Hong Kong’s Education Market – Trends and Opportunities – China Briefing

Hong Kong’s education market, renowned for its diversity plus excellence, is undergoing new developments as the city seeks to transform itself into a regional schooling hub for training talent in the Greater Bay Area. At the same time, the city has fostered the particular growth of a vibrant private education sector covering e-learning, private tutoring, and edtech. We look at the latest trends and opportunities for investors within the sector, as well because the government’s role in shaping the particular market’s development.


Hong Kong has been the center with regard to education within Asia for many decades, home to the diverse and international student body plus some of the world’s best universities. The city is adept at cultivating multiple generations of high-skilled skill, and today continues to place a huge amount of importance on educating the youth.  

The pandemic has accelerated trends toward digital and online learning, offering new growth possibilities for the host of new edtech and e-learning start-ups that support the particular city’s formal education system.    

In addition , the government is seeking in order to turn the particular city into a “regional education and learning hub” regarding higher training by deepening collaboration with institutions upon the Chinese mainland plus making it the center intended for learning and talent cultivation within the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) .  

In this article, we provide an overview associated with Hong Kong’s education market and discuss some of the brand new trends plus opportunities arising within the sector.  

Overview of Hong Kong’s education market  

Hong Kong’s education landscape  

Hong Kong’s schooling system was based largely upon the particular British program until a good overhaul in 2012 led to the Diploma of Secondary Education (DSE) replacing the Hong Kong Certificate associated with Education Examination (HKCEE), the particular latter modeled after the UK’s GCSEs and the UK-based A-Levels.  

Hong Kong has nine years of free compulsory education and learning for children aged six to 15, covering 6 years of primary school and three years associated with junior secondary school. Kindergartens and childcare centers are only available to get a fee and are normally provided pertaining to children aged three to six. All kindergartens inside Hong Kong are therefore private and can be run as either a for-profit or non-profit institution. All kindergartens for kids aged 3 to six are regulated by the particular Education Bureau, while kindergartens and daycare centers meant for children under the age of three are regulated by the Social Welfare Department.

Hong Kong’s Education Landscape in Figures

Number of kindergartens: 1, 042
Enrolment: 155, 956  

Number of primary schools: 591
Enrolment: 348, 994  

Quantity of secondary schools: 508
Enrolment: 325, 927  

Number of international schools: 54
Number associated with higher education institutes: 22  

Estimated government expenditure on training for that 2022/23 school year: HK$111. 9 billion (US$14. 3 billion)
Percentage of total estimated government expenditure: 13. 8 percent  

Note: The above figures are the latest available. The number of institutions is from the 2021/22 school 12 months; enrolment numbers are as of September fifteen, 2022 for your 2022/23 college year.  

Source: Hk Education Agency

According in order to statistics through Hong Kong’s Education Bureau, in the 2021 to 2022 school yr, there were a total of 1, 042 registered kindergartens, 591 registered primary schools, and 508 authorized secondary schools. Among the particular kindergartens, 16. 7 percent were non-local, meaning they cater to non-Chinese-speaking children.  

Hong Kong Education Schools

*Kindergartens are usually registered only as local/non-local. All kindergartens are privately run.  

Note: Numbers include just kindergartens plus schools signed up under the Hong Kong Schooling Bureau. Primary and supplementary school figures do not include special schools.  

Source: Hong Kong Education and learning Bureau.

Meanwhile, among the registered main schools, 19 percent were private, of which almost 40 percent had been international. 11 percent from the registered extra schools were private, which 57. 8 percent had been international.  

Hong Kong Education Enrolment

*Kindergartens are registered only as local/non-local. All kindergartens are independently run.  

Note: Enrolment figures are usually as of September 15, 2021. Statistics include just kindergartens and schools registered underneath the Hong Kong Training Bureau. Main and secondary school numbers do not really include special schools.  

Source: Hong Kong Education Bureau.  

Hong Kong is also home to 22 degree-awarding advanced schooling institutes, including four that are listed one of the top 100 universities within the 2022 Times Higher Education rankings: the University associated with Hong Kong (30), Chinese language University of Hong Kong (49), the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (66), plus Hong Kong Polytechnic College (91).  

Growth drivers of Hong Kong’s education market  

As a small city along with limited natural resources and land area, talent will be one associated with Hong Kong’s most important assets, plus education is usually the backbone propping up the development of this key resource. Approximated government costs on schooling in the 2022/23 school year is HK$111. 9 billion (US$14. 3 billion), which amounts to 13. 8 percent associated with the government’s estimated expenses over that will period.  

On an individual level, Hong Kongers also place high value on education, as it is definitely seen as one of the particular main motorists of social mobility. Many families are therefore willing to pay out of pocket for additional educational resources and services. For instance, although kindergartens are not free designed for children in Hong Kong, almost one hundred percent of children aged three to five attended kindergartens in the 2021/22 school year, according to the particular Hk Schooling Bureau. Hong Kong is also home to an extremely lucrative private coaching industry, with parents spending thousands of dollars a month on extra-curricular learning in the form of private tutors, cram colleges, and prep classes.  

There offers also been the trend associated with local Hong Kongers sending their children in order to private, fee-paying schools inside Hong Kong, rather than local public universities, as there is a view that they provide higher quality learning than public colleges.  

The higher education industry is also an important field in Hong Kong, house to some of the best universities in Asia. With most higher education institutions offering courses in English, the city also attracts thousands of international students every year.  

Trends plus opportunities in Hong Kong’s education marketplace  

International day universities  

Hong Kong is a highly diverse city and home to people from many different nationalities, cultures, and ethnic backgrounds. As such, a range of international schools have been established to cater in order to the children associated with foreign workers as well as non-Chinese speaking families. There was a total of 54 worldwide schools in Hong Kong within the 2021/22 school season, many of which usually provide both primary plus secondary college grades.

The particular international institutions also offer range of foreign curricula and degrees, which includes British, American, Japanese, plus French curricula, the world baccalaureate (IB), Montessori, and also religious-based and foreign language curricula. Notable international educational institutions in the town include Harrow International School, Wycombe Abbey School, plus Nord Anglia International College.    

Hk recently announced a series of new incentive policies to attract more international talent within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The possible influx of a lot more foreign employees will inside turn have a positive impact on the international student intake at global schools.

Moreover, the authorities actively encourages the development of international schools within Hong Kong, “mainly to meet the demand just for international school places from non-local family members living in Hong Kong and families coming to Hong Kong for work or investment”, as written by the Education Bureau.  

Higher education and learning institutes  

Hk provides long been a center for increased education in the region and can be still home to some associated with the world’s top educational institutions.   The particular majority of Hong Kong’s universities offer English-language programs , facilitating cooperation with global institutions plus greatly lowering the barrier of entry for essential students, even though enrolment of undergraduate and postgraduate foreign students (including mainland Chinese) is capped at 20 percent.  

There has recently been the marked uptick in the number of mainland Chinese college students choosing to study at Hong Kong universities, especially as colleges in western countries become less attractive following the particular COVID-19 outbreak.  

The government is certainly seeking in order to build upon the city’s excellent academic legacy by turning Hong Kong right into a “regional training hub” through internationalization plus diversification.    

“The Government’s aim is to nurture talents for other industries and attract outstanding people through around the world, boosting Hong Kong’s competitiveness plus facilitating the long term development associated with Hk, Pearl River Delta region and the nation as a whole” – Hong Kong Education and learning Bureau  

The particular vision to develop Hong Kong’s higher education institutes ties into the particular city’s position within the GBA, which will see it foster talent for the development of key industries in the area. These are mostly surrounding the high-tech plus emerging sectors, in particular integrated circuits, advanced manufacturing, biopharmaceuticals, and more, but also fields such as finance, professional services, plus trade, among others.  

In terms of development trajectory, the government is seeking to develop Hong Kong’s education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in order to create a highly skilled workforce that aligns along with China’s overall development goals for technological and scientific development.  

New skill schemes introduced within the GBA incentivize young skilled plus sought-after talent from Hong Kong to work in the particular nine Guangdong cities associated with the GBA. Hong Kong’s higher education institutes have also taken steps in order to deepen assistance with counterparts on the landmass through the establishment of research institutes. With regard to instance, the Chinese University or college of Hk established the mainland China campus inside Shenzhen in 2012 and the particular Hong Kong Polytechnic University established the Shenzhen Research Institute to focus on R& D, technologies transfer, and talent farming. The Education College or university of Hk furthermore began a scheme for undergraduates in the 2022/ 23 academic calendar year to do work and internship placements in mainland GBA cities.  

Online schooling and education and learning technology  

As is the case in many other places in the world, the particular COVID-19 pandemic has more rapid the uptake of e-learning as well as the edtech that facilitate online classes. Although in-person classes are likely to prevail post-COVID in the K-12 industry, many schools are still looking to integrate digital studying modes into their curricula plus digitize their educational systems. This segment of the particular educational industry therefore still presents significant opportunities for the purpose of vendors providing services and products, such as e-learning platforms and edtech consulting.  

It is also important in order to note that e-learning and edtech happen to be developing in Hong Kong for many years prior to the outbreak, and now present 1 of the main growth areas within the city’s training sector. Hong Kong has fostered the rise of a range of e-learning plus edtech start-ups covering a wide range of sectors, from K-12 in order to university to adult and vocational understanding. Notable Hk edtech plus e-learning companies include italki, the online language-learning platform, Spredemy. com, which provides on the internet tutoring for K-12 learners, AfterShcool, a good online DSE prep school, and Snapask, a homework help system.  

Private tutoring  

The personal tutoring business is difficult to quantify due to the fact that many private tutors are informally employed and arranged for yourself, but it is clear that the industry is still highly lucrative. Unlike in mainland The far east , Hong Kong has not placed any restrictions around the development of the private tutoring business, and it currently appears unlikely that it will do so.  

In addition to the high value placed within Hong Kong society discussed above, private tutoring continues to be an important resource for families out of necessity. As explained in a research report written simply by Richard Eng, co-founder associated with Beacon College, a chain of cram schools in Hk, the limited number of university spaces and minimum requirements with regard to entrance regarding topics like English, Chinese, mathematics, natural sciences, plus geography, amongst others, has resulted in increased pressure on students and households to excel in college.  

As with official learning, personal tutoring has also been swept up in the e-learning wave. Even though this trend continues to be accelerated from the pandemic, which forced many people in order to experience on-line learning for the first time, the pattern did not begin in 2020.

Richard Eng wrote within the statement in 2019 that, due to Hong Kong’s declining birth rates and an aging population, training institutes in Hong Kong are no longer able to rely on a growing student-age population for development, and will instead have to focus on increasing the worth of services and decreasing the cost of operations. This will include growing the number of on the web classes plus decreasing the amount of in-person classes.  

Besides the trend towards online learning, the tutoring industry can also be likely to follow the tendency of many some other sectors and begin placing more emphasis on personalization. This may include tailor-made courses plus classes intended for individual college students, as well as teachers-cum-influencers and social media replacing traditional marketing tactics.  

The particular shift in order to online studying for private tutoring will naturally also come with an increased reliance on edtech and digital learning platforms, and the particular private coaching sector may therefore likely develop closely alongside the edtech market.

Support to get educational institutions  

There are generally no restrictions on international investment within Hong Kong, and foreign investors are permitted to set up wholly foreign-owned personal schools plus language schools.  

QEF plan  

Launched in 1997, the Quality Education Fund (QEF) provides grants pertaining to “quality education projects” inside K-12 academic institutions and local companies helping to implement these projects. Funding is mostly given to projects that will fall into five broad categories: projects meant for promoting effective learning, promoting all-round schooling, implementing school-based management, study projects exploring education issues, and application of IT. Additionally , the QEF will usually set a range of “priority themes” for project funding each year, which can usually align with the government’s overall objectives for education and learning. For instance, designed for the 2020/21 school year, the priority themes included STEM training and information technology (IT) just for education.

Companies that provide services for the purpose of schools in order to implement these projects may be capable to apply for grants from the QEF or even benefit indirectly from institutions that receive grants to implement tasks and hire the company as a vendor.  

The QEF also runs a good e-learning support program for all major and extra schools by subsidizing laptops and internet support services for children who are usually unable to access these resources because of financial constraints.  

NET structure  

The particular Education Agency runs a Native-speaking English Teacher (NET) scheme to help attract native English teachers to public primary and secondary academic institutions in Hk. The Training Bureau assists schools simply by recruiting British teachers plus appointing them to the public school and covering the teachers’ salaries and living costs.  


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