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UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

Washington, D.C. 20549

FORM 20-F

(Mark One)

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

OR

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

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2022.

OR

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

OR

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

Date of event requiring this shell company report

 

For the transition period from to .

Commission file number: 001-38423

Sunlands Technology Group

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

N/A

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

 

Cayman Islands

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

 

Building 4-6, Chaolai Science Park,
No. 36 Chuangyuan Road, Chaoyang District

Beijing, 100012, the People’s Republic of China

(Address of principal executive offices)

Lu Lv, Chief Financial Officer
Building 4-6, Chaolai Science Park,
No. 36 Chuangyuan Road, Chaoyang District,

Beijing, 100012, the People’s Republic of China

+86-10-52413738

E-mail: lvlu@sunlands.com
(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

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

 

Title of each class

 

Trading Symbols

 

Name of each exchange on which registered

 

 

 

American depositary shares, each two ADSs represent one Class A ordinary share*

 

STG

 

 

The New York Stock Exchange

Class A ordinary shares, par value US$0.00005 per share **

 

 

 

* Effective from August 31, 2021, the ratio of ADSs representing the Class A ordinary shares changed from each 25 ADSs representing one Class A ordinary share to each two ADSs representing one Class A ordinary share.

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

 

 

 


 

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

 

[None]

(Title of Class)

 

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

 

[None]

(Title of Class)

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

6,926,440 ordinary shares, comprised of (i) 2,618,698 Class A ordinary shares (excluding 5,200 Class A ordinary shares issued to our depositary bank for bulk issuance of ADSs reserved for future issuances upon the exercise or vesting of awards under our share incentive plans), par value $0.00005 per share; (ii) 826,389 Class B ordinary shares, par value $0.00005 per share and (iii) 3,481,353 Class C ordinary shares, par value $0.00005 per share, as of December 31, 2022.

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

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Yes No

Note – Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes No

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

 

Large Accelerated Filer

Accelerated Filer

Non-accelerated Filer

Emerging growth company

 

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

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

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive-based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).

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

U.S. GAAP International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board Other

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

Item 17 Item 18

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes No

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

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

 

 


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Page

Introduction

 

1

Forward-Looking Information

 

2

 

 

 

 

 

Part I

 

3

Item 1.

 

Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers

 

3

Item 2.

 

Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable

 

3

Item 3.

 

Key Information

 

3

Item 4.

 

Information on the Company

 

55

Item 4A.

 

Unresolved Staff Comments

 

82

Item 5.

 

Operating and Financial Review and Prospects

 

82

Item 6.

 

Directors, Senior Management and Employees

 

96

Item 7.

 

Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions

 

103

Item 8.

 

Financial Information

 

103

Item 9.

 

The Offer and Listing

 

104

Item 10.

 

Additional Information

 

105

Item 11.

 

Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk

 

112

Item 12.

 

Description of Securities other than Equity Securities

 

112

 

 

 

Part II

 

115

Item 13.

 

Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies

 

115

Item 14.

 

Material Modifications to the Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds

 

115

Item 15.

 

Controls and Procedures

 

115

Item 16.

 

[Reserved]

 

116

Item 16.A.

 

Audit Committee Financial Expert

 

116

Item 16.B.

 

Code of Ethics

 

116

Item 16.C.

 

Principal Accountant Fees and Services

 

116

Item 16.D.

 

Exemptions from the Listing Standards for Audit Committees

 

117

Item 16.E.

 

Purchases of Equity Securities by the Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers

 

117

Item 16.F.

 

Change in Registrant’s Certifying Accountant

 

117

Item 16.G.

 

Corporate Governance

 

117

Item 16.H.

 

Mine Safety Disclosure

 

118

Item 16.I.

 

Disclosure Regarding Foreign Jurisdictions that Prevent Inspections.

 

118

Item 16.J

 

Insider Trading Policies

 

118

 

 

 

Part III

 

119

Item 17.

 

Financial Statements

 

119

Item 18.

 

Financial Statements

 

119

Item 19.

 

Exhibits

 

119

 

 

 

 


 

INTRODUCTION

Except where the context otherwise indicates and for the purpose of this annual report only:

“ADSs” refers to the American depositary shares, each two ADSs representing one of our Class A ordinary shares;
“China” or “PRC” refer to the People’s Republic of China, and only in the context of describing PRC laws, regulations and other legal or tax matters in this annual report, excludes Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau;
“Class A ordinary shares” refers to Class A ordinary shares, par value US$0.00005 per share;
“Class B ordinary shares” refers to Class B ordinary shares, par value US$0.00005 per share;
“Class C ordinary shares” refers to Class C ordinary shares, par value US$0.00005 per share;
“gross billings” for a given period refers to the total amount of cash received for the sale of course packages net of the total amount of refunds in such period;
“Group” refers to Sunlands Technology Group, its subsidiaries, the consolidated variable interest entities and their respective subsidiaries;
“number of students” for a given period refers to the total number of orders placed by students which remain in their respective service periods;
“new student enrollments” for a given period refers to the total number of orders placed by students that newly enroll in at least one course during that period (including those students that enroll and then terminate their enrollment with the Group and excluding those students that enroll in low-priced short courses designed to improve customer experience);
“ordinary shares” refers to our Class A ordinary shares, Class B ordinary shares and Class C ordinary shares, par value of US$0.00005 per share;
“RMB” or “Renminbi” refers to the legal currency of the People’s Republic of China;
“service period” for a given student refers to the period covered by the contract between the Group and such student pursuant to which such student can attend the Group’s courses;
“student loan coverage ratio” is calculated by dividing the amount of tuitions financed by student loans by gross billings. For the purposes of calculating student loan coverage ratios for a particular period, (i) the amount of tuitions financed by student loans is the total value of orders financed by student loans less (a) the amount of loan refunds made during that period; and (b) the interest payments that the Group made to the credit providers on the loans during that period; and (ii) the value of an order financed by student loans included the amount of down payments made by a student; in 2022, the down payments made by students accounted for approximately 15.7% of the total value of orders financed by student loans;
“US$,” “dollars” or “U.S. dollars” refers to the legal currency of the United States;
“we,” “us,” “our company” or “our” refers to Sunlands Technology Group, a Cayman Islands company previously known as Sunlands Online Education Group, and its subsidiaries; and
“variable interest entities” or “VIEs” refers to Beijing Yuanchilaxiang Education Technology Co., Ltd (formerly known as “Beijing Shangde Online Education Technology Co., Ltd.”), or Beijing Sunlands, Wuhan Xiaoyan Technology Co., Ltd., or Wuhan Xiaoyan, Wuhan Jiayan Online Education Technology Co., Ltd., or Wuhan Jiayan, Tianjin Shangde Online Education Technology Co., Ltd., or Tianjin Shangde, and Beijing Lingding Management Consulting Co., Ltd., or Beijing Lingding. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—4.A. History and Development of the Company.”

This annual report contains information and statistics relating to China’s economy and its education industry derived from various publications issued by market research companies and PRC governmental entities, which have not been independently verified by us. The information in such sources may not be consistent with other information compiled in or outside China.

 

1


 

FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION

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

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

the Group’s goals and growth strategies;
the Group’s expectations regarding demand for and market acceptance of the Group’s brand and services;
the Group’s ability to retain and increase the Group’s student enrollments;
the Group’s ability to offer new courses and educational content;
the Group’s ability to engage, train and retain new faculty members;
the Group’s future business development, results of operations and financial condition;
the Group’s ability to maintain and improve technology infrastructure necessary to operate the Group’s business;
competition in the online education industry in China;
relevant government policies and regulations relating to the Group’s corporate structure, business and industry;
general economic and business condition in China; and
assumptions underlying or related to any of the foregoing.

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

You should not rely upon forward-looking statements as predictions of future events. The forward-looking statements made in this annual report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise 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.

 

2


 

PART I

ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS

Not applicable.

ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE

Not applicable.

ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION

Our Holding Company Structure

Sunlands Technology Group is a Cayman Islands holding company. The Group’s operations in China are conducted through our PRC subsidiaries and the consolidated variable interest entities, or the VIEs. However, we and our direct and indirect subsidiaries do not, and it is virtually impossible for them to, have any equity interests in the VIEs in practice as current PRC laws and regulations restrict foreign investment in companies that engage in value-added telecommunication services. As a result, we depend on certain contractual arrangements with the VIEs to operate a significant portion of the Group’s business. This structure allows us to be considered the primary beneficiary of the VIEs for accounting purposes, which serves as the basis for consolidating the VIEs’ operating results in the Group’s financial statements under U.S. GAAP. The VIEs are owned by certain nominee shareholders, not us. Most of the nominee shareholders of the VIEs are also beneficial owners of our company. Investors in our ADSs are purchasing equity securities of a Cayman Islands holding company rather than equity securities issued by our subsidiaries and the VIEs. Investors who are non-PRC residents may never directly hold equity interests in the VIEs under current PRC laws and regulations. As used in this annual report, “we,” “us,” “our company” or “our” refers to Sunlands Technology Group and its subsidiaries. “Variable interest entities” or “VIEs” refers to Beijing Yuanchilaxiang Education Technology Co., Ltd. (formerly known as “Beijing Shangde Online Education Technology Co., Ltd.”), or Beijing Sunlands, Wuhan Xiaoyan Technology Co., Ltd., or Wuhan Xiaoyan, Wuhan Jiayan Online Education Technology Co., Ltd., or Wuhan Jiayan, Tianjin Shangde Online Education Technology Co., Ltd., or Tianjin Shangde, and Beijing Lingding Management Consulting Co., Ltd., or Beijing Lingding. The VIEs primarily conduct operations in China. The VIEs are consolidated for accounting purposes but are not entities in which we own equity. Our company does not conduct operations by ourselves.

The following chart illustrates the Group’s organizational structure, including our significant subsidiaries as that term is defined under Section 1-02 of Regulation S-X under the Securities Act, the VIEs and certain other subsidiaries as of the date of this annual report.

3


 

img55713284_0.jpg 

The Group’s corporate structure involves unique risks to investors in the ADSs. In 2020, 2021 and 2022, the amount of revenues generated by the VIEs accounted for 47.3%, 21.4% and 46.3%, respectively, of the Group’s total net revenues. As of December 31, 2021 and 2022, the total assets of the VIEs, excluding amounts due from other consolidated entities in the Group, equaled to 33.6% and 39.6% of the Group’s consolidated total assets as of the same dates, respectively. As of the date of this annual report, to the best knowledge of our directors and management, the VIE agreements have not been tested in a court of law in the PRC. If the PRC government deems that our contractual arrangements with the VIEs do not comply with PRC regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the relevant industries, or if these regulations or the interpretation of existing regulations change in the future, we could be subject to material penalties or be forced to relinquish our contractual interests in those operations or otherwise significantly change the Group’s corporate structure. We and our investors face significant uncertainty about potential future actions by the PRC government that could affect the legality and enforceability of the contractual arrangements with the VIEs and, consequently, significantly affect our ability to consolidate the financial results of the VIEs and the financial performance of the Group as a whole. Our ADSs may decline in value or become worthless if we are unable to effectively enforce our contractual control rights over the assets and operations of the VIEs that conduct a significant portion of the Group’s business in China. See “Item 3. Key Information—3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure” for detailed discussion.

Contractual Arrangements and Corporate Structure

We are a Cayman Islands company and currently conduct substantially all business operations in the PRC through our subsidiaries incorporated in the PRC and the contractual arrangements among our PRC subsidiaries and the VIEs. It is the VIEs that hold key operating licenses, provide services to customers, and enter into contracts with suppliers. We operate the Group’s business this way because PRC laws and regulations restrict foreign investment in companies that engage in value-added telecommunication services. These contractual arrangements entered into with the VIEs allow us to (i) direct the activities of the VIEs that most significantly impact the VIEs’ economic performance, (ii) receive substantially all of the economic benefits of the VIEs, and (iii) have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in the VIEs when and to the extent permitted by PRC law. The VIE structure is used to provide investors with exposure to foreign investment in China-based companies where PRC law restricts direct foreign investment in such operating companies in the PRC. These contractual arrangements include the operating agreements, equity pledge agreements, exclusive purchase option agreements, shareholder voting right trust agreements, loan agreements, and cooperation agreements, as the case may be. As a result of these contractual arrangements, we are considered the primary beneficiary of the VIEs for accounting purposes and are able to consolidate their operating results in the Group’s financial statements under U.S. GAAP.

It is important to note that investors in the ADSs are purchasing equity securities of a Cayman Islands holding company rather than equity securities issued by our subsidiaries and the VIEs. More specifically, investors in the ADSs or our

4


 

ordinary shares would not be holding any ownership interest, directly or indirectly, in the VIEs under current PRC laws and regulations as investors would only have the contractual relationship with the operating entities in the PRC. Neither such investors nor the holding company itself have an equity ownership in, direct investment in, or control of, through such ownership or investment, the VIEs. Investors who are non-PRC residents may never directly hold equity interests in the VIEs under current PRC laws and regulations. We do not have any equity interests in the VIEs who are owned by certain nominee shareholders. Any of such nominee shareholders could breach their contractual arrangements with us by, among other things, failing to conduct their operations in an acceptable manner or taking other actions that are detrimental to our interests. In the event that the shareholders of the VIEs breach the terms of these contractual arrangements and voluntarily liquidate the VIEs, or the VIEs declare bankruptcy and all or part of their assets become subject to liens or rights of third-party creditors, or are otherwise disposed of without our consent, we may be unable to conduct some or all business operations or otherwise benefit from the assets held by the VIEs and their shareholders, which could have a material adverse effect on the Group’s business, financial condition and results of operations. As a result, the contractual arrangements may be less effective than direct ownership, and we could face heightened challenges, risks and costs in enforcing these contractual arrangements due to legal uncertainties and jurisdictional limits, because there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws, regulations, and rules relating to the legality and enforceability of these contractual arrangements. If the PRC government finds such agreements to be illegal, we could be subject to severe penalties or be forced to relinquish our interests in the VIEs.

Contractual Arrangements with Consolidated VIEs and Their Shareholders

Currently, the Group’s online education service business in China is operated partially through the VIEs and their subsidiaries due to PRC legal restrictions on foreign ownership in value-added telecommunication services and other internet related business, and we are considered the primary beneficiary of each of the VIEs for accounting purposes through a series of contractual arrangements.

From August 2017 to March 2023, Wuhan Studyvip Online Education Co. Limited, or Wuhan Zhibo, a wholly-owned subsidiary of us, entered into a series of contractual arrangements with Beijing Sunlands, Tianjin Shangde, Wuhan Jiayan and Beijing Lingding, as well as their shareholders and, where applicable, operating subsidiaries of them, through which we became the primary beneficiary of these VIEs for accounting purposes.

In addition, in June 2021, Wuhan Zhongtudao Technology Co., Ltd, or Wuhan Zhongtudao, a wholly-owned subsidiary of us, entered into a series of contractual arrangements with Wuhan Xiaoyan, as well as its shareholders, through which we became the primary beneficiary of Wuhan Xiaoyan for accounting purposes.

Through the below contractual agreements, Wuhan Zhibo and Wuhan Zhongtudao, our wholly owned subsidiaries, are able to (i) direct the activities of the VIEs that most significantly impact the VIEs’ economic performance, (ii) receive substantially all of the economic benefits of the VIEs, and (iii) have an exclusive option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in the VIEs when and to the extent permitted by PRC law. They are therefore considered the primary beneficiaries of the VIEs and their subsidiaries for accounting purposes and are able to consolidate their operating results in the Group’s financial statements under U.S. GAAP.

Exclusive Technical Consultation and Service Agreement. Under the exclusive technical consultation and service agreement among Wuhan Zhibo, Beijing Lingding and the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding, Wuhan Zhibo has the exclusive right to provide, among other things, technical consultation and services to Beijing Lingding and the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding, and Beijing Lingding and the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding agree to accept all the consultation and services provided by Wuhan Zhibo. Without Wuhan Zhibo’s prior written consent, Beijing Lingding and the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding are prohibited from engaging any third party to provide any services contemplated by this agreement. In addition, Wuhan Zhibo has exclusive and proprietary ownership, rights and interests in any and all intellectual properties arising out of or created during the performance of this agreement. Beijing Lingding and the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding agree to pay a quarterly service fee to Wuhan Zhibo at an aggregate amount of a certain percentage ranging from 10% to 100% of Beijing Lingding and the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding monthly revenue. Unless terminated by Wuhan Zhibo, this agreement will remain effective until the dissolution of Beijing Lingding and the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding. Without Wuhan Zhibo’s prior written consent, Beijing Lingding and the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding do not have the right to terminate this exclusive technical consultation and service agreement. Wuhan Zhibo and Wuhan Zhongtudao have entered into exclusive technical consultation and service agreements with the rest of the VIEs, respectively. The terms of such agreements are substantially the same as the agreement of Beijing Lingding summarized above.

Business Operation Agreement. Under the business operation agreement, each of Beijing Lingding, the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding and the shareholders of Beijing Lingding confirmed and agreed that, without Wuhan Zhibo’s prior written consent, it shall not make any transaction that has a material adverse effect on the assets, business, personnel, obligations, rights or operations of Beijing Lingding and the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding, including but not limited to sale or purchase of any assets or rights exceeding RMB50,000, incurrence of any encumbrance on any of its assets, including intellectual property rights, in favor of a third party, amendment of its articles of association or business scope, or change of its normal operation procedures. Beijing Lingding, the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding and the shareholders of Beijing Lingding shall accept and execute opinions and instructions of Wuhan Zhibo in connection with the employee

5


 

engagement and dismissal, daily operations and financial management systems. The shareholders of Beijing Lingding shall elect or appoint the candidates recommended by Wuhan Zhibo as Beijing Lingding’s directors and supervisors, and procure the appointment of Beijing Lingding’s chairman of the board and senior management pursuant to Wuhan Zhibo’s designation. The agreement also provides that if any of the agreements among Wuhan Zhibo, Beijing Lingding and the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding is terminated, Wuhan Zhibo is entitled to terminate all of the other agreements among itself, Beijing Lingding and the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding. This agreement will remain binding until dissolution of Beijing Lingding and all the subsidiaries of Beijing Lingding. Wuhan Zhibo and Wuhan Zhongtudao have entered into business operation agreements with the rest of the VIEs, respectively. The terms of such agreements are substantially the same as the agreement of Beijing Lingding summarized above.

Equity Interest Pledge Agreement. Under the equity interest pledge agreement among Wuhan Zhibo, the shareholders of Beijing Lingding and Beijing Lingding, the shareholders of Beijing Lingding pledged all of their equity interests in Beijing Lingding to Wuhan Zhibo as security for performance of the obligations of Beijing Lingding and its shareholders under the exclusive technical consultation and service agreement, the option agreement and the business operation agreement. The shareholders of Beijing Lingding shall instruct Beijing Lingding not to distribute any dividends and shall not approve any profit distribution plan. If any of the specified events of default occurs, Wuhan Zhibo may exercise the right to enforce the pledges after giving a notice of default to the shareholders of Beijing Lingding. Wuhan Zhibo may assign any and all of its rights and obligations under the equity interest pledge agreement to its designee(s) at any time. The equity interest pledge agreement is binding on the shareholders of Beijing Lingding and their successors. Wuhan Zhibo and Wuhan Zhongtudao have entered into equity interest pledge agreements with the rest of the VIEs, respectively. The terms of such agreements are substantially the same as the agreement of Beijing Lingding summarized above.

Option Agreement. Pursuant to the option agreement among Wuhan Zhibo, the shareholders of Beijing Lingding and Beijing Lingding, each of the shareholders irrevocably granted Wuhan Zhibo a right to purchase, or designate a third party to purchase, equity interests in Beijing Lingding then held by each shareholder at once or at multiple times at any time in part or in whole at Wuhan Zhibo’s sole and absolute discretion to the extent permitted by PRC law. The shareholders of Beijing Lingding shall promptly surrender all considerations they received from the exercise of the options to Wuhan Zhibo or the designated third party free of charge. Without Wuhan Zhibo’s prior written consent, the shareholders of Beijing Lingding shall not, individually or collectively, make or procure Beijing Lingding to make in any transaction or conduct that has a material adverse effect on the assets, liabilities, operations, equity and other legal rights of Beijing Lingding. Without Wuhan Zhibo’s prior written consent, Beijing Lingding shall not enter into any contract exceeding RMB50,000, except the contracts in the ordinary course of the business. Beijing Lingding shall not be dissolved or liquidated without prior written consent by Wuhan Zhibo. The shareholders of Beijing Lingding waive their rights of pre-emption in regard to the transfer of equity interest by any other shareholder of Beijing Lingding to Wuhan Zhibo as instructed.

Wuhan Zhibo and Wuhan Zhongtudao have entered into option agreements with the rest of the VIEs, respectively. The terms of such agreements are substantially the same as the agreement of Beijing Lingding summarized above.

Powers of Attorney. Pursuant to the powers of attorney executed by the shareholders of Beijing Lingding, the shareholders of Beijing Lingding each irrevocably authorized Wuhan Zhibo to act on their respective behalf as exclusive agent and attorney with respect to all rights of shareholders concerning all equity interests held by each of them in Beijing Lingding, including but not limited to propose to convene shareholder meetings, accept any notice with respect to the convening and proceeding of the shareholder meeting, attend shareholder meetings, sign the shareholders resolutions on their behalf, exercise all the shareholder’s rights according to laws and regulations and Beijing Lingding’s articles of association (including but not limited to voting rights and the sale transfer, pledge or dispose of all equity interests held in part or in whole) and designate and appoint on their respective behalf the president, directors, supervisors, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer and other senior management members of Beijing Lingding.

The shareholders of the rest of the VIEs each irrevocably authorize Wuhan Zhibo or Wuhan Zhongtudao, respectively, to act on their respective behalf as executive agent and attorney with respect to all rights of shareholders pursuant the power of attorney executed by them, the terms of which are substantially the same as the agreement of Beijing Lingding summarized above.

Spousal Consent Letters. Pursuant to the spousal consent letters executed by the spouses of the shareholders of Beijing Lingding, the signing spouse confirmed and agreed that the equity interests of Beijing Lingding are the own property of their spouses and shall not constitute the jointly possessed property of the couples. The spouses also irrevocably waived any potential right or interest that may be granted by operation of applicable law in connection with the equity interests of Beijing Lingding held by their spouses.

The spouses of the shareholders of the rest of the VIEs, as applicable, also signed the spousal consent letters respectively, the terms of which are substantially the same as the spousal consent letter of Beijing Lingding summarized above.

As a result of the contractual arrangements above, Wuhan Zhibo and Wuhan Zhongtudao bear the economic risks and receive the economic benefits of the VIEs, hold the power in directing the significant activities of the VIEs, and are the primary beneficiary of the VIEs for accounting purposes. Therefore, we have consolidated the financial results of the VIEs and their subsidiaries in the Group’s consolidated financial statements.

6


 

In the opinion of Tian Yuan Law Firm, our PRC legal counsel, the contractual arrangements among our wholly-owned PRC subsidiaries, the VIEs, the VIEs’ respective shareholders and the VIEs’ respective subsidiaries are valid, binding and enforceable under the PRC laws and regulations currently in effect.

However, these contractual arrangements may not be as effective in providing control as direct ownership. There are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current or future PRC laws and regulations. For a description of the risks related to our corporate structure, please see “Item 3. Key Information—3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure.”

Licenses and Approvals

As advised by our PRC legal counsel, we believe our PRC subsidiaries and the VIEs have obtained all licenses and approvals explicitly required and necessary for the Group’s operations in China, except as disclosed in “Item 3. Key Information—3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Group’s Business—The Group faces risks associated with the lack of a private school operating permit for online education services as well as uncertainties surrounding PRC laws and regulations governing the education industry in general, including the Law for Promoting Private Education and its Implementation Rules,” “Item 3. Key Information—3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Group’s Business—The Group faces regulatory risks and uncertainties with respect to the licensing requirement for the online transmission of internet audio-visual programs,” “Item 3. Key Information—3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Group’s Business—The failure to obtain and maintain other approvals, licenses, permits or filings applicable to the Group’s business could have a material adverse impact on the Group’s business, financial conditions and results of operations,” and “Item 3. Key Information—3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Group’s Business—The Group is subject to a variety of laws and other obligations regarding data protection, and any failure to comply with applicable laws and obligations could have a material adverse effect on the Group’s business, financial condition and results of operations.”

The following table sets forth a list of licenses and approvals, subject to further renewal, that our PRC subsidiaries and the VIEs are explicitly required to obtain and necessary to carry out the Group’s operations in China as of the date of this annual report and none of such licenses and approvals obtained had been denied or rescinded.

License

Entity Holding the License

Status

Value-added telecommunications business license (ICP certificate)

Beijing Sunlands (VIE)

Obtained

Beijing Yuanmashijie Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Wuhan Fangtang Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Beijing Feibian Education Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Beijing Zhiziyuanshui Education Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Beijing Jiayan Online Education Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Wuhan Xingui Online Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Publication business operating license

Beijing Sunlands (VIE)

Obtained

 

Wuhan Shangde (PRC subsidiary)

Obtained

Wuhan Chengyun Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Wuhan Fangtang Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Wuhan Xiaoyan (VIE)

Obtained

7


 

 

Wuhan Jiayan (VIE)

Obtained

Beijing Feibian Education Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Beijing Baobian Consumer Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Chengdu Xin Ketang Culture Transmission Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Wuhan Shuhan Fenglin Cultural Development Co. Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Beijing Zhiziyuanshui Education Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

License for the Production and Operation of Radio and Television Program

Beijing Sunlands (VIE)

Obtained

Food Business License

Beijing Feibian Education Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Beijing Baobian Consumer Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

 

Shenzhen Baobian Consumer Technology Co., Ltd. (Subsidiary of a VIE)

Obtained

Given the uncertainties of interpretation and implementation of relevant laws and regulations and the enforcement practice by relevant government authorities, the Group may be required to obtain additional licenses, permits, filings, registrations or approvals for business operations in the future. If the Group is found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or fails to obtain or maintain any of the required licenses, permits, filings, registrations or approvals, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities would have broad discretion to take action in dealing with such violations or failures. In addition, if the Group had inadvertently concluded that such licenses, approvals, permits, registrations or filings were not required, or if applicable laws, regulations or interpretations change in a way that requires the Group to obtain such licenses, approval, permits, registrations or filings in the future, the Group may be unable to obtain such necessary licenses, approvals, permits, registrations or filings in a timely manner, or at all, and such licenses, approvals, permits, registrations or filings may be rescinded even if obtained. Any such circumstance may subject the Group to fines and other regulatory, civil or criminal liabilities, and the Group may be ordered by the competent government authorities to suspend relevant operations, which will materially and adversely affect the Group’s business operation. For risks relating to licenses and approvals required for business operations in China, see “Item 3. Key Information—3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Group’s Business.”

As advised by our PRC legal counsel, under the currently effective PRC laws and regulations, except as disclosed in “Item 3. Key Information—3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Group’s Business—The Group is subject to a variety of laws and other obligations regarding data protection, and any failure to comply with applicable laws and obligations could have a material adverse effect on the Group’s business, financial condition and results of operations”, Sunlands Technology Group, our subsidiaries and the VIEs are not subject to the permission requirements from the CAC with respect to business operations, based on the fact that, as of the date of this annual report, none of Sunlands Technology Group, our subsidiaries and the VIEs has been identified by any PRC governmental authority as an “critical information infrastructure operator” that will be subject to the CAC’s cybersecurity review requirements. However, there remain uncertainties on the interpretation and implementations of the Cybersecurity Review Measures and other laws and regulations regarding cybersecurity and data protection. If the CAC or other regulatory agencies subsequently require that their approvals be obtained for the Group’s respective data processing activities, the Group may be unable to obtain such approvals in a timely manner, or at all, and such approvals may be rescinded even if obtained. For details, see “Item 3. Key Information—Recent Regulatory Development—Cybersecurity Review Measures.”

In addition, the PRC government has recently indicated an intent to exert more oversight over overseas securities offerings and published a series of laws and regulations to regulate such transactions. In connection with our prior overseas offerings and NYSE listing status, as of the date of this annual report, we (i) have not been required to obtain any permission from or complete any filing with the CSRC, and (ii) have not been required to go through a cybersecurity review by the

8


 

CAC. As advised by our PRC legal counsel, under the currently effective PRC laws and regulations, as a group that has been listed on a foreign stock exchange before the promulgation of the Revised Cybersecurity Review Measures, Sunlands Technology Group, our subsidiaries and the VIEs are not required to go through a cybersecurity review by the CAC to conduct a security offering or maintain our listing status on the NYSE, based on their consultation with competent government authorities. According to the press conference held by CSRC for the release of the Overseas Listing Trial Measures and the Notice on Administration for the Filing of Overseas Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies, as a group that has been listed on a foreign stock exchange prior to the effective date of the Overseas Listing Trial Measures, Sunlands Technology Group, our subsidiaries and the VIEs are not required to complete the filing with the CSRC to maintain our listing status on the NYSE, but we may be required to undergo the filing procedures with the CSRC for our future offerings, listing or any other capital raising activities. Since the Overseas Listing Trial Measures were newly promulgated, there remain significant uncertainties surrounding the interpretation, application and enforcement of such measures. If we are required to complete the filing procedure with the CSRC under the Overseas Listing Trial Measures for any of our future offerings, listing or any other capital raising activities, it is uncertain whether we could complete such filing procedure as required in a timely manner, or at all, and such filings may be rescinded even if completed. Any such circumstance could subject the Group to penalties, including fines, suspension of business and revocation of required licenses, significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to continue to offer securities to investors and cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or be worthless. For more detailed information, see “Item 3. Key Information—3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—The approval, filing or other requirements of the China Securities Regulatory Commission or other PRC government authorities may be required under PRC law in connection with our issuance of securities overseas, and if required, we cannot predict whether or for how long we will be able to obtain such approval or complete such filing or other requirements.”

Recent Regulatory Development

Cybersecurity Review Measures

On January 4, 2022, the CAC published the Revised Cybersecurity Review Measures, which became effective on February 15, 2022 and repeal the Cybersecurity Review Measures promulgated on April 13, 2020. The Revised Cybersecurity Review Measures provide that a critical information infrastructure operator purchasing network products and services, and platform operators carrying out data processing activities, which affect or may affect national security, shall apply for cybersecurity review and that a platform operator with more than one million users’ personal information aiming to list abroad must apply for cybersecurity review. As the Revised Cybersecurity Review Measures is newly promulgated, it is uncertain how the measures will be interpreted or implemented and how they will affect the Group. We cannot predict the impact of the Revised Cybersecurity Review Measures, if any, at this stage, and we will closely monitor and assess any development in the rule-making process.

In anticipation of the strengthened implementation of cybersecurity laws and regulations and the continued expansion of the Group’s business, the Group faces potential risks if the Group is deemed as a “critical information infrastructure operator” or “platform operator” under the PRC cybersecurity laws and regulations, and would be required to follow cybersecurity review procedures. During such review, the Group may be required to suspend providing any existing or new services to the Group’s customers and/or experience other disruptions of the Group’s operations, and such review could also result in negative publicity with respect to the Group and diversion of the Group’s managerial and financial resources.

As of the date of this annual report, the Group has not been involved in any investigations or becomes subject to a cybersecurity review initiated by the CAC based on the Revised Cybersecurity Review Measures, and the Group has not received any inquiry, notice, warning, sanctions in such respect or any regulatory objections to our listing status from the CAC.

As advised by our PRC legal counsel, Tian Yuan Law Firm, under the currently effective PRC laws and regulations, except as disclosed in “Item 3. Key Information—3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to the Group’s Business—the Group is subject to a variety of laws and other obligations regarding data protection, and any failure to comply with applicable laws and obligations could have a material adverse effect on the Group’s business, financial condition and results of operations”, Sunlands Technology Group, our subsidiaries and the VIEs are not covered by permission requirements from the CAC (i) to conduct a security offering or maintain our listing status on the NYSE, or (ii) to conduct business operations, on the following grounds: (i) our PRC legal counsel has consulted the competent government authorities which acknowledged that, under the currently effective PRC laws and regulations, a company that has been listed on a foreign stock exchange before the promulgation of the Revised Cybersecurity Review Measures is not required to go through a cybersecurity review by the CAC to conduct a securities offering or to maintain its listing status on the foreign stock exchange on which its securities have been listed; (ii) as of the date of this annual report, none of Sunlands Technology Group, our subsidiaries and the VIEs has been identified by any PRC governmental authority as a “critical information infrastructure operator” that will be subject to the CAC’s cybersecurity review requirements. However, there remain uncertainties on the interpretation and implementations of the Cybersecurity Review Measures and other laws and regulations regarding cybersecurity and data protection. If the CAC or other regulatory agencies later require that the Group obtains their approvals for our future offshore offerings or for the Group’s data processing activities, the Group may be unable to obtain such approvals in a timely manner, or at all, and such approvals may be rescinded even if obtained. Any

9


 

such circumstance may significantly limit or completely hinder our ability to continue to offer securities to investors, subject the Group to penalties, or cause the Group to alter the Group’s business model or practices and cause the value of such securities to significantly decline or be worthless.

Potential CSRC Filing Required for the Listing of our ADSs

On July 6, 2021, certain PRC regulatory authorities issued Opinions on Strictly Cracking Down on Illegal Securities Activities. These opinions call for strengthened regulation over illegal securities activities and supervision on overseas listings by China-based companies and propose to take effective measures, such as promoting the development of relevant regulatory systems to deal with the risks and incidents faced by China-based overseas-listed companies.

On February 17, 2023, the CSRC released the Trial Administrative Measures of Overseas Securities Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies, or the Overseas Listing Trial Measures, and five supporting guidelines, effective on March 31, 2023. Pursuant to the Overseas Listing Trial Measures, PRC domestic companies that seek to offer or list securities overseas, either in direct or indirect means, are required to report and file required documents with the CSRC. On the same day, the CSRC also held a press conference for the release of the Overseas Listing Trial Measures and issued the Notice on Administration for the Filing of Overseas Offering and Listing by Domestic Companies, which, among others, clarifies that domestic companies that have been listed on a foreign stock exchange prior to the effective date of the Overseas Listing Trial Measures are required to file with the CSRC within three working days of the completion of fundraising activities on the same overseas capital market and shall make the required filing immediately after they submit the application for their listing or offering securities in other overseas capital markets. As advised by our PRC legal counsel, Tian Yuan Law Firm, as a group that has been listed on a foreign stock exchange prior to the effective date of the Overseas Listing Trial Measures, Sunlands Technology Group, our subsidiaries and the VIEs are not required to complete the filing with the CSRC only to maintain our listing status on the NYSE. However, Sunlands Technology Group, our subsidiaries or the VIEs may be required to conduct the filing procedures with the CSRS for our future offerings, listing or any other capital raising activities.

As of the date of this annual report, we have not received any inquiry, notice, warning, sanctions or regulatory objection from the CSRC. However, since the Overseas Listing Trial Measures was newly promulgated, the interpretation, application and enforcement of the Overseas Listing Trial Measures remain unclear and we cannot assure you that we could be able to complete the required filing procedure in relation to our further capital raising activities in a timely manner, or at all. For more detailed information, see “Item 3. Key Information—3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—The approval, filing or other requirements of the China Securities Regulatory Commission or other PRC government authorities may be required under PRC law in connection with our issuance of securities overseas, and if required, we cannot predict whether or for how long we will be able to obtain such approval or complete such filing or other requirements.”

Transfer of Funds and Other Assets

Under relevant PRC laws and regulations, we are permitted to remit funds to the VIEs through loans rather than capital contributions. The VIEs funded their operations primarily using cash generated from operating and financing activities. In addition, we and the VIEs may, from time to time, lend cash to each other to settle the payment obligations on each other’s behalf to provide temporary working capital support. In 2020 and 2021, the net amounts of working capital support provided by our PRC subsidiaries to the VIEs were RMB1,475.3 million and RMB12.5 million, respectively. In 2022, the net amount of working capital support provided by the VIEs to our PRC subsidiaries was RMB538.3 million (US$78.1 million). For more information, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—4.A. History and Development of the Company—Condensed Consolidating Schedule,” and our consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report.

As of December 31, 2022, Sunlands Technology Group had made cumulative capital contributions of US$200.0 million to our PRC subsidiaries through an intermediate holding company. These funds have been used by our PRC subsidiaries for their operations. Our PRC subsidiaries maintained certain personnel for sales and marketing, research and development, and general and administrative functions to support the operations of the VIEs.

In 2020, 2021 and 2022, the VIEs transferred RMB17.1 million, RMB62.6 million and RMB51.6 million (US$7.5 million) of service fees to our PRC subsidiaries pursuant to the contractual arrangements, respectively. The outstanding balance of service fees owed by the VIEs to our PRC subsidiaries was nil as of each of December 31, 2020, 2021 and 2022. There were no other assets transferred between us and the VIEs in 2020, 2021 and 2022.

As advised by our PRC legal counsel, for any amounts owed by the VIEs to our PRC subsidiaries under the VIE agreements, unless otherwise required by PRC tax authorities, the Group is able to settle such amounts without limitations under the current effective PRC laws and regulations, provided that the VIEs have sufficient funds to do so and that the VIEs, in case in the form of non-enterprise institution, follow the principles of openness, fairness and impartiality, fix the price reasonably and regulate the decision-making, and do not damage the state interests, the interests of the non-enterprise institution or the rights and interests of the teachers and students when conducting such related party transaction.

10


 

Our subsidiaries are permitted to pay dividends to their shareholders, and eventually to Sunlands Technology Group, only out of their retained earnings, if any, as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. Such payment of dividends by entities registered in China is subject to limitations, which could result in limitations on the availability of cash to fund dividends or make distributions to shareholders of our securities. For example, our PRC subsidiaries and the VIEs are required to make appropriations to certain statutory reserve funds or may make appropriations to certain discretionary funds, which are not distributable as cash dividends except in the event of a solvent liquidation of the companies. For more details, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our PRC and Hong Kong subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of these subsidiaries in the PRC, including Hong Kong, to make payments to us could have a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct business.”

Sunlands Technology Group has previously declared a special cash dividend of US$1.36 per ordinary share (or US$0.68 per ADS) to holders of its ordinary shares and ADSs on June 14, 2022, and is in the process of the distribution of such dividend as of the date of this annual report. Except for that, we have no plan to declare or pay any dividends in the near future on our shares or the ADSs representing our ordinary shares. We currently intend to retain most, if not all, of our available funds and any future earnings to operate and expand the Group’s business. See “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information—Dividend Policy.”

As of the date of this annual report, no transfers, dividends, or distributions between Sunlands Technology Group, our PRC subsidiaries, and the VIEs, other than those described in this annual report, have been made. As of the date of this annual report, we do not have cash management policies in place that dictate how funds are transferred between Sunlands Technology Group, our subsidiaries, the VIEs and the investors. Rather, the funds can be transferred in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations discussed in this section.

To the extent cash or assets in the business are in the PRC, including Hong Kong, or a PRC (including Hong Kong) entity, the funds or assets may not be available to fund operations or for other use outside of the PRC or Hong Kong due to interventions in or the imposition of restrictions and limitations on the ability of Sunlands Technology Group, our subsidiaries, or the VIEs by the PRC government to transfer cash or assets. There is no assurance the PRC government will not intervene in or impose restrictions on the ability of Sunlands Technology Group, our subsidiaries, or the VIEs to transfer cash or assets. See “Item 3. Key Information—3.D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We may rely on dividends and other distributions on equity paid by our PRC and Hong Kong subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of these subsidiaries in the PRC, including Hong Kong, to make payments to us could have a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct business.”

For the purpose of illustration, the below table reflects the hypothetical taxes that might be required to be paid within China, assuming that: (i) we have taxable earnings, and (ii) we determine to pay a dividend in the future:

 

Taxation
Scenario
(1)
Statutory Tax
and
Standard Rates

 

Hypothetical pre-tax earnings(2)

 

 

100

%

Tax on earnings at statutory rate of 25%(3)

 

 

(25

)%

Net earnings available for distribution

 

 

75

%

Withholding tax at standard rate of 10%(4)

 

 

(7.5

)%

Net distribution to Parent/Shareholders

 

 

67.5

%

 

 

Notes:

(1) The tax calculation has been simplified for the purpose of this example. The hypothetical book pre-tax earnings amount, which does not consider timing differences, is assumed to equal the taxable income in the PRC.

(2) Under the terms of the VIE agreements, sales service fees are charged by our PRC subsidiaries to the VIEs. For all the periods presented, these fees are recognized as cost of revenues of the VIEs, with a corresponding amount as service income by our PRC subsidiaries and eliminated in consolidation. For income tax purposes, our PRC subsidiaries and the VIEs file income taxes on a separate company basis. The fees paid are recognized as a tax deduction by the VIEs and as income by our PRC subsidiaries and are tax neutral.

(3) Certain of our subsidiaries and VIEs qualifies for a 15% preferential income tax rate in China. However, such rate is subject to qualification, is temporary in nature, and may not be available in a future period. For purposes of this hypothetical example, the table above reflects a maximum tax scenario under which the full statutory rate would be effective.

(4) Upon the instance that the VIEs reach a cumulative level of profitability, because our PRC subsidiaries occupy certain trademarks and copyrights, the agreements will be updated to reflect charges for such trademarks and copyrights usage on the basis that they will qualify for tax neutral treatment.

China’s Enterprise Income Tax Law imposes a withholding income tax of 10% on dividends distributed by a Foreign Invested Enterprises, or the FIE, to its immediate holding company outside of China. A lower withholding income tax rate of 5% is applied if the FIE’s immediate holding company is registered in Hong Kong or other jurisdictions that have a tax treaty arrangement with China, subject to a qualification review at the time of the distribution. For the purpose of this hypothetical example, this table has been prepared based on a taxation scenario under which the full withholding tax would

11


 

be applied. In addition, this table has been prepared under the assumption that all profits of the VIEs will be distributed as fees to our PRC subsidiaries under tax neutral contractual arrangements. If in the future, the accumulated earnings of the VIEs exceed the fees paid to our PRC subsidiaries, or if the current and contemplated fee structure between the intercompany entities is determined to be non-substantive and disallowed by Chinese tax authorities, we have other tax-planning strategies that can be deployed on a tax neutral basis. Should all tax planning strategies fail, the VIEs could, as a matter of last resort, make a non-deductible transfer to our PRC subsidiaries for the amounts of the stranded cash in the VIEs. This would result in the double taxation of earnings: one at the VIE level (for non-deductible expenses) and one at the PRC subsidiary level (for presumptive earnings on the transfer). Such a transfer and the related tax burdens would reduce our after-tax income by approximately 5.5% of the pre-tax income. The Group’s management is of the view that the likelihood that this scenario would happen is remote.

Condensed Consolidating Schedule

The following tables present the summary statements of operations for the VIEs and other entities for the periods presented.

 

For the Year Ended December 31, 2022

 

 

The
Company

 

 

Other
Subsidiaries

 

 

Primary
Beneficiary
of VIEs

 

 

VIEs and
VIEs’
Subsidiaries

 

 

Eliminations

 

 

Consolidated
Total

 

 

(RMB in thousands)

 

Third-party net revenues

 

 

 

 

 

5,493

 

 

 

1,241,229

 

 

 

1,076,379

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,323,101

 

Inter-company revenues

 

 

 

 

 

127,317

 

 

 

51,646

 

 

 

186,310

 

 

 

(365,273

)

 

 

 

Total costs and operating
   expenses

 

 

(45,468

)

 

 

(47,809

)

 

 

(1,220,996

)

 

 

(757,159

)

 

 

365,273

 

 

 

(1,706,159

)

Income/(loss) from
   subsidiaries and VIEs

 

 

682,865

 

 

 

597,673

 

 

 

511,688

 

 

 

 

 

 

(1,792,226

)

 

 

 

Income/(loss) from non-
   operations

 

 

6,562

 

 

 

191

 

 

 

10,792

 

 

 

14,061

 

 

 

 

 

 

31,606

 

Income/(loss) before
   income tax benefit/(expenses) and
   gain from equity method investments

 

 

643,959

 

 

 

682,865

 

 

 

594,359

 

 

 

519,591

 

 

 

(1,792,226

)

 

 

648,548

 

Income tax
   benefit/(expenses)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3,314

 

 

 

(15,306

)

 

 

 

 

 

(11,992

)

Gain from equity method
   investments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6,453

 

 

 

 

 

 

6,453

 

Net income/(loss)

 

 

643,959

 

 

 

682,865

 

 

 

597,673

 

 

 

510,738

 

 

 

(1,792,226

)

 

 

643,009

 

Less: net loss attribute to
   non-controlling interests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(950

)

 

 

 

 

 

(950

)

Net income/(loss) attributable
   to Sunlands Technology
   Group

 

 

643,959

 

 

 

682,865

 

 

 

597,673

 

 

 

511,688

 

 

 

(1,792,226

)

 

 

643,959

 

 

 

For the Year Ended December 31, 2021

 

 

The
Company

 

 

Other
Subsidiaries

 

 

Primary
Beneficiary
of VIEs

 

 

VIEs and
VIEs’
Subsidiaries

 

 

Eliminations

 

 

Consolidated
Total

 

 

(RMB in thousands)

 

Third-party net revenues

 

 

 

 

320

 

 

 

1,970,224

 

 

 

537,273

 

 

 

 

 

2,507,817

 

Inter-company revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

62,600

 

 

 

392,410

 

 

 

(455,010

)

 

 

 

Total costs and operating
   expenses

 

 

(58,564

)

 

 

(66,884

)

 

 

(1,846,298

)

 

 

(882,418

)

 

 

460,612

 

 

 

(2,393,552

)

Income/(loss) from
   subsidiaries and VIEs

 

 

272,263

 

 

 

338,827

 

 

 

151,955

 

 

 

 

 

(763,045

)

 

 

 

Income/(loss) from non-
   operations

 

 

5,357

 

 

 

 

 

7,799

 

 

 

75,815

 

 

 

(5,602

)

 

 

83,369

 

Income/(loss) before
   income tax (expenses)/benefit and
   loss from equity method investments

 

 

219,056

 

 

 

272,263

 

 

 

346,280

 

 

 

123,080

 

 

 

(763,045

)

 

 

197,634

 

Income tax
   (expenses)/benefit

 

 

 

 

 

 

(7,453

)

 

 

27,071

 

 

 

 

 

19,618

 

Loss from equity method
   investments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(4,886

)

 

 

 

 

(4,886

)

Net income/(loss)

 

 

219,056

 

 

 

272,263

 

 

 

338,827

 

 

 

145,265

 

 

 

(763,045

)

 

 

212,366

 

Less: net loss attribute to
   non-controlling interests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(6,690

)

 

 

 

 

 

(6,690

)

Net income/(loss) attributable
   to Sunlands Technology
   Group

 

 

219,056

 

 

 

272,263

 

 

 

338,827

 

 

 

151,955

 

 

 

(763,045

)

 

 

219,056

 

 

12


 

 

 

For the Year Ended December 31, 2020

 

 

The
Company

 

 

Other
Subsidiaries

 

 

Primary
Beneficiary
of VIEs

 

 

VIEs and
VIEs’
Subsidiaries

 

 

Eliminations

 

 

Consolidated
Total

 

 

(RMB in thousands)

 

Third-party net revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,161,098

 

 

 

1,042,693

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,203,791

 

Inter-company revenues

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

17,118

 

 

 

409,376

 

 

 

(426,494

)

 

 

 

Total costs and operating
   expenses

 

 

(75,941

)

 

 

(54,486

)

 

 

(1,684,566

)

 

 

(1,480,604

)

 

 

442,788

 

 

 

(2,852,809

)

(Loss)/income from
   subsidiaries and VIEs

 

 

(369,481

)

 

 

(315,024

)

 

 

(57,013

)

 

 

 

 

741,518

 

 

 

 

Income/(loss) from non-
   operations

 

 

14,880

 

 

 

29

 

 

 

176,817

 

 

 

41,013

 

 

 

(16,294

)

 

 

216,445

 

(Loss)/income before
   income tax benefit/(expenses) and
   gain from equity method investments

 

 

(430,542

)

 

 

(369,481

)

 

 

(386,546

)

 

 

12,478

 

 

 

741,518

 

 

 

(432,573

)

Income tax
   benefit/(expenses)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

71,522

 

 

 

(71,286

)

 

 

 

 

 

236

 

Gain from equity method
   investments

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,349

 

 

 

 

 

 

1,349

 

Net (loss)/income

 

 

(430,542

)

 

 

(369,481

)

 

 

(315,024

)

 

 

(57,459

)

 

 

741,518

 

 

 

(430,988

)

Less: net loss attribute to
   non-controlling interests

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(446

)

 

 

 

 

 

(446

)

Net (loss)/income attributable
   to Sunlands Technology
   Group

 

 

(430,542

)

 

 

(369,481

)

 

 

(315,024

)

 

 

(57,013

)

 

 

741,518

 

 

 

(430,542

)

 

13


 

The following tables present the summary balance sheet data for the VIEs and other entities as of the dates presented.

 

As of December 31, 2022

 

 

The
Company

 

 

Other
Subsidiaries

 

 

Primary
Beneficiary
of VIEs

 

 

VIEs and
VIEs’
Subsidiaries

 

 

Eliminations

 

 

Consolidated
Total

 

 

(RMB in thousands)

 

Assets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cash, cash equivalents,
   and restricted cash

 

 

496,184

 

 

 

8,840

 

 

 

100,165

 

 

 

152,215

 

 

 

 

 

 

757,404

 

Amount due from Group
   companies

 

 

1,383,654

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,201,067

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3,584,721

)

 

 

 

Other current assets

 

 

8,805

 

 

 

4,496

 

 

 

66,286

 

 

 

132,113

 

 

 

 

 

 

211,700

 

Property and equipment, net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

593,534

 

 

 

220,249

 

 

 

 

 

 

813,783

 

Other non-current assets

 

 

38,046

 

 

 

 

 

 

57,558

 

 

 

397,579

 

 

 

 

 

 

493,183

 

Total assets

 

 

1,926,689

 

 

 

13,336

 

 

 

3,018,610

 

 

 

902,156

 

 

 

(3,584,721

)

 

 

2,276,070

 

Liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deferred revenue

 

 

 

 

 

1,134

 

 

 

1,064,524

 

 

 

625,288

 

 

 

 

 

1,690,946

 

Amount due to Group companies

 

 

 

 

 

1,383,654

 

 

 

 

 

 

2,201,067

 

 

 

(3,584,721

)

 

 

 

Other current liabilities

 

 

46,709

 

 

 

4,822

 

 

 

232,290

 

 

 

208,237

 

 

 

 

 

492,058

 

Other non-current liabilities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

153,888

 

 

 

319,029

 

 

 

 

 

472,917

 

Deficits of investment
   in subsidiaries and VIEs

 

 

2,254,467

 

 

 

878,193

 

 

 

2,446,101

 

 

 

 

 

(5,578,761

)

 

 

 

Total liabilities

 

 

2,301,176

 

 

 

2,267,803

 

 

 

3,896,803

 

 

 

3,353,621

 

 

 

(9,163,482

)

 

 

2,655,921

 

Non-controlling interest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(5,364

)

 

 

 

 

(5,364

)

Total Sunlands Technology
   Group shareholders’ deficit

 

 

(374,487

)

 

 

(2,254,467

)

 

 

(878,193

)

 

 

(2,446,101

)

 

 

5,578,761

 

 

 

(374,487

)

Total liabilities and equity

 

 

1,926,689

 

 

 

13,336

 

 

 

3,018,610

 

 

 

902,156

 

 

 

(3,584,721

)

 

 

2,276,070

 

 

14


 

 

 

As of December 31, 2021

 

 

The
Company

 

 

Other
Subsidiaries

 

 

Primary
Beneficiary
of VIEs

 

 

VIEs and
VIEs’
Subsidiaries

 

 

Eliminations

 

 

Consolidated
Total

 

 

(RMB in thousands)

 

Assets