424(B)(4)
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Filed Pursuant to Rule 424 (b) (4)
Registration No. 333-225414

7,000,000 American Depositary Shares

 

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RISE Education Cayman Ltd

Representing 14,000,000 Ordinary Shares

 

 

The selling shareholders named in this prospectus are offering an aggregate of 7,000,000 American depositary shares, or ADSs. We will not receive any proceeds from the sale of ADSs by the selling shareholders. Each ADS represents two ordinary shares, par value US$0.01 per share.

The ADSs are listed on the NASDAQ Global Market under the symbol “REDU.” On June 6, 2018, the closing trading price for the ADSs, as reported on the NASDAQ Global Market, was US$15.02 per ADS.

We are an “emerging growth company” as defined under applicable U.S. securities laws and, as such, we are eligible for reduced public company reporting requirements.

 

 

Investing in the ADSs involves a high degree of risk. See “Risk Factors” beginning on page 12.

Neither the Securities and Exchange Commission nor any state securities commission has approved or disapproved of these securities or passed upon the adequacy or accuracy of this prospectus. Any representation to the contrary is a criminal offense.

 

 

 

      

Per ADS

      

Total

 

Offering price

     US$ 14.7500        US$ 103,250,000  

Underwriting discounts and commissions

     US$ 0.7375        US$ 5,162,500  

Proceeds, before expenses, to the selling shareholders

     US$ 14.0125        US$ 98,087,500  

One of the selling shareholders has granted the sole underwriter the right to purchase up to 1,050,000 additional ADSs at the offering price, less the underwriting discounts and commissions, to cover over-allotments within 30 days after the date of this prospectus.

The sole underwriter expects to deliver the ADSs against payment in U.S. Dollars in New York, New York, to purchasers on or about June 11, 2018.

 

 

MORGAN STANLEY

Prospectus dated June 6, 2018


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Nationwide footprint comprising self-owned / franchised learning centers 91 cities(1) 64 Self-owned Learning Centres in Hong Kong and Tier-1 Cities(3) as well as Wuxi and Foshan 220(4) franchised Learning Centres in Non Tier-1 Cities Self-owned Learning Centres franchised Learning Centres Cities(1) Beijing (31) Wuxi (2) Shanghai (13) Shenzhen (8) Hong Kong (2) Guanghou (7) Foshan (1) Source: Frost & Sullivan. Note: All numbers are as of March 31, 2018 unless otherwise specified. (1) 283 learning centers across 90 cities in greater China and one learning center in Singapore. (2) Ranking based on 2016 gross billings. (3) Tier-1 cities include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen. (4) 219 learning centers in greater China and one learning center in Singapore. #1 In Beijing(2) #2 In Shanghai(2) #4 In Guangzhou(2) #2 In Shenzhen(2) 64 Self-owned Learning Centers in Hong Kong and Tier-1 Cities(3) as well as Wuxi and Foshan 220(4) Franchised Learning Centers in Non-Tier-1 Cities Self-owned Learning Centers Franchised Learning Centers Source: Frost & Sullivan. Note: All numbers are as of March 31, 2018 unless otherwise specified. (1) 283 learning centers across 90 cities in greater China and one learning center in Singapore. (2) Ranking based on 2016 gross billings. (3) Tier-1 cities include Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen. (4) 219 learning centers in greater China and one learning center in Singapore.


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LOGO

Suite of products covering age 3-18 Age 3-18 Subject-based Immersive learning RISE library online CanTolk RISE UP RISE ON RISE start Test Preparation Admissions Consulting Workshop Camp International Age 3 Age 18 Online Element Online Platform Other Complementary Products


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LOGO

A leading Junior ELT provider in China In Junior ELT(1) In Premium Segment(1) Revenues RMB 407MM 2014 34% CAGR RMB 969MM 2017 RMB 210MM 1Q2017 +28% YoY RMB 270MM 1Q2018 ELT market characterized by low penetration and strong growth Low penetration(2) Growing junior ELT market 8.4% 35.2% 60.5% (in billion RMB) 85.2 In 2016 239.8 In 2021 CAGR: 23.0% 59.4 In 2014 CAGR: 19.8% Source: Frost & Sullivan. (1) Ranking based on 2016 gross billings in China. (2) Penetration rate is calculated as the ratio of junior ELT enrollment to enrollments in school in 2016.


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TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

     Page  

Prospectus Summary

     1  

Summary Consolidated Financial Data

     10  

Risk Factors

     12  

Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements and Industry Data

     42  

Use of Proceeds

     44  

Dividend Policy

     45  

Market Price Information for the ADSs

     46  

Capitalization

     47  

Exchange Rate Information

     48  

Enforceability of Civil Liabilities

     49  

Corporate History and Structure

     51  

Selected Consolidated Financial Data

     57  

Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations

     59  

Our Industry

     90  

Business

     96  
     Page  

Regulation

     118  

Management

     129  

Principal and Selling Shareholders

     137  

Related Party Transactions

     139  

Description of Share Capital

     140  

Description of American Depositary Shares

     150  

Shares Eligible for Future Sale

     162  

Taxation

     164  

Underwriting

     170  

Expenses Related to this Offering

     179  

Legal Matters

     180  

Experts

     181  

Where You Can Find Additional Information

     182  

Index to Consolidated Financial Statements

     F-1  

Index to Unaudited Interim Condensed Consolidated Financial Statements

     F-1  
 

 

 

You should rely only on the information contained in this prospectus or in any related free-writing prospectus. We and the selling shareholders have not authorized anyone to provide you with information different from that contained in this prospectus or in any related free-writing prospectus. The selling shareholders are offering to sell, and seeking offers to buy, the ADSs offered hereby, but only under circumstances and in jurisdictions where offers and sales are permitted and lawful to do so. 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.

Neither we, the selling shareholders nor the sole underwriter have taken any action that would permit a public offering of the ADSs outside the United States or permit the possession or distribution of this prospectus or any related free-writing prospectus outside the United States. Persons outside the United States who come into possession of this prospectus or any related free-writing 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.

 

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PROSPECTUS SUMMARY

The following summary is qualified in its entirety by, and should be read in conjunction with, the more detailed information, financial statements and related notes appearing elsewhere in this prospectus. In addition to this summary, we urge you to read the entire prospectus carefully, especially the risks of investing in the ADSs discussed under “Risk Factors,” before deciding whether to buy the ADSs. This prospectus contains certain estimates and information from an industry report commissioned by us and prepared by Frost & Sullivan, an independent market research firm, regarding our industries and our market positions in China. This prospectus also contains information and statistics relating to China’s economy and the industries in which we operate which are derived from various publications issued by market research companies and the PRC governmental entities, and have not been independently verified by us, the sole underwriter or any of their respective affiliates or advisers. The information in such sources may not be consistent with other information compiled in or outside of China.

Our Business

We primarily operate in China’s junior English Language Training, or ELT, market, which refers to after-school English teaching and tutoring services provided by training institutions to students aged three to 18. We are a leader in China’s junior ELT market according to Frost & Sullivan, and we ranked second in 2016 with a market share of 10.7% in terms of gross billings in the premium segment. Furthermore, in 2016, we ranked first in the junior ELT market in Beijing with a market share of 11.4% and ranked second in the junior ELT market in tier-one cities with a market share of 5.9%, both in terms of gross billings according to Frost & Sullivan.

We pioneered the “subject-based learning” teaching philosophy in China, whereby various subject matters, such as language arts, math, natural science and social science are used to teach English. Our course offerings use interactive courseware to create an immersive English learning environment that helps students learn to speak and think like a native speaker. In addition, our curricula are designed to foster leadership and critical thinking skills in students while developing their self-confidence and sense of independence. This innovative and holistic approach to teaching English is increasingly attractive to Chinese parents who are looking for alternatives to traditional ELT programs in China, which are more test-oriented.

In 2016 and 2017, we had 36,173 and 49,894 student enrollments, respectively, in self-owned learning centers. In the first three months of 2018, our student enrollments in self-owned learning centers increased to 22,045 from 19,397 in the first three months in 2017. We currently offer three flagship courses, namely Rise Start, Rise On and Rise Up that are designed for students aged three to six, seven to twelve and 13 to 18, respectively. The curricula of Rise Start and Rise On use courseware that we have licensed from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company, or HMH, a leading American educational publisher, along with other self-developed content, while the curriculum of Rise Up is primarily based on our self-developed content. We also offer a number of complementary products to further enhance our students’ learning experience, including Can-Talk, Rise Library Online, Rise Camp, Rise Workshop and Rise Overseas Study Tour. In addition, our courses and services have been extended to test preparation and admissions consulting.

We devote significant resources to curriculum development to ensure that our course offerings are up-to-date, engaging and effective. We also focus on teacher training through a set of rigorous and systematic processes and programs so that teachers in both self-owned learning centers and franchised learning centers are able to deliver our curricula at a level consistent with our standards. As of March 31, 2018, we had 1627 teachers in self-owned learning centers. Collectively, the quality of our course offerings and our unique teaching philosophy has helped us develop a strong and powerful brand that is attractive to parents.

Our business model is highly scalable. We have a network of both self-owned learning centers as well as franchised learning centers. As of March 31, 2018, we had a network of 284 learning centers in total, including



 

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283 learning centers across 90 cities in greater China and one learning center in Singapore, among which 64 were self-owned learning centers and 220 were franchised learning centers operated by our franchise partners through franchise arrangements. RISE Education Cayman Ltd is a holding company without substantive operations and we conduct our operations primarily through PRC entities, including our variable interest entity, or VIE, and its subsidiaries and schools. We have enjoyed significant growth over the past few years. Largely as a result of the growth of self-owned learning centers, our revenues increased from RMB529.5 million in 2015 to RMB711.0 million in 2016, and further to RMB969.3 million in 2017, and our revenues increased from RMB210.3 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017 to RMB270.1 million (US$43.1 million) in the three months ended March 31, 2018. As our network of learning centers has expanded, our brand has also strengthened. This has allowed us to maintain our position as a market leader, command premium pricing, improve profitability and enjoy a highly loyal customer base. In 2016, we had a 67% student retention rate, 63% higher than the industry average of 41%, according to Frost & Sullivan. Our student retention rate improved to 70% in 2017 and further to 71% in the first three months of 2018. We recorded EBITDA of RMB40.8 million, RMB142.3 million, RMB56.1 million and RMB65.9 million (US$10.5 million) in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and the first three months in 2018, respectively. Our adjusted EBITDA, which excludes IPO-related expenses, one-off expenses and share-based compensation expenses, where applicable, was RMB 242.5 million and RMB 68.9 million (US$ 11.0 million) in 2017 and the first three months in 2018, respectively. We recorded a net loss of RMB31.7 million in 2015, a net income of RMB50.8 million in 2016, a net loss of RMB53.6 million in 2017 and a net income of RMB34.7 million (US$5.5 million) in the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to RMB26.4 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017. Our non-GAAP net income, which excludes IPO-related expenses, one-off expenses and share-based compensation expenses, where applicable, was RMB 122.3 million and 37.8 million (US$ 6.0 million) in 2017 and the first three months in 2018, respectively. For a detailed description of our non-GAAP measures, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

Our Industry

China’s junior ELT market is rapidly growing, driven by favorable government policies, supportive economic conditions, and increasing cultural and societal emphasis on English education. According to Frost & Sullivan, China’s junior ELT market, is expected to grow to RMB239.8 billion in 2021 from RMB85.2 billion in 2016, representing a CAGR of 23.0%.

 

    China’s Age 3 – 6 ELT Market. Provides English language training mainly for students in preschool. It is expected to be the fastest growing segment in the junior ELT market in China, expanding from RMB18.6 billion in 2016 to RMB62.8 billion in 2021, representing a CAGR of 27.6%.

 

    China’s Age 7 – 12 ELT Market. Provides English language training mainly for students in elementary school. It is the largest segment in terms of gross billings in the junior ELT market in China. The 7-12 ELT market is expected to grow from RMB45.0 billion in 2016 to RMB125.3 billion in 2021, representing a CAGR of 22.7%.

 

    China’s Age 13 – 18 ELT Market. Provides English language training mainly for students in middle school and above. This segment is expected to grow from RMB21.6 billion in 2016 to RMB51.7 billion in 2021, representing a CAGR of 19.1%.

 

    China’s Premium Junior ELT Market. According to Frost & Sullivan, within China’s junior ELT market, the premium segment, which includes providers offering products with annual fees above RMB16,000 per year, is expected to outpace the overall junior ELT market in terms of growth. The premium junior ELT market is expected to grow in terms of gross billings from RMB8.1 billion in 2016, to RMB22.8 billion in 2021, representing a CAGR of 23.0%.

Despite its rapid development, the junior ELT market in China remains highly fragmented and there is significant opportunity to gain market share. According to Frost & Sullivan, the top ten junior ELT providers in



 

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China only accounted for 6.7% of the market by gross billings in 2016. Moreover, based on a survey by Frost & Sullivan, parents prefer junior ELT providers with strong branding, course content, and course offerings focused on the English conversational ability of students.

Our Strengths

We believe that the following strengths contribute to our success and set us apart from our peers:

 

    leadership in an attractive and rapidly growing market;

 

    innovative and unique teaching methodologies;

 

    comprehensive and innovative products;

 

    extensive and systematic product development and teacher training programs;

 

    premium and trusted brand;

 

    highly scalable business model; and

 

    experienced management team with proven track record.

Our Strategies

We intend to pursue the following strategies to further grow our business:

 

    expand our learning center network;

 

    increase student enrollment in self-owned learning centers;

 

    enhance and expand our products;

 

    improve operating efficiency; and

 

    pursue additional strategic partnerships and alliances.

Our Challenges

We believe some of the major risks and uncertainties that may materially and adversely affect us include the following:

 

    expanding our learning center network;

 

    attracting new students and retaining existing students;

 

    maintaining and increasing brand awareness;

 

    enhancing products and students experiences; and

 

    improving operating efficiency.

In addition, we face risks and uncertainties related to our compliance with applicable regulations and policies in our principal markets and operations, particularly those risks and uncertainties associated with our control over the variable interest entity, or VIE, and its subsidiaries or schools based on contractual and other arrangements rather than direct equity ownership in China.

See “Risk Factors,” “Special Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements” and other information included in this prospectus for a detailed discussion of the above and other challenges, risks and uncertainties.



 

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Corporate History and Structure

The chart below summarizes our corporate structure and identifies the principal subsidiaries and VIE and its subsidiaries and schools, or consolidated affiliates, as of the date of this prospectus:

 

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(1) Our 3.2% equity interests are held by other non-public shareholders, including certain directors, senior management and key employees in the Company. See “Principal and Selling Shareholders.”

 

(2) We acquired 100% equity interest in Edge Franchising Co. Limited from the Edge Learning Centers Limited in November 2017 (“Edge acquisition”). See “Related Party Transactions—Our Transactions with Related Parties.”

 

(3) As of March 31, 2018, we had one franchised learning center in Singapore that was operated by our franchise partner in Singapore through a franchise agreement with Edge Franchising Co. Limited.

 

(4) As of March 31, 2018, we had two self-owned learning centers in Hong Kong that were operated through Bain Capital Rise Education (HK) Limited.

 

(5) Mr. Peng Zhang, a former employee of an affiliate of our principal shareholder, Bain Capital Rise Education IV Cayman Limited, and Mr. Yiding Sun, our chief executive officer and director, holding 80% and 20% of the VIE’s equity interests, respectively.

 

(6) The remaining 49% equity interests are owned by an unrelated third party.

 

(7) Under PRC law, entities and individuals who establish and maintain ownership interests in private schools are referred to as “sponsors.” The rights of sponsors vis-à-vis private schools are similar to those of shareholders vis-à-vis companies with regard to legal, regulatory and tax matters, but differ with regard to the rights to receive returns on investment and the distribution of residual properties upon termination and liquidation. As of March 31, 2018, we had established 16 private schools in China to operate our network of self-owned learning centers. For more information regarding school sponsorship and the difference between sponsorship and ownership under relevant laws and regulations, see “Regulations—The Law for Promoting Private Education and Its Implementation Rules.”

 

(8) Learning centers are not legal entities under PRC law. As of March 31, 2018, we had 62 self-owned learning centers across the PRC, 60 of which were operated by the 16 schools for which we are the sponsor and two of which was operated by Wuxi Rise Foreign Language Training Co., Ltd., a non-school enterprise.

 

(9) Consulting Services Agreements

 

(10) Loan Agreements, Proxy Agreement, Call Option Agreement, Equity Pledge Agreement and Business Cooperation Agreement

 

(11) Proxy Agreement, Business Cooperation Agreement, Service Agreement, Call Option Agreement and Equity Pledge Agreement

 

(12) License Agreements and Comprehensive Services Agreements

Corporate Information

Our principal executive offices are located at Room 101, Jia He Guo Xin Mansion, No.15 Baiqiao Street, Guangqumennei, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100062, People’s Republic of China. Our telephone number at this address is +86 10-8559 9000. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is at the offices of Maples Corporate Services Limited, PO Box 309, Ugland House, Grand Cayman, KY1-1104, Cayman Islands. Our agent for service of process in the United States is Cogency Global Inc., located at 10 East 40th Street, 10th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10016.

Investors should contact us for any inquiries through the address and telephone number of our principal executive offices. Our website is en.risecenter.com. The information contained on our website is not a part of this prospectus.



 

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Implications of Being an Emerging Growth Company

As a company with less than US$1.07 billion in revenue for our last fiscal year, we qualify as an “emerging growth company” pursuant to the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act of 2012, or the JOBS Act. An emerging growth company may take advantage of specified reduced reporting and other requirements compared to those that are otherwise applicable generally to public companies. These provisions include exemption from the auditor attestation requirement under Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 in the assessment of the emerging growth company’s internal control over financial reporting. The JOBS Act also provides that an emerging growth company does not need to comply with any new or revised financial accounting standards until such date that a private company is otherwise required to comply with such new or revised accounting standards. However, we have elected to “opt out” of this provision and, as a result, we will comply with new or revised accounting standards as required when they are adopted for public companies. This decision to opt out of the extended transition period under the JOBS Act is irrevocable.

We will remain an emerging growth company until the earliest of (a) the last day of the fiscal year during which we have total annual gross revenue of at least US$1.07 billion; (b) the last day of our fiscal year following the fifth anniversary of the completion of this offering; (c) the date on which we have, during the preceding three-year period, issued more than US$1.07 billion in non-convertible debt; or (d) the date on which we are deemed to be a “large accelerated filer” under the Exchange Act, as amended, which would occur if the market value of our ADSs that are held by non-affiliates exceeds US$700 million as of the last business day of our most recently completed second fiscal quarter. Once we cease to be an emerging growth company, we will not be entitled to the exemptions provided in the JOBS Act discussed above.

Conventions Which Apply to this Prospectus

Unless we indicate otherwise, all information in this prospectus reflects no exercise by the sole underwriter of their option to purchase up to 1,050,000 additional ADSs representing 2,100,000 ordinary shares from the selling shareholders.

Except where the context otherwise requires:

 

    “ADSs” refers to our American depositary shares, each of which represents two ordinary shares;

 

    “ADRs” refers to the American depositary receipts, which, if issued, evidence our ADSs;

 

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

 

    “courses” refer to our flagship courses (i.e., Rise Start, Rise On and Rise up), online courses, such as Can-Talk, and other major courses or services that we may have. As of the date of this prospectus, our other major courses include courses and services for test preparation and admissions consulting;

 

    “greater China” refers to, for the purpose of this prospectus only, the People’s Republic of China and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong;

 

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

 

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

 

    “student enrollments” refers to the cumulative total number of courses enrolled in by students during a given period of time; if one student enrolls in multiple courses, it will be counted as multiple student enrollments;

 

    “students” or “teachers” refers to students or teachers, respectively, at self-owned learning centers unless otherwise specified;


 

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    “student retention rate” refers to the percentage of the number of students who continue to study at our self-owned learning centers after completing courses in a particular period to the total number of students who complete courses during the same period;

 

    “tier-one cities” refers to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen;

 

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

 

    “we,” “us,” “our company,” “our” or “RISE Education” refers to RISE Education Cayman Ltd, a Cayman Islands company, its subsidiaries and its consolidated affiliates, including our VIE, its subsidiaries and schools.

Our reporting currency is the Renminbi. The functional currency of RISE Education Cayman Ltd and its non-PRC subsidiaries is U.S. Dollars, and that of its PRC subsidiaries, VIE and its subsidiaries and schools located in the PRC is the Renminbi. This prospectus contains translations of certain Renminbi amounts into U.S. Dollars for the convenience of the reader. Unless otherwise stated, all translations of Renminbi into U.S. Dollars have been made at the rate of RMB6.2726 to US$1.00, being the noon buying rate in The City of New York for cable transfers in Renminbi as certified for customs purposes by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in effect as of March 31, 2018 set forth in the H.10 statistical release of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board for translation into U.S. Dollars. We make no representation that the Renminbi or U.S. Dollar amounts referred to in this prospectus could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. Dollars, Renminbi, as the case may be, at any particular rate or at all. On May 25, 2018, the noon buying rate for Renminbi were RMB6.3903 to US$1.00.



 

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THE OFFERING

The following assumes that the sole underwriter will not exercise its option to purchase additional ADSs in the offering, unless otherwise indicated.

 

Offering Price

US$14.75 per ADS.

 

ADSs Offered by the Selling Shareholders

7,000,000 ADSs (or 8,050,000 ADSs if the sole underwriter exercises its option to purchase additional ADSs in full).

 

ADSs Outstanding Immediately After This Offering

23,150,000 ADSs (or 24,200,000 ADSs if the sole underwriter exercises its option to purchase additional ADSs in full).

 

Ordinary Shares Outstanding Immediately After This Offering

120,817,312 ordinary shares.

 

NASDAQ Global Market symbol

REDU.

 

The ADSs

Each ADS represents two ordinary shares. The ADSs may be evidenced by ADRs.

 

  The depositary will hold the ordinary shares underlying your ADSs and you will have rights as provided in the deposit agreement.

 

  We do not expect to pay dividends in the foreseeable future after this offering. If, however, we declare dividends on our ordinary shares, the depositary will pay you the cash dividends and other distributions it receives on our ordinary shares, after deducting its fees and expenses.

 

  You may turn in your ADSs to the depositary in exchange for ordinary shares. The depositary will charge you fees for any exchange. We may amend or terminate the deposit agreement without your consent. If you continue to hold your ADSs, you agree to be bound by the deposit agreement as amended.

 

  To better understand the terms of the ADSs, you should carefully read the “Description of American Depositary Shares” section of this prospectus. You should also read the deposit agreement, which is filed as an exhibit to the registration statement that includes this prospectus.

 

Option to Purchase Additional ADSs

One of the selling shareholders has granted the sole underwriter an option, exercisable within 30 days from the date of this prospectus, to purchase up to 1,050,000 additional ADSs.

 

Use of Proceeds

The selling shareholders expect to receive net proceeds of approximately US$97.2 million from this offering, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by the selling shareholders.


 

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  See “Use of Proceeds” for additional information.

 

  We will not receive any of the proceeds from the sale of ADSs by the selling shareholders.

 

Lock-up

We and our directors, executive officers and certain shareholders have agreed with the sole underwriter, subject to certain exceptions, not to sell, transfer or otherwise dispose of any ADSs, ordinary shares or similar securities or any securities convertible into or exchangeable or exercisable for our ordinary shares or ADSs, for a period ending 90 days after the date of this prospectus. 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.

 

Payment and settlement

The sole underwriter expects to deliver the ADSs against payment therefor through the facilities of The Depository Trust Company on June 11, 2018.

 

Depositary

JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A.


 

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SUMMARY CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

The following summary consolidated statements of income data for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2016 and 2017 and three months ended March 31, 2017 and 2018 and summary consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2016 and 2017 and as of March 31, 2017 and 2018 have been derived from our audited and unaudited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. Our consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States, or U.S. GAAP. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results expected for future periods. You should read this “Summary Consolidated Financial Data” section together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” section included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

    For the Year Ended December 31,     Three Months Ended
March 31,
 
    2014     2015     2016     2017     2017     2018  
    RMB     RMB     RMB     RMB     US$     RMB     RMB     US$  
    (thousands, except for share, per share and EBITDA margin)  

Selected Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:

               

Revenues:

               

Educational programs

    349,398       451,411       618,326       831,106       132,498       178,722       226,194       36,061  

Franchise revenues

    52,063       60,793       63,532       100,013       15,944       24,604       28,210       4,497  

Other revenues

    5,244       17,265       29,135       38,156       6,083       6,997       15,725       2,507  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

    406,705       529,469       710,993       969,275       154,525       210,323       270,129       43,065  

Cost of revenues

    (295,097     (346,671     (363,579     (452,220     (72,094     (96,316     (125,467     (20,002
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

    111,608       182,798       347,414       517,055       82,431       114,007       144,662       23,063  

Operating expenses:

               

Selling and marketing

    (74,368     (96,688     (128,475     (177,993     (28,376     (31,306     (48,522     (7,736

General and administrative

    (122,791     (135,603     (148,093     (339,690     (54,155     (41,308     (54,358     (8,666
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

    (197,159     (232,291     (276,568     (517,683     (82,531     (72,614     (102,880     (16,402

Operating (loss)/income

    (85,551 )      (49,493 )      70,846       (628 )      (100 )      41,393       41,782       6,661  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Interest income

    7,150       17,853       16,622       19,559       3,118       2,606       4,206       671  

Interest expense

                (6,073     (26,589     (4,239     (5,167     (8,205     (1,308

Foreign currency exchange (loss)/gain

    (27     (1,473     (2,741     388       62       (18     28       4  

Other income/(expense), net

    74       253       4,391       6,594       1,051       152       10,908       1,739  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

(Loss)/income before income tax expense

    (78,354 )      (32,860 )      83,045       (676 )      (108 )      38,966       48,719       7,767  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income tax benefit/(expense)

    5,685       1,119       (32,202     (52,924     (8,437     (12,576     (13,993     (2,231
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net (loss)/income

    (72,669 )      (31,741 )      50,843       (53,600 )      (8,545 )      26,390       34,726       5,536  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net loss attributable to non-controlling interests

    7,497       5,456       3,080       5,626       897       1,872       1,095       175  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net (loss)/income attributable to RISE Education Cayman Ltd

    (65,172 )      (26,285 )      53,923       (47,974 )      (7,648 )      28,262       35,821       5,711  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Non-GAAP Financial Measures:

               

EBITDA(1)

    14,818       40,794       142,318       56,064       8,938       53,582       65,872       10,501  

EBITDA margin(2)

    3.6%       7.7%       20.0%       5.8%       5.8%     25.5%       24.4%       24.4%  

Adjusted EBITDA(1)

                      242,510       38,662             68,904       10,984  

Adjusted EBITDA margin(3)

                      25.0%       25.0%             25.5%       25.5%  

Non-GAAP net income(1)

                      122,314       19,500             37,758       6,019  


 

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(1) To see how we define and calculate EBITDA, EBITDA margin, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA margin and non-GAAP net income, a reconciliation between EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, non-GAAP net income and net (loss)/income and a discussion about the limitations of non-GAAP financial measures, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”
(2) EBITDA margin is calculated by dividing EBITDA by revenues.
(3) Adjusted EBITDA margin is calculated by dividing adjusted EBITDA by revenues.

 

     As of December 31,     As of March 31,  
     2015     2016     2017     2018  
     RMB     RMB     RMB     US$     RMB     US$  
     (thousands)              

Selected Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:

            

Total current assets

     553,224       707,738       1,142,445       182,133       1,303,289       207,775  

Cash and cash equivalents

     517,436       639,999       1,055,982       168,348       924,662       147,413  

Prepayments and other current assets

     24,080       45,517       40,571       6,468       86,719       13,825  

Total non-current assets

     782,514       792,560       813,893       129,753       806,890       128,638  

Property and equipment, net

     70,860       75,673       100,177       15,971       99,075       15,795  

Intangible assets, net

     244,798       225,951       200,615       31,983       189,604       30,227  

Goodwill

     444,412       461,686       475,732       75,843       465,834       74,265  

Total assets

     1,335,738       1,500,298       1,956,338       311,886       2,110,179       336,413  

Total current liabilities

     571,426       763,366       1,030,700       164,318       1,214,049       193,550  

Current portion of long-term loan

           38,186                          

Accrued expenses and other current liabilities

     73,172       96,158       171,099       27,277       138,553       22,090  

Deferred revenue and customer advances

     489,918       601,324       812,821       129,583       1,042,428       166,188  

Total non-current liabilities

     12,987       338,505       629,906       100,422       564,732       90,031  

Long-term loan

           333,102       623,439       99,391       527,614       84,114  

Total liabilities

     584,413       1,101,871       1,660,606       264,740       1,778,781       283,581  

Total RISE Education Cayman Ltd shareholders’ equity

     757,018       407,200       310,131       49,442       346,892       55,302  

Non-controlling interests

     (5,693     (8,773     (14,399     (2,296     (15,494     (2,470

Total equity

     751,325       398,427       295,732       47,146       331,398       52,832  

Total liabilities, non-controlling interests and shareholders’ equity

     1,335,738       1,500,298       1,956,338       311,886       2,110,179       336,413  


 

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RISK FACTORS

An investment in our ADSs involves significant risks. You should carefully consider 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, results of operations and prospects. 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 and Industry

We may not be able to attract new students or retain our existing students.

The success of our business depends largely on the number of students. Therefore, our ability to continue to attract new students and retain existing students is critical to our continued success and growth. Being able to do so is dependent on a variety of factors, including our ability to maintain and enhance product and service quality, refine our teaching methodologies and innovate and develop new products to respond to our customers’ demands and changing market trends. If we are unable to continue to attract new students or retain existing students, our revenues may decline, or we may not be able to maintain profitability, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may not be able to maintain or enhance our brand.

We believe that our “RISE” brand has contributed significantly to the success of our business and thus it is one of our key competitive advantages. We undertake a number of initiatives and invest significant capital and other resources to promote our brand. However, our branding efforts may not be successful or may even inadvertently damage our brand. Moreover, our brand may be materially and adversely affected if our franchise partners fail to properly maintain the operations of their franchised learning centers. Furthermore, any negative publicity relating to our company, products, teachers, employees and students, self-owned learning centers, franchise partners, franchised learning centers or their teachers, employees and students, regardless of its veracity, could harm our brand image and reputation and even expose us to adverse legal and regulatory consequences. If we are unable to maintain or enhance our brand, eliminate incidents of negative publicity, or manage our marketing and branding spend, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

We face intense competition in our industry, and we may fail to maintain or gain market share.

The junior ELT market in China is rapidly evolving, highly fragmented and intensely competitive. Competition in this industry may persist and even intensify. We compete with other junior ELT service providers in a number of areas, such as brand image, course content and structure and service quality. Some of these competitors may have greater financial or other resources than we do. We cannot assure you that we will be able to compete successfully against existing or potential competitors, and if we fail to gain or maintain, or if we lose market share, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

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

We aim to continue to open new self-owned learning centers, and cooperate with franchise partners to open new franchised learning centers. We also aim to continue enrolling new students, recruiting new teachers, increasing the operating efficiency of our existing and new learning centers and investing in complementary products. However, we may not be able to continue to grow as rapidly as we have in the past.

Furthermore, if we fail to execute our growth strategies effectively, our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

 

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Our profitability may decline due to various factors.

We may face challenges in maintaining our profitability due to a rise in either or both of our fixed and variable costs as a percentage of our overall revenues. Our fixed costs largely comprise rental and personnel costs while variable costs primarily include teacher and sales and marketing costs. The rise in fixed or variable costs may be due to increasing competition, a result of operational decisions or unexpected. Any of these factors may negatively affect our profitability and have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations.

We may not be successful in introducing new products or enhancing our existing products.

We currently offer three flagship courses Rise Start, Rise On and Rise Up, as well as a series of complementary products. We intend to continue developing new products, as well as further enhancing our existing products. This process is subject to risks and uncertainties, such as unexpected technical, operational, logistical or other problems that could delay the process temporarily or permanently. Moreover, we cannot assure you that any of these new products or enhancement of existing products will fulfill customer needs, match the quality or popularity of those developed by our competitors, achieve widespread market acceptance or generate incremental revenues.

In addition, introducing new products or enhancing existing products requires us to make various investments in curriculum and courseware development and management, incur personnel expenses and potentially reallocate other resources. If we are unable to develop new products or cannot do so in a cost-effective manner, or are otherwise unable to manage effectively the operations of those products, our financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.

A number of learning centers operate without the required licenses, permits, filings or registrations.

In order to operate our business, we must receive a number of licenses, permits, and approvals, make filings or complete registrations. These include receiving private school operating permits and private non-enterprise entity certificates, receiving approvals from or making filings to local education bureaus, and passing fire control assessments. Given the significant amount of discretion held by local PRC authorities in interpreting, implementing and enforcing relevant rules and regulations, as well as other factors beyond our control, we cannot guarantee you that we will be able to obtain and maintain all requisite licenses, permits, approvals, filings, or pass all requisite assessments. While we are in the process of bringing our operations into compliance, among all our self-owned learning centers, those that as of the date of this prospectus do not possess the required private school operating permit or private non-enterprise entity certificates, have not obtained approvals from or made filings to local education bureaus, or have not passed the required fire control assessments, as a whole, were responsible for 20.9% of our total revenues in the first three months in 2018. Furthermore, we are in the process of registering three learning centers located in Shanghai as for-profit schools in accordance with the Amended Law on the Promotion of Private Education issued by the National People’s Congress on November 7, 2016 and the relevant local rules, as a permissible way to be compliant rather than obtaining approvals from or making filings to local PRC education bureaus. Revenues attributable to these three learning centers accounted for 4.7% of our total revenues in the first three months of 2018. Moreover, new learning centers that we open may have similar compliance issues for a period of time after their opening. Though as of the date of this prospectus no action has been taken against us or any of our learning centers, if any of our current or future learning centers fail to receive the requisite licenses, permits and approvals, make the necessary filings, or complete all requisite registrations, that learning center may be subject to penalties. These may include fines, orders to promptly rectify the non-compliance, or if the non-compliance is deemed by the regulators to be serious, the school may be ordered to return tuition and fees collected and pay a multiple of the amount of returned tuition and fees to regulators as a penalty or may even be ordered to cease operations.

Moreover, under PRC laws and regulations, we may be required to obtain an ICP license, an audio or video program transmission license, an internet culture permit and an online publishing services permit for the

 

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operation of our online educational products, such as Rise Up and Can-Talk. Although we have not received any material fines or other penalties for non-compliance in the past, if we are not able to comply with all applicable legal requirements, we may be subject to fines, confiscation of the gains derived from our non-compliant operations, suspension of our non-compliant operations or revocation of the operating permits of the non-compliant schools, any of which may materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may fail to successfully grow or operate our franchise business as our franchise partners may fail to operate the franchised learning centers effectively or we may be unable to maintain our relationships with our franchise partners.

We derive revenues from our franchise business through initial or renewal franchise fees, recurring franchise fees based on an agreed percentage of each franchised learning center’s collected tuition fees, and the sale of individual course materials. We expect our franchise revenues to increase as we grow. We rely on our franchise partners to open and operate new learning centers and our results of operations depend on our ability to attract as well as retain franchise partners. Our franchise partners are independent operators and are responsible for the profitability and financial viability of their learning centers. If our franchise partners fail to operate their learning centers effectively or grow their operations, then our financial condition and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

We typically sign a five-year franchise agreement with our franchise partners. Upon expiration of the franchise agreement, we may not be able to renew because it is subject to mutual agreement by both parties. If we fail to renew the franchise agreement, it may also adversely impact our financial condition and results of operations.

We may not effectively monitor or manage the operations of franchised learning centers.

Our franchise partners are required to use our standardized curricula and teaching methodologies and to comply with other standardized operating procedures and requirements for the franchised learning centers. However, we may not be able to effectively monitor or control the operations of these learning centers as our franchise partners may deviate from our standards and requirements. Moreover, we do not control the actions of their employees, including their teachers. As a result, the quality of franchised learning center operations may be adversely affected by any number of factors beyond our control.

While we ultimately can take actions to terminate or choose not to renew existing franchise agreements with franchise partners who do not comply with the terms and conditions stipulated by our franchise agreements, including standardized operating procedures, we may not be immediately aware or able to identify problems or take actions quickly enough to resolve these problems. This may lead to potential legal and regulatory non-compliance incidents. For instance, lack of the requisite permits and licenses to operate the franchised learning centers or a failure in registration of franchise agreements with PRC authorities may subject our franchise partners to regulatory risks, which may significantly affect our brand, the results of operations of the franchised learning centers and in turn adversely and materially affect our financial condition.

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 success depends in part on the continued application of services, efforts and motivation of our senior management team and key personnel. If one or more of our senior management members or key personnel are unable to continue in their present positions, we may not be able to find replacements successfully, and our business may be disrupted.

We will need to continue to hire additional personnel as our business grows. A shortage in the supply of personnel with requisite skills could negatively impact our ability to manage our existing products and services,

 

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launch new products and expand our operations. There is competition for experienced personnel in the private education industry and key personnel could leave us to join our competitors. Losing the services of our experienced personnel may be disruptive to and cause uncertainty for our business, 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 a sufficient number of qualified teachers.

Teachers help us maintain the quality of our education and services, as well as our brand and reputation. Our ability to continue to attract teachers with the necessary experience and qualifications is a key factor in the success of our operations. We seek to hire qualified teachers who are dedicated to teaching and are able to follow our teaching procedures and deliver effective instruction. The market for teacher recruitment in China is competitive, and we must also provide continued training to ensure that teachers stay abreast of changes in student demands, our teaching methodologies and other key trends necessary. Further, the Measures of Punishment for Violation of Professional Ethics of Primary and Secondary School Teachers, promulgated by the PRC Ministry of Education, or MOE, on January 11, 2014, prohibits teachers of primary and secondary schools from providing paid tutoring in schools or in out-of-school learning centers. Although we do not particularly target public school teachers in our teacher recruitment and we typically do not hire part-time teachers, in order to recruit qualified full-time teachers, including those with public school experience, we must provide candidates with competitive compensation packages and offer attractive career development opportunities. Although we have not experienced major difficulties in recruiting or training qualified teachers in the past, we cannot guarantee we will be able to continue to recruit, train and retain a sufficient number of qualified teachers in the future, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may encounter disputes from time to time relating to the use of third party intellectual properties.

We cannot assure you that our products, courseware, course materials or any intellectual property developed or used by us do not or will not infringe the intellectual property rights held by third parties.

Under our intellectual property arrangements with HMH, we have an exclusive, subject to certain pre-existing third party rights, and royalty-free license from HMH to use certain HMH courseware developed before October 2011 in China permanently for after-school tutoring services for the primary purpose of teaching the English language to non-native English speaking students. The curricula of Rise Start and Rise On uses HMH courseware along with other self-developed content. The arrangements with HMH also entitle us to develop derivative products based on this HMH courseware.

Furthermore, we are subject to certain sublicensing restrictions under our arrangements with HMH. For example, we cannot sublicense to any party that has been finally adjudged as liable for willful copyright infringement in the last five years and we cannot guarantee that the sublicensing restrictions have been fully complied with when we sublicense our curricular to our franchise partners. As a result, we may be deemed liable for breaching our obligations under the license arrangements with HMH.

As of the date of this prospectus, we are not aware of any ongoing material legal proceedings or disputes alleging our infringement of third-party intellectual properties. However, we may encounter disputes from time to time over rights and obligations concerning intellectual property, and we may not prevail in those disputes. Any such intellectual property infringement claim could result in costly litigation and divert our management attention and resources.

We may fail to adequately protect our intellectual property rights, and we may be exposed to intellectual property infringement claims by third parties.

Since our inception, our trademarks, copyrights, domain names, trade secrets and other intellectual property rights have distinguished us from our competitors and strengthened our competitive advantages.

 

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Under our arrangements with HMH, we are entitled to develop and have developed derivative products based on licensed HMH courseware, and we own the intellectual property rights for all of these derivative products, including trademarks and copyrights, subject to HMH’s ownership of the intellectual property rights in its underlying courseware. We hold a variety of intellectual property rights, including 17 registered domain names, 206 registered trademarks, 67 copyright registrations in China and one patent in China as of March 31, 2018. Unauthorized use of any of our intellectual property by third parties, including our franchise partners, may adversely affect our business and reputation. We rely on a combination of copyright, trademark and trade secrets laws, and confidentiality agreements with our employees and contractors, to protect our intellectual property rights. We also regularly monitor any infringement or misappropriation of our intellectual property rights. Nevertheless, third parties may obtain and use our intellectual property without due authorization. The practice of intellectual property rights enforcement by the PRC regulatory authorities is in its early stage of development and is subject to significant uncertainty. We may also need to resort to litigation and other legal proceedings to enforce our intellectual property rights. Any such action, litigation or other legal proceedings could result in substantial costs and diversion of our management’s attention and resources and could disrupt our business. In addition, we cannot assure you that we will be able to enforce our intellectual property rights effectively or otherwise prevent others from the unauthorized use of our intellectual property. Failure to adequately protect our intellectual property could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Accidents, injuries, suspension of service or other harm may occur at our learning centers or the events we organize.

We could be held liable if any student, employee or other person is injured in any accident at any of our learning centers or the events we organize. Although we believe we take appropriate measures to prevent these risks, we may still be held liable if any such incident occurs. Parents may perceive our facilities or events to be unsafe, which may discourage them from sending their children to our learning centers or events. Although we maintain liability insurance, the insurance coverage may not be adequate to fully protect us from claims of all kinds and we cannot guarantee that we will be able to successfully claim under our existing liability insurance policies or obtain sufficient liability insurance in the future. We have historically encountered isolated student-related accidents on our learning center premises. Any criminal or civil liability claim against us or any of our employees could adversely affect our reputation and ability to attract and retain students. Any of these incidents may create unfavorable publicity, cause us to incur substantial expenses and divert the time and attention of our management.

We may not be able to integrate businesses that we may acquire in the future.

We may make acquisitions to facilitate our business growth, such as expanding into other geographic markets, serving different age groups of students and extending our product portfolio. We cannot assure you that we will be able to integrate the acquired businesses with our existing operations, and we may incur significant financial resources to streamline the operation of the acquired businesses under our internal control requirements and divert substantial management attention to the transition of the acquired businesses before achieving full integration. In addition, the businesses we acquire may be loss making or have existing liabilities or other risks that we may not be able to effectively manage or may not be aware of at the time we acquire them, which may impact our ability to realize the expected benefits from the acquisition or our financial performance. If we fail to integrate the acquired businesses in a timely manner or at all, we may not be able to achieve the anticipated benefits or synergies from the acquired businesses, which may adversely affect our business growth.

Our results of operations are subject to seasonal fluctuations.

Our industry generally experiences seasonality. Seasonal fluctuations have affected, and are likely to continue to affect, our business. In general, we generate higher revenues in the third quarter as we generate revenues from summer overseas study tours during the summer holiday. We also generally generate lower

 

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revenues in the first quarter as we deliver fewer classes due to the Chinese New Year holiday, which is partially offset by revenues generated from our winter overseas study tours. Overall, although the historical seasonality of our business has been relatively mild, we expect to continue to experience seasonal fluctuations in our results of operations. These fluctuations may result in volatility in and adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

We may not be able to conduct our selling and marketing activities effectively.

Our selling and marketing activities may not be well received by parents or students and may not result in the level of sales that we anticipate. In addition, we may not be able to retain or recruit experienced selling and marketing staff, or to efficiently train junior staff. Moreover, selling and marketing methods and tools in the junior ELT market in China continue to evolve. This may require us to experiment with new methods to keep pace with industry developments and student needs. Failure to refine our existing approaches or to implement new approaches in a cost-effective manner may reduce our market share, cause our revenues to decline and negatively impact our profitability.

We may have to relocate our learning centers.

As of March 31, 2018, we leased a total area of approximately 67,000 square meters for self-owned learning centers, and we may have to relocate for a number of reasons.

Our lease arrangements are typically for a term of at least five years, and are renewable upon mutual consent at the end of the period. We may not be able to successfully renew leases upon expiration of the current term, and may decide to move to more premium locations or have to relocate our operations for various other reasons, including increase of rentals and failure in passing the fire prevention assessment in certain locations. In those cases, we may not be able to locate desirable alternative sites for our learning centers or at a reasonable price.

We have not been able to receive from our lessors of some of our leased properties copies of title certificates or proof of authorization to lease the properties to us. In addition, we have not registered most of our lease agreements with relevant government authorities as required by PRC law. 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 is 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. In addition, failure to complete the lease registration will not affect the legal effectiveness of the lease agreements according to PRC law, but the real estate administrative authorities may require the parties to the lease agreements to complete lease registration within a prescribed period of time and the failure to do so may subject the parties to fines from RMB1,000 to RMB10,000.

Our data management system may have weakness and personal data that we collect and retain may be publicly disclosed due to a system failure or otherwise.

We maintain personal data, such as academic records, address and family information of students, teachers and other employees. If the security measures we use to protect personal data are ineffective due to a system failure or other reasons, we could be liable for claims of invasion of privacy, impersonation, unauthorized purchases or other claims. In addition, we could be held liable for the misuse of personal data, fraudulent or otherwise, by students, teachers and other employees. We could incur significant expenses in connection with rectifying any security breaches, settling any resulting claims and providing additional protection to prevent additional breaches. In addition, any failure to protect personal information may adversely impact our ability to attract and retain students, harm our reputation and materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and prospects.

 

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Our relationships with overseas education service providers may deteriorate.

We collaborate with various overseas schools and institutions to provide overseas study tours to students where we are the operator who set the price. We organize tours for students to attend classes abroad, in preschools, elementary schools and middle schools, primarily in the United States and Canada. These relationships help us offer more diverse products, and charge a premium for the products we offer with other overseas education service providers. These relationships also help us enhance our brand and reputation and provide exposure to international educational best practices and methods.

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

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

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

Our employees may engage in misconduct or other improper activities.

Like all companies, we face the risk of employee misconduct or other improper activities. Employee misconduct could include intentional failures to comply with laws and regulations, unauthorized activities, attempts to obtain reimbursement for improper expenses, or submission of falsified time records. Negative press reports regarding employee misconduct could harm our reputation, and if our reputation is negatively affected, our future revenues and growth prospects would be adversely affected. It is not always possible to deter employee misconduct, and the precautions we take to prevent and detect this activity may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses, which could harm our business, financial condition, results of operations and our ability to meet our financial obligations.

We have granted options, and we may continue to grant options under our share incentive plans, which may result in increased share-based compensation expenses.

In 2016, we approved a share incentive plan, or the 2016 ESOP Plan, that permits the granting of options to purchase our ordinary shares. The maximum aggregate number of ordinary shares that may be issued pursuant to all awards under the 2016 ESOP Plan was 7,000,000. In 2017, we approved a new share incentive plan, or the 2017 ESOP Plan, which became effective upon completion of our initial public offering, that permits the granting of options, restricted shares, restricted share units, dividend equivalents, deferred shares, share payment and share appreciation rights. The maximum aggregate number of ordinary shares that may be issued pursuant to all awards under the 2017 ESOP Plan was 5,000,000.

As of the date of this prospectus, options to purchase 3,233,709 ordinary shares have been granted and outstanding under the 2016 ESOP Plan and no share option has been granted under the 2017 ESOP Plan. We will incur future share-based compensation expenses when the options are accounted for as a cumulative compensation cost since the service inception date, with the remaining unrecognized compensation cost amortized over the remaining requisite service period.

 

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As of March 31, 2018, the unrecognized compensation expenses related to the non-vested share options amounted to US$2.2 million, which will be recognized over the remaining requisite period. 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.

If we fail to implement and maintain an effective system of internal controls, we may be unable to accurately or timely report our results of operations or prevent fraud.

Prior to our initial public offering, we were a private company with limited accounting personnel and other resources with which to address our internal controls and procedures. Our independent registered public accounting firm has not conducted an audit of our internal control over financial reporting. In connection with the audit of our consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2014, 2015 and 2016 and as of December 31, 2015 and 2016, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified one material weakness as of December 31, 2016, in accordance with the standards established by PCAOB. In connection with the audit of our consolidated financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2017 and as of December 31, 2017, we and our independent registered public accounting firm identified two significant deficiencies as of December 31, 2017, in accordance with the standards established by PCAOB. See “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Internal Control over Financial Reporting.” We have subsequently adopted measures to improve our internal control over financial reporting. We cannot assure you, however, that these measures may fully address these deficiencies in our internal control over financial reporting or that we may conclude that they have been fully remedied. Our failure to correct these control deficiencies or our failure to discover and address any other control deficiencies could result in inaccuracies in our financial statements and could also impair our ability to comply with applicable financial reporting requirements and related regulatory filings on a timely basis. As a result, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects, as well as the trading price of our ADSs, may be materially and adversely affected. Moreover, ineffective internal control over financial reporting significantly hinders our ability to prevent fraud.

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

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

Inspections of other firms that PCAOB has conducted outside China have identified deficiencies in those firms’ audit procedures and quality control procedures, which may be addressed as part of the inspection process to improve future audit quality. This lack of full PCAOB inspections in China prevents PCAOB from regularly evaluating our auditor’s audits and its quality control procedures. As a result, investors may be deprived of the benefits of PCAOB inspections.

The inability of PCAOB to conduct full inspections of auditors in China makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our auditor’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to PCAOB inspections. Investors may lose confidence in our reported financial information and procedures and the quality of our financial statements.

 

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

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

In late 2012, this impasse led the SEC to commence administrative proceedings under Rule 102(e) of its Rules of Practice and also under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 against the “big four” accounting firms (including our independent registered public accounting firm). A first instance trial of these proceedings in July 2013 in the SEC’s internal administrative court resulted in an adverse judgment against the firms. The administrative law judge proposed penalties on the firms, including a temporary suspension of their right to practice before the SEC. Implementation of the latter penalty was postponed pending review by the SEC Commissioners. On February 6, 2015, each of the four China-based accounting firms agreed to a censure and to pay a fine to the SEC to settle the dispute and avoid suspension of their ability to practice before the SEC. The firms’ ability to continue to serve all their respective clients is not affected by the settlement. The settlement requires the firms to follow detailed procedures to seek to provide the SEC with access to Chinese firms’ audit documents via the China Securities Regulatory Commission. If the firms do not follow these procedures, the SEC could impose penalties such as suspensions, or it could restart the administrative proceedings. The settlement did not require the firms to admit to any violation of law and preserves the firms’ legal defenses in the event the administrative proceeding is restarted.

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

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

Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure

The PRC government may find that the contractual arrangements that establish our corporate structure for operating our business do not comply with applicable PRC laws and regulations.

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. To comply with PRC laws and regulations, we operate our business through our PRC consolidated affiliates, including Beijing Step Ahead Education Technology Development Co., Ltd., or Beijing Step Ahead or VIE, and its subsidiaries and schools that operate self-owned learning centers. Beijing Step Ahead is 80% owned by

 

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Mr. Peng Zhang and 20% owned by Mr. Yiding Sun. Both shareholders of Beijing Step Ahead are PRC citizens. We entered into a series of contractual arrangements with Beijing Step Ahead and its schools and shareholders, which enable us to:

 

    exercise effective control over our consolidated affiliates;

 

    receive substantially all of the economic benefits from our consolidated affiliates; and

 

    have a call option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in Beijing Step Ahead when and to the extent permitted by the relevant laws.

Because of these contractual arrangements, we are the primary beneficiary of Beijing Step Ahead and its subsidiaries and schools and treat them as our PRC consolidated affiliates under U.S. GAAP. We consolidate the financial results of Beijing Step Ahead and its subsidiaries and schools in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. For a detailed discussion of these contractual arrangements, see “Corporate History and Structure.”

There are, however, substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current or future PRC laws and regulations concerning foreign investment in the PRC, and their application to and effect on the legality, binding effect and enforceability of the contractual arrangements. In particular, we cannot rule out the possibility that PRC regulatory authorities, courts or arbitral tribunals may in the future adopt a different or contrary interpretation or take a view that is inconsistent with the opinion of our PRC legal counsel.

It is uncertain whether any new PRC laws, rules or regulations relating to VIE structures will be adopted or if adopted, what affect they may have on our corporate structure. In particular, in January 2015, the Ministry of Commerce, or MOFCOM, published a discussion draft of the proposed Foreign Investment Law, or the Draft Foreign Investment Law, for public review and comments. Among other things, the Draft Foreign Investment Law expands the definition of foreign investment and introduces the principle of “actual control” in determining whether a company is considered a foreign-invested enterprise, or an FIE. Under the Draft Foreign Investment Law, variable interest entities would be deemed as FIEs, if they are ultimately “controlled” by foreign investors, and would thus be subject to restrictions on foreign investments. We are controlled by a legal entity incorporated outside of PRC, and therefore, it increases the likelihood that our company may be deemed as controlled by foreigners. However, the draft law has not taken a position on what actions will be taken with respect to existing companies with a “variable interest entity” structure, whether or not these companies are controlled by Chinese parties. It is uncertain when the draft would be signed into law and whether the final version would have any substantial changes from the draft. See “Regulation—The Draft Foreign Investment Law” and “—We face uncertainties with respect to the interpretation and implementation of The Draft Foreign Investment Law, which proposes significant changes to the PRC foreign investment legal regime and has a material impact on businesses in China controlled by foreign invested enterprises primarily through contractual arrangements, such as our business.”

If, as a result of such contractual arrangement, we or Beijing Step Ahead and its subsidiaries and schools are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or such contractual arrangement is determined as illegal and invalid by the PRC court, arbitral tribunal or regulatory authorities, or we fail to obtain, maintain or renew any of the required permits or approvals, the relevant PRC regulatory authorities would have broad discretion to take action in dealing with such violations or failures, including:

 

    revoking the business licenses and/or operating licenses of Rise Tianjin Education Information Consulting Co., Ltd., or Rise Tianjin, and/or Beijing Step Ahead and its subsidiaries and schools;

 

    discontinuing or restricting the conduct of any transactions between Rise Tianjin and Beijing Step Ahead and its subsidiaries and schools;

 

    limiting our business expansion in China by way of entering into contractual arrangements;

 

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    imposing fines and penalties, confiscating the income from Beijing Step Ahead and its subsidiaries and schools, or imposing other requirements with which we or Beijing Step Ahead and its subsidiaries and schools may not be able to comply with;

 

    shutting down our servers or blocking our websites;

 

    requiring us to restructure our ownership structure or operations, including terminating the contractual arrangements with Beijing Step Ahead and its subsidiaries and schools and deregistering the equity pledges of Beijing Step Ahead;

 

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

 

    restricting the use of financing sources by us or our consolidated affiliates or otherwise restricting our or their ability to conduct business;

 

    imposing additional conditions or requirements with which we may not be able to comply with; or

 

    take other regulatory or enforcement actions against us that could be harmful to our business.

The imposition of any of these penalties could result in a material and adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business and on our results of operations. If any of these penalties results in our inability to direct the activities of our consolidated affiliates that most significantly impact their economic performance, and/or our failure to receive the economic benefits from our consolidated affiliates, we may not be able to consolidate them in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

We face uncertainties with respect to the interpretation and implementation of The Draft Foreign Investment Law, which proposes significant changes to the PRC foreign investment legal regime and has a material impact on businesses in China controlled by foreign invested enterprises primarily through contractual arrangements, such as our business.

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

The specifics of the application of the Draft Foreign Investment Law to variable interest entity structures have yet to be proposed, but it is anticipated that the Draft Foreign Investment Law will regulate variable interest entities.

MOFCOM suggests both registration and approval as potential options for the regulation of variable interest entity structures, depending on whether they are “Chinese” or “foreign-controlled.” One of the core concepts of the Draft Foreign Investment Law is “de facto control,” which emphasizes substance over form in determining whether an entity is “Chinese” or “foreign-controlled.” This determination requires considering the nature of the

 

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investors that exercise control over the entity. “Chinese investors” are natural persons who are Chinese nationals, Chinese government agencies and any domestic enterprise controlled by Chinese nationals or government agencies. “Foreign investors” are foreign citizens, foreign governments, international organizations and entities controlled by foreign citizens and entities. In its current form, the Draft Foreign Investment Law will make it difficult for foreign financial investors, including private equity and venture capital firms, to obtain a controlling interest of a Chinese enterprise in a foreign restricted industry.

We rely on contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliates and the shareholders of Beijing Step Ahead for our operations in China, which may not be as effective in providing control as direct ownership.

We have relied and expect to continue to rely on the contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliates and the shareholders of Beijing Step Ahead to operate our junior ELT business. For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Corporate History and Structure—Corporate Structure.” In 2015, 2016 and 2017, the revenue contribution of our consolidated affiliates accounted for 95%, 95% and 94%, respectively, of our total revenues. However, these contractual arrangements may not be as effective as direct equity ownership in providing us with control over our consolidated affiliates. Any failure by our consolidated affiliates or the shareholders of Beijing Step Ahead to perform their obligations under the contractual arrangements would have a material adverse effect on the financial position and performance of our company. For example, the contractual arrangements are governed by PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes through arbitration in China. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC law and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with arbitral procedures as contractually stipulated. The commercial arbitration system in China is not as developed as some other jurisdictions, such as the United States.

As a result, uncertainties in the commercial arbitration system or legal system in China could limit our ability to enforce these contractual arrangements. In addition, if the legal structure and the contractual arrangements were found to violate any existing or future PRC laws and regulations, we may be subject to fines or other legal or administrative sanctions.

If the imposition of government actions causes us to lose our right to direct the activities of our consolidated affiliates or our right to receive substantially all the economic benefits from our consolidated affiliates and we are not able to restructure our ownership structure and operations in a satisfactory manner, we would no longer be able to consolidate the financial results of our consolidated affiliates.

Our consolidated affiliates and their shareholders may fail to perform their obligations under the contractual arrangements.

Our consolidated affiliates and their shareholders may fail to take certain actions required for our business or to follow our instructions despite their contractual obligations to do so. If they fail to perform their obligations under their respective agreements with us, we may have to rely on legal remedies under PRC law, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief, which may not be effective.

The shareholders of Beijing Step Ahead may have actual or potential conflict of interest with us and not act in the best interests of our company.

The shareholders of Beijing Step Ahead, namely, Mr. Peng Zhang and Mr. Yiding Sun, may have actual or potential conflicts of interest with us. These shareholders may refuse to sign or breach, or cause our consolidated affiliates to breach, or refuse to renew, the existing contractual arrangements we have with them and our consolidated affiliates, which would have a material and adverse effect on our ability to effectively control our consolidated affiliates and receive economic benefits from it. For example, the shareholders may be able to cause our agreements with our consolidated affiliates to be performed in a manner adverse to us by, among other things, failing to remit payments due under the contractual arrangements to us on a timely basis. We cannot

 

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assure you that when conflicts of interest arise any or all of these shareholders will act in the best interests of our company or such conflicts will be resolved in our favor. Currently, we do not have any arrangements to address potential conflicts of interest between these shareholders and our company. If we cannot resolve any conflict of interest or dispute between us and these shareholders, 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.

We rely on dividends, fees and other distributions paid by our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make payments to us could hinder our ability to conduct our business.

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

Contractual arrangements between our consolidated affiliates and us may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities who may find that we or our consolidated affiliates owe additional taxes.

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

Our consolidated affiliates may become the subject of a bankruptcy or liquidation proceeding.

We currently conduct our operations in China through contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliates and the shareholders of Beijing Step Ahead. As part of these arrangements, substantially all of our

 

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education-related assets that are critical to the operation of our business are held by our consolidated affiliates. 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 consolidated affiliates undergoes a voluntary or involuntary liquidation proceeding, its equity owner or unrelated third-party creditors may claim rights relating to some or all of these assets, which would hinder our ability to operate our business and could materially and adversely affect our business, our ability to generate revenue and the market price of our ADSs.

The custodians or authorized users of our controlling non-tangible assets, including chops and seals, may fail to fulfill their responsibilities, or misappropriate or misuse these assets.

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

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

PRC regulation of loans to and direct investment in PRC entities by offshore holding companies and governmental control of currency conversion may delay or prevent us from using the proceeds of this offering to make loans or additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated affiliates, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

Any funds we transfer to our PRC subsidiaries and consolidated affiliates, either as a shareholder loan or as an increase in registered capital, are subject to approval by or registration with relevant governmental authorities in China. According to the relevant PRC regulations on foreign-invested enterprises, or FIEs, the combined amount of offshore capital contributions and loans cannot exceed the FIE’s approved total investment amount. Any capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries must be filed with MOFCOM or its local counterparts, and registered with a local bank authorized by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE. In addition, (a) any loan provided by us to Rise Tianjin, our WFOE, which is a FIE, cannot exceed the difference between its total investment amount and registered capital, and must be registered with SAFE or its local counterparts, and (b) any loan provided by us to our VIE, its subsidiaries and schools, which are domestic PRC entities, over a certain threshold, must be approved by the relevant government authorities and must be registered with SAFE or its local counterparts. Given that the registered capital and total investment amount of Rise Tianjin are currently the same, if we seek to make a capital contribution to Rise Tianjin we must first apply to increase both its registered capital and total investment amount, while if we seek to provide a loan to Rise Tianjin, we must first increase its total investment amount. We may not be able to obtain the required government approvals or complete the required registrations on a timely basis, if we seek to do so in the future. If we fail to receive such approvals or complete such registrations, our ability to use the proceeds of this offering and to capitalize our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business.

On March 30, 2015, SAFE promulgated the Circular on Reforming the Management Approach Regarding the Foreign Exchange Capital Settlement of Foreign-Invested Enterprises, or SAFE Circular 19. SAFE Circular

 

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19 launched a nationwide reform of the administration of the settlement of the foreign exchange capitals of FIEs and allows FIEs to settle their foreign exchange capital at their discretion, but continues to prohibit FIEs from using the Renminbi fund converted from their foreign exchange capitals for expenditure beyond their business scopes, providing entrusted loans or repaying loans between non-financial enterprises. Violations of these Circulars could result in severe monetary or other penalties. SAFE Circular 19 and relevant foreign exchange regulatory rules may significantly limit our ability to use Renminbi converted from the net proceeds of this offering to fund the establishment of new entities in China by our consolidated affiliates, to invest in or acquire any other PRC companies through our PRC subsidiaries or consolidated affiliates or to establish new consolidated affiliates in the PRC, which may adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

PRC economic, political and social conditions, as well as changes in any government policies, laws and regulations, could adversely affect the overall economy in China or the education services market.

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

The PRC economy differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects. Although the PRC economy has been transitioning from a planned economy to a more market-oriented economy since the late 1970s, the PRC government continues to play a significant role in regulating the industry. The PRC government continues to exercise significant control over China’s economic growth through allocating resources, controlling the incurrence and payment of foreign currency-denominated obligations, setting monetary policy and providing preferential treatment to particular industries or companies. Uncertainties or changes in any of these policies, laws and regulations, especially those affecting the private education industry in China, could adversely affect the economy in China or the market for education services, which could harm our business. For example, under the previous Law on the Promotion of Private Education and its implementing rules, a private school should elect to be either a school that does not require “reasonable returns” or a school that requires “reasonable returns.” A private school must consider factors such as the school’s tuition, ratio of the funds used for education-related activities to the course fees collected, admission standards and educational quality when determining the percentage of the school’s net income that would be distributed to the investors as reasonable returns. However, the previous PRC laws and regulations provide no clear guideline for determining “reasonable returns”. In addition, the previous PRC laws and regulations do not set forth any different requirements for the management and operations of private schools that elect to require reasonable returns as compared to those that do not. On September 1, 2017, the Amended Law on the Promotion of Private Education came into effect, under which the concept “reasonable returns” is no longer applicable and a private school should elect to be either a for-profit school or a non-profit school. A for-profit school will be registered as a corporation and can distribute its profits to its sponsors pursuant to relevant corporate laws, while a non-profit school can only use its profits for the operation of schools. As of the date of this prospectus, certain local governments have promulgated local regulations relating to legal person registration and administration for private schools, such as in Shanghai, Jiangsu province, Hebei province and Shaanxi province. In particular, certain local governments, such as the Shanghai government, require existing private schools to make the decision for their choice in registering as for-profit or non-for-profit schools within a specific time period. However, no national level regulation has been promulgated and some local governments such as Beijing government have not introduced any implementation rules.

While the PRC economy has experienced significant growth in the past two to three decades, growth has been uneven, both geographically and among various sectors of the economy. Demand for our education services depends, in large part, on economic conditions in China and especially the regions where we operate, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou. Any significant slowdown in China’s economic growth may

 

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adversely affect the disposable income of the families of prospective students and cause prospective students to delay or cancel their plans to enroll in our learning centers, which in turn could reduce our revenues. In addition, any sudden changes to China’s political system or the occurrence of social unrest could also have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.

We may be subject to significant limitations on our ability to operate learning centers, or otherwise be materially and adversely affected by changes in PRC laws and regulations governing private education providers. PRC rules and regulations issued by government authorities may restrict or prohibit after-school tutoring services; and similar or more stringent rules or regulations that limit our ability to offer our services may be introduced in the future.

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

Foreign ownership in education services is subject to significant regulations in China. The PRC government regulates the provision of education services through strict licensing requirements. We are a company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. Our PRC subsidiary, Rise Tianjin, is a foreign-owned enterprise and is currently ineligible to apply for and hold licenses and permits to operate, or otherwise own sponsorship interests in, our schools. Due to these restrictions, we conduct our junior ELT business in China primarily through contractual arrangements among (1) Rise HK, (2) Rise Tianjin, (3) our consolidated affiliates, including Beijing Step Ahead, its subsidiaries and schools operating self-owned learning centers, and (4) the shareholders of Beijing Step Ahead, namely, Mr. Peng Zhang and Mr. Yiding Sun. We hold the required licenses and permits necessary to conduct our junior ELT business in China through the schools controlled by Beijing Step Ahead. We have been and expect to continue to be dependent on our consolidated affiliates to operate our junior ELT business. See “Corporate History and Structure—Corporate Structure” for more information.

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

We face uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system.

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

 

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

Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, or the EIT Law, we may be classified as a PRC “resident enterprise,” which could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders.

The PRC enterprise income tax law and its implementing rules provide that enterprises established outside of China whose “de facto management bodies” are located in China are considered “resident enterprises” under PRC tax laws. The implementing rules define the term “de facto management bodies” as a management body which substantially manages, or has control over the business, personnel, finance and assets of an enterprise. On April 22, 2009, the State Administration of Taxation issued Circular 82, which provides that a foreign enterprise controlled by a PRC company or a group of PRC companies will be classified as a “resident enterprise” with its “de facto management body” located within China if all of the following requirements are satisfied: (1) the senior management and core management departments in charge of its daily operations function are mainly in China; (2) its financial and human resources decisions are subject to determination or approval by persons or bodies in China; (3) its major assets, accounting books, company seals, and minutes and files of its board and shareholders’ meetings are located or kept in China; and (4) at least half of the enterprise’s directors with voting right or senior management reside in China. The State Administration of Taxation issued a bulletin on August 3, 2011 to provide more guidance on the implementation of Circular 82. The bulletin clarifies certain matters relating to resident status determination, post-determination administration and competent tax authorities.

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

As the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to the determination by the PRC tax authorities, if we are deemed a PRC “resident enterprise,” we will be subject to PRC enterprise income tax on our worldwide income at a uniform tax rate of 25.0%, although dividends distributed to us from our existing PRC subsidiaries and any other PRC subsidiaries which we may establish from time to time could be exempt from the PRC dividend withholding tax due to our PRC “resident recipient” status. This could have a material adverse effect on our overall effective tax rate, our income tax expenses and our net income. Furthermore, dividends, if any, paid to our shareholders and ADS holders may be decreased as a result of the decrease in distributable profits. In addition, if we were to be considered a PRC “resident enterprise,” dividends we pay with respect to our ADSs or ordinary shares and the gains realized from the transfer of our ADSs or ordinary shares may be considered income derived from sources within China and be subject to PRC withholding tax, at a rate of 10.0% in the case of non-PRC enterprises or 20.0% in the case of non-PRC individuals, which could have a material adverse effect on the value of your investment in us and the price of our ADSs.

 

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

Under the PRC enterprise income tax and its implementation rules, the profits of a foreign-invested enterprise generated through operations, which are distributed to its immediate holding company outside China, will be subject to a withholding tax rate of 10.0%. Pursuant to a special arrangement between Hong Kong and China, such rate may be reduced to 5.0% if a Hong Kong resident enterprise owns more than 25.0% of the equity interest in the PRC company. Our current PRC subsidiaries are wholly owned by our Hong Kong subsidiary, Rise HK. Accordingly, Rise HK may qualify for a 5.0% tax rate in respect of distributions from its PRC subsidiaries. Under the Notice of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues regarding the Administration of the Dividend Provision in Tax Treaties promulgated on February 20, 2009, the taxpayer needs to satisfy certain conditions to enjoy the benefits under a tax treaty. These conditions include: (1) the taxpayer must be the beneficial owner of the relevant dividends, and (2) the corporate shareholder to receive dividends from the PRC subsidiaries must have continuously met the direct ownership thresholds during the 12 consecutive months preceding the receipt of the dividends. Further, the State Administration of Taxation promulgated the Notice on How to Understand and Recognize the “Beneficial Owner” in Tax Treaties on October 27, 2009, which limits the “beneficial owner” to individuals, enterprises or other organizations normally engaged in substantive operations, and sets forth certain detailed factors in determining the “beneficial owner” status.

Entitlement to a lower tax rate on dividends according to tax treaties or arrangements between the PRC central government and governments of other countries or regions is subject to SAT Circular 60 which provides that non-resident enterprises are not required to obtain pre-approval from the relevant tax authority in order to enjoy the reduced withholding tax. Instead, non-resident enterprises and their withholding agents may, by self- assessment and on confirmation that the prescribed criteria to enjoy the tax treaty benefits are met, directly apply the reduced withholding tax rate, and file necessary forms and supporting documents when performing tax filings, which will be subject to post-tax filing examinations by the relevant tax authorities. As a result, we cannot assure you that we will be entitled to any preferential withholding tax rate under tax treaties for dividends received from our PRC subsidiaries.

We may be subject to discontinuation or revocation of any of the preferential tax treatments and government subsidies or imposition of any additional taxes and surcharges.

Rise Tianjin, or the WFOE, was granted certain governmental subsidies in 2016 and these governmental subsidies remain effective as of the date of this prospectus. Pursuant to the letter agreement that we entered into with the local government in Tianjin, the local government agreed to provide us subsidies based on the value- added tax, business tax and enterprise income tax until 2020. Nevertheless, the government agencies may decide to reduce, eliminate or cancel subsidies at any time. We cannot assure you of the continued availability of the government incentives and subsidies currently enjoyed by the WFOE. The discontinuation of these governmental incentives and subsidies could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. We face uncertainties with respect to indirect transfers of the equity interests in PRC resident enterprises by their non-PRC holding companies.

The State Administration of Taxation issued Bulletin on Several Issues concerning the Enterprise Income Tax on the Indirect Transfers of Properties by Non-Resident Enterprises, or Bulletin 7, on February 3, 2015. Under Bulletin 7, an “indirect transfer” of assets, including equity interests in a PRC resident enterprise, by non-PRC resident enterprises may be re-characterized and treated as a direct transfer of PRC taxable assets, if such arrangement does not have a reasonable commercial purpose and was established for the purpose of avoiding payment of PRC enterprise income tax. As a result, gains derived from such indirect transfer may be subject to PRC enterprise income tax. According to Bulletin 7, “PRC taxable assets” include assets attributed to an establishment in China, immoveable properties in China, and equity investments in PRC resident enterprises. In respect of an indirect offshore transfer of assets of a PRC establishment, the relevant gain is to be regarded as

 

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effectively connected with the PRC establishment and therefore included in its enterprise income tax filing, and would consequently be subject to PRC enterprise income tax at a rate of 25.0%. Where the underlying transfer relates to the immoveable properties in China or to equity investments in a PRC resident enterprise, which is not effectively connected to a PRC establishment of a non-resident enterprise, a PRC enterprise income tax at 10.0% would apply, subject to available preferential tax treatment under applicable tax treaties or similar arrangements, and the party who is obligated to make the transfer payments has the withholding obligation. There is uncertainty as to the implementation details of Bulletin 7. If Bulletin 7 was determined by the tax authorities to be applicable to some of our transactions involving PRC taxable assets, our offshore subsidiaries conducting the relevant transactions might be required to spend valuable resources to comply with Bulletin 7 or to establish that the relevant transactions should not be taxed under Bulletin 7.

On October 17, 2017, the SAT issued the Bulletin on Issues Relating to Withholding at Source of Income Tax of Non-resident Enterprises, or Bulletin 37. Bulletin 37, which took effect on December 1, 2017 and partially amended some provisions in Bulletin 7. Bulletin 37 purports to clarify certain issues in the implementation of the above regime, by providing, among others, the definition of equity transfer income and tax basis, the withholding obligator, the competent tax authority, the foreign exchange rate to be used in the calculation of withholding amount, and the date of occurrence of the withholding obligation.

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

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

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

Our PRC subsidiaries are permitted to declare dividends to our offshore subsidiary holding their equity interest, convert the dividends into a foreign currency and remit to its shareholder outside China. In addition, in the event that our PRC subsidiaries liquidate, proceeds from the liquidation may be converted into foreign currency and distributed outside China to our overseas subsidiary holding its equity interest. Furthermore, in the event that Beijing Step Ahead or any of its subsidiaries liquidates, our PRC subsidiary, Rise Tianjin, may, pursuant to the Proxy Agreement executed by Mr. Peng Zhang and Mr. Yiding Sun, require Beijing Step Ahead or any of its subsidiaries to pay and remit the proceeds from such liquidation to Rise Tianjin. Rise Tianjin then may distribute such proceeds to us after converting them into foreign currency and remit them outside China in the form of dividends or other distributions. Once remitted outside China, dividends, distributions or other proceeds from liquidation paid to us will not be subject to restrictions under PRC regulations on its further transfer or use.

Other than the above distributions by and through our PRC subsidiaries which are permitted to be made without the necessity to obtain further approvals, any conversion of the Renminbi-denominated revenue generated by our consolidated affiliates for direct investment, loan or investment in securities outside China will

 

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be subject to the limitations discussed above. To the extent we need to convert and use any Renminbi-denominated revenue generated by our consolidated affiliates not paid to our PRC subsidiaries and revenues generated by our PRC subsidiaries not declared and paid as dividends, the limitations discussed above will restrict the convertibility of, and our ability to directly receive and use such revenue. As a result, our business and financial condition may be adversely affected. In addition, we cannot assure you that the PRC regulatory authorities will not impose more stringent restrictions on the convertibility of Renminbi in the future, especially with respect to foreign exchange transactions.

We face fluctuations in the value of the Renminbi.

The change in value of the Renminbi against the U.S. Dollar and other currencies is affected by, various factors, such as changes in China’s political and economic conditions. On July 21, 2005, the PRC government changed its decade-old policy of pegging the value of the Renminbi to the U.S. Dollar. Under such policy, the Renminbi was permitted to fluctuate within a narrow and managed band against a basket of certain foreign currencies. Later on, the People’s Bank of China has decided to further implement the reform of the Renminbi exchange regime and to enhance the flexibility of Renminbi exchange rates. Such changes in policy have resulted in a significant appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. Dollar since 2005. There remains significant international pressure on the PRC government to adopt a more flexible currency policy, which could result in a further and more significant adjustment of the Renminbi against the U.S. Dollar. Any significant appreciation or revaluation of the Renminbi may have a material adverse effect on the value of, and any dividends payable on, our ADSs in foreign currency terms. More specifically, if we decide to convert our Renminbi into U.S. Dollars, appreciation of the U.S. Dollar against the Renminbi would have a negative effect on the U.S. Dollar amount available to us. To the extent that we need to convert U.S. Dollars we receive from our initial public offering into Renminbi for our operations, appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. Dollar would have an adverse effect on the Renminbi amount we would receive from the conversion. In addition, appreciation or depreciation in the exchange rate of the Renminbi to the U.S. Dollar could materially and adversely affect the price of our ADSs in U.S. Dollars without giving effect to any underlying change in our business or results of operations.

We may be required to obtain prior approval of CSRC of the listing and trading of our ADSs on Nasdaq.

On August 8, 2006, six PRC regulatory authorities, including MOFCOM, the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the State Administration of Taxation, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, CSRC and SAFE, jointly issued the Regulations on Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Investors, or the M&A Rules. This regulation, among other things, requires that the listing and trading on an overseas stock exchange of securities in an offshore special purpose vehicle formed for purposes of holding direct or indirect equity interests in PRC companies and controlled directly or indirectly by PRC companies or individuals be approved by CSRC.

While the implementation and interpretation of the M&A Rules remains unclear, we believe, based on the advice of our PRC counsel, that approval by CSRC is not required for this offering. However, we cannot assure you that the relevant PRC regulatory authorities, including CSRC, would reach the same conclusion as our PRC counsel. If CSRC or other PRC regulatory authority subsequently determines that we need to obtain CSRC’s approval for this offering, we may face sanctions by CSRC or other PRC regulatory authorities. In such event, these regulatory authorities may, among other things, impose fines and penalties on or otherwise restrict our operations in China or delay or restrict any remittance of the proceeds from this offering into China. CSRC or other PRC regulatory agencies may also take actions requiring us, or making it advisable for us, to suspend or terminate this offering before settlement and delivery of the ADSs. Any such or other actions taken could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations, reputation and prospects, as well as the trading price of our ADSs.

 

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

The M&A Rules established additional procedures and requirements that could make merger and acquisition activities in China by foreign investors more time-consuming and complex. For example, MOFCOM must be notified in the event a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise. Although the amendment to the M&A Rules in 2016 generally eased the restrictions imposed on merger and acquisition activities, certain acquisitions of domestic companies by offshore companies that are related to or affiliated with the same entities or individuals of the domestic companies, are still subject to approval by MOFCOM.

The Anti-Monopoly Law promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, or NPC, on August 30, 2007 (effective on August 1, 2008) requires certain concentrated transactions or transactions involving parties above specified turnover thresholds to be reported to MOFCOM. On February 3, 2011, the General Office of the State Council promulgated a Notice on Establishing the Security Review System for Mergers and Acquisitions of Domestic Enterprises by Foreign Lenders, which officially established a security review system to monitor such transactions. In addition, the Implementing Rules Concerning Security Review on Mergers and Acquisitions by Foreign Investors of Domestic Enterprises, issued by MOFCOM in August 2011, require that mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors in “any industry with national security concerns” be subject to national security review by MOFCOM. In addition, any activities attempting to circumvent such review process, including structuring the transaction through a proxy or contractual control arrangement, are strictly prohibited.

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

PRC regulations relating to foreign exchange registration of overseas investment by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident beneficial owners or our PRC subsidiary to liability or penalties, limit our ability to inject capital into these subsidiaries, limit PRC subsidiary’s ability to increase their registered capital or distribute profits to us, or may otherwise adversely affect us.

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

 

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

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

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

When we grant share options to our employees under our 2016 ESOP Plan or 2017 ESOP Plan, from time to time, we need to apply for or update our registration with SAFE or its local branches on behalf of our employees or consultants who receive options or other equity-based incentive grants under our share incentive plan or material changes in our share incentive plan. However, we may not always be able to make applications or update our registration on behalf of our employees or consultants who hold any type of share incentive awards in compliance with Circular 7, nor can we ensure you that such applications or update of registration will be successful. If we or the participants of our share incentive plan who are PRC citizens fail to comply with Circular 7, we and/or such participants of our share incentive plan may be subject to fines and legal sanctions, there may be additional restrictions on the ability of such participants to exercise their share options or remit proceeds gained from sale of their shares into China, and we may be prevented from further granting share incentive awards under our share incentive plan to our employees or consultants who are PRC citizens.

Labor contract laws and Social Insurance Law in China may adversely affect our results of operations.

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

 

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Failure to make adequate contributions to various employee benefit plans as required by PRC regulations may subject us to penalties.

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

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

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

Risks Related to Our ADSs and this Offering

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

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

The JOBS Act also provides that an emerging growth company does not need to comply with any new or revised financial accounting standards until such date that a private company is otherwise required to comply with such new or revised accounting standards. However, we have elected to “opt out” of this provision and, as a result, we will comply with new or revised accounting standards as required when they are adopted for public companies. This decision to opt out of the extended transition period under the JOBS Act is irrevocable.

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

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

 

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these Chinese companies’ securities after their offerings may affect the perception and attitudes of investors toward Chinese companies listed in the United States in general and consequently may impact the trading performance of our ADSs, regardless of our actual operating performance.

The closing trading price for our ADSs ranged from US$16.61 to US$15.02 during the period from October 20, 2017 to June 6, 2018. In addition to market and industry factors, the price and trading volume for our ADSs may be highly volatile due to a number of factors, including the following:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

    fluctuations in global and Chinese economies;

 

    changes in financial estimates by securities analysts;

 

    adverse publicity about us;

 

    additions or departures of our key personnel and senior management;

 

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

 

    potential litigation or regulatory investigations.

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

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

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

Sales of substantial amounts of our ADSs in the public market, or the perception that these sales could occur, could adversely affect the market price of our ADSs. The ADSs sold in our initial public offering and this offering are and will be freely tradable without restriction or further registration under the Securities Act. The remaining ordinary shares outstanding immediately after our initial public offering and this offering are also available for sale, upon the expiration of the 90-day lock-up periods, subject to volume and other restrictions as applicable under Rules 144 and 701 under the Securities Act. In addition, the sole underwriter may exercise the discretion to release the securities held by the parties subject to the lock-up restriction prior to the expiration of the lock-up period. If the securities subject to lock-up are released before the expiration of the lock-up period, their sale or perceived sale into the market may cause the price of our ADSs to decline. See “Underwriting” and “Shares Eligible for Future Sale” for a more detailed description of the restrictions on selling our securities after this offering.

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

We will be a “passive foreign investment company,” or PFIC, if, in the case of any particular taxable year, either (1) 75.0% or more of our gross income for such year consists of certain types of passive income, or (2) 50.0% or more of the average quarterly value of our assets during such year produce or are held for the production of passive income. Although the law in this regard is unclear, we treat our consolidated affiliates as being owned by us for United States federal income tax purposes, because we exercise effective control over the operation of such entities and we are entitled to substantially all of their economic benefits, and, as a result, we consolidate their results of operation in our financial statements. Assuming that we are the owner of our consolidated affiliates for United States federal income tax purposes, and based upon our current income and assets and the current market value of our ADSs, we do not expect to be a PFIC for the current taxable year or the foreseeable future. If it were determined, however, that we are not the owner of any of our consolidated affiliated entities for United States federal income tax purposes, the composition of our income and assets would change and we may be a PFIC for the current or any subsequent taxable year.

While we do not expect to be a PFIC in the current or future taxable years, the determination of whether we are or will become a PFIC will depend upon the composition of our income (which may differ from our historical results and current projections) and assets and the value of our assets from time to time, including, in particular, the value of our unbooked goodwill (which may depend upon the market value of our ADSs from time-to-time and may be volatile). In estimating the value of our unbooked goodwill, we have taken into account our current market capitalization. Among other matters, if our market capitalization declines, we may be a PFIC for the current or future taxable years. It is also possible that the Internal Revenue Service may challenge our classification or valuation of our unbooked goodwill, which may result in our company being, or becoming, a PFIC for the current taxable year or future taxable years.

 

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Because there are uncertainties in the application of the relevant rules and PFIC status is a factual determination made annually after the close of each taxable year, we cannot assure you that we will not be a PFIC for the current taxable year or any future taxable year. If we are a PFIC in any taxable year, a United States Holder (as defined in “Taxation—United States Federal Income Tax Considerations”) may incur significantly increased United States federal income tax on gain recognized on the sale or other disposition of the ADSs or ordinary shares and on the receipt of distributions on the ADSs or ordinary shares to the extent such gain or distribution is treated as an ‘‘excess distribution’’ under the United States federal income tax rules, and such holders may be subject to burdensome reporting requirements. Further, if we are a PFIC for any year during which a United States Holder holds our ADSs or ordinary shares, we generally will continue to be treated as a PFIC for all succeeding years during which such U.S. Holder holds our ADSs or ordinary shares. For more information, see “Taxation—United States Federal Income Tax Considerations—Passive Foreign Investment Company Rules.”

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

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

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

We are an exempted company incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, the Cayman Islands Company Law (2018 Revision as amended) and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as from the common law of England, the decisions of whose courts are of persuasive authority, but are not binding, on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary responsibilities of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws than the United States. Some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action in a federal court of the United States. The Cayman Islands courts are also unlikely (1) to recognize or enforce against us judgments of courts of the United States based on certain civil liability provisions of U.S. securities laws, or (2) to impose liabilities against us, in original actions brought in the Cayman Islands, based on certain civil liability provisions of U.S. securities laws that are penal in nature. There is no statutory recognition in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the United States, although the courts of the Cayman Islands will in certain circumstances recognize and enforce a non-penal judgment of a foreign court of competent jurisdiction without retrial on the merits.

 

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As a result of all of the above, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or large shareholders than they would as public shareholders of a company incorporated in the United States. For a discussion of significant differences between the provisions of the Cayman Islands Company Law (2018 Revision as amended) and the laws applicable to companies incorporated in the United States and their shareholders, see “Description of Share Capital—Differences in Corporate Law.”

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

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

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

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

 

    the rules under the Exchange Act requiring the filing of quarterly reports on Form 10-Q or current

 

    reports on Form 8-K with the SEC;

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

As a Cayman Islands company listed on the Nasdaq, we are subject to Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards. However, the Nasdaq rules permit a foreign private issuer like us to follow the corporate governance practices of its home country. Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, may differ significantly from Nasdaq corporate governance listing standards. Shareholders of Cayman

 

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Islands exempted companies like us have no general rights under Cayman Islands law to inspect corporate records or to obtain copies of lists of shareholders of these companies. Our directors have discretion under our articles of association to determine whether or not, and under what conditions, our corporate records may be inspected by our shareholders, but are not obliged to make them available to our shareholders. This may make it more difficult for you to obtain the information needed to establish any facts necessary for a shareholder motion or to solicit proxies from other shareholders in connection with a proxy contest. Certain corporate governance practices in the Cayman Islands, which is our home country, differ significantly from requirements for companies incorporated in other jurisdictions such as the United States. To the extent we choose to follow home country practice with respect to corporate governance matters, our shareholders may be afforded less protection than they otherwise would under rules and regulations applicable to U.S. domestic issuers.

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

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

The depositary for our ADSs will give us a discretionary proxy to vote our ordinary shares underlying your ADSs if you do not vote at shareholders’ meetings, except in limited circumstances, which could adversely affect your interests and the ability of our shareholders as a group to influence the management of our company.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Your ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. The depositary may close its books from time to time for a number of reasons, including in connection with corporate events such as a rights offering, during which time the depositary needs to maintain an exact number of ADS holders on its books for a specified period. The depositary may also close its books in emergencies, and on weekends and public holidays. The depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of our ADSs generally when our share register or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary thinks it is advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.

We will incur increased costs as a result of being a public company.

Upon completion of initial public offering, we have become a public company and expect to incur significant accounting, legal and other expenses that we did not incur as a private company. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act, as well as rules subsequently implemented by the SEC and the Nasdaq, have detailed requirements concerning corporate governance practices of public companies, including Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 relating to internal controls over financial reporting. We expect these rules and regulations applicable to public companies to increase our accounting, legal and financial compliance costs and to make certain corporate activities more time-consuming and costly. Our management will be required to devote

 

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substantial time and attention to our public company reporting obligations and other compliance matters. We are currently evaluating and monitoring developments with respect to these rules and regulations, and we cannot predict or estimate the amount of additional costs we may incur or the timing of such costs. Our reporting and other compliance obligations as a public company may place a strain on our management, operational and financial resources and systems for the foreseeable future.

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

 

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SPECIAL NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS AND INDUSTRY DATA

This prospectus contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. All statements other than statements of current or historical facts are forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, including those listed under “Risk Factors,” that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.

In some cases, 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 our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. These forward-looking statements include statements about:

 

    our goals and strategies;

 

    our ability to retain and increase our student enrollment;

 

    our ability to offer new courses and develop supplementary course materials;

 

    our ability to engage, train and retain new teachers;

 

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

 

    the expected growth in, market size of and trends in the markets for our course offerings in China;

 

    expected changes in our revenues, costs or expenditures;

 

    our expectations for demand for and market acceptance of our brand;

 

    our expectations for the use of proceeds from this offering;

 

    growth of and trends of competition in the junior ELT market in China;

 

    government policies and regulations relating to our corporate structure, business and industry; and

 

    general economic and business conditions in China.

You should read this prospectus and the documents that we refer to in this prospectus with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from and worse than what we expect. Other sections of this prospectus include additional factors which could adversely impact our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate 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 our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. 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 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 any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. 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.

This prospectus also contains statistical data and estimates that we obtained from industry publications and reports generated by government or third-party providers of market intelligence. Although we have not independently verified the data, we believe that the publications and reports are reliable. See “Risk Factors—

 

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Risks Related to Our ADSs and this Offering—If securities or industry analysts do not publish research or publish inaccurate or unfavorable research about our business, the market price for our ADSs and trading volume could decline.”

 

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USE OF PROCEEDS

The selling shareholders expect to receive net proceeds from this offering of approximately US$97.2 million, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by the selling shareholders. We will not receive any of the proceeds from the sale of ADSs by the selling shareholders.

 

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DIVIDEND POLICY

We do not have any present plan to pay any cash dividends on our ordinary 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.

In September 2017, we paid cash dividends totaling US$87.0 million to our shareholders. Our board of directors has discretion as to whether to distribute dividends, subject to certain requirements of Cayman Islands law. In addition, our shareholders may by ordinary resolution declare a dividend, but no dividend may exceed the amount recommended by our directors. Under Cayman Islands law, a Cayman Islands company may pay a dividend out of either profit or share premium account, provided that in no circumstances may a dividend be paid if this would result in the company being unable to pay its debts as they fall due in the ordinary course of business. Even if our board of directors decides to pay dividends, the form, frequency and amount will depend upon our future operations and earnings, capital requirements and surplus, general financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors that the board of directors may deem relevant. If we pay any dividends on our ordinary shares, we will pay those dividends which are payable in respect of the ordinary shares underlying our ADSs to the depositary, as the registered holder of such ordinary shares, and the depositary then will pay such amounts to the ADS holders who will receive payment to the same extent as holders of our ordinary shares, subject to the terms of the deposit agreement, including the fees and expenses payable thereunder. See “Description of American Depositary Shares.” Cash dividends on our ordinary shares, if any, will be paid in U.S. Dollars.

We are a holding company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. For our cash requirements, including any payment of dividends to our shareholders, we rely on dividends distributed by our subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Cayman Islands and the PRC. PRC regulations may restrict the ability of our PRC subsidiary to pay dividends to us. For example, dividend distributions from our PRC subsidiary to us are subject to PRC taxes, including withholding tax. In addition, regulations in the PRC currently permit payment of dividends of a PRC company only out of accumulated distributable after-tax profits as determined in accordance with its articles of association and the accounting standards and regulations in China. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to our Corporate Structure—We rely on dividends, fees and other distributions paid by our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make payments to us could hinder our ability to conduct our business.”

 

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MARKET PRICE INFORMATION FOR THE ADSs

The ADSs, each representing two of our ordinary shares, have been listed on the NASDAQ Global Market since October 20, 2017. The following table provides the monthly high and low trading prices for our ADSs on the NASDAQ Global Market since the date of our initial public offering.

The last reported trading price for the ADSs on June 6, 2018 was US$15.02 per ADS.

 

Period

   Trading Price (US$)  
     High      Low  

Annual High and Low

     17.86        9.50  

Fiscal 2017 (from October 20, 2017)

     

Quarterly Highs and Lows

     

Fourth Quarter of Fiscal 2017 (from October 20, 2017)

     17.86        9.50  

First Quarter of Fiscal 2018

     18.60        13.05  

Second Quarter of Fiscal 2018 (through June 6, 2018)

     18.18        14.52  

Monthly Highs and Lows

     

October 2017

     17.86        11.10  

November 2017

     14.36        9.50  

December 2017

     15.19        9.92  

January 2018

     16.72        14.40  

February 2018

     16.60        13.05  

March 2018

     18.60        14.12  

April 2018

     16.59        14.52  

May 2018

     18.18        15.50  

June 2018 (through June 6, 2018)

     16.50        14.80  

 

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CAPITALIZATION

The following table sets forth our capitalization as of March 31, 2018 on an actual basis.

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 March 31, 2018  
     Actual  
          RMB          US$  

Long-term loan

     527,614       84,114  

Shareholders’ Equity:

    

Ordinary shares (US$0.01 par value; 200,000,000 shares authorized and 113,817,312 shares issued and outstanding on an actual basis)

     7,022       1,120  

Additional paid-in capital

     577,070       91,998  

Statutory reserves

     46,366       7,392  

Accumulated deficit

     (323,832     (51,627

Accumulated other comprehensive income

     40,266       6,419  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total RISE Education Cayman Ltd shareholders’ equity

     346,892       55,302  

Non-controlling interests

     (15,494     (2,470
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total equity

     331,398       52,832  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total capitalization(1)

     859,012       136,946  
  

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

(1) Total capitalization means long-term loan plus total equity.

 

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EXCHANGE RATE INFORMATION

We conduct substantially all of our operations in the PRC. Substantially all of our revenues, cost of revenues and operating expenses are denominated in Renminbi. This prospectus contains translations of certain Renminbi amounts into U.S. Dollars at specified rate, which is based on the rate certified for customs purposes by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, for the convenience of the reader. Unless otherwise stated, all translations from Renminbi to U.S. Dollars have been made at the rate of RMB6.2726 to US$1.00, being the noon buying rate in effect as of March 31, 2018. We make no representation that the Renminbi or U.S. Dollar amounts referred to in this prospectus could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. Dollars, Renminbi, as the case may be, at any particular rate or at all. The PRC government imposes controls over its foreign currency reserves in part through direct regulation of the conversion of Renminbi into foreign exchange and through restrictions on foreign trade. On June 1, 2018, the noon buying rate were RMB6.4180 to US$1.00.

The following table sets forth information concerning the rates of exchange of US$1.00 into RMB 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.

 

     Noon Buying Rate  
     Period End      Average(1)      Low      High  
     (RMB per US$1.00)  

2012

     6.2301        6.2990        6.3879        6.2221  

2013

     6.0537        6.1412        6.2438        6.0537  

2014

     6.2046        6.1704        6.2591        6.0402  

2015

     6.4778        6.2869        6.4896        6.1870  

2016

     6.9430        6.6549        6.9430        6.4480  

2017

           

November

     6.6090        6.6200        6.6385        6.5967  

December

     6.5063        6.5932        6.6210        6.5063  

2018

           

January

     6.2841        6.4233        6.5263        6.2841  

February

     6.3280        6.3183        6.3471        6.2649  

March

     6.2726        6.3174        6.3565        6.2685  

April

     6.3325        6.2967        6.3340        6.2655  

May

     6.4096        6.3701        6.4175        6.3325  

June (through June 1, 2018)

     6.4180        6.4180        6.4180        6.4180  

 

(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.

 

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ENFORCEABILITY OF CIVIL LIABILITIES

We are incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands as an exempted company with limited liability. We are incorporated in the Cayman Islands because of certain benefits associated with being a Cayman Islands company, such as political and economic stability, an effective judicial system, a favorable tax system, the absence of foreign exchange control or currency restrictions and the availability of professional and support services. However, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws as compared to the United States and provides less protection for investors. In addition, Cayman Islands companies do not have standing to sue before the federal courts of the United States.

Our constitutional documents do not contain provisions requiring that disputes, including those arising under the securities laws of the United States, between us, our executive officers, directors and shareholders, be subject to arbitration.

The majority of our operations is conducted in China, and substantially all of our assets are located in China. All of our directors and officers are Chinese nationals or Hong Kong residents and a substantial portion of their assets are located outside the United States. As a result, it may be difficult or impossible for you to effect service of process within the United States upon us or these persons, or to enforce judgments obtained in U.S. courts against us or them, including judgments predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state in the United States. It may also be difficult for you to enforce judgments obtained in U.S. courts based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws against us and our executive officers and directors.

We have appointed Cogency Global Inc. as our agent to receive service of process with respect to any action brought against us in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in connection with this offering under the federal securities laws of the United States or of any State in the United States or any action brought against us in the Supreme Court of the State of New York in the County of New York in connection with this offering under the securities laws of the State of New York.

Maples and Calder (Hong Kong) LLP, our counsel as to Cayman Islands law, and Haiwen & Partners, our counsel as to PRC law, have advised us that there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of the Cayman Islands or the PRC would, respectively, (i) recognize or enforce judgments of U.S. courts obtained against us or our directors or executive officers that are predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state in the United States, or (ii) entertain original actions brought in the Cayman Islands or the PRC against us or our directors or executive officers that are predicated upon the securities laws of the United States or any state in the United States. Furthermore, Maples and Calder (Hong Kong) LLP and Haiwen & Partners have advised us that, as of the date of this prospectus, no treaty or other form of reciprocity exists between the Cayman Islands and China governing the recognition and enforcement of judgments.

Maples and Calder (Hong Kong) LLP, our counsel as to Cayman Islands law, has advised us further that although there is no statutory enforcement in the Cayman Islands of judgments obtained in the federal or state courts of the United States (and the Cayman Islands are not a party to any treaties for the reciprocal enforcement or recognition of such judgments), a judgment obtained in such jurisdiction will be recognized and enforced in the courts of the Cayman Islands at common law, without any re-examination of the merits of the underlying dispute, by an action commenced on the foreign judgment debt in the Grand Court of the Cayman Islands, provided such judgment (a) is given by a competent foreign court with jurisdiction to give the judgment, (b) imposes on the judgment debtor a liability to pay a liquidated sum for which the judgment has been given, (c) is final and conclusive, (d) is not in respect of taxes, a fine or a penalty; and (e) was not obtained in a manner and is not of a kind the enforcement of which is contrary to natural justice or the public policy of the Cayman Islands. However, the Cayman Islands courts are unlikely to enforce a judgment obtained from the U.S. courts under civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities law if such judgment is determined by the courts of the Cayman Islands to give rise to obligations to make payments that are penal or punitive in nature. Because

 

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such a determination has not yet been made by a court of the Cayman Islands, it is uncertain whether such civil liability judgments from U.S. courts would be enforceable in the Cayman Islands.

Haiwen & Partners, our counsel as to PRC law, has advised us that the recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments are provided for under the PRC Civil Procedure Law. The PRC courts may recognize and enforce foreign judgments in accordance with the requirements under the PRC laws relating to the enforcement of civil liability, including the PRC Civil Procedure Law based either on treaties between China and the country where the judgment is made or on principles of reciprocity between jurisdictions. Haiwen & Partners has advised us further that under the PRC law, courts in the PRC will not recognize or enforce a foreign judgment against us or our directors and executive officers if they decide that the judgment violates the basic principles of the PRC law or national sovereignty, security or social public interest. As there exists no treaty or other form of reciprocity between China and the United States governing the recognition and enforcement of judgments as of the date of this prospectus, including those predicated upon the liability provisions of the United States federal securities laws, there is uncertainty whether and on what basis a PRC court would enforce judgments rendered by United States courts. In addition, because there is no treaty or other form of reciprocity between the Cayman Islands and China governing the recognition and enforcement of judgments as of the date of this prospectus, there is further uncertainty as to whether and on what basis a PRC court would enforce judgments rendered by a Cayman Islands court.

 

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CORPORATE HISTORY AND STRUCTURE

Corporate History

RISE Education Cayman Ltd is a holding company without substantive operations and we conduct our operations primarily through PRC entities, including our variable interest entity, or VIE, and its subsidiaries and schools. Our first self-owned learning center opened in Beijing in October 2007. Over the last ten years, we have expanded our network of learning centers across China, including Shanghai in March 2010, Guangzhou in September 2012, Wuxi in June 2013, Shenzhen in May 2014 and Foshan in December 2017. We also expanded our business to Hong Kong and Singapore through Edge acquisition during the fourth quarter of 2017. As of March 31, 2018, we had a network of 284 learning centers in total, including 283 learning centers across 90 cities in greater China and one learning center in Singapore, among which 64 were self-owned learning centers and 220 were franchised learning centers operated by our franchise partners through franchise arrangements.

In July 2013, Bain Capital Rise Education II Cayman Limited, or RISE Education, our current holding company, was incorporated as an exempted company under the laws of the Cayman Islands, and it was renamed as RISE Education Cayman Ltd in June 2017.

In July 2013, Rise IP (Cayman) Limited, or Rise IP, was incorporated as an exempted company under the laws of the Cayman Islands. Subsequently, a number of our wholly owned subsidiaries were established to acquire Rise IP and certain operating assets and entered a series of contractual arrangements with Beijing Step Ahead Education Technology Development Co., Ltd., or Beijing Step Ahead or our VIE, its schools and its shareholders. As a result, the VIE and its subsidiaries and schools have become our consolidated affiliates. See “—Contractual Arrangements among Our VIE, Its Schools, Its Shareholders and Us”.

 

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Corporate Structure

We conduct our businesses through our subsidiaries and our VIE and its subsidiaries and schools. The chart below summarizes our corporate structure and identifies the principal subsidiaries and consolidated affiliates described above and the places of incorporation as of the date of this prospectus:

 

LOGO

 

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(1) 3.2% equity interests are held by other non-public shareholders, including certain directors, senior management and key employees in the Company. See “Principal and Selling Shareholders.”
(2) We acquired 100% equity interest in Edge Franchising Co. Limited from the Edge Learning Centers Limited in November 2017. See “Related Party Transactions—Our Transactions with Related Parties.”
(3) As of March 31, 2018, we had one franchised learning center in Singapore that was operated by our franchise partner in Singapore through a franchise agreement with Edge Franchising Co. Limited.
(4) As of March 31, 2018, we had two self-owned learning centers in Hong Kong that were operated through Bain Capital Rise Education (HK) Limited.
(5) Mr. Peng Zhang, a former employee of an affiliate of our principal shareholder, Bain Capital Rise Education IV Cayman Limited, and Mr. Yiding Sun, our chief executive officer and director, holding 80% and 20% of the VIE’s equity interests, respectively.
(6) The remaining 49% equity interests are owned by an unrelated third party.
(7) Under PRC law, entities and individuals who establish and maintain ownership interests in private schools are referred to as “sponsors.” The rights of sponsors vis-à-vis private schools are similar to those of shareholders vis-à-vis companies with regard to legal, regulatory and tax matters, but differ with regard to the rights to receive returns on investment and the distribution of residual properties upon termination and liquidation. As of March 31, 2018, we had established 16 private schools in China to operate our network of self-owned learning centers. For more information regarding school sponsorship and the difference between sponsorship and ownership under relevant laws and regulations, see “Regulations—The Law for Promoting Private Education and Its Implementation Rules.”
(8) Learning centers are not legal entities under PRC law. As of March 31, 2018, we had 62 self-owned learning centers across the PRC, 60 of which were operated by the 16 schools for which we are the sponsor and two of which was operated by Wuxi Rise Foreign Language Training Co., Ltd., a non-school enterprise.
(9) Consulting Services Agreements
(10) Loan Agreements, Proxy Agreement, Call Option Agreement, Equity Pledge Agreement and Business Cooperation Agreement
(11) Proxy Agreement, Business Cooperation Agreement, Service Agreement, Call Option Agreement and Equity Pledge Agreement
(12) License Agreements and Comprehensive Services Agreements

Contractual Arrangements among Our VIE, Its Schools, Its Shareholders and Us

Due to PRC legal restrictions on foreign investment in and ownership of entities engaged in the education industry, we operate our business through our VIE and its subsidiaries and schools. PRC laws and regulations currently require any foreign entity that invests in the education industry in China to be an educational institution with relevant experience in providing educational services outside of China. Our offshore holding companies are not educational institutions and do not provide educational services outside China. Accordingly, our offshore holding companies are not allowed to directly engage in the education industry in China. To comply with PRC laws and regulations, we have entered into a series of contractual arrangements with our VIE and its schools and its shareholders, through which we are able to consolidate the financial results of our VIE and its subsidiaries and schools. These contractual arrangements allow us to:

 

    exercise effective control over our VIE and its subsidiaries and schools;

 

    receive substantially all of the economic benefits of our VIE and its subsidiaries and schools; and

 

    have a call option to purchase all or part of the equity interests in our VIE when and to the extent permitted by PRC law.

As a result of these contractual arrangements, we are the primary beneficiary of our VIE and its subsidiaries and schools and have consolidated their financial results in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. However, these contractual arrangements may not be as effective in providing operational control as direct ownership and the use of the contractual arrangements exposes us to certain risks. For example,

 

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Beijing Step Ahead, its schools or its shareholders may breach the contractual arrangements with us. In such cases, we would have to rely on legal remedies under PRC law, which may not always be effective, particularly in light of uncertainties in the PRC legal system. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure.”

If our PRC affiliated entities, Mr. Peng Zhang or Mr. Yiding Sun fail to perform their obligations under the contractual arrangements, we could be limited in our ability to enforce the contractual arrangements that give us effective control over our affiliated entities. See “Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—We rely on contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliates and the shareholders of Beijing Step Ahead for our operations in China, which may not be as effective in providing control as direct ownership.” If we are unable to maintain effective control over our affiliated entities, we will not be able to continue consolidating the financial results of our affiliated entities into our financial results. In 2015, 2016 and 2017 and the three months ended March 31, 2017 and 2018, our consolidated affiliates contributed 95%, 95%, 94%, 96.3% and 91.5%, respectively, of our total revenues. Further, we rely on dividends and other distributions paid to us by our offshore and PRC subsidiaries, which in turn depends on the service or royalty fees paid from our VIE, its subsidiaries and schools in the PRC. In practice, we evaluate on a case-by-case basis the performance and future plans of our VIE and schools before determining the amount of fees we will collect from them. We do not have unfettered access to the revenues from our PRC subsidiaries or affiliated entities due to the significant legal restrictions on the payment of dividends by PRC companies, foreign exchange control restrictions, and restrictions on foreign investment, among others. See “Risk Factors—We rely on dividends, fees and other distributions paid by our PRC subsidiaries to fund any cash and financing requirements we may have, and any limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to make payments to us could hinder our ability to conduct our business.”

The following is a summary of the currently effective contractual arrangements by and among us, Beijing Step Ahead, its schools and its shareholders, namely Mr. Peng Zhang and Mr. Yiding Sun.

Agreements that provide us with effective control over the VIE

Loan agreements

The current shareholders of the VIE, Mr. Peng Zhang and Mr. Yiding Sun, acquired their respective equity interests in the VIE from its former shareholders in November 2016 and June 2017, respectively. In order to ensure that the VIE’s shareholders are able to provide capital for the share acquisitions, we have entered into loan agreements with each of them. Pursuant to the loan agreements, we have granted a loan to each of them that may only be used for the purpose of acquiring their respective equity interest in the VIE or paying relevant taxes. Unless otherwise agreed by us, the loans may be repaid only by the shareholders transferring all of their respective equity interests in the VIE to us or our designee upon our exercise of the options under the call option agreement. The loan agreements also prohibit the shareholders from assigning or transferring to any third party, or from creating or causing any security interest to be created on, any part of their respective equity interests in the VIE without our prior consent. In the event that the shareholders sell their equity interests to us or our designee at a price which is equal to or lower than the principal amount of the loan, the loan will be interest-free. If the price is higher than the principal amount of the loans, the excess amount will be deemed to be interest on the loans payable by the shareholders to us. The loan has a term of ten years and the WFOE has sole discretion to extend the loan upon expiry.

Proxy agreement

In order to ensure that we are able to make all of the decisions concerning the VIE, we have entered into a proxy agreement with the shareholders of the VIE. Pursuant to the proxy agreement, each of its shareholders has irrevocably appointed us as such shareholder’s attorney-in-fact to act for all matters pertaining to such shareholder’s shares in the VIE and to exercise all of their rights as shareholders, including but not limited to attending and voting at shareholders’ meetings. As such, we have the sole rights to designate and appoint

 

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directors and senior management members of the VIE. The proxy agreement will remain in effect until the respective shareholder ceases to hold any equity interest in the VIE.

Equity pledge agreement

In order to secure the performance of the VIE and its shareholders under the contractual arrangements, each shareholder of the VIE has undertaken to pledge all of their shares in the VIE to us. As of the date of this prospectus, the share pledge had been registered with local PRC authorities. If the VIE or any of its shareholders breaches or defaults under any of the contractual arrangements, we have the right to require the transfer of the pledged equity interests in the VIE to us or our designee, to the extent permitted by laws, or require a sale of the pledged equity interest and have priority in any proceeds from the auction or sale of such pledged interests. Moreover, we have the right to collect any and all dividends in respect of the pledged equity interests during the term of the pledge. Unless the VIE and its shareholders have fully performed all of their obligations in accordance with the contractual arrangements and all debts have been fully paid by them to us, the equity pledge agreement will continue to remain in effect.

Business cooperation agreement

Under this agreement, absent a prior written consent from the WFOE, the VIE may not itself or cause its subsidiaries or schools to sell, purchase, pledge or dispose of any assets, conduct any borrowings, or perform any transactions or activities that may cause a material effect on its assets, business and operations. In addition, the VIE agrees to follow the WFOE’s instructions in its appointment and removal of directors and supervisors, and to cause its subsidiaries to engage candidates recommended by the WFOE as chief executives or principals. Moreover, if the VIE, its subsidiaries or schools desires a guarantee, it must first seek a guarantee from the WFOE. Only if the WFOE rejects or does not respond to its request within fifteen days can the VIE, its subsidiaries or schools, as applicable, seek a guarantee from a third party. If the WFOE agrees to provide a guarantee, it is entitled to a counter-guarantee, security or pledge from the VIE, its subsidiaries or schools, as applicable.

In addition, the VIE is entitled to pay a service fee to the WFOE, the amount of which is equal to its total revenue less any necessary costs, taxes and expenses. The WFOE has discretion to adjust and decide the amount to be paid by the VIE to the WFOE from time to time.

The initial term of this agreement is ten years, which will be automatically extended for another ten years unless otherwise notified by the WFOE.

All of the contractual arrangements as described above will be terminated once the respective shareholder has transferred all of such shareholder’s equity interests in the VIE to us or our designee.

Agreements that enable us to receive economic benefits from our VIE and its subsidiaries and schools

In order to ensure that we receive the economic benefits of our VIE and its subsidiaries and schools, we have entered into a series of agreements with the VIE and schools. Under these agreements, we are entitled to substantially all of the economic benefits of our VIE and its subsidiaries and schools.

Business cooperation agreement

See “—Agreements that provide us with effective control over the VIE” for key terms and conditions.

Consulting services agreements

Rise HK has entered into a consulting agreement with each of the WFOE and the VIE, under which Rise HK provides technical and business support services to the WFOE or the VIE, including development of the

 

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annual teaching plans and courseware, reviewing the academic department’s implementation plans and budgets, evaluating the development results, and making decisions to carry out the newly-developed teaching plans and courseware. In return, each of the WFOE and the VIE agrees to pay a service fee to Rise HK. The initial term of this agreement is five years, which will renew for another five years automatically unless one party does not consent.

Service agreement

The WFOE has entered into a service agreement with the VIE, under which the WFOE provides certain services to the VIE, including designing of teaching plans, licensed use of the business management system developed by the WFOE and sale of textbooks and training materials to our franchise partners who signed the franchise agreements with the VIE. In return, the VIE is required to pay certain service fees to the WFOE. The initial term of this agreement is five years, which will renew for another five years automatically unless the parties terminate this agreement in writing.

License agreements and comprehensive services agreements

The WFOE has entered into a license agreement and a comprehensive service agreement with each of the schools under the VIE pursuant to which the WFOE provides certain services to these schools, including design of teaching plans, licensed use of the business management system developed by the WFOE, market promotion and operation support, as well as authorizing these schools to use our courseware and schools. In return, each of the schools is required to pay certain service royalties and fees to the WFOE. The initial term of each of these agreements is five years, which will renew for another five years automatically unless the parties terminate this agreement in writing.

Agreement that provides us with the option to purchase the equity interests in Beijing Step Ahead

Call option agreement

In order to ensure that we are able to acquire all of the equity interests in the VIE at our discretion, we have entered into a call option agreement with the shareholders of the VIE. The option is exercisable by us at any time, provided that doing so is not prohibited by law. The exercise price under the option is the minimum amount required by law and any proceeds obtained by the respective shareholders through the transfer of their equity interests in the VIE shall be used for the repayment of the loans provided by us in accordance with the loan agreements. During the terms of the call option agreement, the shareholders will not grant a similar right or transfer any of the equity interests in the VIE to any party other than us or our designee, nor will such shareholder pledge, create or permit any security interest or similar encumbrance to be created on any of the equity interests. According to the call option agreement, the VIE cannot declare any profit distributions in any form without our prior consent. The call option agreement will remain in effect until the respective shareholder has transferred all of such shareholder’s equity interests in the VIE to us or our designee.

Haiwen & Partners, our counsel as to PRC law is of the view that the contractual arrangements among Rise HK, the WFOE, the VIE and its schools and shareholders are governed by the laws of the PRC, currently in effect, and immediately after giving effect to this offering, are valid, binding and enforceable in accordance with their terms and applicable laws, regulations or rules currently in effect in the PRC, and do not result in any violation of such laws, regulations or rules currently in effect. However, Haiwen & Partners has also advised us that there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of applicable laws, regulations or rules currently in effect in the PRC, and the PRC regulatory authorities and PRC courts may in the future take a view that is contrary to the opinion of our counsel as to PRC law. Moreover, if the VIE, its subsidiaries and schools or its shareholders fail to perform their obligations under the contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and expend resources to enforce our rights as the primary beneficiary under these agreements. See “Risks Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure.”

 

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SELECTED CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL DATA

The following selected consolidated statements of income data for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2016 and 2017, and for the three months ended March 31, 2017 and 2018, and selected consolidated balance sheet data as of December 31, 2016 and 2017, and March 31, 2018 have been derived from our audited and unaudited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this prospectus. Our consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results expected for future periods. You should read this “Selected Consolidated Financial Data” section together with our consolidated financial statements and the related notes and the “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” section included elsewhere in this prospectus.

Summary Consolidated Income Data

 

    For the Year Ended December 31,     For the Three Months Ended March 31,  
    2015     2016     2017     2017     2018  
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     US$     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     US$     Percentage
of
Revenues
 

Revenues:

                       

Educational programs

    451,411       85.2       618,326       87.0       831,106       132,498       85.8       178,722       85.0       226,194       36,061       83.7  

Franchise revenues

    60,793       11.5       63,532       8.9       100,013       15,944       10.3       24,604       11.7       28,210       4,497       10.4  

Other revenues

    17,265       3.3       29,135       4.1       38,156       6,083       3.9       6,997       3.3       15,725       2,507       5.9  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

    529,469       100.0       710,993       100.0       969,275       154,525       100.0       210,323       100.0       270,129       43,065       100.0  

Cost of revenues

    (346,671     (65.5     (363,579     (51.1     (452,220     (72,094     (46.7     (96,316     (45.8     (125,467     (20,002     (46.4
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

    182,798       34.5       347,414       48.9       517,055       82,431       53.3       114,007       54.2       144,662       23,063       53.6  

Operating expenses:

                       

Selling and marketing

    (96,688     (18.3     (128,475     (18.1     (177,993     (28,376     (18.4     (31,306     (14.9     (48,522     (7,736     (18.0

General and administrative

    (135,603     (25.6     (148,093     (20.8     (339,690     (54,155     (35.0     (41,308     (19.6     (54,358     (8,666     (20.1
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

    (232,291     (43.9     (276,568     (38.9     (517,683     (82,531     (53.4     (72,614     (34.5     (102,880     (16,402     (38.1
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating (loss)/income

    (49,493     (9.3     70,846       10.0       (628     (100     0.0     41,393       19.7       41,782       6,661       15.5  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Interest income

    17,853       3.4       16,622       2.3       19,559       3,118       2.0       2,606       1.2       4,206       671       1.6  

Interest expense

                (6,073     (0.9     (26,589     (4,239     (2.7     (5,167     (2.4     (8,205     (1,308     (3.0

Foreign currency exchange (loss)/gain

    (1,473     (0.3     (2,741     (0.4     388       62       0.0     (18     0.0     28       4       0.0

Other income/(expense), net

    253       0.0     4,391       0.6       6,594       1,051       0.7       152       0.0     10,908       1,739       4.0  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

(Loss)/income before income tax expense

    (32,860     (6.2     83,045       11.7       (676     (108     0.0     38,966       18.5       48,719       7,767       18.0  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income tax benefit/(expense)

    1,119       0.2       (32,202     (4.5     (52,924     (8,437     (5.5     (12,576     (6.0     (13,993     (2,231     (5.2
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net (loss)/income

    (31,741     (6.0     50,843       7.2       (53,600     (8,545     (5.5     26,390       12.5       34,726       5,536       12.9  

Net loss attributable to non-controlling interests

    5,456       1.0       3,080       0.4       5,626       897       0.6       1,872       0.9       1,095       175       0.4  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net (loss)/income attributable to RISE Education Cayman Ltd

    (26,285     (5.0     53,923       7.6       (47,974     (7,648     (4.9     28,262       13.4       35,821       5,711       13.3  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Non-GAAP Financial Measures:

                       

EBITDA(1)

    40,794         142,318         56,064       8,938         53,582         65,872       10,501    

EBITDA margin(2)

    7.7%         20.0%         5.8%       5.8%         25.5%         24.4%       24.4%    

Adjusted EBITDA(1)

                    242,510       38,662                 68,904       10,984    

Adjusted EBITDA margin(3)

                    25.0%       25.0%                 25.5%       25.5%    

Non-GAAP net income(1)

                    122,314       19,500                 37,758       6,019    

 

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* Less than 0.1%
(1) To see how we define and calculate EBITDA, EBITDA margin, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA margin and non-GAAP net income, a reconciliation between EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, non-GAAP net income and net (loss)/income and a discussion about the limitations of non-GAAP financial measures, see “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”
(2) EBITDA margin is calculated by dividing EBITDA by revenues.
(3) Adjusted EBITDA margin is calculated by dividing adjusted EBITDA by revenues.

 

     As of December 31,     As of March 31,  
     2015     2016     2017     2018  
     RMB     RMB     RMB     RMB     US$  
     (thousands)              

Selected Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:

          

Total current assets

     553,224       707,738       1,142,445       1,303,289       207,775  

Cash and cash equivalents

     517,436       639,999       1,055,982       924,662       147,413  

Prepayments and other current assets

     24,080       45,517       40,571       86,719       13,825  

Total non-current assets

     782,514       792,560       813,893       806,890       128,638  

Property and equipment, net

     70,860       75,673       100,177       99,075       15,795  

Intangible assets, net

     244,798       225,951       200,615       189,604       30,227  

Goodwill

     444,412       461,686       475,732       465,834       74,265  

Total assets

     1,335,738       1,500,298       1,956,338       2,110,179       336,413  

Total current liabilities

     571,426       763,366       1,030,700       1,214,049       193,550  

Current portion of long-term loan

           38,186                    

Accrued expenses and other current liabilities

     73,172       96,158       171,099       138,553       22,090  

Deferred revenue and customer advances

     489,918       601,324       812,821       1,042,428       166,188  

Total non-current liabilities

     12,987       338,505       629,906       564,732       90,031  

Long-term loan

           333,102       623,439       527,614       84,114  

Deferred revenue and customer advances

                       27,658       4,409  

Total liabilities

     584,413       1,101,871       1,660,606       1,778,781       283,581  

Total RISE Education Cayman Ltd shareholders’ equity

     757,018       407,200       310,131       346,892       55,302  

Non-controlling interests

     (5,693     (8,773     (14,399     (15,494     (2,470

Total equity

     751,325       398,427       295,732       331,398       52,832  

Total liabilities, non-controlling interests and shareholders’ equity

     1,335,738       1,500,298       1,956,338       2,110,179       336,413  

 

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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 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 primarily operate in China’s junior ELT market, which refers to after-school English teaching and tutoring services provided by training institutions to students aged three to 18. We are a leader in China’s junior ELT market according to Frost & Sullivan, and we ranked second in 2016 with a market share of 10.7% in terms of gross billings in the premium segment. Furthermore, in 2016, we ranked first in the junior ELT market in Beijing with a market share of 11.4% and ranked second in the junior ELT market in tier-one cities with a market share of 5.9%, both in terms of gross billings according to Frost & Sullivan.

We pioneered the “subject-based learning” teaching philosophy in China, whereby various subject matters, such as language arts, math, natural science and social science are used to teach English. In 2016 and 2017, we had 36,173 and 49,894 student enrollments, respectively, in self-owned learning centers. In the first three months of 2018, we had 22,045 student enrollment in self-owned learning centers. We currently offer three flagship courses, namely Rise Start, Rise On and Rise Up, that are designed for students aged three to six, seven to twelve and 13 to 18, respectively.

We devote significant resources to curriculum development to ensure that our course offerings are up-to-date, engaging and effective. As of March 31, 2018, we had 1627 teachers in self-owned learning centers. The quality of our course offerings and our unique teaching philosophy has helped us develop a strong and powerful brand that is attractive to parents.

Our business model is highly scalable. We have a network of both self-owned learning centers as well as franchised learning centers. As of March 31, 2018, we had a network of 284 learning centers in total, including 283 learning centers across 90 cities in greater China and one learning center in Singapore, among which 64 were self-owned learning centers and 220 were franchised learning centers operated by our franchise partners through franchise arrangements. We have enjoyed significant growth over the past few years. Largely as a result of the growth of self-owned learning centers, our revenues increased from RMB529.5 million in 2015 to RMB711.0 million in 2016, and further to RMB969.3 million in 2017, and our revenues increased from RMB210.3 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017 to RMB270.1 million (US$43.1 million) in the three months ended March 31, 2018. As our network of learning centers has expanded, our brand has also strengthened. This has allowed us to maintain our position as a market leader, command premium pricing, improve profitability and enjoy a highly loyal customer base. In 2016, we had a 67% student retention rate, 63% higher than the industry average of 41%, according to Frost & Sullivan. Our student retention rate improved to 70% in 2017 and further to 71% in the first three months of 2018. We recorded EBITDA of RMB40.8 million, RMB142.3 million, RMB56.1 million and RMB65.9 million (US$10.5 million) in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and the first three months in 2018, respectively. Our adjusted EBITDA, which excludes IPO-related expenses, one-off expenses and share-based compensation expenses, where applicable, was RMB242.5 million and RMB68.9 million (US$11.0 million) in 2017 and the first three months in 2018, respectively. We recorded a net loss of RMB31.7 million in 2015, a net income of RMB50.8 million in 2016, a net loss of RMB53.6 million in 2017 and a net income of RMB34.7 million (US$5.5 million) in the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared to RMB26.4 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017. Our non-GAAP net income, which excludes IPO-related expenses, one-off expenses and share-based compensation expenses, where applicable, was

 

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RMB122.3 million and 37.8 million (US$6.0 million) in 2017 and the first three months in 2018, respectively. For a detailed description of our non-GAAP measures, see “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

Major Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations

Our business and operating results are impacted by factors that affect China’s junior ELT market generally. We have benefited from a number of market factors, including China’s rising birth rate largely resulting from adoption of the “two-child policy,” rising population in large urban centers, increases in average household income as well as the number of higher income families, limited penetration of junior ELT across China, favorable government policies that support the growth of private-sector education enterprises and permit increased operational and pricing flexibility, and the continued focus on study-abroad opportunities by parents.

At the same time, our results are subject to changes in the regulatory regime governing China’s education industry. The PRC government regulates various aspects of our business and operations, including the qualification and licensing requirements for entities that provide education services, standards for operating facilities, limitations on foreign investments in the education industry, and the implementation of The Amended Law on the Promotion of Private Education and the related rules issued by local governments in China.

While our business is influenced by factors affecting the junior ELT market in China generally, we believe our results of operations are more directly affected by company-specific factors, including the major factors highlighted below.

Student Enrollments

We derive a large portion of our revenues from tuition and fees that we charge for our courses. Student enrollments at self-owned learning centers increased by 34.2% from 26,951 in 2015 to 36,173 in 2016, by 37.9% to 49,894 in 2017. Student enrollments in self-owned learning centers increased by 13.7% from 19,397 in the first three months of 2017 to 22,045 in the first three months of 2018 due to the impact from the comparatively late Chinese New Year in 2018. Growth in student enrollments is dependent on our ability to retain our current students and to recruit new students. Our ability to retain existing students is largely dependent on the variety and quality of our course offerings, the quality of teachers and the overall satisfaction of students and their parents with the educational services we offer. Our ability to recruit new students is largely dependent on our reputation and brand recognition, which are affected by our branding activities and other selling and marketing efforts.

Number of Self-Owned Learning Centers

Our revenue growth is also driven by the number of self-owned learning centers, which directly affects our overall student enrollment. Our ability to increase the number of self-owned learning centers depends on a variety of factors, including identifying suitable locations and hiring qualified teachers and other necessary personnel for the new learning centers.

The number of self-owned learning centers has grown steadily in recent years, increasing from 46 as of December 31, 2015 to 54 as of December 31, 2016 and further to 64 as of December 31, 2017 as well as March 31, 2018. As our network grows in size, we believe that our large scale strengthens our brand, which in turn supports the further growth of our network.

Pricing and Student Spending

Our revenues are directly affected by the pricing of our products offered at self-owned learning centers and, to a lesser extent, at franchised learning centers. We aim to charge premium tuition and fees while keeping in mind the general income level of the relevant location, competition and the local demand of our services. Tuition

 

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and fees in franchised learning centers located in non-tier-one cities are generally lower than our self-owned learning centers, which are mostly located in tier-one cities. In addition to raising tuition, we also seek to increase average spending of students by offering online and other complementary products, such as overseas study tours.

Scale and Success of Our Franchise Business

We derive revenues from our franchise business through initial or renewal franchise fees, recurring franchise fees and the sale of individual course materials. A portion of revenues from initial franchise fees are recognized when we enter into arrangements with a franchise partner to open new franchised learning centers, and the remaining portion is amortized over the term of the agreement with the franchised partner. Both of which are mainly affected by the number of new franchised learning centers. We also receive renewal franchise fees from our existing franchise partners when they renew their franchise agreements. We also derive revenues from the sale of individual course materials and recurring franchise fees based on an agreed percentage of each franchised learning center’s collected tuition fees. Such revenues are primarily driven by the number of total franchised learning centers and students enrolled. The scale of our franchise business largely depends on our ability to attract and retain more franchise partners, the ability of our franchise partners to successfully launch new franchised learning centers, as well as the ability of our franchise partners to operate effectively, attract new students and retain existing students.

We have achieved steady growth of franchised learning centers in recent years. The number of franchised learning centers increased from 167 as of December 31, 2016 to 206 as of December 31, 2017, and further to 220 as of March 31, 2018. We expect the number of franchised learning centers to continue to grow.

Level of Our Costs and Expenses and Operating Efficiency

Our ability to manage the costs and expenses of our operations directly affects our profitability.

Our cost of revenues primarily consists of personnel costs and rental costs for our learning centers. Variable costs such as salary and benefits for teachers generally increase with the increase of course hours following student enrollment. We strive to utilize our complementary products and other online technologies to facilitate the teaching at our learning centers and to enhance overall operating efficiency. Fixed costs, such as rental costs and other employee costs at self-owned learning centers, remain relatively stable. In general, learning centers with higher student enrollment yield higher gross margins.

Our operating expenses consist of selling and marketing expenses, and general and administrative expenses. Largely as a result of our standardized management operations, together with increasing economies of scale as we have expanded our network of learning centers, operating expenses as a percentage of total revenues have decreased over the years.

Going forward, we expect that our total costs and expenses will increase in line with the expansion of our network of learning centers. We also expect to improve our operating efficiency and increase economies of scale.

 

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Description of Certain Statement of Income Items

Revenues

We generate revenues primarily from educational programs, franchise fees and other revenues. The table below sets forth the breakdown of our revenues, both in absolute amount and as a percentage of revenues, for the periods indicated.

 

    For the Year Ended December 31,     For the Three Months Ended March 31,  
    2015     2016     2017     2017     2018  
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     US$     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     US$     Percentage
of
Revenues
 
    (thousands, except for percentages)                                

Educational programs

    451,411       85.2       618,326       87.0       831,106       132,498       85.8       178,722       85.0       226,194       36,061       83.7  

Franchise revenues

    60,793       11.5       63,532       8.9       100,013       15,944       10.3       24,604       11.7       28,210       4,497       10.4  

Other revenues

    17,265       3.3       29,135       4.1       38,156       6,083       3.9       6,997       3.3       15,725       2,507       5.8  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Revenues

    529,469       100.0       710,993       100.0       969,275       154,525       100.0       210,323       100.0       270,129       43,065       100.0  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

We provide junior English language training to students through our three flagship courses, namely, Rise Start, Rise On and Rise Up. We charge tuition and course material fees for our educational programs at self-owned learning centers. Our educational programs revenues include revenues generated from our three flagship courses and short-term programs. Tuition fees are collected in full in advance and are initially recorded as deferred revenue and customer advances and recognized ratably as revenue when the classes for the related course are delivered. If we reschedule classes due to school holidays, inclement weather, or health epidemics, or any other reason, we will not be able to recognize revenues until those classes are rescheduled. For example, during the third quarter of 2017, we rescheduled certain classes for some of these reasons. We recognize revenue from sales of course materials once the student attends the first class of the respective course.

We generate franchise revenues from franchised learning centers through authorizing our franchise partners to use our brand products, as well as the provision of initial setup and ongoing franchise support services, including quality control of courses and centralized training for teachers from franchised learning centers.

We receive an initial or renewal franchise fee when we enter into or renew a franchise agreement. During the term of the franchise, we charge each franchised learning center recurring franchise fees based on an agreed percentage of its monthly collected tuition fees and related individual course materials fees.

As of December 31, 2015, 2016 and 2017 and March 31, 2018, we recorded deferred revenue and customer advances of RMB489.9 million, RMB601.3 million, RMB812.8 million and RMB1,070.1 million (US$170.6 million), respectively, which are primarily from our educational programs and, to a lesser extent, from our franchise business. Given that our tuition and fees are prepaid, we expect to generate sufficient cash from our operating activities to meet our working capital and capital expenditure needs.

We generate other revenues primarily from Can-Talk and other courses and complimentary products, including Rise Overseas Study Tours, Rise Camps, Rise Workshop and courses and services for test preparation and college admission. Other revenues in 2017 and the first three months of 2018 also included revenues from business acquired in the Edge acquisition in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Cost of Revenues

Our cost of revenues consists primarily of (i) personnel costs, including teachers’ costs and, to a lesser extent, costs relating to our franchise service and supervision team and research and curriculum development team, (ii) rental costs, (iii) share-based compensation expenses, and (iv) others, including amortization of intangible assets, construction and design costs, course materials cost and other operating costs incurred to

 

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operate self-owned centers. Amortization of intangible assets includes amortization of courseware licenses, student base and franchise agreements that were acquired as part of the acquisition of our business by RISE Education in 2013, or the 2013 acquisition. We expect cost of revenues to increase in line with our expansion of business. The table below sets forth a breakdown of our cost of revenues for the periods indicated.

 

    For the Year Ended December 31,     For the Three Months Ended March 31,  
    2015     2016     2017     2017     2018  
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     US$     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     US$     Percentage
of
Revenues
 
    (thousands, except for percentages)                                

Personnel costs

    114,052       21.5       131,598       18.5       159,932       25,497       16.5       36,986       17.6       49,044       7,819       18.1  

Rental costs

    100,145       18.9       109,692       15.4       146,678       23,384       15.2       32,869       15.6       40,931       6,525       15.1  

Share-based compensation

                            17,063       2,720       1.8                   450       72       0.2  

Others

    132,474       25.0       122,289       17.2       128,547       20,493       13.2       26,461       12.6       35,042       5,587       13.0  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

    346,671       65.4       363,579       51.1       452,220       72,094       46.7       96,316       45.8       125,467       20,002       46.4  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating Expenses

Our operating expenses consist of selling and marketing expenses and general and administrative expenses. The table below sets forth our operating expenses, both in absolute amount and as a percentage of revenues, for the periods indicated.

 

    For the Year Ended December 31,     For the Three Months Ended March 31,  
    2015     2016     2017     2017     2018  
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     US$     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     US$     Percentage
of
Revenues
 
    (thousands, except for percentages)                                

Selling and marketing

    96,688       18.3       128,475       18.1       177,993       28,376       18.4       31,306       14.9       48,522       7,736       18.0  

General and administrative

    135,603       25.6       148,093       20.8       339,690       54,155       35.0       41,308       19.6       54,358       8,666       20.1  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

    232,291       43.9       276,568       38.9       517,683       82,531       53.4       72.614       34.5       102,880       16,402       38.1  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Selling and marketing expenses

Our selling and marketing expenses consist primarily of (i) sales and marketing personnel expenses, and (ii) branding and promotional expenses, including expenses related to our events such as Rise Cup and Rise Star. We expect that our selling and marketing expenses will continue to increase in absolute amounts as we continue to market our products and expand into new geographic regions. We also recorded amortization of trademarks used for brand promotion acquired as part of the 2013 acquisition under selling and marketing expenses. See “Corporate History and Structure—Corporate History.”

General and administrative expenses

Our general and administrative expenses mainly consist of (i) personnel expenses related to management and other employees, (ii) fees paid to professional parties and (iii) rental expenses for administrative facilities. We expect that our general and administrative expenses will increase in absolute amounts in the foreseeable future as we incur additional costs for becoming and being a public company, but will in time decrease as a percentage of our net revenues as we continue to benefit from economics of scale and improve our operating efficiency.

 

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Results of Operations

The table below sets forth a summary of our consolidated results of operations for the periods indicated, both in absolute amounts and as percentages of our 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 December 31,     For the Three Months Ended March 31,  
    2015     2016     2017     2017     2018  
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     US$     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     Percentage
of
Revenues
    RMB     US$     Percentage
of
Revenues
 

Revenues:

                       

Educational programs

    451,411       85.2       618,326       87.0       831,106       132,498       85.8       178,722       85.0       226,194       36,061       83.7  

Franchise revenues

    60,793       11.5       63,532       8.9       100,013       15,944       10.3       24,604       11.7       28,210       4,497       10.4  

Other revenues

    17,265       3.3       29,135       4.1       38,156       6,083       3.9       6,997       3.3       15,725       2,507       5.9  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total

    529,469       100.0       710,993       100.0       969,275       154,525       100.0       210,323       100.0       270,129       43,065       100.0  

Cost of revenues

    (346,671     (65.5     (363,579     (51.1     (452,220     (72,094     (46.7     (96,316     (45.8     (125,467     (20,002     (46.4
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

    182,798       34.5       347,414       48.9       517,055       82,431       53.3       114,007       54.2       144,662       23,063       53.6  

Operating expenses:

                       

Selling and marketing

    (96,688     (18.3     (128,475     (18.1     (177,993     (28,376     (18.4     (31,306     (14.9     (48,522     (7,736     (18.0

General and administrative

    (135,603     (25.6     (148,093     (20.8     (339,690     (54,155     (35.0     (41,308     (19.6     (54,358     (8,666     (20.1
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

    (232,291     (43.9     (276,568     (38.9     (517,683     (82,531     (53.4     (72,614     (34.5     (102,880     (16,402     (38.1
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating (loss)/income

    (49,493     (9.3     70,846       10.0       (628     (100     0.0     41,393       19.7       41,782       6,661       15.5  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Interest income

    17,853       3.4       16,622       2.3       19,559       3,118       2.0       2,606       1.2       4,206       671       1.6  

Interest expense

                (6,073     (0.9     (26,589     (4,239     (2.7     (5,167     (2.4     (8,205     (1,308     (3.0

Foreign currency exchange (loss)/gain

    (1,473     (0.3     (2,741     (0.4     388       62       0.0     (18     0.0     28       4       0.0

Other income/(expense), net

    253       0.0     4,391       0.6       6,594       1,051       0.7       152       0.0     10,908       1,739       4.0  

(Loss)/income before income tax expense

    (32,860     (6.2     83,045       11.7       (676     (108     0.0     38,966       18.5       48,719       7,767       18.0  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Income tax benefit/(expense)

    1,119       0.2       (32,202     (4.5     (52,924     (8,437     (5.5     (12,576     (6.0     (13,993     (2,231     (5.2
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net (loss)/income

    (31,741     (6.0     50,843       7.2       (53,600     (8,545     (5.5     26,390       12.5       34,726       5,536       12.9  

Net loss attributable to non-controlling interests

    5,456       1.0       3,080       0.4       5,626       897       0.6       1,872       0.9       1,095       175       0.4  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net (loss)/income attributable to RISE Education Cayman Ltd

    (26,285     (5.0     53,923       7.6       (47,974     (7,648     (4.9     28,262       13.4       35,821       5,711       13.3  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Non-GAAP Financial Measures:

                       

EBITDA(1)

    40,794         142,318         56,064       8,938         53,582         65,872       10,501    

EBITDA margin(2)

    7.7%         20.0%         5.8%       5.8%         25.5%         24.4%       24.4%    

Adjusted EBITDA(1)

                    242,510       38,662                 68,904       10,984    

Adjusted EBITDA margin(3)

                    25.0%       25.0%                 25.5%       25.5%    

Non-GAAP net income(1)

                    122,314       19,500                 37,758       6,019    

 

* Less than 0.1%
(1) To see how we define and calculate EBITDA, EBITDA margin, adjusted EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA margin and non-GAAP net income, a reconciliation between EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, non-GAAP net income and net (loss)/income and a discussion about the limitations of non-GAAP financial measures, see “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”
(2) EBITDA margin is calculated by dividing EBITDA by revenues.
(3) Adjusted EBITDA margin is calculated by dividing adjusted EBITDA by revenues.

 

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Three Months ended March 31, 2018 Compared to Three Months Ended March 31, 2017

Revenues

Our revenues increased by 28.4% from RMB210.3 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017 to RMB270.1 million (US$43.1 million) in the three months ended March 31, 2018.

 

    Educational programs. Our revenues from educational programs increased by 26.6% from RMB178.7 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017 to RMB226.2 million (US$36.1 million) in the three months ended March 31, 2018, primarily due to the increased student enrollments at self-owned learning centers from 19,397 in the first three months of 2017 to 22,045 in the first three months of 2018 in line with the 18.5% increase in the number of self-owned learning centers from 54 as of March 31, 2017 to 64 as of March 31, 2018.

 

    Franchise revenues. Our franchise revenues from franchised learning centers increased by 14.7% from RMB24.6 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017 to RMB28.2 million (US$4.5 million) in the three months ended March 31, 2018, primarily due to an increase in the number of franchised learning centers from 168 as of March 31, 2017 to 220 as of March 31, 2018.

 

    Other revenues. Our other revenues increased by 124.7% from RMB7.0 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017 to RMB15.7 million (US$2.5 million) in the three months ended March 31, 2018. The increase was primarily due to the revenue contribution from business assets acquired from The Edge Learning Centers Limited, or The Edge, in the fourth quarter of 2017, and a 56.2% increase in revenues from Rise Overseas Study Tour, which amounted to RMB9.2 million (US$1.5 million) in the three months ended March 31, 2018 as compared with RMB5.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017.

Cost of revenues

Our cost of revenues increased from RMB96.3 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017 to RMB125.5 million (US$20.0 million) in the three months ended March 31, 2018, primarily due to increases in rental costs and personnel costs. Our rental costs increased by 24.5% from RMB32.9 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017 to RMB40.9 million (US$6.5 million) in the three months ended March 31, 2018, as our operations expanded during the same period. Our personnel costs increased by 32.6% from RMB37.0 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017 to RMB49.0 million (US$7.8 million) in the three months ended March 31, 2018, primarily attributable to an increase of total course hours at our self-owned learning centers from 35,716 hours in the three months ended March 31, 2017 to 44,793 hours in the three months ended March 31, 2018.

Gross profit

As a result of the foregoing, our gross profit increased by 26.9% from RMB114.0 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017 to RMB144.7 million (US$23.1 million) in the three months ended March 31, 2018. Our gross margin slightly decreased from 54.2% in the three months ended March 31, 2017 to 53.6% in the three months ended Mach 31, 2018. The slight decrease in our gross margin in the first quarter of 2018 was primarily attributable to expenses for rental and recruitment of teachers in preparation for opening new self-owned learning centers in the second quarter of 2018.

Selling and marketing expenses

Our selling and marketing expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2018 were RMB48.5 million (US$7.7 million), representing a 55.0% increase from RMB31.3 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017, accounting for 18.0% of total revenues in the first three months of 2018 as compared to 14.9% in the first three months of 2017. The increase in selling and marketing expenses was primarily due to increases in marketing channel expenses and personnel expenses as we continued to expand our network of self-owned learning centers and increased student enrollments.

 

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General and administrative expenses

Our general and administrative expenses for the three months ended March 31, 2018 were RMB54.4 million (US$8.7 million), representing a 31.6% increase from RMB41.3 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017, accounting for 20.1% of total revenues in the first three months of 2018 as compared with 19.6% in the first three months of 2017. The increase in general and administrative expenses was primarily due to (i) share-based compensation expenses for management and other employees recorded in the first quarter of 2018; (ii) an increase in the number of administrative personnel and other administrative expenses in preparation for opening new self-operated learning centers in the second quarter of 2018.

Operating income and operating margin

As a result of the foregoing, we had an operating income of RMB41.8 million (US$6.7 million) for the three months ended March 31, 2018, representing a 1.0% increase compared with an operating come of RMB 41.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2017. Our operating margin was 15.5% for the three months ended March 31, 2018, compared with 19.7% the three months ended March 31, 2017.

Interest income, interest expense, foreign currency exchange loss and other (loss)/income, net

We had interest income of RMB2.6 million and RMB4.2 million (US$0.7 million) for the three months ended March 31, 2017 and 2018, respectively, which are primarily from holdings of interest-bearing financial instruments. We had interest expense of RMB5.2 million and RMB8.2 million (US$1.3 million) for the three months ended March 31, 2017 and 2018, respectively. We had foreign currency exchange losses of RMB18,000 and foreign currency exchange gain of RMB28,000 (US$4,000) for the three months ended March 31, 2017 and 2018, respectively. We had other income, net of RMB152,000 and RMB10.9 million (US$1.7 million) for the three months ended March 31, 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Income before income tax expense

As a result of the foregoing, we had an income before income tax expense of RMB 48.7 million (US$7.8 million) for the three months ended March 31, 2018, compared with an income before income tax expense of RMB 39.0 million for the three months ended March 31, 2017.

Income tax expense

We had an income tax expense of RMB14.0 million (US$2.2 million) for the three months ended March 31, 2018, representing a 11.3% increase compared with an income tax expense of RMB12.6 million for the three months ended March 31, 2017.

Net income

As a result of the foregoing, we had net income of RMB34.7 million (US$5.5 million) for the three months ended March 31, 2018, representing a 31.6% increase compared with net income of RMB 26.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2017.

Non-GAAP net income

Our non-GAAP net income, which is net income excluding share-based compensation expenses, was RMB37.8 million (US$6.0 million) for the three months ended March 31, 2018, representing a 43.1% increase compared with our RMB 26.4 million for the three months ended March 31, 2017. For a discussion of the limitations associated with using Non-GAAP net income rather than U.S. GAAP measures and a reconciliation to net income or loss, see “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

 

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EBITDA

Our EBITDA, which is net income or loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was RMB65.8 million (US$10.5 million) for the three months ended March 31, 2018, representing a 22.9% increase from RMB53.6 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017. For a discussion of the limitations associated with using EBITDA rather than U.S. GAAP measures and a reconciliation to net income or loss, see “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

Adjusted EBITDA

Our adjusted EBITDA, which is EBITDA excluding share-based compensation expenses, was RMB68.9 million (US$11.0 million) for the three months ended March 31, 2018, representing a 28.6% increase from RMB53.6 million in the three months ended March 31, 2017. For a discussion of the limitations associated with using adjusted EBITDA rather than U.S. GAAP measures and a reconciliation to net income or loss, see “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

Year Ended December 31, 2017 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2016

Revenues

Our revenues increased by 36.3%, from RMB711.0 million in 2016 to RMB969.3 million (US$149.0 million) in 2017. This increase was primarily attributable to an increase of RMB 212.8 million (US$32.7 million) in revenues from educational programs.

 

    Revenues from educational programs. Our revenues from educational programs increased by 34.4%, from RMB618.3 million in 2016 to RMB831.1 million in 2017. This increase was primarily due to an increase in student enrollments at self-owned learning centers from approximately 36,173 in 2016 to 49,894 in 2017 and higher average course fees due to our annual increase in tuitions and fees. The increase in our student enrollments was attributable to (i) higher student retention rate arising from improved teaching quality as well as due to greater sales and marketing efforts in 2017; (ii) the increase in the number of self-owned learning centers from 54 as of December 31, 2016 to 64 as of December 31, 2017.

 

    Franchise revenues. Our franchise revenues increased by 57.4%, from RMB63.5 million in 2016 to RMB100.0 million in 2017. This increase was primarily due to increases in the recurring franchise fees from our existing franchised learning centers in 2017 as well as initial and renewal franchise fees for new franchised learning centers or existing franchised learning centers that renewed their franchise agreements with us. The number of franchised learning centers increased from 167 as of December 31, 2016 to 206 as of December 31, 2017. We expect the number of franchised learning centers and the recurring fees received from existing franchised learning centers will increase as we expand.

 

    Other revenues. Our other revenues increased by 31.0%, from RMB29.1 million in 2016 to RMB38.2 million in 2017. The increase was primarily due to an increase in revenues from Can-Talk, Rise Study Tour and the business acquired from the Edge acquisition.

Cost of revenues

Our cost of revenues increased from RMB363.6 million in 2016 to RMB452.2 million in 2017, primarily due to the increase in rental costs and personnel costs. Rental costs increased as we expanded our operations, while the increase in personnel costs was primarily attributable to an increase in course hours at self-owned learning centers. This increase was partially offset by a decrease in amortization expenses related to certain intangible assets acquired as part of the 2013 acquisition, of which we recorded RMB13.9 million in 2017 compared with RMB34.2 million in 2016. In addition, cost of revenues in 2017 included share-based compensation of RMB17.1 million, as a result of our initial public offering in the fourth quarter of 2017. See “—Description of Certain Statement of Income Items—Cost of Revenues.”

 

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Gross profit

Our gross profit increased by 48.8%, from RMB347.4 million in 2016 to RMB517.1 million in 2017. We had gross margins of 48.9% in 2016 and 53.3% in 2017. The increase in our gross margin was primarily attributable to the improvement in operating efficiencies and the decrease in amortization.

Selling and marketing expenses

Our selling and marketing expenses were RMB178.0 million in 2017, as compared with RMB128.5 million in 2016, which accounted for 18.1% and 18.4% of our revenues in 2016 and 2017, respectively. This increase was primarily due to increases in (i) expenses relating to branding and promotional activities for our tenth anniversary in the first half of 2017, partially offset by a decrease in channel marketing expenses in 2017; and (ii) share-based compensation expenses related to sales and marketing personnels recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017.

General and administrative expenses

Our general and administrative expenses increased by 129.4%, from RMB148.1 million in 2016 to RMB339.7 million in 2017. This increase was primarily due to share-based compensation expenses for our management and employees that occurred in the fourth quarter of 2017. Our general and administrative expenses constituted 20.8% and 35.0% of our revenues in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Operating income/(loss)

As a result of the foregoing, we had an operating loss of RMB0.6 million in 2017, compared to an operating income of RMB70.8 million in 2016.

Interest income, interest expense, foreign currency exchange loss and other income, net

We had interest income of RMB16.6 million and RMB19.6 million in 2016 and 2017, respectively, which are primarily from holdings of interest-bearing financial instruments. We had interest expense of RMB26.6 million in 2017. We had foreign currency exchange loss of RMB2.7 million in 2016 and foreign currency exchange gain of RMB0.4 million in 2017. We had other income, net of RMB4.4 million in 2016 and RMB6.6 million in 2017, respectively.

Income before income tax expense

As a result of the foregoing, we had loss before income tax expense of RMB0.7 million in 2017, compared to income before income tax of RMB83.0 million in 2016.

Income tax expense

We had an income tax expense of RMB32.2 million and RMB52.9 million in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Net income

As a result of the foregoing, we had net loss of RMB53.6 million in 2017, compared to net income of RMB50.8 million in 2016. The decrease of RMB104.4 million was primarily due to the incurrence of our IPO-related expenses, one-off expenses and share-based compensation expenses, as well as the impact on income tax expenses.

Non-GAAP net income

Excluding IPO-related expenses, one-off expenses and share-based compensations, as well as the impact on income tax expenses, our Non-GAAP net income in 2017 was RMB122.3 million, increased by 140.6% as compared with RMB50.8 million in 2016. For a discussion of the limitations associated with using Non-GAAP net income rather than U.S. GAAP measures and a reconciliation to net income or loss, see “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

 

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EBITDA

EBITDA, which is net income or loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was RMB56.1 million in 2017, as compared with RMB142.3 million in 2016, and the decrease in 2017 was primarily due to the incurrence of IPO-related expenses, one-off expenses and share-based compensation expenses. For a discussion of the limitations associated with using EBITDA rather than U.S. GAAP measures and a reconciliation to net income or loss, see “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

Adjusted EBITDA

Excluding the IPO-related expenses, one-off expenses and share-based compensation expenses, our adjusted EBITDA for the full year of 2017 increased by 70.4% to RMB 242.5 million as compared with RMB 142.3 million in 2016. For a discussion of the limitations associated with using adjusted EBITDA rather than U.S. GAAP measures and a reconciliation to net income or loss, see “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

Year Ended December 31, 2016 Compared to Year Ended December 31, 2015

Revenues

Our revenues increased by 34.3%, from RMB529.5 million in 2015 to RMB711.0 million in 2016. This increase was primarily attributable to an increase of RMB166.9 million in revenues from educational programs.

 

    Revenues from educational programs. Our revenues from educational programs increased by 37.0%, from RMB451.4 million in 2015 to RMB618.3 million in 2016. This increase was primarily due to an increase in student enrollments at self-owned learning centers from approximately 26,951 in 2015 to 36,173 in 2016. The increase in our student enrollments was attributable to (i) higher student enrollments at existing learning centers as they matured and achieved a higher retention rate as well as due to greater sales and marketing efforts in 2016 and (ii) the increase in the number of self-owned learning centers from 46 as of December 31, 2015 to 54 as of December 31, 2016. We also had a slight increase in average tuition and fees in 2016.

 

    Franchise revenues. Our franchise revenues increased by 4.5%, from RMB60.8 million in 2015 to RMB63.5 million in 2016. This increase was primarily due to an increase in the recurring franchise fees from our existing franchised learning centers in 2016 as well as initial and renewal franchise fees. The number of franchised learning centers increased from 147 as of December 31, 2015 to 167 as of December 31, 2016. We expect student enrollments in those new franchised learning centers will increase as they grow.

 

    Other revenues. Our other revenues increased by 68.8%, from RMB17.3 million in 2015 to RMB29.1 million in 2016. The increase was primarily due to the increase in students enrolled in our overseas study tours.

Cost of revenues

Our cost of revenues increased from RMB346.7 million in 2015 to RMB363.6 million in 2016, primarily due to the increase in personnel costs and rental costs. Such increase was primarily attributable to an increase in the number of teachers and rental costs as we expanded our network of self-owned learning centers. The number of teachers at self-owned learning centers increased from 1,162 as of December 31, 2015 to 1,253 as of December 31, 2016, to staff new centers and expand existing centers. Increases in the size of our franchise service and supervision team and costs associated with our overseas study tours also contributed to the increase in our cost of revenues. In addition, we recorded amortization of certain intangible assets acquired as part of the 2013 acquisition of RMB59.7 million and RMB34.2 million in 2015 and 2016, respectively. See “—Description of Certain Statement of Income Items—Cost of Revenues.”

 

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Gross profit

Our gross profit increased by 90.0%, from RMB182.8 million in 2015 to RMB347.4 million (US$51.2 million) in 2016. We had gross margins of 34.5% in 2015 and 48.9% 2016. The increase in our gross margin was primarily attributable to the increase of operating efficiencies and the decrease in amortization of the student base related to the 2013 acquisition that was amortized on a more accelerated basis in 2015 as compared to 2016.

Selling and marketing expenses

Our selling and marketing expenses increased by 32.9%, from RMB96.7 million in 2015 to RMB128.5 million in 2016. This increase was primarily due to increases in (i) general marketing channel expenses and personnel expenses and (ii) expenses relating to branding and promotional activities as we expanded our network of self-owned learning centers and increased student enrollments. Our selling and marketing expenses constituted 18.3% and 18.1% of our revenues in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

General and administrative expenses

Our general and administrative expenses increased by 9.2%, from RMB135.6 million in 2015 to RMB148.1 million in 2016. This increase was primarily due to an increase in the number of administrative personnel and other administrative expenses. Our general and administrative expenses constituted 25.6% and 20.8% of our revenues in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The decrease was largely due to the increase in our operating efficiency.

Operating (loss)/income

As a result of the foregoing, we had an operating income of RMB70.8 million in 2016, compared to an operating loss of RMB49.5 million in 2015.

Interest income, interest expense, foreign currency exchange loss and other income, net

We had interest income of RMB17.9 million and RMB16.6 million in 2015 and 2016, respectively, which are primarily from holdings of interest-bearing financial instruments. We had interest expense of RMB6.1 million in 2016. We had foreign currency exchange loss of RMB1.5 million and RMB2.7 million in 2015 and 2016, respectively. We had other income, net of RMB0.3 million and RMB4.4 million in 2015 and 2016, respectively. The increase in other income, net in 2016 was due to a government subsidy and one-off cash proceeds received from a litigation settlement.

(Loss)/income before income tax expense

As a result of the foregoing, we had income before income tax expense of RMB83.0 million in 2016, compared to a loss before income tax of RMB32.9 million in 2015.

Income tax benefit/(expense)

We had an income tax benefit of RMB1.1 million in 2015 as we did not have taxable income in that year and an income tax expense of RMB32.2 million in 2016.

Net (loss)/income

As a result of the foregoing, we had net income of RMB50.8 million in 2016, compared to net loss of RMB31.7 million in 2015.

 

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Non-GAAP net income

Non-GAAP net income was not applicable in 2015 and 2016 as we incurred no IPO-related expenses, one-off expenses related to IPO or share-based compensations during those periods. For a discussion of the limitations associated with using Non-GAAP net income rather than U.S. GAAP measures and a reconciliation to net income or loss, see “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

EBITDA

EBITDA, which is net income or loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, was RMB40.8 million in 2015 and RMB142.3 million in 2016. For a discussion of the limitations associated with using EBITDA rather than U.S. GAAP measures and a reconciliation to net income or loss, see “— Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

Adjusted EBITDA

Adjusted EBITDA was not applicable in 2015 and 2016 as we incurred no IPO-related expenses, one-off expenses or share-based compensations during those periods. For a discussion of the limitations associated with using adjusted EBITDA rather than U.S. GAAP measures and a reconciliation to net income or loss, see “—Non-GAAP Financial Measures.”

 

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Selected Quarterly Results of Operations

The following table sets forth our unaudited consolidated results of operations for each of the nine quarters from January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2018. We have prepared the unaudited quarterly consolidated results of operations set forth below on the same basis as our audited consolidated financial statements and include all adjustments, consisting of normal recurring adjustments, that we consider necessary for a fair statement of our financial position and operating results for the periods presented. Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results expected for future periods. You should read this selected quarterly results of operations section together with our audited consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this prospectus.

 

    For the three months ended  
    March 31,
2016
    June 30,
2016
    September 30,
2016
    December 31,
2016
    March 31,
2017
    June 30,
2017
    September 30,
2017
    December 31,
2017
    March 31,
2018
 
    (RMB in thousands, except for EBITDA margin)        

Revenues

    142,943       172,103       202,696       193,251       210,323       226,777       260,018       272,157       270,129  

Cost of revenues

    (88,529     (81,208     (101,391     (92,451     (96,316     (99,763     (126,822     (129,320     (125,467
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Gross profit

    54,414       90,895       101,305       100,800       114,007       127,014       133,196       142,837       144,662  

Operating expenses:

                 

Selling and marketing

    (25,394     (28,328     (30,443     (44,310     (31,306     (39,937     (45,049     (61,702     (48,522

General and administrative

    (33,101     (35,210     (36,947     (42,835     (41,308     (43,613     (44,769     (210,000     (54,358
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Total operating expenses

    (58,495 )      (63,538 )      (67,390 )      (87,145 )      (72,614 )      (83,550 )      (89,818 )      (271,702 )      (102.880 ) 
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Operating(loss)/income

    (4,081 )      27,357       33,915       13,655       41,393       43,464       43,378       (128,865 )      41,782  

Interest income

    980       5,073       6,153       4,416       2,606       6,832       6,175       3,947       4,206  

Interest expense .

                (1,038     (5,035     (5,167     (4,740     (5,715     (10,967     (8,205

Foreign currency exchange gain/(loss)

    730       (1,918     (186     (1,367     (18     216       (18     208       28  

Other (expense)/income, net

    74       (114     79       4,352       152       (288     113       6,617       10,908  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

(Loss)/income before income tax expense

    (2,297 )      30,398       38,923       16,021       38,966       45,484       43,933       (129,060 )      48,719  

Income tax benefit/ (expense)

    47       (9,889     (12,020     (10,340     (12,576     (14,047     (17,368     (8,392     (13,993
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net (loss)/income

    (2,250 )      20,509       26,903       5,681       26,390       31,437       26,565       (137,992     34,726  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Add: Net loss attributable to non-controlling interests

    708       358       51       1,963       1,872       389       3,369       (4     1,095  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Net (loss)/income attributable to RISE Education Cayman Ltd

    (1,542 )      20,867       26,954       7,644       28,262       31,826       29,934       (137,996 )      35,821  
 

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

   

 

 

 

Non-GAAP Financial Measures:

                 

EBITDA(1)

    17,807       40,784       49,505       34,222       53,582       55,980       55,548       (109,047     65,872  

EBITDA margin(2)

    12.5%       23.7%       24.4%       17.7%       25.5%       24.7%       21.4%       (40.1%)       24.4%  

Adjusted EBITDA(3)

                                        64,847       68,100       68,904