SPH investing $8.5m in Han Language Centre

SPH is joining forces with Mr Ann Jong Juan (right), the founder and principal of the Han Language Centre, which has 19 outlets. The joint venture will combine the expertise of both parties in education, culture as well as news and current affairs.
SPH is joining forces with Mr Ann Jong Juan (above), the founder and principal of the Han Language Centre, which has 19 outlets. The joint venture will combine the expertise of both parties in education, culture as well as news and current affairs.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Joint venture will develop Chinese-language education programmes and events

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 is joining forces with 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.

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

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"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 deal will see SPH holding a 75 per cent interest in the business, with Mr Ann owning the rest.

SPH's total investment outlay 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 will help enhance the branding of 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. He has 45 years of teaching experience in the Chinese language.

Earlier, in April, SPH acquired nursing home operator Orange Valley Healthcare for $164 million.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2017, with the headline 'SPH investing $8.5m in Han Language Centre'. Print Edition | Subscribe