Singapore Press Holdings enters into joint venture to invest in Han Language Centre

The joint venture will see SPH holding a 75 per cent interest in Han Language Centre, with Mr Ann Jong Juan (above) holding the rest. PHOTO: SPH
The joint venture will see SPH holding a 75 per cent interest in Han Language Centre, with Mr Ann Jong Juan (above) holding the rest. PHOTO: SPH

SINGAPORE - Media and property firm Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has entered into a joint venture that involves investing up to $8.5 million in Han Language Centre.

SPH said on Friday (Aug 4) that it has partnered Mr Ann Jong Juan, the founder and principal of the Han Language Centre, which has 19 outlets, making it one of the largest in Singapore.

The joint venture will enable SPH's Chinese Media Group to co-develop Chinese language education programmes and events with Han Language Centre that will cater to students and adults, combining the expertise of both parties in education, culture, as well as news and current affairs.

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

"Our Chinese Media Group's wealth of multimedia resources and student publications, integrated with Han Language Centre's innovative curriculum and systematic teaching methods, will make Chinese accessible, alive and interesting to our students."

The transaction will see SPH hold a 75 per cent interest in the business with Mr Ann holding the rest.

SPH's total investment will be about $8.5 million, of which $4.8 million will be paid on completion and the rest on the business achieving specific targets, SPH added in a statement.

The media and property firm is no stranger to the education sector, having invested $12 million for a 22 per cent stake in the pre-school and enrichment provider MindChamps in 2014.

Mr Ann said the collaboration with SPH will help enhance the branding of the Han Language Centre, which has "a valuable foundation of strong curriculum and teaching staff".

"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," he added.

A prominent figure in the Singapore theatre scene, Mr Ann was awarded the Cultural Medallion for Theatre in 1990 and has 45 years of teaching experience in the Chinese language.

His experience includes helping to develop primary school Chinese curriculum at the Curriculum Development Institute of Singapore of the Ministry of Education, and taking the role as guest lecturer at the Singapore Centre for Chinese Language from 2011 to 2013.

Mr Ann was also presented with the inaugural Singapore Chinese Cultural Contribution Award in May this year.

Correction note: An earlier version of the story wrongly named the award presented to Mr Ann Jong Juan. We are sorry for the error.