Chinese Millionaires Fueling Rising Stocks by Seeking Overseas Education Opportunities

**Growing Demand from Chinese Students Drives Success for Thailand’s SISB Pcl**

*Singapore International School of Bangkok (SISB) benefits from increasing Chinese enrollment*

The rise in the number of wealthy Chinese citizens leaving their home country has proven to be advantageous for Thailand’s only exchange-listed school operator, SISB Pcl. The demand from Chinese students to attend SISB has skyrocketed, with enrollments more than doubling in March compared to the previous year. As a result, the school’s stock has seen a 216% rise in the past 12 months, making it one of the top gainers among global education service stocks with a market value of at least $500 million.

**Thailand – An Attractive Destination for Chinese Parents**

SISB’s chief executive officer, Kelvin Koh, attributes the surge in Chinese enrollment to Thailand’s geographical proximity to China and the lower cost of living compared to other locations, such as Singapore. Chinese parents find Thailand to be a popular option due to its cultural closeness to China and the presence of a Singapore brand with leaders who possess an Asian mindset.

**SISB’s Curriculum and Enrollment Numbers**

SISB offers a Singapore curriculum with a focus on mathematics and science. The school has witnessed a 25% increase in the number of students across its four campuses, with a total of 3,284 students enrolled in March, including 715 foreign students. Chinese students account for 68% of the total number of foreign students.

**Chinese Millionaires Seek International Education Opportunities**

The rising enrollment of Chinese students at SISB reflects the trend of a growing exodus of wealthy individuals from China. Last year, China experienced the largest outflow of millionaires globally, with 10,800 individuals leaving the country. This year, an additional 13,500 individuals are expected to emigrate from China, seeking international education opportunities for their children due to restrictions on the Western school system in their home country.

**SISB’s Financial Performance and Future Prospects**

SISB posted a profit of 159 million baht ($4.6 million) in the first quarter, more than doubling its earnings from the same period the previous year. The school plans to open two new campuses in August, increasing its total number of campuses to six. Analysts predict strong earnings growth for SISB, especially with the significant increase in student enrollment, particularly from China. There is a high potential for SISB to exceed its target of attracting a total of 3,700 students in 2023.

**Cost Advantage for Chinese Parents at SISB**

SISB mainly generates revenue from tuition fees, which vary depending on the child’s age and campus. The fees range from approximately $12,400 to $20,800. In comparison, the median annual school fees at international schools in other locations were higher. For instance, the median annual school fee at an international school in Singapore was $21,386, while in New York and London, it was $43,100 and $21,758, respectively.

**Running the School – CEO’s Journey**

Kelvin Koh became involved with SISB when it was founded in 2001 to offer an alternative to American and British curriculums used by most international schools in Thailand. Koh initially invested around $50,000 in the school, and his children were among the first batch of students. In 2007, he was asked to take over as the CEO of the school, as some parent shareholders wanted to exit. Despite having no prior interest or experience in the education sector, Koh accepted the role to ensure the continuation of the Singapore brand in Thailand. He requested additional control and decision-making power compared to other shareholders.

**Challenges in Listing SISB and Focus on Education**

Listing SISB on Thailand’s stock market in 2018 was a challenging process for Koh. As the country’s first private school to go public and with a tax exemption, the school faced numerous controversies. The night before the initial public offering, an education minister even called Koh to try to halt the plan. However, Koh believes that the focus should always be on the product – the school itself and the students – rather than the stock’s valuation.

In conclusion, the increasing demand from Chinese students seeking international education opportunities has propelled the success of SISB Pcl in Thailand. The school’s focus on providing a Singapore curriculum, along with Thailand’s attractiveness as a destination for Chinese parents, has fueled a surge in enrollments. SISB’s strong financial performance and future prospects indicate further growth potential. Despite the challenges faced in listing the school, its CEO remains committed to providing quality education to students.

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