The company’s founder, Yu Minhong, revealed the company had seen its income plunge 80 percent after Beijing introduced new rules banning for-profit tutoring last year. Teaching in China, particularly English had become big business with as many as half a million foreign nationals previously thought to be teaching in China before the crackdown. According to reports from New Oriental, in 2020 it recruited 2,100 teachers through overseas training routes, including 147 from Oxford University and 127 via UK based Bell Educational Services. Most of its employees are typically young workers with over three quarters under the age of 30 in 2020.
At the start of 2021 New Oriental was employing 105,200 people including 54,200 teachers.
However, in July the Chinese government imposed new rules banning for-profit tutoring of core curriculum subjects in a bid to try to reduce pressure on parents and students.
President Xi Jinping has previously described tutoring as a “malady”, with government attention focusing on the wellbeing of children in what has become a highly competitive education environment.
Licences will no longer be issued to tutoring companies and existing firms will be forced to register as non-profit making.
The rules now leave teaching firms struggling to adapt.
New Oriental is reportedly trying to shift to other sectors not covered in the regulation such as dance and drawing classes, as well as tutoring Chinese to overseas markets.
The company also plans to set up its own e-commerce platform for farmers.
However, the loss of the main bulk of its business model has proved an enormous blow with New Oriental’s market value falling 90 percent.
Minhong Yu, who founded the company in 1993, compared the situation to cutting off an arm to survive a poisonous snake bite.
“New Oriental encountered too many changes in 2021” he added in a post on WeChat.
China’s action on foreign tutoring comes amid a wider trend of crackdowns on the corporate sector.
The tech sector has been particularly impacted with antitrust fines imposed on a number of major companies and a push to get firms to pivot focus away from consumer-facing operations and into strategic areas.
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E-commerce giant Alibaba saw its share price more than halve in 2021, during which time it also received a record £2.06bn ($2.8bn) fine.
The Chinese government is also seeking to reign in the property sector with the introduction of rules governing the proportions of debt companies can have- known as the three red lines.
Adjusting to the impact of the restrictions has proved tough for a sector heavily reliant on debt for financing operations with a number of developers now left struggling.
Express.co.uk has contacted New Oriental for further comment.