As part of its push to internationalise, pre-school chain Modern Montessori International (MMI) has launched its largest overseas pre-school campus - in Vietnam.
The campus - the firm's first in the country - is in the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Park, which was developed by a unit of Sembcorp and Vietnam state-owned enterprise Becamex IDC.
The Singapore-based company's $2 million venture in Vietnam follows a string of openings in Asia, including in Myanmar, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka. The early childhood education chain has more than 100 pre-schools and teacher training centres in the world, and has made inroads into more than 10 countries across Asia.
It is betting on the growing affluence of the middle class in emerging countries and their demand for high quality early childhood education.
Trade and Industry (Industry) Minister S. Iswaran, who attended the opening ceremony in Vietnam last Wednesday, said Singapore and businesses must remain open and connected to markets around the world, especially in South-east Asia, China and India.
"In South-east Asia, the middle class is rising with higher disposable income. One of the most important areas where they spend money is on education for their children, as well as in healthcare, housing and consumer goods. The opportunities are significant and we want to encourage our businesses to continue to explore."
$2m Value of Modern Montessori International's venture in Vietnam.
At its 22,000 sq ft campus in the affluent Binh Duong province, near Ho Chi Minh city, about 75 per cent of students are Vietnamese, said Mr Steven Kho, country manager of Modern Montessori Vietnam. It began operations in March last year, with an initial intake of 100 students, and has 25 staff members.
"We intend to almost double our student number to 170 by September next year, which is the beginning of the 2018-2019 academic term," he said.