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Set Up a Private Education Business in Hong Kong – Know The Lucrative and Relevant

How to Start a Private Education Business in Hong KongThe private education business in Hong Kong has always been a lucrative industry. As an international business hub, Hong Kong has no shortage of academic institutions, and even kindergarten and nurseries. Thus, all of which have been established by foreigners over the years who are keen to start a business in the country.


What License Do I Need to Start an Education Business in Hong Kong?

A “school” in Hong Kong is defined as an institution, establishment, or an organisation which intends to provide formal education for 20 or more individuals on any day, or more than 8 individuals at any given time. This includes correspondence courses. However, this term does not apply to non-academic institutions. Further, these institutions are those which offer practical, hands-on learning experiences. Moreover, the courses offered include cooking, grooming, dressmaking or hair-styling courses to name just a few. In such an instance, you will not require a Certificate of Registration of a School.

You need to obtain a Certificate of Registration of a School if you intend to start any of the following education businesses in Hong Kong:

  • kindergarten
  • primary and secondary academic school
  • tutorial centre
  • centre for enrichment offering diploma and certificate courses
  • distance learning centre.
  • centre for computer education
  • language school

You can obtain a license from the Education Bureau of Hong Kong. Meanwhile, private schools in Hong Kong are classified as:

  • Preschools and Kindergartens, or
  • Academic schools which offer structured, formal courses and theoretical education.


How to Apply for a License to Start an Education Business in Hong Kong

Before lodging your license application, you must fulfil the following pre-requisites:

  • Register your company with the Hong Kong Companies Registry and obtain your Certificate of Incorporation.
  • Find a suitable school premise. If the intended premise is not designed or constructed to be a school, you must obtain clearance from the following organisations before commencing:
    • Town Planning Board
    • Land Registry
    • Buildings Department
    • Fire Services Department
    • Housing Department
  • Must not exceed the maximum number of students per class. The maximum number of students for kindergarten classes must not exceed 30, while schools including primary, secondary and post-secondary must not exceed 45.
  • Have a proposed school name.
  • Appoint a school manager who must be registered with the Hong Kong Bureau of Education.
  • Meet the recommended classroom size of at least 7.9m x 6.9m (this will vary based on the number of expected students).
  • Have the necessary qualified teaching staff.


Documents to Submit

Once you’ve met the pre-requisites, you may then proceed with the license application. You must submit the following documents to the Education Bureau of Hong Kong:

  • The School premise Hand Handover Certificate/Occupation Permit/Letter of Direct Allocation
  • Prescribed application for Registration of a Manager
  • Application for Registration of a School
  • A prescribed additional information sheet with details of the school’s particulars
  • 5 copies of the proposed layout plan of the school premises
  • Copy of your class timetables and textbook list
  • Copy of the syllabus
  • A copy of your tenancy agreement/sale and purchase agreement which has been authorised by your landlord
  • Staff hiring expenditure
  • Name authorisation (if your school is named after a person or an organisation)
  • Two additional copies of the layout plans and lunch menu if you intend to set up a full-time kindergarten.
  • A copy of the layout plan for your computer room if your school intends to offer computer courses. Each student must have a computer and a floor area of no less than 1.5 square meters for each student.
  • Copies of your clearance forms (Town Planning, Land Registry, Fire Services, Buildings Department, etc) if applicable

How to Start a Private Education Business in Hong Kong


After Submitting the Requirements

A successful application will generally be processed within 10-20 working days. Moreover, the Education Bureau will issue you with the Certificate of Registration of School upon approval if your application has fulfilled all the requirements. This certificate must then be displayed on the school premise at all times. As the certificate has no expiry date, you do not need to renew this.

If your application does not comply with all the minimum requirements yet, then you can still get a Certificate of Provisional Registration, which will be valid for one year. You will also receive a list of what requirements you must satisfy, and failure to do so will not result in an extension of the provisional registration. You will have to re-apply for your Certificate of Registration in this case.