our ability to maintain and increase profitability also depends on our ability to effectively control our costs and expenses. A significant component of our cost of revenues is compensation to our teachers. We offer competitive remunerations to our teachers in order to attract and retain top teaching talent. Salaries and other compensation to our teachers accounted for approximately 25% of our net revenues in each of the two most recent fiscal years and 23% of our net revenues for the six months ended August 31, 2010. Another important


59


Table of Contents

component of our cost of revenues is rental expenses for our learning and service centers, which have remained stable at approximately 14% of our net revenues in each of the two most recent fiscal years. Our cost of revenues as a percentage of our total net revenues was 49.2%, 49.5% and 54.1% for fiscal years 2008, 2009 and 2010, respectively. This increase was largely a result of the rapid expansion of our facilities and network, including our additional investments in human resources, course materials and leasehold improvements in anticipation of further student enrollment growth. Our operating expenses include two key components, selling and marketing expenses and general and administrative expenses. From fiscal year 2008 to fiscal year 2010, our total operating expenses as a percentage of our total net revenues decrease from 32.1% to 23.7%. During the same period, our selling and marketing expenses as a percentage of our total net revenues increased from 4.2% to 8.1%, mainly due to the expansion of our sales and marketing personnel in anticipation of future student enrollment growth. This increase in selling and marketing expenses was offset by the significant decline of our general and administrative expenses as a percentage of our total net revenues from 27.9% in fiscal year 2008 to 15.6% in fiscal year 2010, primarily as a result of our increasing economies of scale and improved operating efficiency. For the six months ended August 31, 2010, our cost of revenues as a percentage of our total net revenues was 49.5%, and each of our total operating expenses, selling and marketing expenses and general and administrative expenses as a percentage of our total net revenues was 22.6%, 7.9% and 14.7%, respectively. Going forward, we expect that our total costs and expenses will increase due to the expansion of our services and operations and additional costs and expenses associated with becoming a public company; however, such increase is likely to be partially offset by our increasing economies of scale and improved operating efficiency.
 
Key Components of Results of Operations
 
Net Revenues
 
In the fiscal years ended February 29, 2008 and February 28, 2009 and 2010 and for the six months ended August 31, 2010, we generated total net revenues of $8.9 million, $37.5 million, $69.6 million and $53.0 million, respectively. We derive substantially all of our revenues from tutoring services, including small classes and personalized premium services. We also generate a small amount of revenues from selling educational materials to students at our learning centers and most recently, from our online course offerings. Revenues generated from our online course offerings contributed less than 1.5% of our total net revenues since we began offering online courses in 2010. Our revenues are presented net of business tax.
 
We generally collect course fees in advance, which we initially record as deferred revenues. We recognize course fees as revenues proportionately as the tutoring courses are delivered. We had deferred revenues in the amounts of $18.0 million, $29.4 million and $42.1 million as of February 28, 2009 and 2010 and August 31, 2010, respectively.
 
For small-class courses consisting of more than seven classes per course, we offer tuition refunds for any remaining unattended classes to students who decide to withdraw from a course, provided that the course is less than two-thirds completed at the time of withdrawal. For personalized premium services, a student can withdraw at any time and receive a refund for the undelivered classes. Refunds are recorded as deductions to deferred revenues. We have not experienced significant refunds in the past.


60


Table of Contents

Cost of Revenues and Operating Expenses
 
The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, our cost of revenues and operating expenses, in absolute amounts and as percentages of the total net revenues:
 
                                                                                 
    For the Year Ended February 29/28,     For the Six Months Ended August 31,  
    2008     2009     2010     2009     2010  
    $     %     $     %     $     %    
$
    %     $     %  
    (in thousands of $, except percentages)  
 
Net revenues
    8,882       100.0 %     37,476       100.0 %     69,594       100.0 %     32,983       100.0 %     53,022       100.0 %
                                                                                 
Total cost of revenues
    (4,367 )     (49.2 )     (18,554 )     (49.5 )     (37,649 )     (54.1 )     (16,068 )     (48.7 )     (26,255 )(1)     (49.5 )
                                                                                 
Operating expenses:
                                                                               
Selling and marketing
    (370 )     (4.2 )     (2,353 )     (6.3 )     (5,608 )     (8.1 )     (1,958 )     (5.9 )     (4,184 )(2)     (7.9 )
General and administrative
    (2,478 )     (27.9 )     (5,890 )     (15.7 )     (10,872 )     (15.6 )     (4,602 )     (14.0 )     (7,808 )(3)     (14.7 )
Impairment losses on intangible assets and goodwill
    —        —        (1,615 )     (4.3 )     —        —        —        —        —        —   
Total operating expenses
    (2,848 )     (32.1 )%     (9,858 )     (26.3 )%     (16,480 )     (23.7 )%     (6,560 )     (19.9 )%     (11,992 )     (22.6 )%
                                                                                 
 
 
Notes:
 
(1) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $110 thousand.
 
(2) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $163 thousand.
 
(3) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $647 thousand.
 
Cost of Revenues
 
Our cost of revenues primarily consists of compensation to our teachers and rental payments for all of our learning centers and service centers, compensation to personnel providing educational service support, and to a lesser extent, depreciation and amortization of property and equipment used in the provision of educational services and costs of course materials. We expect our cost of revenues to increase as we further expand our network and operations by opening new learning centers and service centers and hiring additional teachers.
 
Operating Expenses
 
Our operating expenses consist primarily of selling and marketing expenses and general and administrative expenses.
 
Our selling and marketing expenses primarily consist of compensation and benefits to our personnel involved in sales and marketing, as well as expenses relating to our marketing and branding promotion activities. Our selling and marketing expenses also include expenses associated with the development and maintenance of our online platform, www.eduu.com, which is a key component of our marketing strategy to increase student loyalty and stickiness, and enhance our brand awareness. As word-of-mouth referrals and our online communities have contributed significantly to student recruitment, we have not incurred significant advertising expenses in the past. In anticipation of future growth, we increased the number of personnel in our selling and marketing functions in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, resulting in an increase in selling and marketing expenses as a percentage of net revenues from 4.2% in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to 8.1% in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010. Our selling and marketing expenses as a percentage of net revenues was 7.9% for the six months ended August 31, 2010. We do not expect that our selling and marketing expenses will significantly increase as a percentage of net revenues in the near future.
 
Our general and administrative expenses primarily consist of compensation and benefits paid to our management and administrative personnel, costs of third-party professional services, rental and utilities expenses relating to office and administrative functions and, to a lesser extent, depreciation and amortization of property and equipment used in our administrative activities. Our general and administrative expenses as a percentage of our total net revenues decreased from 27.9% in fiscal year 2008, to 15.7% in fiscal year 2009 and 15.6% in fiscal year 2010, primarily as a result of our increasing economies of scale and improved operating efficiency. For the six months ended August 31, 2010, our general and administrative expenses as a


61


Table of Contents

percentage of our total net revenues was 14.7%. We expect that our general and administrative expenses will increase in the near term as we hire additional personnel and incur additional expenses in connection with the expansion of our business operations, with becoming a publicly traded company, enhancing our internal controls and providing share-based compensation to our employees.
 
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
 
Our wholly owned subsidiary in Hong Kong, Xueersi Hong Kong, is subject to Hong Kong profits tax on its activities conducted in Hong Kong. No provision for Hong Kong Profits tax has been made in the consolidated financial statements as Xueersi Hong Kong has no assessable income for the years ended February 28, 2009 and February 28, 2010.
 
PRC
 
Our subsidiaries in China are companies incorporated under PRC law and, as such, are subject to PRC enterprise income tax on their taxable income in accordance with the relevant PRC income tax laws.
 
Pursuant to the EIT Law, which became effective on January 1, 2008, a uniform 25% enterprise income tax rate is generally applicable to both foreign-invested enterprises and domestic enterprises, except where a special preferential rate applies.
 
Our affiliated entity, Xueersi Education, was qualified as a “High and New Technology Enterprise,” under the EIT Law effective January 1, 2008 and therefore was qualified for a preferential tax rate of 15%. In addition, since Xueersi Education is located in a high and new technology industrial zone in Beijing and qualified as a High and New Technology Enterprise, it was entitled to a three-year exemption from the enterprise income tax from calendar year 2006 to 2008 and a further tax reduction to a rate of 7.5% from calendar year 2009 to 2011. Our wholly owned subsidiary, TAL Beijing, was qualified as a “Newly Established Software Enterprise” under the EIT Law and therefore entitled to a two-year exemption from the enterprise income tax from calendar year 2009 to 2010 and a further tax reduction to 50% of the applicable rate from calendar year 2011 to 2013. Our affiliated entities, Xueersi Network and Beijing Haidian District Xueersi Training School, were entitled to a one-year tax exemption in calendar year 2007 as newly established companies in that year.
 
On April 21, 2010, the State Administration of Taxation issued Circular 157, Further Clarification on Implementation of Preferential EIT Rate during Transition Periods, or Circular 157. Circular 157 seeks to provide additional guidance on the interaction of certain preferential tax rates under the transitional rules of the EIT Law. Prior to Circular 157, we interpreted the law to mean that if a “high and new technology enterprise strongly supported by the state” or “High and New Technology Enterprise” was in a tax holiday period that provides for “2-year exemption plus 3-year half rate” or “5-year exemption plus 5-year half rate” or other tax exemptions and reductions, where it was entitled to a 50% reduction in the tax rate and was also entitled to a 15% rate of tax due to its High and New Technology Enterprise status under the EIT Law, then it was entitled to pay tax at the rate of 7.5%. Circular 157 appears to have the effect that such an entity is entitled to pay tax at the lower of 15% and 50% of the standard PRC tax rate, which is currently 25%. It is unclear whether Circular 157 would apply retrospectively but we understand that the State Administration of Taxation has recently taken the position that Circular 157 applies only to tax years commencing from January 1, 2010.
 
Based on the interpretation of Circular 157 from the relevant local tax authority, we believe that entities that are qualified for “3-year exemption plus 3-year half rate” tax holiday as High and New Technology


62


Table of Contents

Enterprises and are registered in the Zhongguancun High and New Technology Industrial Zone of Beijing will continue to pay income tax at a rate of 7.5%. Since Xueersi Education enjoys “3-year exemption plus 3-year half rate” and is a High and New Technology Enterprise registered in the Zhongguancun High and New Technology Industrial Zone of Beijing, we do not believe that Circular 157 has any effect on our tax position.
 
Preferential tax treatments granted to our affiliated entities in the PRC 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 a “High and New Technology Enterprise,” Xueersi Education would be subject to the standard statutory tax rate, which currently is 25%. The discontinuation of any preferential tax treatments currently available to us, will cause our effective tax rate to increase, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.
 
As a Cayman Islands holding company, substantially all of our income is derived from dividends we receive from our PRC operating subsidiaries through Xueersi Hong Kong. The EIT Law and its implementing rules provide that dividends paid by a PRC entity to a non-resident enterprise for income tax purposes is subject to PRC withholding tax at a rate of 10%, subject to reduction by an applicable tax treaty with the PRC. 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, dividends paid to shareholders residing in Hong Kong are subject to a reduced 5% rate of tax withholding provided the Hong Kong residents’ equity interests in the mainland dividend issuer is above 25%. However, the State Administration for Taxation promulgated SAT Circular 601 on October 27, 2009, which provides guidance for determining whether a resident of a contracting state is the “beneficial owner” of an item of income under China’s tax treaties and tax arrangements. According to SAT Circular 601, a beneficial owner generally must engage in substantive business activities. An agent or conduit company will not be regarded as a beneficial owner and, therefore, will not qualify for treaty benefits. A conduit company normally refers to a company that is set up for the purpose of avoiding or reducing taxes or transferring or accumulating profits. Although we may use Xueersi Hong Kong as a platform to expand our business in the future, Xueersi Hong Kong currently does not engage in any substantive business activities and thus it is possible that Xueersi Hong Kong may not be regarded as a “beneficial owner” for the purposes of SAT Circular 601 and the dividends it receives from our PRC subsidiaries would be subject to withholding tax at a rate of 10%. In addition, Xueersi Hong Kong may be considered a PRC resident enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes if the relevant PRC tax authorities determine that Xueersi Hong Kong’s “de facto management bodies” are within the PRC, in which case dividends received by it from our PRC subsidiaries would be exempt from PRC withholding tax because such income is exempted under the EIT Law for a PRC resident enterprise recipient. As there remains uncertainties regarding the interpretation and implementation of the EIT Law and its implementation rules, it is uncertain whether, if we are deemed a PRC resident enterprise, any dividends to be distributed by us to our non-PRC shareholders and ADS holders would be subject to any PRC withholding tax. For a detailed discussion of PRC tax issues related to resident enterprise status, see “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Under the EIT Law, we may be classified as a “resident enterprise” of China. Such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders.”
 
Internal Control over Financial Reporting
 
In the course of preparing our consolidated financial statements, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified a material weakness as defined in the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board Standard AU Section 325, Communicating Internal Control Related Matters Identified in an Audit, or AU325, in our internal control over financial reporting as of February 28, 2010. As defined in AU325, a “material weakness” is a deficiency, or a combination of deficiencies, in internal control over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the company’s annual or interim financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis. The material weakness identified related to insufficient accounting personnel with appropriate U.S. GAAP knowledge. Following the


63


Table of Contents

identification of the material weakness, we hired a chief financial officer with publicly listed company and securities regulation experience in June 2010.
 
Neither we nor our independent registered public accounting firm undertook a comprehensive assessment of our internal control for purposes of identifying and reporting material weakness and other control deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting as we and they will be required to do once we become a public company. It is possible that, had we performed a formal assessment of our internal control over financial reporting or had our independent registered public accounting firm performed an audit of our internal control over financial reporting, additional control deficiencies may have been identified.
 
We plan to take additional measures to improve our internal control over financial reporting in 2011 and 2012, including (1) hiring additional accounting personnel with extensive experience in U.S. GAAP and SEC reporting requirements and strong analytical skills; (2) providing regular training on an ongoing basis to our accounting personnel that cover a broad range of accounting and financial reporting topics; and (3) developing a more comprehensive manual with detailed step by step guidance on accounting policies and procedures and continuing to update the manual as needed. We are not able to estimate with reasonable certainty the costs that we will need to incur to implement these and other measures designed to improve our internal control over financial reporting. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—In the course of preparing our consolidated financial statements, a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting was identified. If we fail to maintain an effective system of internal control over financial reporting, we may be unable to accurately report our financial results or prevent fraud, and investor confidence and the market price of our ADSs may be adversely affected.”
 
Acquisitions
 
Although we have expanded our business operations primarily through organic growth, we made five small business acquisitions in selected new geographic markets in 2008 to take advantage of the targets’ existing student base and operating licenses. The five acquisitions were: (i) the purchase of assets and related business of a school in Tianjin in March 2008 for consideration of $0.2 million; (ii) the acquisition of a school in Jianli, Hubei Province in July 2008 for consideration $0.2 million; (iii) the acquisition of a school in Qianjiang, Hubei Province in July 2008 for consideration $0.2 million; (iv) the acquisition of a school in Wuhan, Hubei Province in July 2008 for consideration $1.6 million; and (v) the acquisition of Shanghai Lehai and its 100% owned subsidiaries in Shanghai in August 2008 for total consideration of $1.0 million.
 
Critical Accounting Policies
 
We prepare our financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, which requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect our reporting of, among other things, assets and liabilities, contingent assets and liabilities and net revenues and expenses. We continually evaluate these estimates and assumptions based on the most recently available information, our own historical experiences and other factors that we believe to be relevant under the circumstances. Our management has discussed the development, selection and disclosure of these estimates with our board of directors. Since our financial reporting process inherently relies on the use of estimates and assumptions, actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.
 
An accounting policy is considered to be critical if it requires an accounting estimate to be made based on assumptions about matters that are highly uncertain at the time the estimate is made, and if different estimates that could reasonably have been used, or changes in the accounting estimates that are reasonably likely to occur periodically, could materially impact the consolidated financial statements. We consider the policies discussed below to be critical to an understanding of our audited consolidated financial statements because they involve the greatest reliance on our management’s judgment. You should read the following descriptions of critical accounting policies, judgments and estimates in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and other disclosures included with this prospectus.


64


Table of Contents

Revenue recognition
 
We derive substantially all of our revenues from tutoring services, including small classes, personalized premium services and online education services.
 
A student subscribes for a course containing a fixed number of classes. A typical course consists of 15 to 16 classes during each of the school semesters and 7 to 12 classes during each of the summer and winter breaks. Tuition revenue is generally collected in advance and is initially recorded as deferred revenue. Tuition revenue is then recognized proportionately as the tutoring classes are delivered.
 
For small-class courses consisting of more than seven classes per course, we offer refunds for any remaining classes to students who decide to withdraw from a course, provided the course is less than two-thirds completed at the time of withdrawal. After two-thirds of a course is delivered, no refund is allowed. For small-class courses with less than seven classes, no refund will be provided after the commencement of the courses. For personalized premium services, a student can withdraw at any time and receive a refund for the undelivered classes. We have not experienced significant refunds in the past.
 
We offer coupons to attract both existing and prospective students to enroll in our courses. The coupon has a fixed dollar amount and can only be redeemed against a future course. The coupon value, when utilized by an enrolling student, is accounted for as a reduction of revenue when the relevant revenue is recognized in the consolidated statements of operations.
 
We sell educational materials to students at our learning centers. Revenue is recognized when the educational content or other educational materials are delivered and collection of the receivables is reasonably assured.
 
We began to offer online courses to students in 2010. Students enroll in online courses through the use of prepaid study cards. The proceeds collected from the online courses are initially recorded as deferred revenues. Revenues are recognized on a straight line basis over the subscription period from the date when the students activate the courses to the date when the subscribed courses end. We provide refunds for courses that are not taken to students who decide to withdraw from the subscribed courses within the course offer period, which generally ranges from one month to six months.
 
Goodwill and Intangible Assets
 
Goodwill represents the cost of an acquired business in excess of the fair value of identifiable tangible and intangible net assets purchased. We generally seek the assistance of independent valuation firms in determining the fair value of the identifiable tangible and intangible net assets of the acquired business. We assign all the assets and liabilities of an acquired business, including goodwill, to reporting units.
 
There are several methods that can be used to determine the fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed. For intangible assets, we typically use the income method. This method starts with a forecast of all of the expected future net cash flows associated with a particular intangible asset. These cash flows are then adjusted to present value by applying an appropriate discount rate that reflects the risk factors associated with the cash flow streams. Some of the more significant estimates and assumptions inherent in the income method or other methods include the amount and timing of projected future cash flows; the discount rate selected to measure the risks inherent in the future cash flows; and the assessment of the asset’s economic life cycle and the competitive trends impacting the asset, including consideration of any technical, legal, regulatory or economic barriers to entry. Determining the useful life of an intangible asset also requires judgment as different types of intangible assets will have different useful lives and certain assets may even be considered to have indefinite useful lives.
 
Goodwill is tested for impairment at least once each year on the last day of February. Impairment is tested using 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


65


Table of Contents

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.
 
Estimating fair value is performed by utilizing various valuation techniques, with the primary technique being the discounted cash flow method.
 
We currently have 14 reporting units and only five reporting units carry assigned goodwill: Wuhan Jianghanqu Xiaoxinxing English Training School (“Wuhan School”), Hubei Qianjiang Xiaohafu English Training School (“Qianjiang School”), Hubei Jianli Hafu English Training School (“Jianli School”), Shanghai Lehai Science and Technology Information Co., Ltd. (“Shanghai Lehai”), and Xueersi Education.
 
We recorded an impairment of goodwill of approximately $1.2 million in the year ended February 28, 2009 in respect of Wuhan School and Qianjiang School because the post-acquisition performance of these reporting units was not in line with our expectations at the date of acquisition. We used the income approach as the primary approach in determining the impairment of goodwill on these reporting units as of February 28, 2009, and relied in part on a valuation report prepared by American Appraisal China Limited based on data we provided.
 
The projected cash flow estimate included, among other things, an analysis of projected revenue growth, gross margins, and long-term growth rates. The income approach involves applying appropriate discount rates, based on earnings forecasts, to estimated cash flows. The key assumptions of our cash flow forecasts we used in deriving the fair values of these two reporting units as of February 28, 2009 were consistent with the assumptions that we used in developing our business plan, which included:
 
  •   Net revenues of Wuhan School and Qianjiang School would grow at a CAGR of 10.4% and 9.4%, respectively, from 2009 to 2014 primarily through an increase in the number of students. The long-term growth rate of Wuhan School and Qianjiang School after 2014 was assumed to be 3% per year.
 
  •   Cost of revenues mainly consists of teacher salary and welfare, rent, and tutoring materials. Cost of revenues as a percentage of revenues of Wuhan School was expected to decrease from 91% in 2009 to 62% of sales in 2014 because staff cost and rental would not grow as fast as revenues. Cost of revenues as a percentage of revenues of Qianjiang School was expected to increase from 53% in 2009 to 60% of sales in 2014.
 
  •   Operating expenses as a percentage of revenues were expected to decrease from 2009 to 2014 as we anticipated that corporate overhead and administrative expense would not increase as fast as revenues during the period due to the improvement of operating efficiency.
 
  •   There would be no material changes in the existing political, legal, fiscal and economic conditions in China and in our ability to recruit and retain competent management, key personnel and technical staff to support our ongoing operations.
 
  •   There was no material deviation in industry trends and market conditions from economic forecasts.
 
These assumptions are inherently uncertain and subjective. The discount rates reflect the risks the management perceived as being associated with achieving the forecasts and are based on the estimated cost of capital of our reporting units, which was derived by using the capital asset pricing model, after taking into account systemic risks and non-systematic risks. The capital asset pricing model is a model commonly used by market participants for determining the fair values of assets that adds an assumed risk premium rate of return to an assumed risk-free rate of return. Using this method, we determined the discount rates of 20% and 30% to be appropriate for determining the fair values of Wuhan School and Qianjiang School. We considered the selected discount rates to properly reflect the uncertainty associated with the key assumptions of projected cash flows of these two reporting units as of February 28, 2009.
 
We evaluate intangible assets with a finite useful life impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that their carrying amounts may not be recoverable. Recoverability of long-lived assets to be held and used is measured by a comparison of the carrying amount of an asset to the future undiscounted net cash flows expected to be generated by the asset. If these assets are considered to be impaired, the impairment to be


66


Table of Contents

recognized is measured by the amount by which the carrying value of the assets exceeds the fair value of the assets. Estimates of fair value result from a complex series of judgments about future events and uncertainties and rely heavily on estimates and assumptions at a point in time. The judgments made in determining an estimate of fair value can materially impact our results of operations. The valuations are based on information available as of the impairment review date and are based on expectations and assumptions that have been deemed reasonable by management. Any changes in key assumptions, including unanticipated events and circumstances, may affect the accuracy or validity of such estimates and could potentially result in an impairment charge.
 
In the year ended February 28, 2009, we tested for impairment of the intangible and other long-lived assets recognized primarily in respect of Wuhan School and Qianjiang School because, as noted above, the performance of these acquisitions was not in line with our expectations. As a result, we recognized an impairment loss on intangible assets of $0.4 million.
 
Other-Than-Temporary Impairment of Investment in Available for Sale Securities
 
We value available for sale securities at fair value and take the unrealized changes in fair value to Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income, a component of equity. However, when an investment has a fair value below its original costs we are required to determine whether that impairment is other-than-temporary and, if so, it is required to be recognized in earnings. Determination of whether an impairment is other-than-temporary involves management’s judgment as to the severity and duration of the decline in fair value. As at February 28, 2009, we had available for sale securities with the carrying value of $0.7 million and which then had a fair value of $0.3 million as at February 28, 2010. We determined that in the market conditions at that time there could be no assurance as to when and if the fair value would recover and consequently recognized an impairment loss in earnings of $0.4 million.
 
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. This process involves us estimating our actual current tax exposure together with assessing temporary differences resulting from differing treatment of items for tax and accounting purposes. These differences result in deferred tax assets and liabilities, which are included within our consolidated balance sheet. We must then assess the likelihood that our deferred tax assets will be recovered from future taxable income and, to the extent we believe that recovery is not likely, we must establish a valuation allowance. To the extent we establish a valuation allowance or increase this allowance in a certain period, we must include an expense within the tax provision in the statement of operations.
 
Significant management judgment is required in determining our provision for income taxes, our deferred tax assets and liabilities and any valuation allowance recorded against our net deferred tax assets. The valuation allowance is based on our estimates of taxable income by jurisdiction in which we operate and the period over which our deferred tax assets will be recoverable. In the event that actual results differ from these estimates or we adjust these estimates in future periods, we may need to establish an additional valuation allowance, which could materially impact our financial position and results of operations.
 
The impact of an uncertain income tax position on the income tax return is recognized at the largest amount that is more-likely-than-not to be sustained upon audit by the relevant tax authority. An uncertain income tax position will not be recognized if it has less than a 50% likelihood of being sustained. Interest and penalties on income taxes will be classified as a component of the provisions for income taxes. The Group has concluded that there are no significant uncertain tax positions requiring recognition in financial statements for the years ended February 29, 2008, February 28, 2009 and 2010. The Group did not incur any interest and penalties related to potential underpaid income tax expenses and also does not anticipate any significant increases or decreases in unrecognized tax benefits in the next 12 months. The Group has no material unrecognized tax benefits which would favorably affect the effective income tax rate in future periods. The years 2007 to 2009 remain subject to examination by the PRC tax authorities.
 
Our affiliated entity, Xueersi Education, was qualified as a “High and New Technology Enterprise,” under the EIT Law effective January 1, 2008 and therefore was qualified for a preferential tax rate of 15%. In


67


Table of Contents

addition, since Xueersi Education is located in a high and new technology industrial zone in Beijing and qualified as a High and New Technology Enterprise, it was entitled to a three-year exemption from the enterprise income tax from calendar year 2006 to 2008 and a further tax reduction to a rate of 7.5% from calendar year 2009 to 2011. Our wholly owned subsidiary, TAL Beijing, was qualified as a “Newly Established Software Enterprise” under the EIT Law and therefore entitled to a two-year exemption from the enterprise income tax from calendar year 2009 to 2010 and a further tax reduction to 50% of the applicable rate from calendar year 2011 to 2013. Our affiliated entities, Xueersi Network and Beijing Haidian District Xueersi Training School, were entitled to a one-year tax exemption in calendar year 2007 as newly established companies in that year.
 
On April 21, 2010, the State Administration of Taxation issued Circular 157, Further Clarification on Implementation of Preferential EIT Rate during Transition Periods, or Circular 157. Circular 157 seeks to provide additional guidance on the interaction of certain preferential tax rates under the transitional rules of the EIT Law. Prior to Circular 157, we interpreted the law to mean that if a “high and new technology enterprise strongly supported by the state” or “High and New Technology Enterprise” was in a tax holiday period that provides for “2-year exemption plus 3-year half rate” or “5-year exemption plus 5-year half rate” or other tax exemptions and reductions, where it was entitled to a 50% reduction in the tax rate and was also entitled to a 15% rate of tax due to its High and New Technology Enterprise status under the EIT Law, then it was entitled to pay tax at the rate of 7.5%. Circular 157 appears to have the effect that such an entity is entitled to pay tax at the lower of 15% and 50% of the standard PRC tax rate, which is currently 25%. It is unclear as to whether Circular 157 would apply retrospectively but we understand that the State Administration of Taxation has recently taken the position that Circular 157 applies only to tax years commencing from January 1, 2010.
 
Based on the interpretation of Circular 157 from the relevant local tax authority, we believe that entities that are qualified for “3-year exemption plus 3-year half rate” tax holiday as High and New Technology Enterprises and are registered in the Zhongguancun High and New Technology Industrial Zone of Beijing will continue to pay income tax at a rate of 7.5%. Since Xueersi Education enjoys “3-year exemption plus 3-year half rate” and is a High and New Technology Enterprise registered in the Zhongguancun High and New Technology Industrial Zone of Beijing, we do not believe that Circular 157 has any effect on our tax position.
 
Uncertainties exist with respect to how the EIT Law applies to our overall operations, and more specifically, with regard to our tax residency status. The EIT Law includes a provision specifying that legal entities organized outside of the PRC will be considered residents for PRC income tax purposes if their “de facto management bodies” are within the PRC. The Implementation Rules define the term “de facto management bodies” as “establishments that carry out substantial and overall management and control over the manufacturing and business operations, personnel, accounting, properties, etc. of an enterprise.” 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 under the EIT Law. Each of TAL Group and Xueersi Hong Kong is a company incorporated outside the PRC. As holding companies, these two entities’ key assets, which are essentially corporate documents and records, are located and maintained outside of the PRC. In addition, we are not aware of any offshore holding companies with a similar corporate structure as the Company’s ever having been deemed to be PRC “resident enterprises” by the PRC tax authorities. Therefore, we believe that neither TAL Group nor Xueersi Hong Kong should be treated as a “resident enterprise” for PRC tax purposes. However, as the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to determination by the PRC tax authorities, there are uncertainties and risks associated with this issue. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Under the EIT Law, we may be classified as a “resident enterprise” of China. Such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders.”
 
Fair Value of Our Common Shares and Share-Based Compensation
 
In June 2010, we adopted the 2010 share incentive plan. The plan permits the grant of options to purchase Class A common shares, restricted shares, restricted share units, dividend equivalent rights and other awards as deemed appropriate by the administrator under the plan. The maximum aggregate number of


68


Table of Contents

Class A common shares that may be issued pursuant to all awards under the plan is 18,750,000 Class A common shares. On July 26, 2010, we granted 5,419,500 restricted shares under this plan to some of our directors, executive officers and employees. These restricted shares will vest in accordance with the vesting schedule set out in the respective restricted share agreements with the grantees, which ranges from one to four years.
 
We recognize share-based compensation expenses based on the fair value of equity awards on the date of the grant, using a straight-line method over the requisite service periods of the awards, which are generally the vesting periods.
 
Prior to this offering, there have been no quoted market prices for our Class A common shares. We have therefore had to make an estimate of the fair value of our Class A common shares for the purposes of determining the fair value of our Class A common shares on the date of grant of share-based compensation awards to our employees.
 
The estimated fair value of our Class A common shares was $5.00 per share as of July 26, 2010.
 
Determining the fair value of our Class A common shares required us to make subjective judgments regarding our projected financial and operating results, our unique business risks, the liquidity of our Class A common shares and our operating history and prospects at the time the grants were made. The significant factors we considered include the following:
 
  •  our financial and operating results;
 
  •  the assumptions and basis of our financial projections;
 
  •  the nature of our business;
 
  •  the stage of development of our operations;
 
  •  our business plan;
 
  •  our business risks;
 
  •  the nature and prospects of the private education industry in China;
 
  •  the global economic outlook in general and the specific economic and competitive elements affecting our business, industry and market; and
 
  •  the market-derived investment returns of entities engaged in similar business.
 
We principally used the market approach. We considered the market profile and performance of comparable companies and used such information to derive market multiples.
 
Discount for lack of marketability, or DLOM, was also applied to reflect the fact that there is no ready public market for our shares as we are a closely held private company. The DLOM of 10% applied for valuation of our Class A common shares as of July 26, 2010 was determined with the assistance of American Appraisal using the Black-Scholes option pricing model. Under the option-pricing method, the cost of the put option, which can hedge the price change before the privately held shares can be sold, was considered as a basis to determine DLOM.
 
In addition, we made other assumptions in assessing the fair value of our Class A common shares, including the following:
 
  •  that no material change will occur in the applicable future periods in the existing political, legal, fiscal or economic conditions and in the education industry in China;
 
  •  that no material change will occur in the current PRC law applicable to us and the applicable tax rates will remain unchanged;
 
  •  that exchange rates and interest rates in the applicable future periods will not differ materially from the current rates;


69


Table of Contents

 
  •  that our future growth will not be constrained by lack of funding;
 
  •  that we have the ability to retain competent management and key personnel to support our ongoing operations; and
 
  •  that industry trends and market conditions for the education and related industries will not deviate significantly from current forecasts.
 
We have considered the guidance prescribed by the AICPA Audit and Accounting Practice Aid in determining the fair value of our Class A common shares as of July 26, 2010. A detailed description of the valuation method used in the fair value of our Class A common shares as of July 26, 2010 is set out above. Paragraph 113 of the Practice Aid states that “the ultimate IPO price itself also is generally not likely to be a reasonable estimate of the fair value for pre-IPO equity transactions of the enterprise.” We therefore believe the ultimate initial public offering price itself is generally not likely to be a reasonable estimate of the fair value of our Class A common shares as of July 26, 2010.
 
Results of Operations
 
The following table sets forth a summary of our consolidated results of operations for the periods indicated, both in absolute amounts and as percentages of our net revenues. This information should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. 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 February 29/28,     For the Six Months Ended August 31,  
    2008     2009     2010     2009     2010  
    $     %     $     %     $     %    
$
    %     $     %  
    (in thousands of $, except percentages)  
 
Net revenues
  $ 8,882       100.0 %   $ 37,476       100.0 %   $ 69,594       100.0 %   $ 32,983       100.0     $ 53,022       100.0 %
                                                                                 
Cost of revenues
    (4,367 )     (49.2 )     (18,554 )     (49.5 )     (37,649 )     (54.1 )     (16,068 )     (48.7 )     (26,255 )(1)     (49.5 )
                                                                                 
Gross profit
    4,515       50.8       18,922       50.5       31,945       45.9       16,915       51.3       26,767       50.5  
                                                                                 
Operating expenses
                                                                               
Selling and marketing
    (370 )     (4.2 )     (2,353 )     (6.3 )     (5,608 )     (8.1 )     (1,958 )     (5.9 )     (4,184 )(2)     (7.9 )
General and administrative
    (2,478 )     (27.9 )     (5,890 )     (15.7 )     (10,872 )     (15.6 )     (4,602 )     (14.0 )     (7,808 )(3)     (14.7 )
Impairment losses on intangible assets and goodwill
    —        —        (1,615 )     (4.3 )     —        —        —        —        —        —   
                                                                                 
Total operating expenses
    (2,848 )     (32.1 )     (9,858 )     (26.3 )     (16,480 )     (23.7 )     (6,560 )     (19.9 )     (11,992 )     (22.6 )
                                                                                 
Income from operations
    1,667       18.7       9,064       24.2       15,465       22.2       10,355       31.4       14,775       27.9  
                                                                                 
Interest income, net
    11       0.1       77       0.2       283       0.4       103       0.3       162       0.3  
Other expenses
    —        —        (210 )     (0.6 )     (124 )     (0.2 )     (119 )     (0.4 )     (27 )     (0.1 )
Impairment loss on available-for-sale securities
    —        —        (363 )     (1.0 )     —        —        —              —        —   
Gain from sales of available-for-sale securities
    —        —        —        —        —        —        —        —        6       0.0  
Gain on extinguishment of liabilities
    —        —        731       2.0       —        —        —        —        —        —   
                                                                                 
Income before income tax provision
    1,678       18.8       9,299       24.8       15,624       22.4       10,339       31.3       14,916       28.1  
Provision for income tax
    (165 )     (1.8 )     (2,018 )     (5.4 )     (1,379 )     (1.9 )     (912 )     (2.7 )     (1,670 )     (3.1 )
                                                                                 
Net income
  $ 1,513       17.0 %   $ 7,281       19.4 %   $ 14,245       20.5 %   $ 9,427       28.6 %   $ 13,246       25.0 %
                                                                                 


70


Table of Contents

 
Notes:
 
(1) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $110 thousand.
 
(2) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $163 thousand.
 
(3) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $647 thousand.
 
Six Months Ended August 31, 2010 Compared to Six Months Ended August 31, 2009
 
Net Revenues
 
Our total net revenues increased by 60.8% from $33.0 million for the six months ended August 31, 2009 to $53.0 million for the six months ended August 31, 2010. This increase was primarily due to the additional student enrollments in our newly opened learning centers and increased student enrollments in our existing learning centers. The number of total student enrollments grew from 175,638 for the six months ended August 31, 2009 to 236,919 for the six months ended August 31, 2010, while the number of learning centers increased from 83 as of August 31, 2009 to 108 as of August 31, 2010.
 
Cost of Revenues
 
Our cost of revenues increased by 63.4% from $16.1 million for the six months ended August 31, 2009 to $26.3 million for the six months ended August 31, 2010. This increase was primarily due to an increase in our rental payments as we leased facilities for 108 learning centers and 86 service centers as of August 31, 2010, as compared to 83 learning centers and 65 service centers as of August 31, 2009. Also contributing to the increase of our cost of revenues included an increase in aggregate compensation paid to our full-time teachers as the number of full-time teachers increased from 631 as of August 31, 2009 to 1,067 as of August 31, 2010. This increased compensation to full-time teachers was partially offset by the decrease of the number of contract teachers from 2,587 as of August 31, 2009 to 1,455 as August 31, 2010. In addition, compensation paid to personnel providing educational service support increased as a result of the increase of such personnel from 730 as of August 31, 2009 to 912 as of August 31, 2010. The increase in our cost of revenues was also attributable to share-based compensation expenses and an increase in the cost of course materials, increased depreciation and amortization of property and equipment as a result of the expansion of our learning centers and service centers and our continued efforts to upgrade our classroom facilities and technology systems. The amount of share-based compensation expenses included in the cost of revenues for the six months ended August 31, 2010 was $110 thousand, compared to nil for the six months ended August 31, 2009.
 
Gross Profit
 
As a result of the foregoing, our gross profit increased by 58.2% from $16.9 million for the six months ended August 31, 2009 to $26.8 million for the six months ended August 31, 2010. Our gross profit margin was 50.5% for the six months ended August 31, 2010, as compared to 51.3% for the six months ended August 31, 2009.
 
Operating Expenses
 
Our operating expenses increased by 82.8% from $6.6 million for the six months ended August 31, 2009 to $12 million for the six months ended August 31, 2010. This increase resulted from increases in both our selling and marketing expenses and general and administrative expenses and, in particular, a $0.8 million share-based compensation charge.
 
Selling and Marketing Expenses.  Our selling and marketing expenses increased by 113.7% from $2.0 million for the six months ended August 31, 2009 to $4.2 million for the six months ended August 31, 2010. This increase was primarily due to the related increase in compensation, office rental expenses and office expenses for an expanded sales and marketing force and, to a lesser extent, a share-based compensation charge of $163 thousand.


71


Table of Contents

General and Administrative Expenses.  Our general and administrative expenses increased by 69.7% from $4.6 million for the six months ended August 31, 2009 to $7.8 million for the six months ended August 31, 2010. This increase was primarily due to an increase of 117 employees for our corporate and administrative functions to support our expanded operations and, to a lesser extent, a share-based compensation charge of $647 thousand.
 
Interest Income, Net
 
We had net interest income of $0.2 million for the six months ended August 31, 2010, compared to $0.1 million for the six months ended August 31, 2009. Our interest income in both years consisted of interest earned on our cash and cash equivalents deposited in commercial banks, which, in the case of our net interest income for the six months ended August 31, 2010, was partially offset by the interest expenses incurred with respect to a convertible loan we borrowed in January 2010 and with respect to our acquisition payables.
 
Other Expenses, Net
 
We had other expenses of $27,000 for the six months ended August 31, 2010, compared to $0.1 million for the six months ended August 31, 2009. Our expenses in both periods were primarily attributable to our charitable donations to promote public education in rural areas.
 
Gain from Sales of Available-for-Sale Securities
 
We recognized a $6,000 gain from sales of available-for-sale securities for the six months ended August 31, 2010 related to disposal of certain available-for-sale securities in the open market, which we bought in December 2009.
 
Provision for Income Tax
 
Our provision for income tax increased by 83.1% from $0.9 million for the six months ended August 31, 2009 to $1.7 million for the six months ended August 31, 2010, primarily due to the increase in our taxable income and a higher effective income tax rate for the six months ended August 31, 2010. Our effective income rate was 11.2% in the six months ended August 31, 2010, compared to 8.8% in the six months ended August 31, 2009.
 
Net Income
 
As a result of the foregoing, our net income increased by 40.5% from $9.4 million for the six months ended August 31, 2009 to $13.2 million for the six months ended August 31, 2010.
 
Fiscal Year Ended February 28, 2010 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended February 28, 2009
 
Net Revenues
 
Our total net revenues increased by 85.7% from $37.5 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 to $69.6 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010. This increase was primarily due to additional student enrollments in our newly opened learning centers and increased student enrollments in our existing learning centers in fiscal year 2010. The number of total student enrollments grew from 215,080 as of February 28, 2009 to 382,505 as of February 28, 2010, while the number of learning centers increased from 73 to 101 during the same period.
 
Cost of Revenues
 
Our cost of revenues increased by 102.9% from $18.6 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 to $37.6 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010. This increase was primarily due to an increase in aggregate compensation paid to teachers as the number of our full-time teachers increased by 284 and the number of our contract teachers increased by 406 during the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, and an increase in our rental payments as we leased facilities for 98 learning centers and 80 service centers as of


72


Table of Contents

February 28, 2010, as compared to 73 learning centers and 54 service centers as of February 28, 2009. The increase was also due to the compensation increase attributable to our hiring of 303 additional personnel providing educational service support and the increase in the cost of course materials for some of our English courses. The increase was also attributable to the increased depreciation and amortization of property and equipment, which is a result of the expansion of our learning centers and services and our continual efforts to upgrade our classroom facilities technology systems.
 
Gross Profit
 
As a result of the foregoing, our gross profit increased by 68.8% from $18.9 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 to $31.9 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010. Our gross profit margin was 45.9% for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, which decreased from 50.5% for the previous fiscal year. The decrease in our gross profit margin in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010 was primarily due to the investments we made during the period in anticipation of further growth in student enrollments. We generally need to hire and train educational service support personnel and incur leasehold improvement and other costs ahead of the expected ramp-up in student enrollments at our new or expanded learning centers.
 
Operating Expenses
 
Our operating expenses increased by 67.2% from $9.9 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 to $16.5 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010. This increase resulted from increases in both our selling and marketing expenses and general and administrative expenses in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, partially offset by the elimination of impairment losses on intangible assets and goodwill.
 
Selling and Marketing Expenses.  Our selling and marketing expenses increased by 138.3% from $2.4 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 to $5.6 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010. This increase was primarily due to an increase in the number of our sales and marketing personnel by 213 to support our selling and marketing efforts, as well as the expenses incurred relating to an outdoor advertisement campaign to promote our personalized premium services.
 
General and Administrative Expenses.  Our general and administrative expenses increased by 84.6% from $5.9 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 to $10.9 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010. This increase was primarily due to an increase in the number of employees for our corporate and administrative functions by 177 to support our expanded operations, rental expenses for increased office space for general corporate and administrative related functions and, to a lesser degree, professional service fees accrued during fiscal year 2010.
 
Impairment Losses on Intangible Assets and Goodwill.  We recognized nil impairment loss on goodwill in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010. In the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009, we recognized impairment losses on intangible assets and goodwill of $1.6 million relating to our acquisitions of two schools in the period.
 
Interest Income, net
 
We had an interest income, net of $0.3 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, compared to $0.1 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009. Our interest income, net in both years consisted of interest earned on our cash and cash equivalents deposited in commercial banks, partially offset by the interest expense incurred with respect to a convertible loan we borrowed in January 2010 and the interest expense of our acquisition payables.
 
Other Expenses
 
We had other expenses of $0.1 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, compared to $0.2 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009. Our other expenses in fiscal year 2010 were primarily attributable to our charity donations to promote public education in rural areas. Our other expenses in fiscal year 2009 were primarily attributable to our charity donations to Sichuan earthquake relief funds.


73


Table of Contents

Impairment Loss on Available-for-Sale Securities
 
We recognized a $0.4 million impairment loss on available-for-sale securities for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 due to a decline in the fair value other than temporary impairment of our investment in certain available-for-sale securities, as compared to nil for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010.
 
Gain on Extinguishment of Liabilities
 
We recognized a $0.7 million gain on extinguishment of liabilities for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 as a result of a renegotiation of the acquisition payable relating to the Wuhan School from $1.6 million to $0.9 million. We had nil gain on extinguishment of liabilities for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010.
 
Provision for Income Tax
 
Our provision for income tax decreased by 31.7% from $2.0 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 to $1.4 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, primarily due to our lower effective income tax rate of 8.8% in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, compared to 21.7% in the prior fiscal year. We had a lower effective income tax rate in the fiscal year 2010 because of the preferential tax treatments received by one of wholly owned subsidiaries and one of our consolidated affiliated entities in China during the period.
 
Net Income
 
As a result of the foregoing, our net income increased by 95.7% from $7.3 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 to $14.2 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010.
 
Fiscal Year Ended February 28, 2009 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended February 29, 2008
 
Net Revenues
 
Our total net revenues increased by 321.9% from $8.9 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $37.5 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009. This increase was primarily attributable to additional student enrollments at our new learning centers and increased student enrollments at our existing learning centers. The number of total student enrollments grew from 67,996 in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to 215,080 in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009, and the number of learning centers increased from 30 to 73 during the same period. The increase in net revenue was also attributable to the fact that we increased the hourly rates for our courses during the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009.
 
Cost of Revenues
 
Our cost of revenues increased by 324.9% from $4.4 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $18.6 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009. This increase was primarily due to the increase in the aggregate compensation paid to teachers as the number of our full-time teachers increased by 287 and the number of our contract teachers increased by 482 during fiscal year 2009 and an increase in our rental expenses as we leased facilities for 73 learning centers and 51 service centers as of February 28, 2009, as compared to 30 learning centers and 26 service centers as of February 29, 2008.
 
Gross Profit
 
As a result of the foregoing, our gross profit increased by 319.1% from $4.5 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $18.9 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009. Our gross profit margin was 50.5% for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009, which was slightly decreased from 50.8% for the previous fiscal year.


74


Table of Contents

Operating Expenses
 
Our operating expenses increased by 246.1% from $2.8 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $9.9 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009. This increase resulted from increases in all of our operating expense line items.
 
Selling and Marketing Expenses.  Our selling and marketing expenses increased by 535.6% from $0.4 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $2.4 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009. This increase was primarily due to an increase in the number of our sales and marketing personnel by 141 in connection with the expansion of our selling and marketing efforts.
 
General and Administrative Expenses.  Our general and administrative expenses increased by 137.7% from $2.5 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $5.9 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009. This increase was also due to an increase in the number of employees for our corporate and administrative functions by 196 to support our expanded operations in fiscal year 2009.
 
Impairment Losses on Intangible Assets and Goodwill.  We recognized nil impairment loss on goodwill in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008. In the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009, we recognized impairment losses on intangible assets and goodwill of $1.6 million relating to our acquisitions of two schools during that fiscal year.
 
Interest Income, net
 
We had interest income, net of $0.1 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009, compared to $10,000 for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008. Our interest income, net in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 consisted of interest earned on our cash and cash equivalents deposited in commercial banks, partially offset by the interest expense incurred for our payable for acquisition. Our interest income, net in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 consisted of interest earned on our cash and cash equivalents deposited in commercial banks.
 
Other Expenses
 
We had other expenses of $0.2 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009, compared to nil for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008. Our other expenses in fiscal year 2008 were primarily attributable to our charity donations to Sichuan earthquake relief funds.
 
Impairment Loss on Available-for-Sale Securities
 
We recognized a $0.4 million impairment loss on available-for-sale securities for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 due to a decline in the fair value other-than-temporary impairment of our investment in certain available-for-sale securities of a mutual fund, as compared to nil for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008.
 
Gain on Extinguishment of Liabilities
 
We recognized a $0.7 million gain on extinguishment of liabilities for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 as a result of renegotiation of the acquisition payable relating to the Wuhan School, which performed below expectation after the acquisition, from $1.6 million to $0.9 million. We had nil gain on extinguishment of liabilities for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008.
 
Provision for Income Tax
 
Our provision for income tax increased from $0.2 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $2.0 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009, due to the higher income taxes incurred in the fiscal year 2009 as a result of our increasing taxable income for the period, as well as our higher effective income tax rate of 21.7% in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009, compared to 9.8% in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008.


75


Table of Contents

Net Income
 
As a result of the above, our net income increased by 381.3% from $1.5 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $7.3 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009.


76


Table of Contents

 
Our Selected Quarterly Results of Operations
 
The following table sets forth our unaudited consolidated selected quarterly results of operations for the eight fiscal quarters ended August 31, 2010. You should read the following table in conjunction with our audited financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus. We have prepared the unaudited consolidated financial information on the same basis as our audited consolidated financial statements. The unaudited consolidated financial information includes all adjustments, consisting only of normal recurring adjustments, that we consider necessary for a fair presentation of our financial position and operating results for the quarters presented.
 
                                                                                                                                 
    For the Three Months Ended  
    November 30, 2008     February 28, 2009     May 31, 2009     August 31, 2009     November 30, 2009     February 28, 2010     May 31, 2010     August 31, 2010  
          % of Net
          % of Net
          % of Net
          % of Net
          % of Net
          % of Net
          % of Net
          % of Net
 
    $     Revenues     $     Revenues     $     Revenues     $     Revenues     $     Revenues     $     Revenues     $     Revenues     $     Revenues  
    (In thousands of $, except percentages)  
 
Net revenues
    10,229       100.0 %     14,203       100.0 %     15,439       100.0 %     17,544       100.0 %     16,374       100.0 %     20,237       100.0 %     20,496       100.0 %     32,526       100.0 %
                                                                                                                                 
Cost of revenues(1)
    (5,200 )     (50.8 )%     (7,057 )     (49.7 )%     (7,215 )     (46.7 )%     (8,853 )     (50.5 )%     (9,133 )     (55.8 )%     (12,448 )     (61.5 )%     (12,062 )     (58.9 )%     (14,193 )     (43.6 )%
                                                                                                                                 
Gross profit
    5,029       49.2 %     7,146       50.3 %     8,224       53.3 %     8,691       49.5 %     7,241       44.2 %     7,789       38.5 %     8,434       41.1 %     18,333       56.4 %
                                                                                                                                 
Operating expenses
                                                                                                                               
Selling and marketing expenses(2)
    (567 )     (5.6 )%     (855 )     (6.0 )%     (750 )     (4.9 )%     (1,209 )     (6.9 )%     (1,654 )     (10.1 )%     (1,996 )     (9.9 )%     (1,674 )     (8.1 )%     (2,510 )     (7.7 )%
General and administrative expenses(3)
    (1,803 )     (17.6 )%     (2,022 )     (14.2 )%     (2,223 )     (14.4 )%     (2,379 )     (13.5 )%     (3,075 )     (18.8 )%     (3,196 )     (15.8 )%     (3,752 )     (18.3 )%     (4,056 )     (12.5 )%
Impairment loss on intangible assets and goodwill
                (1,615 )     (11.4 )%                                                                        
                                                                                                                                 
Total operating expenses
    (2,370 )     (23.2 )%     (4,492 )     (31.6 )%     (2,973 )     (19.3 )%     (3,588 )     (20.4 )%     (4,729 )     (28.9 )%     (5,192 )     (25.7 )%     (5,426 )     (26.4 )%     (6,566 )     (20.2 )%
                                                                                                                                 
Income from operations
    2,659       26.0 %     2,654       18.7 %     5,251       34.0 %     5,103       29.1 %     2,512       15.3 %     2,597       12.8 %     3,008       14.7 %     11,767       36.2 %
                                                                                                                                 
Interest income, net
    25       0.2 %     39       0.3 %     65       0.4 %     38       0.2 %     127       0.8 %     54       0.3 %     107       0.5 %     55       0.2 %
Other expenses
                (25 )     (0.2 )%     (80 )     (0.5 )%     (38 )     (0.2 )%     (6 )     (0.0 )%                 (33 )     (0.1 )%     6       0.0 %
Impairment loss on available-for-sale securities
                (363 )     (2.6 )%                                                                        
Gain from sales of available-for-sale securities
                                                                            6       0.0 %            
                                                                                                                                 
Income before income tax provision
    2,684       26.2 %     2,305       16.2 %     5,236       33.9 %     5,103       29.1 %     2,633       16.1 %     2,651       13.1 %     3,088       15.1 %     11,828       36.4 %
Provision for income tax
    (583 )     (5.7 )%     (499 )     (3.5 )%     (462 )     (3.0 )%     (450 )     (2.6 )%     (232 )     (1.4 )%     (234 )     (1.2 )%     (346 )     (1.7 )%     (1,324 )     (4.1 )%
                                                                                                                                 
Net income
  $ 2,101       20.5 %   $ 1,806       12.7 %   $ 4,774       30.9 %   $ 4,653       26.5 %   $ 2,401       14.7 %   $ 2,417       11.9 %   $ 2,742       13.4 %   $ 10,504       32.3 %
                                                                                                                                 
 
 
Notes:
 
(1) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $110 thousand.
 
(2) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $163 thousand.
 
(3) Includes share-based compensation expenses of $647 thousand.


77


Table of Contents

 
Our revenues and operating results typically fluctuate from quarter to quarter as a result of seasonal characteristics in our business. Our courses tend to have the largest enrollments in our second and fourth fiscal quarters each year, largely because many primary, middle, and high school students have a greater opportunity to enroll in our courses during their summer and winter vacations which take place in these two quarters. From our inception in 2003 through fiscal year 2009, this seasonality of our business was not apparent as each quarter had greater revenues than the prior quarter due to the exceptionally rapid growth we experienced in those years.
 
Our costs and expenses do not necessarily correspond directly to changes in our student enrollments and net revenues. We make expenditures on facility expansion and enhancement, hiring and training of teachers, student service and support, development of course materials, and marketing throughout the year. In particular, we generally make more significant expenditures on building new learning and service centers in the second half of our fiscal years in anticipation of future growth. In conjunction with this investment in our learning and service centers, we also generally incur greater teacher, sales and marketing, and general and administrative expenses in the second half than in the first half of each fiscal year to support our overall business expansion.
 
Our quarterly results of operations in the second quarter of fiscal year 2011 were affected by the allocation of share-based compensation expenses for restricted shares granted in that quarter under our 2010 share incentive plan and we will continue to incur share-based compensation expenses in future quarters. Also, we generally pay annual bonuses to our teachers and other employees before the Chinese New Year in our fourth fiscal quarter, which impacts costs and expenses in this quarter.
 
We expect our quarterly results to continue to be influenced by seasonal enrollment trends and our business expansion strategy. Our quarterly results of operations may also vary in the future as a result of potentially different student enrollment trends for new courses, programs and services we may offer and decisions we may make about the optimal timing for both center expansion and tuition increases over the course of the year.
 
Liquidity and Capital Resources
 
Cash Flows and Working Capital
 
Our principal sources of liquidity have been cash generated from operating activities and proceeds from the issuance and sale of Series A preferred shares. As of August 31, 2010, we had $81.5 million in cash and cash equivalents and we had no bank borrowings. Our cash and cash equivalents consist of cash on hand and bank deposits that are placed with banks and other financial institutions and which are either unrestricted as to withdrawal or use or have maturities of three months or less.
 
Although we consolidate the results of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network and their respective subsidiaries and schools, our access to cash balances or future earnings of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network and their respective subsidiaries and schools is only through our contractual arrangements with Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network and their respective shareholders, subsidiaries and schools. See “Our Corporate History and Structure—Contractual Arrangements with Our Consolidated Affiliated Entities.” For restrictions and limitations on liquidity and capital resources as a result of our corporate structure, see “—Holding Company Structure.”
 
We believe that our current cash and cash equivalents and anticipated cash flow from operations will be sufficient to meet our anticipated cash needs, including our cash needs for working capital and capital expenditures, for at least the next 12 months.


78


Table of Contents

The following table sets forth a summary of our cash flows for the periods indicated:
 
                                         
    For the Year Ended February 29/28,     For the Six Months Ended August 31,  
    2008     2009     2010     2009     2010  
    (in thousands of $)  
 
Net cash provided by operating activities
  $ 6,324     $ 23,468     $ 27,175     $ 16,198     $ 30,955  
Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities
    (1,470 )     (5,116 )     (5,250 )     (696 )     (214 )
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities
    132       5,252       (903 )     (1,622 )     (163 )
Effect of foreign exchange rate changes
    315       385       37       26       165  
Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents
    5,301       23,989       21,059       13,906       30,743  
Cash and cash equivalents at the beginning of the period
    403       5,704       29,693       29,693       50,752  
Cash and cash equivalents at end of the period
    5,704       29,693       50,752       43,599       81,495  
 
Operating Activities
 
Net cash provided by operating activities amounted to $31.0 million for the six months ended August 31, 2010, as compared to $16.2 million for the six months ended August 31, 2009.
 
Net cash provided by operating activities for the six months ended August 31, 2010 reflected net income of $13.2 million, adjusted by reconciliation items of $2.4 million, which included depreciation of property and equipment of $1.1 million, share-based compensation charge of $0.9 million and amortization of intangible assets of $0.4 million. Another major factor affecting operating cash flow for the six months ended August 31, 2010 included an increase in deferred revenues in the amount of $12.6 million due to the increased amount of course fees received during the period for courses that would continue into the second half of the year.
 
Net cash provided by operating activities for the six months ended August 31, 2009 reflected net income of $9.4 million, adjusted by a non-cash and non-operating charge of $0.7 million, which included depreciation of property and equipment of $0.4 million and amortization of intangible assets of $0.3 million. Additional major factors affecting operating cash flow for the six months ended August 31, 2009 included an increase in deferred revenues in the amount of $5.7 million due to the increased amount of course fees received during the period, an increase in accrued expenses and other current liabilities in the amount of $1.5 million in connection with accrued payroll and bonus and payable for business acquisitions.
 
Net cash provided by operating activities amounted to $27.2 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, as compared to $23.5 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 and $6.3 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008.
 
Net cash provided by operating activities in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010 reflected net income of $14.2 million, adjusted by a non-cash and non-operating charge of $2.1 million, which included depreciation of property and equipment of $1.3 million and amortization of intangible assets of $0.8 million. Additional major factors affecting operating cash flow in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010 included an increase in deferred revenues in the amount of $11.3 million due to the increased amount of course fees received during the period, an increase in rental deposits in the amount of $1.2 million as a result of the additional premises we rented for our offices, learning centers and other services, an increase in accrued expenses and other current liabilities in the amount of $3.2 million in connection with accrued payroll and bonus and other taxes payables, and the decrease in our income tax payable in the amount of $2.1 million.
 
Net cash provided by operating activities in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 reflected net income of $7.3 million, adjusted by a non-cash and non-operating charge of $2.3 million, which primarily included impairment of intangible assets and goodwill of $1.6 million in connection with two acquisitions we made during the period, amortization of intangible assets in the amount of $0.6 million mainly in connection with acquisitions of domain names, gain on extinguishment of liabilities in the amount of $0.7 million attributable to a waiver of the same amount of acquisition payables as a result of renegotiations with the seller in one of our acquisitions. Additional major factors affecting operating cash flow in the fiscal year ended February 28,


79


Table of Contents

2009 included an increase in the amount of $12.0 million paid upfront by the students due to the increased amount of course fees received during the period, the increase in our income tax payable in the amount of $2.3 million and an increase in accrued expenses and other current liabilities in the amount of $1.8 million in connection with accrued payroll and bonus and payable for business acquisitions.
 
Net cash provided by operating activities in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 was primarily attributable to net income of $1.5 million, and an increase in deferred revenues in the amount of $3.7 million due to the increased amount of course fees received during the period.
 
Investing Activities
 
We lease all of our facilities. Our cash used in investing activities is primarily related to leasehold improvements, investments in equipment, technology and operating systems, investments in certain available-for-sale securities, intangible assets and acquisitions.
 
Net cash used in investing activities amounted to $0.2 million for the six months ended August 31, 2010, as compared to net cash used in investing activities in the amount of $0.7 million for the six months ended August 31, 2009.
 
Net cash used in investing activities for the six months ended August 31, 2010 primarily related to leasehold improvements and purchases of equipment in the amount of $1.7 million in connection with the expansion of our network of learning centers and service centers, partially offset by our sale of available-for-sale securities we bought in December 2009 for proceeds of $1.5 million.
 
Net cash used in investing activities for the six months ended August 31, 2009 primarily related to leasehold improvements and purchases of equipment in the amount of $0.7 million in connection with the expansion of our network of learning centers and service centers.
 
Net cash used in investing activities amounted to $5.3 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, as compared to $5.1 million and $1.5 million in the fiscal years ended February 29, 2008 and February 28, 2009, respectively.
 
Net cash used in investing activities in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010 primarily related to (i) leasehold improvements and purchases of equipment in the amount of $3.8 million in connection with the expansion of our network of learning centers and service centers, and (ii) our investment in the securities of a mutual fund in the amount of $1.5 million.
 
Net cash used in investing activities in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 primarily related to (i) leasehold improvements and purchases of equipment in the amount of $2.1 million in connection with the expansion of our network of learning centers and service centers, (ii) our acquisitions in separate transactions from unrelated third-parties in the amount of $1.6 million, and (iii) our purchase of intangible assets in the amount of $1.4 million in connection with the purchase of several domain names from unrelated third-parities.
 
Net cash used in investing activities in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 mainly related to (i) our investment in certain available-for-sale securities in the amount of $0.7 million, (ii) leasehold improvements and purchases of equipment in the amount of $0.5 million in connection with the expansion of our network of learning centers and service centers, and (iii) our purchase of intangible assets in the amount of $0.3 million in connection with the purchase of several domain names from unrelated third parities.
 
Financing Activities
 
Our financing activities consisted of issuance and sale of Series A convertible redeemable preferred shares to investors, a convertible loan, capital contributions from our founding shareholders, distributions to shareholders and acquisitions.
 
Net cash used in financing activities for the six months ended August 31, 2010 amounted to $0.2 million, as compared to net cash used in financing activities in the amount of $1.6 million for the six months ended August 31, 2009. Net cash used in financing activities for the six months ended August 31, 2010 was


80


Table of Contents

primarily related to payment of certain deferred consideration in connection with our acquisition activities. Net cash used in financing activities for the six months ended August 31, 2009 was attributable to a distribution to our shareholders.
 
Net cash used in financing activities amounted to $0.9 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, as compared to net cash provided by financing activities in the amount of $5.3 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 and net cash provided by financing activities in the amount of $0.1 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008. Net cash used in financing activities in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010 was primarily attributable to the distribution payment by our consolidated affiliated entity in the amount of $1.4 million to its shareholders in connection with our corporate reorganization, our acquisition activities in the amount of $0.2 million, partially offset by the $0.5 million proceeds from a convertible loan and $0.2 million of capital contributions by our founding shareholders. Net cash provided by financing activities in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2009 was primarily attributable to the proceeds from our issuance and sale of Series A convertible redeemable preferred shares in the amount of $4.9 million and capital contributions by our founding shareholders in the amount of $0.4 million. Net cash used in financing activities in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 was primarily attributable to capital contributions by our founding shareholders in the amount of $0.1 million.
 
Capital Expenditures
 
Our capital expenditures are incurred primarily in connection with leasehold improvements, investments in computers, network equipment and software and business acquisitions. Our capital expenditures were $0.8 million, $5.1 million and $3.8 million in the fiscal years ended February 29, 2008 and February 28, 2009 and 2010. We expect to incur capital expenditures up to $10 million in the fiscal year ending February 28, 2011 in connection with our planned investments in facilities, equipment, technology and operating systems to meet the expected growth of our operations. We also expect to incur additional costs in connection with our becoming a public company, including costs to prepare for our first Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 Section 404 compliance testing and additional compliance costs associated with being a public company. We are not able to estimate with reasonable certainty these additional expenses but expect that the additional costs will not exceed $2 million in the next two years. We intend to continue to utilize real estate leasing in order to allocate our capital resources cost-efficiently. We may make acquisitions of businesses and properties that complement our operations when suitable opportunities arise.
 
Contractual Obligations
 
The following table sets forth our contractual obligations as of February 28, 2010:
 
                                         
    Payment due by period  
    Total     Less than 1 year     1-3 years     3-5 years     More than 5 years  
                (in thousand $)        
 
Operating lease obligations(1)
  $ 42,674       13,155       20,159       9,347       13  
Acquisition payables(2)
    513       513       —        —        —   
Convertible loan(3)
    500             500              
 
 
Notes:
 
(1) Represents our non-cancelable leases for our offices, learning centers and service centers.
 
(2) Represents outstanding consideration payable in connection with our acquisitions of Tianjin Education, Jianli School, Qianjiang School and Wuhan School as of February 28, 2010. $240,198 in acquisition cash consideration payable for the acquisition of Tianjin Education and Wuhan School was outstanding as of August 31, 2010.
 
(3) Represents the principal amount due to a third party pursuant to a convertible loan. The convertible loan has a principal amount of $500,000, bears an annual interest rate of 15% and will mature on January 30, 2012.


81


Table of Contents

 
Holding Company Structure
 
We are a holding company with no material operations of our own. We conduct our operations primarily through our three wholly owned subsidiaries and our affiliated entities in China. As a result, our ability to pay dividends depends upon dividends paid by our wholly owned subsidiaries. If our wholly owned subsidiaries or any newly formed subsidiaries incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing their debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends to us. In addition, our wholly owned 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. Under PRC law, each of our subsidiaries, VIEs and VIE’s 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. 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. As a result of these PRC laws and regulations, as of August 31, 2010, we had $4.9 million in statutory reserves, or 15.0% of total equity, that are not distributable as cash dividends. Our PRC subsidiaries have not historically paid any dividends to our offshore entities from their accumulated profits. However, we do not expect that the statutory reserve requirement will materially limit our ability to pay dividends to our shareholders or our plan to expand our business because we are only required to set aside an additional $2.9 million to satisfy the maximum requirement of statutory reserves for all of our PRC subsidiaries, VIEs and VIEs’ subsidiaries.
 
Off-Balance Sheet Commitments and 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.
 
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosure about Market Risk
 
Interest Rate Risk
 
Our exposure to interest rate risk primarily relates to the interest income generated by excess cash invested in liquid investments with original maturities of three months or less. We have not used any derivative financial instruments to manage our interest risk exposure. Interest-earning instruments carry a degree of interest rate risk. We have not been exposed, nor do we anticipate being exposed, to material risks due to changes in interest rates. However, our future interest income may be lower than expected due to changes in market interest rates.
 
Foreign Exchange Risk
 
The value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currencies is affected by, among other things, changes in China’s political and economic conditions and China’s foreign exchange policies. The conversion of the Renminbi into foreign currencies, including the U.S. dollar, has been based on exchange rates set by the People’s Bank of China. On July 21, 2005, the PRC government changed its decade-old policy of pegging the value of the Renminbi solely to the U.S. dollar. Under this revised policy, the Renminbi is permitted to fluctuate within a narrow and managed band against a basket of certain foreign currencies. Following the removal of the U.S. dollar peg, the Renminbi appreciated approximately 21.5% against the U.S. dollar over the following three years. Since July 2008, however, the Renminbi has traded within a narrow range against the U.S. dollar, remaining within 1% of its July 2008 high. As a consequence, the Renminbi has fluctuated significantly since July 2008 against other freely traded currencies, in tandem with the U.S. dollar. On June 20, 2010, the People’s Bank of China announced that the PRC government will further reform the


82


Table of Contents

Renminbi exchange rate regime and enhance the Renminbi exchange rate flexibility. It is difficult to predict how this new policy may impact the Renminbi exchange rate going forward.
 
Substantially all of our earnings and cash assets are denominated in RMB and the net proceeds from this offering will be denominated in U.S. dollars, fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the RMB will affect the relative purchasing power of these proceeds and our balance sheet and earnings per share in U.S. dollars following this offering. In addition, appreciation or depreciation in the value of the RMB relative to the U.S. dollar would affect our financial results reported in U.S. dollar terms without giving effect to any underlying change in our business or results of operations. Fluctuations in the exchange rate will also affect the relative value of any dividend we issue after this offering that will be exchanged into U.S. dollars and earnings from, and the value of, any U.S. dollar-denominated investments we make in the future. We do not believe that we currently have any significant direct foreign exchange risk and have not hedged exposures denominated in foreign currencies or any other derivative financial instruments. Although in general, our exposure to foreign exchange risks should be limited, the value of your investment in our ADSs will be affected by the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollars and RMB because the value of our business is effectively denominated in RMB, while the ADSs will be traded in U.S. dollars.
 
Moreover, to the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars we receive from this offering into RMB for our operations, appreciation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the RMB amount we receive from the conversion. Assuming we had converted the U.S. dollar-denominated cash balance of $      million as of          , 2010 into RMB at the exchange rate of $1.00 for RMB           as of          , 2010, this cash balance would have been RMB           million. Assuming a 1.0% appreciation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar, this cash balance would have decreased to RMB      million as of          , 2010. We have not used any forward contracts or currency borrowings to hedge our exposure to foreign currency exchange risk.
 
Inflation Risk
 
Inflation in China has not had a significant effect on our business. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the change in the Consumer Price Index in China was 4.8%, 5.9% and (0.7%) in the calender year 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively.
 
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
 
In June 2009, the FASB issued an authoritative pronouncement to amend the accounting rules for variable interest entities, or VIEs. The amendments effectively replace the quantitative-based risks-and-rewards calculation for determining which reporting entity, if any, has a controlling financial interest in a variable interest entity with an approach focused on identifying which reporting entity has (1) the power to direct the activities of a variable interest entity that most significantly affect the entity’s economic performance and (2) the obligation to absorb losses of, or the right to receive benefits from, the entity. Additionally, an enterprise is required to assess whether it has an implicit financial responsibility to ensure that a variable interest entity operates as designed when determining whether it has the power to direct the activities of the variable interest entity that most significantly impact the entity’s economic performance. The new guidance also requires additional disclosures about a reporting entity’s involvement with variable interest entities and about any significant changes in risk exposure as a result of that involvement.
 
The new guidance is effective at the start of a reporting entity’s first fiscal year beginning after November 15, 2009, and all interim and annual periods thereafter. The new VIE model requires that, upon adoption, a reporting entity should determine whether an entity is a VIE, and whether the reporting entity is the VIE’s primary beneficiary, as of the date that the reporting entity first became involved with the entity, unless an event requiring reconsideration of those initial conclusions occurred after that date. When making this determination, a reporting entity must assume that new guidance had been effective from the date of its first involvement with the entity. We adopted the new guidance on March 1, 2010.
 
We have had two VIEs, which we have consolidated under the authoritative literature prior to the amendment discussed above because we were the primary beneficiary of those entities. Because we, through


83


Table of Contents

our wholly owned subsidiary, have (1) the power to direct the activities of the two VIEs that most significantly affect their economic performance and (2) the right to receive benefits from the two VIES, we continue to consolidate the two VIEs upon the adoption of the new guidance which therefore, other than for additional disclosures, had no accounting impact.
 
In October 2009, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, or the FASB, issued an authoritative pronouncement regarding revenue arrangements with multiple deliverables. This pronouncement was issued in response to practice concerns related to the accounting for revenue arrangements with multiple deliverables under an existing pronouncement. Although the new pronouncement retains the criteria from an existing pronouncement for when delivered items in a multiple-deliverable arrangement should be considered separate units of accounting, it removes the previous separation criterion under existing pronouncements that objective and reliable evidence of the fair value of any undelivered items must exist for the delivered items to be considered a separate unit or separate units of accounting. The new pronouncement is effective for fiscal years beginning on or after June 15, 2010. Entities can elect to apply this pronouncement (1) prospectively to new or materially modified arrangements after the pronouncement’s effective date or (2) retrospectively for all periods presented. Early application is permitted; however, if the entity elects prospective application and early adopts this pronouncement after its first interim reporting period, it must also do the following in the period of adoption: (1) retrospectively apply this pronouncement as of the beginning of that fiscal year; and (2) disclose the effect of the retrospective adjustments on the prior interim periods’ revenue, income before taxes, net income, and earnings per share. We are in the process of evaluating the effect of adoption of this pronouncement.
 
In October 2009, the FASB issued an authoritative pronouncement regarding software revenue recognition. This new pronouncement amends an existing pronouncement to exclude from its scope all tangible products containing both software and non-software components that function together to deliver the product’s essential functionality. That is, the entire product (including the software deliverables and non-software deliverables) would be outside the scope of software revenue recognition and would be accounted for under other accounting literature. The new pronouncement includes factors that entities should consider when determining whether the software and non-software components function together to deliver the product’s essential functionality and are thus outside the revised scope of the authoritative literature that governs software revenue recognition. The pronouncement is effective for fiscal years beginning on or after June 15, 2010. Entities can elect to apply this pronouncement (1) prospectively to new or materially modified arrangements after the pronouncement’s effective date or (2) retrospectively for all periods presented. Early application is permitted; however, if the entity elects prospective application and early adopts this pronouncement after its first interim reporting period, it must also do the following in the period of adoption: (1) retrospectively apply this pronouncement as of the beginning of that fiscal year; and (2) disclose the effect of the retrospective adjustments on the prior interim periods’ revenue, income before taxes, net income, and earnings per share. We are in the process of evaluating the effect of adoption of this pronouncement.
 
In April 2010, the FASB issued an authoritative pronouncement on milestone method of revenue recognition. The scope of this pronouncement is limited to arrangements that include milestones relating to research or development deliverables. The pronouncement specifies guidance that must be met for a vendor to recognize consideration that is contingent upon achievement of a substantive milestone in its entirety in the period in which the milestone is achieved. The guidance applies to milestones in arrangements within the scope of this consensus regardless of whether the arrangement is determined to have single or multiple deliverables or units of accounting. The pronouncement will be effective for fiscal years, and interim periods within those years, beginning on or after June 15, 2010. Early application is permitted. Companies can apply this guidance prospectively to milestones achieved after adoption. However, retrospective application to all prior periods is also permitted. We are in the process of evaluating the effect of adoption of this pronouncement.


84


Table of Contents

 
MARKET OPPORTUNITY
 
We believe that the K-12 after-school tutoring market is the most attractive sector in China’s private education market given the large addressable market it serves, its rapid growth rate and its highly fragmented nature. According to iResearch, the K-12 after-school tutoring market in China grew from RMB123.8 billion in 2007 to RMB189.7 billion ($27.8 billion) in 2009, representing a CAGR of 23.8%, and is projected to grow to RMB447.2 billion ($65.5 billion) in 2014, representing a CAGR of 18.7% from 2009. Moreover, the K-12 after-school tutoring market in China is highly fragmented with no player holding over a 1% market share. This fragmented market presents opportunities for private tutoring service providers that offer high-quality services and have a strong track record, brand and reputation to attract and retain more students and increase market share.
 
China’s Education Market
 
China had one of the world’s fastest growing economies in the past decade, with its per capita disposable income of urban households increasing at a CAGR of 12.2% from RMB6,280 ($920) in 2000 to RMB15,781 ($2,312) in 2008. This has led to increased disposable income and higher levels of consumer spending in China.
 
China’s education market also grew rapidly around the same period between 2004 and 2008. The growth in education spending in China was primarily driven by rapid urbanization, a traditional and cultural emphasis on education, and wage premiums associated with better education.
 
According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, urban population as a percentage of China’s total population increased from 36% in 2000 to 46% in 2008. Rising urbanization is a key growth driver in China’s education spending as most employment opportunities in urban areas require higher levels of education than in rural areas. In addition, urban employment opportunities on average offer higher compensation packages, which tend to translate into higher disposable income per capita and a greater propensity to invest in education compared with rural areas.
 
Chinese culture has always placed great emphasis on education. In dynastic China, people spent years studying in the hope of passing the government-administered civil service examinations and entering governmental services, which was deemed to be a key to success and stature in society. This culture continues to penetrate contemporary China, and it is commonly believed that superior education may provide one with the ability to promote his or her family’s fortune and social status. With the “one-child policy” being implemented in China since the 1980s and a rapid growth in household income in recent years, parents have become even more willing to invest heavily in their only child’s education, with the hope of securing a better future for their child.
 
As in other countries, better education tends to lead to financial success and more career opportunities in China. Graduates from key universities earned 46% more than vocational high school graduates on average and 23% more than those from other universities on average in 2009, according to iResearch. Moreover, college graduates generally enjoy significantly better job prospects than high school graduates.
 
Despite the strong growth, the education market in China remains under-invested compared with other developed countries. According to iResearch, the PRC government’s spending on education accounted for 3% of China’s GDP in 2008, compared with the United States (5%) and the United Kingdom (5.25%). This has created opportunities for private education service providers to grow and prosper by catering to the unmet educational demands of Chinese students and parents.
 
China’s K-12 After-School Tutoring Market
 
China’s K-12 Education System
 
In China, the education system begins prior to the first grade, followed by nine years of compulsory education in primary and middle schools. Students may then choose to attend high schools, which are three years in length, followed by college and postgraduate studies. Examination results are the most important


85


Table of Contents

criteria by which a student’s performance is assessed and a key factor in determining how far a student’s education can progress.
 
In order to be admitted to colleges in China, high school students are required to take the college entrance examinations, or the “Gaokao”. The Gaokao is the most critical set of examinations in a student’s education as the results determine whether a student will be able to attend a highly ranked college (or any at all), which in turn has a significant impact on the student’s future job prospects. As of December 31, 2008, only 114 of the 2,263 higher educational institutions in China were deemed “key universities” by the Ministry of Education, or MOE. Among them, Peking University and Tsinghua University, which are regarded as the most prestigious universities in China, collectively recruit approximately 6,600 students each year, accounting for approximately 0.1% of the total number of students admitted by all universities each year in China. The average admission rate of the key universities in China is approximately 5%. Moreover, according to the MOE, the gross higher education enrollment rate, or the percentage of students that are enrolled in an undergraduate program of at least two years, was 23% among the Chinese population in the 18-to-22 age group in 2008. Low admission rates of universities in general, and of the top universities in particular, have resulted in fierce competition for quality undergraduate education in China.
 
To increase the probability of entering key universities, students compete in high school entrance examinations, or the “Zhongkao,” to enter the best high schools in the cities or provinces in which they reside. Prior to the Zhongkao, they also compete to enter the best middle schools through a competitive selection process known as “Xiao Sheng Chu,” which is typically based on the students’ academic performance in primary schools. The number of key schools is very small relative to the total number of middle and high schools in China. In Beijing and Shanghai, which are endowed with the most educational resources among all municipalities in China, key schools accounted for only 15.7% and 17.7%, respectively, of the total number of middle schools and high schools in each city as of December 31, 2008. The key schools have better teaching quality and more educational resources, which generally result in better performance in college entrance examinations for their students. Therefore, in order to improve their chances of eventually gaining admission to key universities, many students start working very hard at a very young age in the hope of excelling in the Xiao Sheng Chu process and the Zhongkao, so as to be admitted to key middle schools and key high schools, respectively.
 
Moreover, among the K-12 school subjects, mathematics is usually given great emphasis by teachers and students, as it is a core subject at all levels in the K-12 system. Furthermore, math skills are considered very important in learning other core science subjects. Therefore, math ability is believed to be a highly significant contributor to a student’s overall performance and is greatly emphasized throughout the K-12 system.
 
In China, most public schools have between 50 and 60 students in each class. Students at the same grade level in each province typically follow the same curricula and pace of study regardless of their individual learning curves, interests, progress or needs. Given the pressure to excel on every entrance exam, the inadequate personalized support received within the public school system and the limited supply of quality schools at every education level, an increasing number of parents and students turn to private after-school tutoring services to complement the public school education curriculum.
 
We believe the intense competition in China’s K-12 education system is largely driven by the unbalanced supply and demand of quality education at all levels. On the one hand, students, facing intense competition, are under constant pressure throughout the K-12 system to achieve outstanding examination results. On the other hand, China’s public education is under-invested and unable to meet all educational demands. Such an imbalance in supply and demand thereby creates tremendous opportunities for the growth of private educational services, including the after-school tutoring market.
 
China’s K-12 After-School Tutoring Market
 
K-12 after-school tutoring targets persons between the ages of 5 and 19. According to MOE Statistics, there were approximately 180 million students studying in primary schools, middle schools and high schools by the end of 2008. The significant role K-12 education plays in a student’s future has driven the rapid growth of the K-12 after-school tutoring market, which is one of the largest and fastest growing segments in China’s


86


Table of Contents

private education market. According to iResearch, the K-12 after-school tutoring market in China grew from RMB123.8 billion in 2007 to RMB189.7 billion ($27.8 billion) in 2009, representing a CAGR of 23.8%, and is projected to grow to RMB447.2 billion ($65.5 billion) in 2014, representing a CAGR of 18.7% from 2009. The following graph sets forth total revenues of China’s K-12 after-school tutoring market for the periods indicated:
 
China K-12 After-School Tutoring Market:
 
(GRAPH)
 
Source: iResearch
 
K-12 after-school tutoring is particularly common in many East Asian countries. For example, in South Korea, 89% of primary school students, 75% of middle school students, and 55% of high school students used some form of after-school tutoring services, according to iResearch. By comparison, according to iResearch, there were approximately 54 to 63 million K-12 students in China receiving after-school tutoring services in 2009, representing 30% to 35% of the total K-12 population, which lagged behind the penetration rate in South Korea and other East Asian countries. We believe this is primarily due to the evolution of China’s public education system and the fact that private education as an industry has a relatively short history in China. However, according to iResearch, the after-school tutoring service market penetration rate in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen is expected to reach approximately 70% in the next few years.
 
Word-of-mouth and the Internet are the two most important channels through which students and parents learn about and select K-12 after-school tutoring services in China. Word-of-mouth is traditionally regarded as one of the most reliable sources of recommendations for tutoring services. With the rapid growth of Internet use in China in recent years, new media has come to play an increasingly more significant role in spreading information regarding the after-school tutoring service market. According to iResearch, Internet is now the second most important factor after word-of-mouth referrals in the selection of tutoring service providers. China has the world’s largest Internet population, according to China Internet Network Information Center. The current generation of K-12 students and their parents, especially those in the urban areas, are highly reliant on the Internet for educational information, as the Internet affords immediate access unconstrained by geographic location to a large reservoir of data and opinions.
 
iResearch projects the K-12 tutoring market to be especially attractive in the most developed cities in China such as Beijing and Shanghai, given the economic affluence and high spending on education in these cities. There were approximately 1.2 million K-12 students in each of Beijing and Shanghai in 2008. The disposable income per capita in Beijing and Shanghai in 2008 was RMB24,725 ($3,622) and RMB26,675 ($3,908), respectively, compared to the national average for urban households of RMB15,781 ($2,312). The relatively large number of key high schools and middle schools (101, as of December 31, 2008) in the two cities also promotes the overall quality of K-12 education. According to iResearch, the combined market size for Beijing and Shanghai is expected to reach RMB37.3 billion ($5.5 billion) in aggregate revenues by 2014.
 
Unlike many other private education services, such as language certification training, which focuses on preparing students for one-time tests on specific subjects, K-12 after-school tutoring service providers have the opportunity to develop multi-year relationships with students and their parents over the entire span of their K-12 education. Moreover, given the critical influence K-12 education often has over a student’s future, the K-12


87


Table of Contents

after-school tutoring market is less sensitive to economic cycles than some other segments of the private education market in China, such as post-secondary school or vocational training. According to iResearch, the K-12 after-school tutoring market in China grew by 26.4% during the economic downturn in 2009, exceeding the approximately 7% growth in China’s overall education market in the same year.
 
According to iResearch, there are four types of K-12 after-school tutoring services currently available in China:
 
  •   Large classes: in-class teaching with typically more than 30 students per class. This is the traditional format of after-school tutoring. However, it is experiencing a declining trend due to its lower effectiveness compared to the other formats of after-school tutoring. In 2009, this segment represented an estimated market size of RMB26.5 billion, according to iResearch. iResearch expects the market share of large classes to continue to decline over time.
 
  •   Small classes: in-class teaching with typically 10-30 students per class. The smaller class size allows teachers to pay closer attention to individual students and better tailor the classes to their study needs. This class setting therefore has become the most popular format of after-school tutoring given its attractive balance between affordability and the amount of individual attention students are able to receive from their teachers. In 2009, this segment represented an estimated market size of RMB104.6 billion, according to iResearch. iResearch expects this segment to grow at a CAGR of 19.3% over the next five years.
 
  •   One-on-one personalized tutoring. This class format offers the most customized tutoring services based on a student’s specific situations and study needs and has grown in popularity in recent years driven by the increasing demand for highly tailored tutoring services as well as an increase in the number of high-income households in China. In 2009, the one-on-one personalized tutoring segment represented an estimated market size of RMB56.2 billion, according to iResearch. iResearch expects this segment to grow at a CAGR of 20.0% over the next five years.
 
  •   Online courses: pre-recorded or live class videos coupled with interactive teaching and testing materials offered through educational websites. Online courses are able to reach a broader base of students as they are unconstrained by geographic location barriers and accessible on-demand by potential students whose schedules or location do not allow them to attend courses in person. In 2009, the online course segment represented an estimated market size of RMB2.4 billion, according to iResearch. iResearch expects this segment to grow at a CAGR of 40.2% over the next five years.
 
Among the four types of tutoring services, the small classes and one-on-one personalized tutoring services segments experienced high levels of growth in recent years and are expected to become the main formats of K-12 after-school tutoring services. The following graphs set forth the revenue breakdown by types of tutoring services for the periods indicated:
 
China K-12 After-School Tutoring Market By Format:
 
     
2009 (estimated)   2014 (estimated)
 
GRAPH   GRAPH
 
Source: iResearch


88


Table of Contents

The K-12 after-school tutoring market in China is highly fragmented due to the large K-12 student population, the geographic dispersion of the student population and the relatively low entry barriers. iResearch estimates that there are currently over 100,000 companies or institutions providing after-school tutoring services in China, with no provider accounting for more than 1% of the total market. We believe that teaching quality, student performance and brand strength are key differentiators in this fragmented market.


89


Table of Contents

 
BUSINESS
 
Overview
 
We are the largest K-12 after-school tutoring service provider in China in terms of revenues in 2009, according to iResearch. We offer comprehensive tutoring services to K-12 students covering core academic subjects, including mathematics, English, Chinese, physics, chemistry and biology. We have successfully established “Xueersi” as a leading brand in China’s K-12 private education market closely associated with high teaching quality and academic excellence in China, as evidenced by our students’ outstanding academic performance, our over 70% annual retention rate, our ability to recruit most of our students through word-of-mouth referrals as well as the numerous recognitions and awards we have received. The K-12 after-school tutoring service market in China is highly fragmented. In 2009, we had a 0.26% market share in China and a 4.5% market share in Beijing, in each case as measured by revenues for the year according to iResearch.
 
We deliver our tutoring services through small classes, personalized premium services (i.e., one-on-one tutoring) and online course offerings. Our extensive network consists of 109 learning centers and 87 service centers in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Wuhan, as well as our online platform. Our student enrollments increased from 67,996 in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to 382,505 in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, representing a compound annual growth rate, or CAGR, of 137.2%. Our student enrollment growth has been predominantly driven by new students.
 
We are committed to providing our students with high-quality services and an exceptional learning experience. Our commitment is reflected in our continual focus on recruiting, training and retaining teachers with strong academic credentials, relevant experience and a passion for education; our emphasis on developing, updating and improving our curricula and course materials; and our stress on standardizing operating procedures throughout our network. This in turn has led to a strong track record of outstanding student achievement. In 2010, 169 out of our 430 high school graduates were admitted to Peking University or Tsinghua University, the two most prestigious universities in China that collectively enroll only less than 0.1% of the high school graduates across the country. In the same year, approximately 5,700 of our students in Beijing and Shanghai were admitted to key high schools, representing over 60% enrollment rate in comparison to the regional average of approximately 30%; and more than 5,500 of our students in Beijing and Shanghai were admitted to key middle schools, representing over 80% enrollment rate in comparison to the regional average of 15-25%. In addition, our students have won a significant number of regional, national and international math competitions, including three gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2008 and 2009.
 
Our online platform, www.eduu.com, hosts China’s largest and most active online education community for our existing and potential students and their parents, and is the largest Internet education portal in China, based on the average monthly page views and average monthly unique visitors in the first six months of 2010. It provides our existing and potential students access to learning resources beyond our physical network, increases student loyalty and stickiness, and enhances our brand awareness. In addition, our online platform enables us to continue to roll out and expand our online course offerings. As word-of-mouth referrals and our online communities have contributed significantly to student recruitment, we have not incurred significant advertising expenses in the past. Our online platform is protected by a combination of PRC laws and regulations that protect trademarks, copyrights, domain names, know-how and trade secrets, as well as confidentiality agreements. Revenues generated from our online course offerings have accounted for less than 1.0% of our total net revenues since we began offering online courses in 2010.
 
We have experienced significant growth in recent years. Our total net revenues increased from $8.9 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $69.6 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, representing a CAGR of 179.9%. Our net income increased from $1.5 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2008 to $14.2 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2010, representing a CAGR of 206.9%. Our total net revenues for the six months ended August 31, 2010 were $53.0 million, and our net income for the same period was $13.2 million.


90


Table of Contents

Due to PRC legal restrictions on foreign ownership and investment in the education business in China, we operate our after-school tutoring service business primarily through our variable interest entities and their subsidiaries and schools in China. We do not hold equity interests in our variable interest entities; however, through a series of contractual arrangements with these variable interest entities and their respective shareholders, we effectively control and are able to derive substantially all of the economic benefits from these variable interest entities.
 
Our Strengths
 
We always seek to leverage on our competitive strengths to grow our business in an efficient and cost-effective manner. We believe the following are our key competitive strengths that have contributed significantly to our success and differentiate us from our competitors:
 
Largest K-12 After-School Tutoring Service Provider in China
 
We are China’s largest K-12 after-school tutoring service provider in terms of revenue in 2009, and the after-school tutoring market we serve is one of the largest and fastest growing segments in China’s private education sector. The K-12 after-school tutoring service market in China is highly fragmented. In 2009, we had a 0.26% market share in China and a 4.5% market share in Beijing, in each case as measured by revenues for the year according to iResearch. We have 109 learning centers and 87 service centers in six major cities in China, namely, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Tianjin and Wuhan. We offer comprehensive tutoring services to K-12 students covering all core academic subjects through a variety of educational formats including small classes, personalized premium services and online courses. Our scale has enabled us to effectively leverage our brand, extensive existing network, proprietary curricula and course materials and high teaching quality to become a leading national player in a highly fragmented industry.
 
Being a market leader in China’s K-12 after-school tutoring service market enables us to more efficiently introduce and promote new service offerings and to more effectively attract and retain talented personnel by providing them with career development and advancement opportunities.
 
Strong Brand
 
We believe that our “Xueersi” brand is closely associated with high teaching quality and academic excellence. This strong brand has enabled us to recruit students primarily through word-of-mouth referrals, and as a result, we have been able to keep our marketing costs low relative to our total revenues. It also contributed to our ability to develop a loyal student base, as evidenced by our over 70% annual retention rate and robust online community. Moreover, our strong brand allows us to attract high quality teachers and retain a pricing premium relative to our competitors. Furthermore, we are able to leverage our brand to expand into new markets and quickly establish a leading position in those markets.
 
We have received numerous awards such as, in 2009, the Parents’ Most Trusted After-School Educational Institution award by Sina.com, the Most Influential After-School Education Brand in the last 60 Years Since 1949 award by Sohu.com, the Most Innovative Chinese Education Group award by Beijing News and Media and China’s Most Influential Education Brand award by Tencent.com.
 
Outstanding Student Performance
 
We have established an impressive track record of outstanding student performance. In Beijing and Shanghai in 2010, approximately 5,700 of our students were admitted to key high schools, representing over 60% enrollment rate in comparison to the regional average of approximately 30%; and more than 5,500 of our students were admitted to key middle schools, representing over 80% enrollment rate in comparison to the regional average of 15-25%. Key schools are selected public schools in China with the highest admission standards and best allocated educational resources from the government. Moreover, in 2010, 169 out of our 430 high school graduates were admitted to Peking University and Tsinghua University, the two most prestigious universities in China that collectively enroll only less than 0.1% of high schools graduates across


91


Table of Contents

the country. In addition, our students have won a significant number of regional, national and international math competitions, including three gold medals in the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2008 and 2009.
 
High Teaching Quality, Strong Content Development and Efficient Education Management System
 
We believe our commitment to consistent high teaching quality and standards is a significant driving force behind our success. This commitment is reflected in our highly selective teacher hiring process, our emphasis on continued teacher training and rigorous evaluation, competitive performance-based compensation and opportunities for career advancement. We routinely recruit teachers from top tier universities in China. In the past three years, only approximately 5% of applicants to our teaching positions were hired by us. Each of our newly hired teachers is required to undergo months of training before teaching classes and must participate in our continued training programs and a regular and rigorous evaluation process. We believe that our performance-based compensation packages are among the highest in the K-12 tutoring market in China and have helped us retain our best teaching talent. Furthermore, we offer career advancement opportunities to our best teachers who are considered for management positions.
 
We have a dedicated team of over 217 full-time employees focusing on curriculum and course material development, updating and improvement. This team works closely with our education expert advisors to keep up with changing academic and examination requirements in China’s K-12 education system and solicits feedback from our teachers based on their classroom experience. Substantially all of our course materials are designed and developed in house and tailored to different focuses of our students at each grade level.
 
We modularize each distinct function of our operating procedures to optimize efficiency. In addition, we have established a highly standardized set of procedures across our system with respect to course and service offerings. We believe standardization allows us to achieve consistency in curricula delivered across our network, our branding and marketing as well as our operating guidelines.
 
Largest Online Education Platform in China
 
Our online platform, www.eduu.com, hosts China’s largest and most active online education community for our existing and potential students and their parents, and is the largest Internet education portal in China, based on the average monthly page views and the average monthly number of unique visitors in the first six months of 2010. In addition, it serves as a gateway to our online courses and seven other websites dedicated to specific topics, including college entrance examinations, high school entrance examinations, preschool & kindergarten education, personalized premium services, mathematics, English, and Chinese composition.
 
Our websites dedicated to specific topics provide an efficient platform for information exchange, resources sharing and social networking. On these websites, the large and growing online community of students and parents are able to receive the latest information on school admissions and examinations and access past exam questions and test analyses. In addition, they are able to share their experiences and views regarding our courses, public school education in general and various other topics that concern them. They can also obtain information on, and make purchases of, our classroom-based course offerings in these topic areas.
 
The online platform complements and extends our existing physical network to improve our students’ learning experience, increases student loyalty and stickiness, facilitates ongoing parent participation and enhances our brand awareness. Additionally, our online platform enables us to leverage our high quality content and teachers to expand our addressable target market, facilitates direct and constant communications with our prospective students and parents and effectively lowers our student acquisition costs.
 
Innovative and Entrepreneurial Management Team with Passion for Education
 
We have an innovative and entrepreneurial management team with a passion for education. Our co-founders, Mr. Bangxin Zhang and Mr. Yundong Cao, started our first after-school tutoring class in 2003 when they were still attending graduate school at Peking University. Two additional members of our senior management team, Dr. Yachao Liu and Mr. Yunfeng Bai, joined us as teachers in 2003 and 2005, respectively, and have risen to their current management positions because of their commitment to our company and


92


Table of Contents

outstanding performance. Under the leadership of our senior management, we have successfully executed our growth strategies to focus exclusively on the K-12 after-school tutoring service market and have become the leader in this market in China. We take great pride in our entrepreneurial, motivated and student-oriented corporate culture.
 
Our Strategies
 
We intend to pursue the following key growth strategies to achieve our goal of maintaining and further strengthening our leading position in the after-school tutoring service market in China:
 
Further Penetrate Existing Markets
 
We intend to further penetrate our existing markets by leveraging our strong brand, economies of scale and content development and teaching prowess. We currently have learning centers in six of the most economically prosperous cities in China, but our share of the overall K-12 after-school tutoring market still remains relatively low. For example, in Beijing and Shanghai, where our largest operations are based, our students account for less than 3% of the K-12 student population. We plan to leverage our brand to significantly increase our market share in each of these markets through opening additional learning centers.
 
We also plan to grow revenues in our existing markets by offering more classes and subjects at various grade levels, expanding classes to additional grade levels in cities where we do not yet offer them at all grade levels, attracting our existing students to enroll in additional courses, attracting new students to enroll in our courses and service offerings.
 
Extend Geographic Network into Attractive New Markets
 
We intend to expand our geographic network into additional attractive markets in China. We have already identified several economically prosperous regions in China with high projected growth, which we expect to offer attractive returns on capital. We intend to rigorously analyze various competitive and demographic factors in those markets in order to align our course offerings with local needs while maintaining the efficiency of our operations through our centralized structure, standardized training, and content development processes.
 
Expand Personalized Premium Services
 
We believe there is strong growth potential in the personalized premium services market. Our personalized premium services offer customized curricula and education timelines to suit each student’s educational focus and requirements. We started personalized premium services in 2007 and have since grown rapidly to become a market leader in this market segment in Beijing. We operate 19 learning centers and 20 service centers in Beijing that are devoted to personalized premium services. We intend to further expand our personalized premium services in Beijing and replicate our successful model to other geographic markets, particularly those where we already have a successful track record operating small classes, while maintaining our high teaching quality.
 
Further Develop Online Course Offerings