SPH invests in Chinese tuition and education player Han Language Centre

SINGAPORE Press Holdings (SPH) is joining hands with the founder of Han Language Centre in a joint venture that will enable SPH's Chinese Media Group to co-develop Chinese language educational programmes and events for students and adults with the language centre.

This transaction will see SPH holding a 75 per cent stake in the business for S$8.5 million and Han Language Centre's founder and principal Ann Jong Juan holding the remaining stake.

An initial S$4.8 million will be paid by SPH upon completion of the transaction, with the balance to be paid when the business achieves specific targets.

"SPH's strategic investment in Han Language Centre will strengthen our education portfolio, which is one of our growing adjacent businesses," said SPH CEO Alan Chan.

This move followed SPH's S$12 million investment into MindChamps in 2014 for a 22 per cent stake in the pre-school and enrichment provider - its first venture into the education sector.

Founded in 1993, Han Language Centre is an established local brand name in the Chinese tuition and education scene. It has one of the largest Chinese tuition centre footprints in Singapore with 19 centres all over the island.

It offers a full spectrum of in-house developed programmes for primary and secondary students. The education materials are developed based on the latest MOE syllabus.

Han Language Centre's management team is also made up of former senior education officers or those who held lead department positions at the MOE and have vast experience in developing the Chinese school curriculum.

Mr Ann, known as Han Laoda in the arts fraternity, was awarded the Cultural Medallion for Theatre in 1990. With 45 years of teaching experience in the Chinese language, he spent the first six years at Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore (CDIS) of the Ministry of Education (MOE) developing primary school Chinese curriculum, and the last two years developing and editing extracurricular reading materials.

He became a guest lecturer at the Singapore Centre for Chinese Language from 2011 to 2013. Mr Ann also received the inaugural Singapore Chinese Cultural Centre Award (SCCCA) in May this year.

Mr Ann said: "With SPH's involvement and support, we can expand and enhance our branding, teaching and curriculum to reach out to more learners, and more importantly, show them that mastering Chinese can be both fun and rewarding."