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TAL TAL Education

Filed: 7 May 21, 4:02pm

UNITED STATES

SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION

WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

FORM 20-F

   REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

OR

   ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021.

OR

   TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the transition period from___to____.

OR

   SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Date of event requiring this shell company report

Commission file number: 001-34900

TAL Education Group

(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)

N/A

(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)

Cayman Islands

(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

15/F, Danling SOHO

6 Danling Street, Haidian District

Beijing 100080

People’s Republic of China

(Address of principal executive offices)

Rong Luo, Chief Financial Officer

Telephone: +86-10-5292-6658

Email: ir@tal.com

15/F, Danling SOHO

6 Danling Street, Haidian District

Beijing 100080

People’s Republic of China

(Name, Telephone, E-mail and/or Facsimile number and Address of Company Contact Person)

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.

Title of each class

    

Trading Symbol(s)

    

Name of each exchange on which registered

American Depositary Shares, each three representing one Class A common share*

 

NYSE: TAL

 

The New York Stock Exchange

Class A common shares, par value $0.001 per share**

NYSE: TAL**

The New York Stock Exchange

*     Effective on August 16, 2017, the ratio of ADSs to Class A common shares was changed from one ADS representing two Class A common shares to three ADSs representing one Class A common share.

**   Not for trading, but only in connection with the listing on The New York Stock Exchange of American depositary shares.

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act.

None

(Title of Class)

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act.

None

(Title of Class)

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report.

As of February 28, 2021, 147,995,578 Class A common shares, par value $0.001 per share

and 66,939,204 Class B common shares, par value $0.001 per share were outstanding.

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.

Yes                   No

If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.

Yes                   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.

Yes                   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).

Yes                   No

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.

  Large accelerated filer          Accelerated filer          Non-accelerated filer          Emerging growth company

If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:

 U.S. GAAP

   International Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board

  Other

If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.

Item 17                            Item 18

If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).

Yes                   No

(APPLICABLE ONLY TO ISSUERS INVOLVED IN BANKRUPTCY PROCEEDINGS DURING THE PAST FIVE YEARS)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed all documents and reports required to be filed by Sections 12, 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 subsequent to the distribution of securities under a plan confirmed by a court.

Yes                   No

The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

INTRODUCTION

In this annual report, except where the context otherwise requires, unless otherwise indicated and for purposes of this annual report only:

“China” or “PRC” refers to the People’s Republic of China, and for the purpose of this annual report, excluding Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau;

“we,” “us,” “our company” and “our” refer to TAL Education Group, a Cayman Islands company, and its subsidiaries, and, in the context of describing our operations and consolidated financial data, also include the Consolidated Affiliated Entities (as defined below);

“shares” or “common shares” refers to our Class A and Class B common shares, par value $0.001 per share;

“ADSs” refers to our American depositary shares, each three of which represent one Class A common share;

“VIEs” refers to Beijing Xueersi Network Technology Co., Ltd., or Xueersi Network, and Beijing Xueersi Education Technology Co., Ltd., or Xueersi Education, Xinxin Xiangrong Education Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. (the original name of which is Beijing Dididaojia Education Technology Co., Ltd.), or Xinxin Xiangrong, and Beijing Lebai Education Consulting Co., Ltd., or Lebai Education, all of which are domestic PRC companies in which we do not have equity interests but whose financial results have been consolidated into our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP; and “Consolidated Affiliated Entities” refers to our VIEs and the VIEs’ direct and indirect subsidiaries and schools;

“U.S. GAAP” refers to generally accepted accounting principles in the United States;

“student enrollments of normal priced long-term course” for a certain period refers to the total number of normal priced long-term courses enrolled in and paid for by our students during that period, including multiple courses enrolled in and paid for by the same student, excluding courses offered at significant discounts for promotional purposes or short-term courses offered on an ad hoc basis (as opposed to long-term courses that tend to track the school semesters and vacations);

“K-12” refers to the year before the first grade through the last year of high school;

“RMB” or “Renminbi” refers to the legal currency of China; and

“$” or “U.S. dollars” refers to the legal currency of the United States.

Our financial statements are expressed in U.S. dollars, which is our reporting currency. Certain of our financial data in this annual report on Form 20-F are translated into U.S. dollars solely for the reader’s convenience. Unless otherwise noted, all convenient translations from Renminbi to U.S. dollars in this annual report on Form 20-F were made at a rate of RMB6.4730 to $1.00, the exchange rate set forth in the H.10 statistical release of the Federal Reserve Board on February 26, 2021. We make no representation that any RMB or U.S. dollar amounts could have been, or could be, converted into U.S. dollars or Renminbi, as the case may be, at any particular rate, at the rate stated above, or at all.

1

FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This annual report contains forward-looking statements that reflect our current expectations and views of future events. These forward looking statements are made under the “safe-harbor” provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements.

You can identify some of these forward-looking statements by words or phrases such as “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “aim,” “estimate,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “is/are likely to” or other similar expressions. These forward-looking statements include statements relating to:

our anticipated growth strategies;
competition in the markets where we offer educational programs, services and products;
our future business development, results of operations and financial condition;
expected changes in our revenues and certain cost and expense items;
our ability to increase student enrollments and course fees and expand course offerings;
risks associated with the expansion of our geographic reach and our offering of new educational programs, services and products;
the expected increase in spending on private education in China; and
PRC laws, regulations and policies relating to private education and providers of after-school tutoring services.

We have based these forward-looking statements largely on our current expectations and projections about future events and financial trends that we believe may affect our financial condition, results of operations, business strategy and financial needs. Although we believe that our expectations expressed in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, our expectations may later be found to be incorrect. You should read this annual report and the documents that we refer to in this annual report completely and with the understanding that our actual future results may be materially different from and/or worse than what we expect. We qualify all of our forward-looking statements with these cautionary statements. Other sections of this annual report include additional factors which could adversely impact our business and financial performance. Moreover, we operate in an evolving environment. New risk factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for our management to predict all risk factors, nor can we assess the impact of all factors on our business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements.

The forward-looking statements made in this annual report relate only to events or information as of the date on which the statements are made in this annual report. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date on which the statements are made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

2

PART I

Item 1.  Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers

Not applicable.

Item 2.  Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable

Not applicable.

Item 3.  Key Information

(a)Selected Financial Data

Our Selected Consolidated Financial Data

The following selected consolidated statement of operations data for our company for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of February 28/29, 2020 and 2021 are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this annual report. The selected consolidated statement of operations data for our company for the fiscal years ended February 28, 2017 and 2018 and the selected consolidated balance sheet data as of February 28, 2017, 2018 and 2019 are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements not included in this annual report.

The selected consolidated financial data should be read in conjunction with, and are qualified in their entirety by reference to, our consolidated financial statements and related notes and “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” included elsewhere in this annual report. Our consolidated financial statements are prepared and presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

3

Our historical results are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected in any future period.

    

For the Years Ended February 28/29,

    

2017

    

2018

    

2019

    

2020

    

2021

(in thousands of $, except for share, per share and per ADS data)

Consolidated Statements of Operations Data:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Net revenues

$

1,043,100

$

1,715,016

$

2,562,984

$

3,273,308

$

4,495,755

Cost of revenues(1)

 

(522,327)

 

(882,316)

 

(1,164,454)

 

(1,468,569)

 

(2,048,561)

Gross profit

 

520,773

 

832,700

 

1,398,530

 

1,804,739

 

2,447,194

Operating expenses

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

Selling and marketing (1)

 

(126,005)

 

(242,102)

 

(484,000)

 

(852,808)

 

(1,680,050)

General and administrative (1)

 

(263,287)

 

(386,287)

 

(579,672)

 

(794,957)

 

(1,117,324)

Impairment loss on intangible assets and goodwill

 

 

(358)

 

 

(28,998)

 

(107,535)

Total operating expenses

 

(389,292)

 

(628,747)

 

(1,063,672)

 

(1,676,763)

 

(2,904,909)

Government subsidies

 

3,113

 

4,651

 

6,724

 

9,467

 

19,491

Income/(loss) from operations

 

134,594

 

208,604

 

341,582

 

137,443

 

(438,224)

Interest income

 

18,133

 

39,837

 

59,614

 

72,991

 

114,232

Interest expense

 

(13,145)

 

(16,640)

 

(17,628)

 

(11,820)

 

(16,946)

Other income/(expense)

 

23,074

 

17,406

 

131,727

 

(95,297)

 

140,878

Impairment loss on long-term investments

 

(8,075)

 

(2,213)

 

(58,091)

 

(153,970)

 

(24,563)

Income/(loss) before income tax (expense)/benefit and (loss)/income from equity method investments

 

154,581

 

246,994

 

457,204

 

(50,653)

 

(224,623)

Income tax (expense)/benefit

 

(34,066)

 

(44,653)

 

(76,504)

 

(69,328)

 

69,897

(Loss)/income from equity method investments

 

(8,025)

 

(7,678)

 

(16,186)

 

(7,670)

 

11,676

Net income/(loss)

 

112,490

 

194,663

 

364,514

 

(127,651)

 

(143,050)

Add: Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest

 

4,390

 

3,777

 

2,722

 

17,456

 

27,060

Net income/(loss) attributable to shareholders of TAL Education Group

 

116,880

 

198,440

 

367,236

 

(110,195)

 

(115,990)

Net income /(loss) per common share attributable to shareholders of TAL Education Group

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

Basic

$

0.72

$

1.13

$

1.93

$

(0.56)

$

(0.57)

Diluted

$

0.66

$

1.03

$

1.83

$

(0.56)

$

(0.57)

Net income /(loss) per ADS attributable to shareholders of TAL Education Group (2)

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

Basic

$

0.24

$

0.38

$

0.64

$

(0.19)

$

(0.19)

Diluted

$

0.22

$

0.34

$

0.61

$

(0.19)

$

(0.19)

Cash dividends per common share(3)

 

$

0.25

 

Weighted average shares used in calculating net income/(loss) per common share attributable to shareholders of TAL Education Group

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

Basic

 

162,548,494

 

174,979,574

 

189,951,643

 

198,184,370

 

203,603,391

Diluted

 

188,508,419

 

194,331,305

 

200,224,934

 

198,184,370

 

203,603,391

(1)Includes share-based compensation expenses as follows:

    

For the Years Ended February 28/29

    

2017

    

2018

    

2019

    

2020

    

2021

(in thousands of $)

Cost of revenues

$

111

$

366

$

706

$

1,074

$

1,803

Selling and marketing expenses

 

3,368

 

5,037

 

10,454

 

19,356

 

56,609

General and administrative expenses

 

32,636

 

41,747

 

66,117

 

97,513

 

146,533

Total

 

36,115

 

47,150

 

77,277

 

117,943

 

204,945

(2)Each three ADSs represent one Class A common share. Effective on August 16, 2017, we adjusted the ratio of our ADSs to Class A common shares from one ADS representing two Class A common shares to three ADSs representing one Class A common share. All earnings per ADS figures in this report give effect to the foregoing ADS to share ratio change.

4

    

As of February 28/29

    

2017

    

2018

    

2019

    

2020

    

2021

(in thousands of $)

Summary Consolidated Balance Sheet Data:

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

 

  

Cash and cash equivalents

$

470,217

$

711,519

$

1,247,140

$

1,873,866

$

3,242,953

Total assets

 

1,828,906

 

3,054,560

 

3,735,091

 

5,571,246

 

12,112,309

Deferred revenue

 

518,874

 

842,256

 

436,107

 

781,000

 

1,417,498

Total liabilities

 

1,148,042

 

1,414,096

 

1,204,614

 

3,027,049

 

6,907,753

Total mezzanine equity

1,775

Total equity

 

680,864

 

1,640,464

 

2,530,477

 

2,544,197

 

5,202,781

(3)Total cash dividends paid for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2018 was $41.2 million.

(b)

Capitalization and Indebtedness

Not applicable.

(c)

Reasons for the Offer and Use of Proceeds

Not applicable.

(d)

Risk Factors

Risks Related to Our Business

If we are not able to continue to attract students to enroll in our courses without significantly decreasing course fees, our business and prospects will be materially and adversely affected.

The success of our business depends primarily on the number of students enrolled in our courses and the amount of course fees that our students are willing to pay. Therefore, our ability to continue to attract students to enroll in our courses without a significant decrease in course fees is critical to the continued success and growth of our business. This in turn will depend on several factors, including our ability to continue to develop new programs and enhance or adapt existing programs to respond to changes in market trends, student demands and government policies, expand our geographic reach, manage our growth while maintaining consistent and high teaching quality, effectively market our programs to a broader base of prospective students, develop additional high-quality educational content and respond effectively to competitive pressures. If we are unable to continue to attract students without significantly decreasing course fees to enroll in our courses, our revenues may decline, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

5

We may not be able to continue to recruit, train and retain qualified and dedicated teachers, who are critical to the success of our business and the effective delivery of our tutoring services to students.

Our teachers are critical to the quality of our services and our reputation. We seek to hire qualified and dedicated teachers who deliver effective and inspirational instruction. There is a limited pool of teachers with these attributes, and we must provide competitive compensation packages to attract and retain such teachers. We must also provide continued training to our teachers to ensure that they stay abreast of changes in student demands, academic standards and other key trends necessary to teach effectively. We may not be able to recruit, train and retain a sufficient number of qualified teachers in the future to keep pace with our growth while maintaining consistent teaching quality in the different markets we serve. In addition, PRC laws and regulations require the teachers to have requisite licenses if they teach, among others, academic subject such as Chinese, mathematics, English, physics, chemistry and other academic subjects in the compulsory education stage and academic subjects related to the entrance to a higher school, but we cannot assure you that our teachers can all apply for and obtain the teaching licenses in a timely manner or at all. If our teachers are not able to apply for and obtain the teaching licenses on a timely basis, or at all, we may need to rectify such noncompliance and may be subject to penalties and risk exposure to regulatory order to suspend operations or cancelation or revocation of the private school operating permit issued by relevant PRC authority in accordance with the PRC Private Education Law, or a Permit for Operating a Private School or other regulatory and disciplinary sanctions. Moreover, if the teachers for our online courses do not fully comply with the teacher qualification requirements, or these teachers are teaching at elementary or middle school at the same time, they may not be able to deliver such online courses, which would eventually adversely affect the delivery of our tutoring services to students. A shortage of qualified teachers or a decrease in the quality of our teachers’ services, whether actual or perceived, or a significant increase in compensation for us to retain qualified teachers, would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We may not be able to improve the content of our existing courses or to develop new courses or services in a timely or cost-effective manner.

We constantly update and improve the content of our existing courses and develop new courses or services to meet changing market demands or requirements from related government authorities. Revisions to our existing courses and our newly developed courses or services may not be well received by existing or prospective students or their parents. If we cannot respond effectively to changes in market demands or requirements from related government authorities, our business may be adversely affected. Even if we are able to develop new courses or services that are well received, we may not be able to introduce them in a timely or cost-effective manner. If we do not respond adequately to changes in market demands, our ability to attract and retain students may be impaired and our financial results could suffer.

Offering new courses or services or modifying existing courses may require us to invest in content development, increase marketing efforts and re-allocate resources away from other uses. We may have limited experience with the content of new courses or services and may need to adjust our systems and strategies to incorporate new courses or services into our existing offerings. If we are unable to continuously improve the content of our existing courses, or offer new courses or services in a timely or cost-effective manner, our results of operations and financial condition could be adversely affected.

6

If we are not able to maintain and enhance the value of our brand, our business and operating results may be harmed.

We believe that market awareness of our “Xueersi” brand has contributed significantly to the success of our business, and that maintaining and enhancing the value of this brand is critical to maintaining and enhancing our competitive advantage. If we are unable to successfully promote and market our brand and services, our ability to attract new students could be adversely impacted and, consequently, our financial performance could suffer. We mainly rely on word-of-mouth referrals to attract prospective students. We also use integrated marketing tools and tactics such as the internet, WeChat, social media, public lectures, outdoor advertising campaigns, co-brand promotions, and distribution of marketing materials to promote our brand and service offerings. In order to maintain and increase our brand recognition and promote our new service offerings, we have increased our marketing personnel and expenses over the last several years. We have also sought to strengthen recognition for our other brands, such as our “Haoweilai” brand, which is the umbrella brand for all our brands, our “Xueersi” brand, through which we offer small classes covering major subjects in supplement to school learnings, our “Izhikang” brand, through which we offer personalized premium services, our “Mobby” and “Firstleap” brand, through which we offer small classes for young learners. A number of factors could prevent us from successfully promoting our brand, including student dissatisfaction with our services, the failure of our marketing tools and strategies to attract prospective students. In addition, our brand may be adversely affected by misconduct and non-compliance, including those related to license or qualification requirements, of our business partners who purchase our courses and system support. If we are unable to maintain and enhance our existing brand, successfully develop additional brands, or utilize marketing tools in a cost-effective manner, our revenues and profitability may suffer. See “— Our brand image, business and results of operations may be adversely impacted by illegal, fraudulent or collusive activities or other wrongdoings by our employees and third parties acting on our behalf.”

Moreover, we offer a variety of courses to primary, middle and high school students in some of the large cities in China. As we continue to grow in size, expand our course offerings and extend our geographic reach, it may be more difficult to maintain quality and consistent standards of our services and to protect and promote our brand name.

Furthermore, we cannot assure you that our sales and marketing efforts will be successful in further promoting our brand in a cost-effective manner. If we are unable to further enhance our brand recognition and increase awareness of our services, or if we incur excessive sales and marketing expenses, our business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

Our historical financial and operating results, growth rates and profitability may not be indicative of future performance.

Our net revenues increased from $2,563.0 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019, to $3,273.3 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 and further to $4,495.8 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021. Any evaluation of our business and our prospects must be considered in light of the risks and uncertainties encountered by companies at our stage of development. The after-school tutoring service market in China continually develops and evolves, which makes it difficult to evaluate our business and future prospects. In addition, our past results may not be indicative of future performance because of new businesses developed or acquired by us. Furthermore, our results of operations may vary from period to period in response to a variety of other factors beyond our control, including general economic conditions and regulations or government actions pertaining to the private education service sector in China, changes in spending on private education and non-recurring charges incurred under unexpected circumstances or in connection with acquisitions, equity investments or other extraordinary transactions. Due to these and other factors, our historical financial and operating results, growth rates and profitability as well as quarter-to-quarter comparisons of our operating results may not be indicative of our future performance and you should not rely on them to predict our future performance.

If our students’ level of performance deteriorates or satisfaction with our services declines, they may decide to withdraw from our courses and request refunds and our business, financial condition, results of operations and reputation would be adversely affected.

The success of our business depends on our ability to deliver a satisfactory learning experience and improved academic results. Our tutoring services may fail to improve a student’s academic performance and a student may perform below expectations even after completing our courses. We also face challenges to improve students’ overall ability on top of improving their academic performance. Additionally, student and parent satisfaction with our services may decline. A student’s learning experience may also suffer if his or her relationship with our teachers does not meet expectations. We generally offer refunds for the remaining classes in a course to students who withdraw from the course. If a significant number of students fail to improve their academic performance after attending our courses or if they are not satisfied with our service or their learning experiences, they may decide to withdraw from our courses and request refunds, and our business, financial condition, results of operations and reputation would be adversely affected.

7

We face significant competition, and if we fail to compete effectively, we may lose our market share or fail to gain additional market share, and our profitability may be adversely affected.

The private education market in China is rapidly evolving, highly fragmented and competitive, and we expect competition to persist and intensify. We face competition in each type of services we offer and in each geographic market where we operate. Our competitors include online and offline after-school tutoring service providers.

Our student enrollments may decrease due to intense competition. Some of our competitors may be able to devote greater resources than we can to the development, promotion and sale of their programs, services and products and respond more quickly than we can to changes in student needs, testing materials, admission standards, market trends or new technologies. In addition, some smaller local companies may be able to respond more quickly to changes in student preferences in some of our targeted markets. Moreover, the increasing use of the internet and advances in internet, mobile internet, computer-related technologies, such as online live broadcasting technologies, are eliminating geographic and physical facility-related entry barriers to providing private education services. As a result, smaller local companies or internet-content providers may be able to use the internet or mobile internet to offer their programs, services and products quickly and cost-effectively to a large number of students with less capital expenditure than previously required. Consequently, we may be pressured to reduce course fees or increase spending in response to competition in order to retain or attract students or pursue new market opportunities, which could result in a decrease in our revenues and profitability. We will also face increased competition as we expand our operations. We cannot assure you that we will be able to compete successfully against current or future competitors. If we are unable to maintain our competitive position or otherwise effectively respond to competition, we may lose our market share or fail to gain additional market share, and our profitability may be adversely affected.

Failure to effectively and efficiently manage the expansion of our service network may materially and adversely affect our ability to capitalize on new business opportunities.

Our business has experienced growth in recent years. The number of our learning centers increased from 676 as of February 28, 2019 to 1,098 as of February 28, 2021. We plan to continue to expand our operations in different geographic markets in China. The establishment of new learning centers poses challenges and requires us to make investments in management, capital expenditures, marketing expenses and other resources. The expansion has resulted, and will continue to result, in substantial demands on our management and staff as well as our financial, operational, technological and other resources. In addition, we typically incur pre-opening costs associated with our new learning centers, and may incur losses during their initial ramp-up stage because we incur rent, salary and other operating expenses for new learning centers regardless of any revenues we may generate. If the ramp-up of our new learning centers is slower than expected, whether due to our inability to attract sufficient student enrollments or charge hourly rates for our courses that are high enough for us to recover our costs, our overall financial performance may be materially and adversely affected. Our planned expansion will also place significant pressure on us to maintain teaching quality and consistent standards, controls, policies and our culture to ensure that our brand does not suffer as a result of any decrease, whether actual or perceived, in the quality of our programs. To manage and support our expansion, we must improve our existing operational, administrative and technological systems and our financial and management controls, and recruit, train and retain additional qualified teachers and management personnel as well as other administrative and marketing personnel. We cannot assure you that we will be able to effectively and efficiently manage the growth of our operations, maintain or accelerate our current growth rate, maintain or increase our gross and operating profit margins, recruit and retain qualified teachers and management personnel, successfully integrate new learning centers into our operations and otherwise effectively manage our growth. If we are not successful in effectively and efficiently managing our expansion, we may not be able to capitalize on new business opportunities, which may have a material and adverse impact on our financial condition and results of operations.

If we fail to successfully execute our growth strategies, our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected.

Our growth strategies include further penetrating our existing markets, extending our geographic reach into new regions, further developing our online course offerings and online education platform and making acquisitions and investments to complement our existing business and offerings. We may not succeed in executing our growth strategies due to a number of factors, including, without limitation, the following:

we may fail to identify, and effectively market our services in, new markets with sufficient growth potential into which to expand our network or promote new courses in existing markets;

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it may be difficult to increase the number of learning centers in more developed cities;
although we have replicated our growth model in Beijing to certain other cities, we may not be able to continue to do so to additional geographic markets, especially to lower-tier cities, and we might experience decline in our Beijing business that would offset the growth we are experiencing in other geographic markets;
our analysis for selecting suitable new locations may not be accurate and the demand for our services at the newly selected locations may not materialize or increase as rapidly as we expect;
we may fail to obtain the requisite licenses and permits necessary to open learning centers at our desired locations from local authorities or face risks in opening without the requisite licenses and permits;
we may not be able to manage our personalized premium services business efficiently and cost-effectively;
we may not be able to continue to enhance our online offerings or expand them to new markets, generate profits from online offerings, or adapt online offerings to changing student needs and technological advances such that we will continue to face significant student acquisition costs in the markets we enter;
we may not be profitable in our new tutoring business and may encounter obstacles in expanding our new tutoring business to other markets; and
we may not be able to successfully integrate acquired businesses and may not be able to achieve the benefits we expect from recent and future acquisitions or investments.

If we fail to successfully execute our growth strategies, we may not be able to maintain our growth rate and our business and prospects may be materially and adversely affected as a result.

We are subject to risks related to global expansion.

We expect to expand our business globally. Since fiscal year 2020, we established a new school in the United States and expanded our business into other countries as well. Our business and operation are subject to a variety of laws and regulations in these jurisdictions which are evolving and subject to potentially differing interpretations, including the General Data Protection Regulation, or the GDPR, in the European Union, the Data Protection Act 2018 in the United Kingdom and anti-long-arm jurisdiction related laws and regulations such as the one newly promulgated in China. There is no harmonized approach to these laws and regulations globally. Consequently, we could face increased risk and uncertainty of non-compliance with applicable laws by expanding internationally. We may need to change and limit the way we operate our business and may have difficulty maintaining the current operating model that is compliant. As a general matter, compliance with laws and regulations may result in substantial costs and may necessitate changes to our business practices, and otherwise adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We derive a significant portion of our revenues from a limited number of cities. Any event negatively affecting the private education market in these cities, or any increase in the level of competition for the types of services we offer in these cities, could have a material adverse effect on our overall business and results of operations.

Although we have expanded our offerings into a broad range of cities in China, we derive a significant portion of our revenues from a limited number of cities. For the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, we derived a significant portion of our total net revenues from our Xueersi small-class offering in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Nanjing and we expect these five cities to continue to constitute important sources of our revenues. If any of these cities experiences an event negatively affecting its private education market, such as a serious economic downturn, natural disaster or outbreak of contagious disease, adopts regulations relating to private education that place additional restrictions or burdens on us, or experiences an increase in the level of competition for the types of services we offer, our overall business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

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We may not achieve expected results from our new initiatives.

We engage in new initiatives from time to time to expand our offerings or market reach. For example, we may offer low-pricing and/or free courses to a large number of users. We may devote significant resources to our new initiatives, but fail to achieve expected results from such new initiatives. If such new initiatives are not well accepted, the reputation of our other class offerings and our overall brand and reputation may be harmed. As a result, our overall business and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

Our brand image, business and results of operations may be adversely impacted by illegal, fraudulent or collusive activities or other wrongdoings by our employees and third parties acting on our behalf.

Illegal, fraudulent or collusive activities or other wrongdoings by our employees or third parties acting on our behalf could subject us to liability or negative publicity and harm our business. Negative publicity generated as a result of actual or alleged wrongdoings by our employees or the third parties could damage our reputation and diminish the value of our brand, and materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We are exposed to the risk of various types of by illegal, fraudulent or collusive activities or other wrongdoings, including but not limited to taking kickbacks, forging documentation, etc. It is not always possible to deter or discover wrongdoings, and the precautionary or remedial measures we take may not be effective in controlling unknown or unmanaged risks or losses. An example of such incident is the one related to the “Light Class” business. See “Item 8. Financial Information-A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information-Legal and Administrative Proceedings-Internal Review and SEC Proceeding.”

Our reputation and the trading price of our ADSs may be negatively affected by adverse publicity or detrimental conduct against us.

Adverse publicity concerning our failure or perceived failure to comply with legal and regulatory requirements, alleged accounting or financial reporting irregularities, regulatory scrutiny and further regulatory action or litigation could harm our reputation and cause the trading price of our ADSs to decline and fluctuate significantly. For example, after Muddy Waters Capital LLC, an entity unrelated to us, issued a series of reports containing various allegations about us in June and July 2018, the trading price of our ADSs declined sharply and we received numerous investor inquiries. The negative publicity and the resulting decline of the trading price of our ADSs also led to the filing of two shareholder class action lawsuits against us and some of our senior executive officers.

We may continue to be the target of adverse publicity and detrimental conduct against us, including complaints, anonymous or otherwise, to regulatory agencies regarding our operations, accounting, revenues and regulatory compliance. Additionally, allegations against us may be posted on the internet by any person or entity which identifies itself or on an anonymous basis. We may be subject to government or regulatory investigation or inquiries, or shareholder lawsuits, as a result of such third-party conduct and may be required to incur significant time and substantial costs to defend ourselves, and there is no assurance that we will be able to conclusively refute each of the allegations within a reasonable period of time or at all. Our reputation may also be negatively affected as a result of the public dissemination of allegations or malicious statements about us, which in turn may materially and adversely affect the trading price of our ADSs.

We have been named as a defendant in a putative shareholder class action lawsuit and are subject to the SEC Investigation which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operation, cash flows and reputation.

We are defending against a putative shareholder class action lawsuit described in “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information-Legal and Administrative Proceedings-Litigation,” including any appeals of such lawsuit. Although we have reached an agreement in principle to settle all claims with plaintiffs, there is no guarantee that the Court will approve it. If the settlement fails and the litigation continues, we are unable to estimate the possible loss or possible range of loss, if any, associated with the resolution of this lawsuit. Any adverse outcome of this case could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operation, cash flows and reputation. In addition, there can be no assurance that our insurance carriers will cover all or part of the defense costs, or any liabilities that may arise from these matters. The litigation process may utilize a significant portion of our cash resources and divert management’s attention from the day-to-day operations of our company, all of which could harm our business. We also may be subject to claims for indemnification related to these matters, and we cannot predict the impact that indemnification claims may have on our business or financial results.

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In addition, as described in “Item 8. Financial Information—A. Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information-Legal and Administrative Proceedings-Internal Review and SEC Proceeding,” of this annual report, the SEC’s Division of Enforcement has sought the production of certain documents and information related to the transactions identified in the Muddy Water report, issues related to the “Light Class” business that we announced in April 2020, and the subsequent internal reviews regarding these issues and other related information. We are cooperating with the SEC. We cannot predict or provide any assurance as to the timing, outcome or consequences of the SEC investigation. We have incurred, and may continue to incur, significant expenses related to legal, accounting, and other professional services in connection with matters relating to or arising from the internal review and SEC investigation. Moreover, if the SEC were to determine that legal violations occurred, we could be required to pay significant civil penalties and/or other amounts and we could become subject to other remedies or conditions imposed as part of any resolution.

Failure to adequately and promptly respond to changes in PRC laws and regulations on school curriculum, examination systems and admission standards in China could render our courses and services less attractive to students.

Under the PRC education system, school admissions rely heavily on examination results. College and high school entrance examinations in most cases are mandatory for high school and middle school graduates to gain admission to colleges and high schools, respectively. Therefore, a student’s performance in these examinations is critical to his or her education and future employment prospects. It is therefore common for students to take after-school tutoring classes to improve performance, and the success of our business to a large extent depends on the continued use of assessment process by high schools and colleges in their admissions. However, this heavy emphasis on examination scores may decline or fall out of favor with educational institutions or education authorities in China. We face challenge to help students to improve their overall ability and quality other than improving their school grades.

Admission and assessment processes in China constantly undergo changes and developments in terms of subject and skill focus, question type, examination format and the manner in which the processes are administered. We are therefore required to continually update and enhance our curriculum, course materials and teaching methods. Any inability to track and respond to these changes in a timely and cost-effective manner would make our services and products less attractive to students, which may materially and adversely affect our reputation and ability to continue to attract students, and in turn have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.

Regulations and policies which focus on the efforts to de-emphasize scholastic competition achievements in college and high school admissions or the efforts to forbid academic competitions have had, and may continue to have, an impact on our enrollments. In particular, on February 13, 2018, the Ministry of Education, or MoE, together with three other government authorities, jointly promulgated the Circular on Special Enforcement Campaign concerning After-school Tutoring Institutions to Alleviate Extracurricular Burden on Students of Elementary Schools and Middle Schools, or Circular 3, pursuant to which private training organizations are strictly prohibited from organizing any academic competitions (such as Olympiad competitions) or level tests for students of elementary or middle schools and the elementary and middle schools are prohibited from taking the training results from private training organizations into account in the enrollment process. These policies and measures may adversely affect the demands for our after-school tutoring business and personalized premium services. We have adapted our operations which may be construed as competitions or ranking activities to these regulations. We cannot assure you whether relevant governmental authorities will find our operations in violation of such regulations.

Accidents or injuries suffered by our students or other people caused by us, or perceived to be caused by us may adversely affect our reputation, subject us to liability and cause us to incur substantial costs.

We have a large number of students and their parents on our premises to attend classes and/or use our facilities, and they may suffer accidents or injuries or other harm on our premises, including those caused by or otherwise arise from the actions of our employees or contractors. Although we have since enhanced preventive measures to avoid similar incidents, we cannot assure you that there will be no similar incidents in the future. We also organize overseas trips for students as a part of certain of our services, and our students may be involved in accidents or suffer injuries or other harm on these trips.

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In the event of accidents or injuries or other harm caused or perceived to be caused by us, our facilities and/or services may be perceived to be unsafe, which may discourage prospective students from attending our classes and participate in our activities. Although we carry certain liability insurance policies for our students and their parents, they may not be sufficient to cover the compensation or even applicable to the accidents or injuries occurred. We could also face claims alleging that we should be liable for the accidents or injuries, or we were negligent, provided inadequate supervision to our employees or contractors and therefore should be held jointly liable for harm caused by them. A material liability claim against us or any of our teachers or independent contractors could adversely affect our reputation, enrollment and revenues. Even if unsuccessful, such a claim could create unfavorable publicity, cause us to incur substantial expenses and divert the time and attention of our management.

Our advertising and promotional content may subject us to penalties and other administrative actions.

Under PRC advertising, pricing and anti-unfair competition laws and regulations, we are obligated to monitor our advertising and promotional content to ensure that such content is true and accurate and in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations. For example, the PRC Pricing Law provides that an operator is prohibited from using false or misunderstanding pricing methods to induce consumers or other operators into trading with it. In addition, education or training advertisement are further prohibited from containing content such as guarantee of passing of examination or the effect of education or training, recommendation and/or endorsement by scientific research institutes, academic institutions, educational organizations, industry associations, professionals or beneficiaries using their name or image. Violation of these laws and regulations may subject us to penalties, including fines, confiscation of our advertising income, orders to cease dissemination of the advertisements and orders to publish an announcement correcting the misleading information. In circumstances of our serious violations, government authorities may force us to terminate our advertising operations or revoke our licenses.

Relevant regulatory authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing the advertising, pricing and anti-unfair competition laws and regulations. We cannot assure you that all the content contained in our advertisements and promotional content is true and accurate as required by, and complies in all aspects with, the advertising, pricing and anti-unfair competition laws and regulations. We also cannot assure you that we can rectify such content which is deemed not in compliance with such laws and regulations in a timely manner or at all, especially given the uncertainty in the interpretation of these PRC laws and regulations. If we are found to be in violation of applicable PRC advertising, pricing and anti-unfair competition laws and regulations, we may be subject to penalties and our reputation may be harmed, which may negatively affect our operations, financial condition and prospects.

Our new courses and services may compete with our existing offerings.

We are constantly developing new courses and services to meet changes in student demands, school curriculum, testing materials, admission standards, market trends and technologies. While some of the courses and services that we develop will expand our current offerings and increase student enrollment, others may compete with or render obsolete our existing offerings without increasing our total student enrollment. For example, our online courses might attract students away from our classroom-based courses. If we are unable to increase our total student enrollment and profitability as we expand our course and service offerings, our business and growth may be adversely affected.

If we are not able to continually enhance our online courses and services and adapt to rapid changes in technological demands and student needs, we may lose market share and our business could be adversely affected.

Widespread use of the internet for educational purposes is a relatively recent occurrence, and the market for internet-based courses and services is characterized by rapid technological changes and innovations, such as artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, as well as unpredictable product life cycles and user preferences. We have limited experience with online courses and services. We must be able to adapt quickly to changing student needs and preferences, technological advances and evolving internet practices in order to compete successfully in online education. Ongoing enhancement of our online offerings and technologies may entail significant expenses and technological risks, and we may not be able to use new technologies effectively and may fail to adapt to changes in the online education market on a timely and cost-effective basis. We began offering online courses through our www.xueersi.com in 2010 and revenues generated from our online course offerings through www.xueersi.com accounted for 13.3%, 18.9% and 28.4% of our total net revenues in the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. We expect that revenues from our online course offerings will increase. However, if improvements to our online offerings and technologies are delayed, result in systems interruptions or are not aligned with market expectations or preferences, we may lose market share and our growth prospects could be adversely affected.

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Our success depends on the continuing efforts of our senior management team and other key personnel and our business may be harmed if we lose their services.

Our future success depends heavily upon the continuing services of the members of our senior management team. If any member of our senior management team leaves us and we fail to effectively manage a transition to new personnel in the future or if we fail to attract and retain qualified and experienced professionals on acceptable terms, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected. Competition for experienced management personnel in the education industry is intense, the pool of qualified candidates is very limited, and we may not be able to retain the services of our senior executives or key personnel, or to attract and retain high-quality senior executives or key personnel in the future.

Our success also depends on our having highly trained financial, technical, human resource, sales and marketing staff, management personnel and qualified and dedicated teachers for local markets. We will need to continue to hire additional personnel as our business grows. A shortage in the supply of personnel with requisite skills or our failure to recruit them could impede our ability to increase revenues from our existing courses and services, to launch new course and service offerings and to expand our operations, and would have an adverse effect on our business and financial results.

Failure to control rental costs, obtain leases at desired locations at reasonable prices or protect our leasehold interests could materially and adversely affect our business.

Our office space and service and learning centers are presently mainly located on leased premises. We may not be able to obtain new leases at desirable locations or renew our existing leases on acceptable terms or at all, which could adversely affect our business. We may have to relocate our operations for various other reasons, including increasing rentals, failure in passing the fire inspection in certain locations and the early termination of lease agreements. In addition, if the leased premises where our learning centers are located do not pass the fire inspection or do not comply with the relevant fire safety regulations, we may have to close such learning centers. We also have not registered most of our lease agreements with the relevant PRC governmental authorities as required by relevant PRC law. We may be required by the relevant governmental authorities to complete such registration, or otherwise be subject to fines ranging from RMB1,000 to RMB10,000 for each lease agreement that has not been registered. However, failure to complete such registration would not affect the enforceability of the relevant lease agreements in practice.

In addition, a few of our lessors have not been able to provide us with document proving completion of the fire inspection of the leased premises, copies of title certificates or other evidentiary documents to prove that they have authorization to lease the properties to us. Our business and legal teams followed an internal guideline to identify and assess risks in connection with leasing the properties, and a final business decision was made after our analysis of the likely impact of the defects on the leasehold interests and the value of the properties to our expansion plan. However, there is no assurance that our decision would always lead to the favorable outcome we expected to achieve. If any of our leases are terminated as a result of challenges by third parties or government authorities for lack of title certificates or proof of authorization to lease, we do not expect to be subject to any fines or penalties but we may be forced to relocate the affected learning centers and incur additional expenses relating to such relocation. If our use of the leased premises is challenged by relevant government authorities for lack of fire inspection, we may be further subject to fines and also be forced to relocate the affected learning centers and incur additional expenses. If we fail to find suitable replacement sites in a timely manner or on terms acceptable to us, our business and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected.

Capacity constraints of our teaching facilities could cause us to lose students to our competitors.

The teaching facilities of our physical network are limited in size and number of classrooms. We may not be able to admit all students who would like to enroll in our courses due to the capacity constraints of our teaching facilities. This would deprive us of the opportunity to serve them and to potentially develop a long-term relationship with them for continued services. If we fail to expand our physical capacity as quickly as the demand for our classroom-based services grows, we could lose potential students to our competitors, and our results of operations and business prospects could suffer.

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If we fail to protect our intellectual property rights, our brand and business may suffer.

We consider our copyrights, trademarks, trade names, internet domain names, patents and other intellectual property rights invaluable to our ability to continue to develop and enhance our brand recognition. Unauthorized use of our intellectual property rights may damage our reputation and brands. Our “Xueersi” brand and logo is a registered trademark in China. Our proprietary curricula and course materials are protected by copyrights. However, preventing infringement on or misuse of intellectual property rights could be difficult, costly and time-consuming, particularly in China. The measures we take to protect our intellectual property rights may not be adequate to prevent unauthorized uses. Furthermore, application of laws governing intellectual property rights in China is uncertain and evolving, and could involve substantial risks to us. There have been several incidents in the past where third parties used our brand “Xueersi” without our authorization, and on occasion we have needed to resort to litigation to protect our intellectual property rights. In addition, we are still in the process of applying for the registration in China of the trademarks for our “Haoweilai” brand in certain categories. We cannot assure you that the relevant governmental authorities will grant us the approval to register such trademarks. As a result, we may be unable to prevent third parties from utilizing this brand name, which may have an adverse impact on our brand image. If we are unable to adequately protect our intellectual property rights in the future, we may lose these rights, our brand name may be harmed, and our reputation and business may suffer materially. Furthermore, our management’s attention may be diverted by violations of our intellectual property rights, and we may be required to enter into costly litigation to protect our proprietary rights against any infringement or violation.

We may encounter disputes from time to time relating to our use of the intellectual property of third parties.

We cannot assure you that our courses and marketing materials, online courses, products, and platform or other intellectual property developed or used by us do not or will not infringe upon valid copyrights or other intellectual property rights held by third parties. We may encounter disputes from time to time over rights and obligations concerning intellectual property, and we may not prevail in those disputes. We have adopted policies and procedures to prohibit our employees and contractors from infringing upon third-party copyright or intellectual property rights. However, we cannot assure you that our teachers or other personnel will not, against our policies, use third-party copyrighted materials or intellectual property without proper authorization in our classes, on our websites, at any of our locations or via any medium through which we provide our programs. Our users may also post unauthorized third-party content on our websites. We may incur liability for unauthorized duplication or distribution of materials posted on our websites or used in our classes. We have been involved in claims against us alleging our infringement of third-party intellectual property rights and we may be subject to such claims in the future. Any such intellectual property infringement claim could result in costly litigation, harm our reputation and divert our management attention and resources and pay substantial damage.

We may fail to successfully make necessary or desirable acquisition or investment, and we may not be able to achieve the benefits we expect from recent and future acquisitions or investments.

We have made and intend to continue to make acquisitions or equity investments in additional businesses that complement our existing business. We may not be able to successfully integrate our acquired businesses. If the businesses we acquire do not subsequently generate the anticipated financial performance or if any goodwill impairment test triggering event occurs, we may need to revalue or write down the value of goodwill and other intangible assets in connection with such acquisitions or investments, which would harm our results of operations.

We may not have any control over the businesses or operations of our minority equity investments, the value of which may decline over time. For the investments accounted for by the equity method, we book a gain or loss of share of net income or loss of the investments. If the investee’s operation or financial performance deteriorated, we may need to revalue or record impairment to the carrying amount of the long-term investment, which would harm our results of operations.

In addition, we may be unable to identify appropriate acquisition or strategic investment targets when it is necessary or desirable to make such acquisition or investment to remain competitive or to expand our business. Even if we identify an appropriate acquisition or investment target, we may not be able to negotiate the terms of the acquisition or investment successfully, finance the proposed transaction or integrate the relevant businesses into our existing business and operations. Furthermore, as we often do not have control over the companies in which we only have minority stake, we cannot ensure that these companies always will comply with applicable laws and regulations in their business operations. Material non-compliance by our investees may cause substantial harms to our reputations and the value of our investment.

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We face risks associated with the Firstleap franchisees.

A small portion of the Firstleap business is operated through franchisees, or the Firstleap franchisees, instead of Lebai Education and its subsidiaries and schools. These franchisees are typically located in lower-tier cities and operate their own learning centers not within our network. The Firstleap franchisees have very limited impact on our overall business and financial performance, and schools operated by them are not included in the counts of our schools, learning centers and service centers, and student enrollments from these schools are not included as our student enrollments. However, we are still subject to risks inherent to the franchising model and we have not had experience in operating the franchising model and dealing with such risks.

Our control over the Firstleap franchisees is based on contractual agreements, which may not be as effective as direct ownership and potentially makes it difficult for us to manage the franchisees. We do not have direct control over their service quality, and do not directly recruit, manage and train their employees. As a result, we may not be able to successfully monitor, maintain and improve the performance of the Firstleap franchisees and their employees. However, they carry out the Firstleap tutoring services and directly interact with students and their parents. In the event of any delinquent performance by the Firstleap franchisees and their employees, we may suffer from business reduction as well as reputational damage. In the event of any unlawful or unethical conduct by the Firstleap franchisees and/or their employees, we may suffer financial losses, incur liabilities and suffer reputation damage. Meanwhile, a franchisee may suspend or terminate its cooperation with us voluntarily or involuntarily due to various reasons, including disagreement or dispute with us, or failure to maintain requisite approvals, licenses or permits or to comply with other governmental regulations. We may not be able to find alternative ways to continue to provide the tutoring services formerly covered by such franchisee, and our student/parent satisfaction, reputation and financial performance may be adversely affected.

Seasonal and other fluctuations in our results of operations could adversely affect the trading price of our ADSs.

Our business is subject to fluctuations caused by seasonality or other factors beyond our control, which may cause our operating results to fluctuate from quarter to quarter. This may result in volatility and adversely affect the price of our ADSs. We have experienced, and expect to continue to experience, seasonal fluctuations in our revenues and results of operations, primarily due to seasonal changes in student enrollments. However, our expenses vary, and certain of our expenses do not necessarily correspond with changes in our student enrollments and revenues. For example, we make investments in marketing and promotion, teacher recruitment and training, and product development throughout the year and we pay rent for our facilities based on the terms of the lease agreements. In addition, other factors beyond our control, such as special events that take place during a quarter when our student enrollment would normally be high, may have a negative impact on our student enrollments. We expect quarterly fluctuations in our revenues and results of operations to continue. These fluctuations could result in volatility and adversely affect the price of our ADSs. As our revenues grow, these seasonal fluctuations may become more pronounced.

If we cannot obtain sufficient cash when we need it, we may not be able to meet our payment obligations under our indebtedness.

On December 19, 2019, we entered into a loan facilities agreement with a group of lenders pursuant to which we can draw down up to RMB1,800 million, provided that the proceeds be used for our construction project in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu.

In January 2021, we issued certain convertible notes for a total proceed of approximately US$2.3 billion to a group of investors.

We cannot assure you that we will have sufficient funds to fulfill our payment obligations under our indebtedness. Our ability to meet our payment obligations under our indebtedness depends on our ability to generate sufficient cash flow, which is subject to general economic, financial, competitive, legislative and regulatory factors as well as other factors that are beyond our control. Moreover, we are a holding company with no material operations of our own. As a result, we rely upon dividends and other cash distributions paid to us by our subsidiaries to meet our payment obligations under indebtedness incurred at the holding company level. Our subsidiaries are distinct legal entities and do not have any obligation, legal or otherwise, to provide us with dividends or other distributions. We may face tax or other adverse consequences, or legal limitations, on our ability to obtain funds from these entities.

In addition, our ability to obtain external financing in the future is subject to a variety of uncertainties, including:

our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows;
general market conditions for financing activities; and

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economic, political and other conditions in China and elsewhere.

If we are unable to obtain funding in a timely manner or on commercially acceptable terms, we may not be able to meet our payment obligations under our indebtedness.

We have experienced recent fluctuations in our margins and incurred net loss in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

In recent years, we have experienced fluctuations in our margins. We incurred net loss in fiscal years 2020 and 2021. Many factors may cause our margins to decline or lead to net losses. For example, costs incurred in the expansion of our business and our physical network of learning centers and service centers may increase faster than our revenues. New investments and acquisitions may cause our margins to decline before we successfully integrate the acquired businesses into our operations and realize the full benefits of these investments and acquisitions. A significant increase in operating expenses or impairment loss on long-term investments and goodwill may lead to a net loss. Our ability to return to or maintain profitability and maintain or improve margins is affected by various factors that are beyond our control, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. There can be no assurance that our margins will not decline or fluctuate, or that we will not incur net loss again, in the future.

We have limited experience generating net income from some of our newer offerings.

Historically, our core businesses have been Xueersi small-class offerings and personalized premium services. We have expanded our offerings through internal development and external investments. Some of these new offerings have not generated significant or any profit to date. We have limited experience responding quickly to changes and competing successfully for certain of these new areas. In addition, newer offerings may require more financial and managerial resources than available. Furthermore, there is limited operating history on which you can base your evaluation of the business and prospects of these relatively more recent offerings.

We have limited liability insurance coverage and do not carry business disruption insurance.

We have limited liability insurance coverage for our students and their parents in most of our learning centers. A successful liability claim against us due to injuries suffered by our students or other people on our premises could materially and adversely affect our financial conditions, results of operations and reputation. Even if unsuccessful, such a claim could cause adverse publicity to us, require substantial cost to defend and divert the time and attention of our management. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—Accidents or injuries suffered by our students or other people on our premises may adversely affect our reputation, subject us to liability and cause us to incur substantial costs.” In addition, we do not have any business disruption insurance. Any business disruption event could result in substantial cost to us and diversion of our resources.

System disruptions to our websites or information technology systems, any significant cybersecurity incident or a leak of student data could damage our reputation, limit our ability to retain students and increase student enrollment or give rise to financial or legal consequences.

The performance and reliability of our online and technology infrastructure is critical to our reputation and ability to retain students and increase student enrollment. Any system error or failure, or a sudden and significant increase in online traffic, could disrupt or slow access to our websites. We cannot assure you that we will be able to expand our online infrastructure in a timely and cost-effective manner to meet the increasing demands of our students and their parents. In addition, our information technology systems store and process important information including, without limitation, class schedules, registration information and student data and could be vulnerable to interruptions or malfunctions due to events beyond our control, such as natural disasters and technology failures. For instance, we have in the past experienced interruptions to our operations due to temporary information technology system failures.

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Although we have a daily backup system that runs on different servers including a combination of internet data center and cloud servers for our operating data, we may still lose important student data or suffer disruption to our operations if there is a failure of the database system or the backup system. In addition, computer hackers may attempt to penetrate our network security and our website. We have in the past experienced several computer attacks, although they did not materially affect our operations. We may be required to invest significant resources in protecting against the foregoing technological disruptions and/or security breaches, or to remediate problems and damages caused by such incidents, which could increase the cost of our business and in turn adversely affect our financial conditions and results of operations. Unauthorized access to our proprietary business information or customer data may be obtained through break-ins, sabotage, breach of our secure network by an unauthorized party, computer viruses, computer denial-of-service attacks, employee theft or misuse, breach of the security of the networks of our third party providers, or other misconduct. Because the techniques used by computer programmers who may attempt to penetrate and sabotage our network security or our website change frequently and may not be recognized until launched against a target, we may be unable to anticipate these techniques. It is also possible that unauthorized access to customer data may be obtained through inadequate use of security controls by customers. We would suffer economic and reputational damages if a technical failure of our systems or a security breach compromises student data, including identification or contact information, although there has not been any material compromise in the past. Any disruption to our computer systems could therefore have a material adverse effect on our on-site operations and ability to retain students and increase student enrollments.

Our business was materially adversely affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 and may be materially adversely affected by a similar outbreak in the future.

In 2020, outbreaks of COVID-19 resulted in the temporary closure of many business facilities across China. Normal economic life throughout China was sharply curtailed. While many of the restrictions on movement within China have been relaxed as of the date of this annual report, there is still uncertainty as to the future progress of the disease. Relaxation of restrictions on economic and social life may lead to new cases which may lead to the reimposition of restrictions.

The COVID-19 pandemic affected many aspects of our business since 2020, including:

Offline businesses. Our learning centers across the nation underwent temporary closure as part of precautionary measures we took with respect to our offline business and pursuant to government orders with respect to educational institutions as well as business activities in general to combat the outbreak. Following the closure, we immediately took measures to effectively move our offline course offerings online and provide our customers that already purchased offline courses with comprehensive remedies such as refunds, exchanges, or compensation for price differences. Despite our initiatives, there could still be cases of customer dissatisfaction and complaints as a result of the drastic changes. The decrease in revenues from offline learnings centers was partially offset by the increase in online revenues. In the later part of 2020, we were able to gradually reopen our learning centers. However, we again were required to close our learning centers in certain regions where new cases of COVID-19 were discovered between the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021. We moved those classes online. Any violation of government orders to suspend classes can lead to administrative actions and penalties.

Expansion. Pending further development of the pandemic, our offline capacity growth plans are subject to uncertainties. Moreover, we had two major facilities under construction, the progress of which were delayed due to restrictions on travel, suspension of business activities, and disease control protocols, that were in place. The construction delay may cause, among others, the projects to miss completion deadline, go over budget, or both, and the raw material cost may fluctuate as a result of the outbreak.

Financial condition and results of operations. The potential impact of development of COVID-19 and discovery of new cases can create uncertainty on our financial condition and results of operations. For example, we may have to make fair value adjustments or impairment to our long-term investments and goodwill as a result of such impact.

Beginning in the first fiscal quarter of fiscal year 2021, we experienced continued recovery and growth, driven by online courses and despite the lingering pressure on our offline business. However, we cannot assure you that the COVID-19 pandemic can be eliminated completely. Moreover, a second wave or a similar outbreak may occur, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations.

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We face risks related to natural and other disasters, including outbreaks of health epidemics, and other extraordinary events, which could significantly disrupt our operations.

In addition to the impact of COVID-19, our business could be materially and adversely affected by natural and other disasters, including earthquakes, fire, floods, environmental accidents, power loss, communication failures and similar events. Additionally, our business could be materially and adversely affected by the outbreak of H7N9 bird flu, H1N1 swine influenza, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Ebola or another health epidemic. While we have not suffered any material loss or experienced any significant increase in costs as a result of any natural and other disaster or other extraordinary event, our student attendance and our business could be materially and adversely affected by any such occurrence in any of the cities in which we have major operations.

Failure to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting could cause us to inaccurately report our financial results or fail to prevent fraud and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and the trading price of our ADSs.

We are subject to the reporting obligations under U.S. securities laws. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and related rules require public companies to include a report of management on their internal control over financial reporting in their annual reports. This report must contain an assessment by management of the effectiveness of a public company’s internal control over financial reporting. In addition, an independent registered public accounting firm for a public company must attest to and report on management’s assessment of the effectiveness of the company’s internal control over financial reporting. Our efforts to implement standardized internal control procedures and develop the internal tests necessary to verify the proper application of the internal control procedures and their effectiveness are a key area of focus for our board of directors, our audit committee and senior management.

Our management and our independent registered public accounting firm, which had issued an attestation report, identified one material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting as of February 29, 2020 in accordance with the standards established by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board of the United States and concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was not effective due to this material weakness as of February 29, 2020. The material weakness identified related to our failure to timely update our design on controls with a sufficient level of precision to prevent and detect misstatements related to our newly developed business. The material weakness resulted in restatement of our unaudited quarterly financial statements for the periods ended May 31, August 31 and November 30, 2019, respectively, to reflect correction of errors which led to reversal of our net revenues and net income attributable to our company for the first nine months of fiscal year 2020 in the aggregate amount of US$86.1 million and US$26.6 million, respectively. We have taken a number of measures to remedy the material weakness and the deficiencies that have been identified. For details, see “Item 15. Controls and Procedures.” Our management and our independent registered public accounting firm, which has issued an attestation report, have concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was effective as of February 28, 2021 after the remediation. However, we cannot assure you that we will not identify any additional material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in the future.

If we fail to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting in the future, our management and our independent registered public accounting firm may not be able to conclude that we have effective internal control over financial reporting at a reasonable assurance level. Moreover, effective internal controls over financial reporting are necessary for us to produce reliable financial reports and are important to help prevent fraud. In addition, we need to continue to evaluate the consolidation of our VIEs and VIEs’ subsidiaries and schools given the change in the ownership or voting power of the Company by the nominee shareholders of the VIEs. As a result, although we have incurred and anticipate that we will continue to incur considerable costs, management time and other resources in an effort to continue to comply with Section 404 and other requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, any failure to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting could in turn result in the loss of investor confidence in the reliability of our financial statements and negatively impact the trading price of our ADSs.

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We are subject to anti-corruption laws. Our failure to comply with these laws could result in penalties, which may harm our reputation and have an adverse impact on our business and results of operations.

We are subject to anti-corruption laws, including China’s anti-corruption laws and the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or the FCPA, which generally prohibits companies and anyone acting on their behalf from offering or making improper payments or providing benefits to foreign officials for the purpose of obtaining or keeping business and that requires an “issuer” like us to maintain accurate books and records. Our company policies require that our employees comply with applicable laws. However, there is no assurance that such policies will work effectively or protect us from liability under the FCPA or other anti-corruption laws for actions taken by our employees and intermediaries with respect to our business or any business that we may acquire. If we are found to be not in compliance with the FCPA and other applicable anti-corruption laws, we may be subject to penalties and other remedial measures, which may have an adverse impact on our reputation, business and results of operations. Any investigation of any potential violations of the FCPA or other anti-corruption laws by government authorities may cause us to incur significant expenses, divert management attention, and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

We may be the subject of anti-competitive, harassing, or other detrimental conduct by third parties including anonymous allegations, negative blog postings, and the public dissemination of malicious assessments of our business that could cause us to incur significant time and costs to address these allegations, harm our reputation and adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

We may be the target of anti-competitive, harassing, or other detrimental conduct by third parties. Such conduct includes allegations, anonymous or otherwise, sent to our auditors and/or other third parties regarding our operations, accounting, revenues, business relationships, business prospects and business ethics. Additionally, allegations, directly or indirectly against us, may be posted in internet chat rooms or on blogs or any websites by anyone, whether or not related to us, on an anonymous basis. We may be subject to government or regulatory investigation as a result of such third-party conduct and may be required to expend significant time and incur substantial costs to address such third-party conduct, and there is no assurance that we will be able to conclusively refute each of the allegations within a reasonable period of time, or at all. Our reputation may also be negatively affected as a result of the public dissemination of anonymous allegations or malicious statements about our business, which in turn may adversely affect the price of our ADSs.

We have granted and will continue to grant restricted shares, share options and other share-based awards in the future, which may materially reduce our net income.

In June 2010, we adopted a 2010 share incentive plan, as amended and restated in August 2013, that permits granting of options to purchase our Class A common shares, restricted shares, restricted share units, share appreciation rights, dividend equivalent rights and other instruments as deemed appropriate by the administrator under the plan. The amended and restated 2010 share incentive plan ceased to be used for grants of future awards upon the effectiveness of the 2020 Plan (defined below). In June 2020, we adopted a 2020 Share Incentive Plan, or the 2020 Plan, pursuant to which the maximum aggregate number of shares that may be issued pursuant to all awards (including incentive share options) (the “Award Pool”) is initially five percent (5%) of our total issued and outstanding shares as of the effective date of the 2020 Plan, provided that (A) the Award Pool shall be increased automatically if and whenever the number of shares that may be issued pursuant to ungranted awards pursuant to the 2020 Plan (the “Ungranted Portion”) accounts for less than one percent (1%) of the then total issued and outstanding shares of our company, so that for each automatic increase, the Ungranted Portion immediately after such increase shall equal five percent (5%) of the then total issued and outstanding shares of our company, and (B) the size of the Award Pool shall be equitably adjusted in the event of any share dividend, subdivision, reclassification, recapitalization, split, reverse split, combination, consolidation or similar transactions. As of March 31, 2021, 8,902,881 non-vested restricted Class A common shares and 538,583 share options to purchase 538,583 Class A common shares under the 2010 Plan and the 2020 Plan previously granted to our employees and directors are outstanding. As a result of the outstanding grants under the 2010 Plan and the 2020 Plan, we have incurred and will continue to incur share-based compensation expenses. We had share-based compensation expenses of $77.3 million, $117.9 million, and $204.9 million for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. As of February 28, 2021, the unrecognized compensation expenses amounted to $645.7 million related to the non-vested restricted shares, which will be recognized over a weighted-average period of 4.0 years for service based non-vested restricted shares and 3.4 years for performance based non-vested restricted shares, and $11.5 million related to share options, which will be recognized over a weighted-average period of 3.9 years. Expenses associated with share-based compensation awards granted under our share incentive plan may materially reduce our future net income. However, if we limit the size of grants under our share incentive plan to minimize share-based compensation expenses, we may not be able to attract or retain key personnel.

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Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure

If the PRC government determines that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business in China are not in compliance with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we could be subject to severe penalties.

PRC laws and regulations currently require any foreign entity that invests in the education business in China to be an educational institution with relevant experience in providing education services outside China. None of our offshore holding companies is an educational institution or provides education services. To comply with PRC laws and regulations, we have entered into (i) a series of contractual arrangements among Beijing Century TAL Education Technology Co., Ltd., or TAL Beijing, on the one hand, and Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network, Xinxin Xiangrong and their respective shareholders, subsidiaries and schools, on the other hand, and (ii) a series of contractual arrangements among Beijing Lebai Information Consulting Co., Ltd., or Lebai Information, on the one hand, and Lebai Education and its sole shareholder, subsidiaries and schools, on the other hand. Accordingly, Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network, Xinxin Xiangrong and Lebai Education are our VIEs, and we rely on the contractual arrangements with our VIEs and their respective shareholders, subsidiaries and schools, or the VIE Contractual Arrangements, to conduct most of our services in China. Our VIEs, together with their respective subsidiaries and schools, are our Consolidated Affiliated Entities.

We have been and are expected to continue to be dependent on our Consolidated Affiliated Entities in China to operate our education business until we qualify for direct ownership of educational businesses in China. Pursuant to the VIE Contractual Arrangements, we, through our wholly owned subsidiaries in China, exclusively provide comprehensive intellectual property licensing, technical and business support services to our Consolidated Affiliated Entities in exchange for payments from them. In addition, the VIE Contractual Arrangements provide us with the ability to effectively control our VIEs and their respective existing and future subsidiaries and schools, as applicable.

It is uncertain whether any new PRC laws, rules or regulations relating to variable interest entity structures will be adopted or if adopted, what they would provide. In August 2018, the Ministry of Justice published a draft Implementation Rules for Private Education Law, or the draft Implementation Rules, for review. The draft Implementation Rules, among other things, provide that entities implementing group-based education shall not control non-profit schools by merger, acquisition, franchise or contractual arrangements. The draft Implementation Rules also provide that transactions among private schools and their affiliates shall be fair and open to the public. For those agreements entered into by non-profit schools and their affiliates which are long-term or involve important interests or repeated performance, the educational authorities shall audit the necessity, legitimacy and legal compliance of such agreements. Such requirements, if remained in the final version and signed into law, may challenge the validity and enforceability of our VIE Contractual Arrangements.

If the corporate structure and contractual arrangements through which we conduct our business in China are found to be in violation of any existing or future PRC laws or regulations, or such arrangements are determined as illegal and invalid by PRC courts, arbitration tribunals or regulatory authorities, or if we fail to obtain or maintain any of the required permits or approvals, we would be subject to potential actions by the relevant PRC regulatory authorities with broad discretion, which actions could include:

revoke our business and operating licenses;
require us to discontinue or restrict our operations;
limit our business expansion in China by way of entering into contractual arrangements;
restrict our right to collect revenues or impose fines;
block our websites;
require us to restructure our operations in such a way as to compel us to establish a new enterprise, re-apply for the necessary licenses or relocate our businesses, staff and assets;
impose additional conditions or requirements with which we may not be able to comply; or
take other regulatory or enforcement actions against us that could be harmful to our business.

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Any of these actions could cause significant disruption to our business operations and severely damage our reputation, which would in turn materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. If any of these actions results in our inability to direct the activities of our Consolidated Affiliated Entities that most significantly impact their economic performance, and/or our failure to receive the economic benefits from our Consolidated Affiliated Entities, we may not be able to consolidate these entities in our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP. However, we do not believe that such actions would result in the liquidation or dissolution of our company, our wholly owned subsidiaries in China or our Consolidated Affiliated Entities.

We rely on the VIE Contractual Arrangements for our PRC operations, which may not be as effective in providing operational control as direct ownership.

We have relied and expect to continue to rely on the VIE Contractual Arrangements to operate our education business in China. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Organizational Structure—VIE Contractual Arrangements.” The VIE Contractual Arrangements may not be as effective in providing us with control over our Consolidated Affiliated Entities as direct ownership. If we had direct ownership of the Consolidated Affiliated Entities, we would be able to exercise our rights as a shareholder to effect changes in the board of directors of these entities, which in turn could effect changes, subject to any applicable fiduciary obligations, at the management level. However, under the VIE Contractual Arrangements, we rely on the performance by our Consolidated Affiliated Entities and their respective shareholders of their obligations under the contracts to exercise control over and receive economic benefits from our Consolidated Affiliated Entities.

We have entered into equity pledge agreements with our VIEs and their respective shareholders to guarantee the performance of the obligations of our Consolidated Affiliated Entities under the exclusive business cooperation agreements they have entered into with us. The equity pledge agreements with the shareholders of the VIEs provide that the pledged equity interest shall constitute continuing security for any and all of the indebtedness, obligations and liabilities under all of the principal service agreements and the scope of pledge shall not be limited by the amount of the registered capital of the VIEs. However, it is possible that a PRC court may take the position that the amount listed on the equity pledge registration forms represents the full amount of the collateral that has been registered and perfected. If this is the case, the obligations that are supposed to be secured in the equity pledge agreements in excess of the amount listed on the equity pledge registration forms could be determined by the PRC court as unsecured debt, which takes last priority among creditors.

In addition, we have not entered into agreements with our VIEs that pledge the assets of our Consolidated Affiliated Entities for the benefit of us or our wholly owned subsidiaries. Consequently, the assets of our Consolidated Affiliated Entities are not secured on behalf of our wholly owned subsidiary, and the amounts owed by our Consolidated Affiliated Entities are not collateralized. As a result, if our Consolidated Affiliated Entities fail to pay any amount due to us under, or otherwise breach, the exclusive business service agreements, we will not be able to directly seize the assets of our Consolidated Affiliated Entities. If the nominee shareholders of the VIEs do not act in the best interests of us when conflicts of interest arise, or if they act in bad faith towards us, they may attempt to cause our Consolidated Affiliated Entities to transfer or encumber the assets of the Consolidated Affiliated Entities without our authorization. In such a scenario, we may choose to exercise our option under the call option agreements to demand the shareholders of the VIEs to transfer their respective equity interests in the VIEs to a PRC person designated by us, and we may need to resort to litigation in the PRC courts to effect such an equity interests transfer and prevent the transfer or encumbrance of the VIEs’ assets without our authorization. However, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce the VIE Contractual Arrangements. In the event we are unable to enforce the VIE Contractual Arrangements, we may not be able to have the power to direct the activities that most significantly affect the economic performance of our VIEs and their schools and subsidiaries, and our ability to conduct our business may be negatively affected, and we may not be able to consolidate the financial results of our VIEs and their schools and subsidiaries into our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

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Any failure by our VIEs or their respective shareholders to perform their obligations under the VIE Contractual Arrangements would have a material adverse effect on our business and financial condition.

If our VIEs or any of their respective subsidiaries or schools or any of their respective shareholders fail to perform its obligations under the VIE Contractual Arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs and resources to enforce our rights under the contracts, and rely on legal remedies under the PRC law, including seeking specific performance or injunctive relief and claiming damages, which may not be effective. For example, if the shareholders of our VIEs were to refuse to transfer their equity interest in these entities to us or our designee when we exercise the call option pursuant to the VIE Contractual Arrangements, or if they were otherwise to act in bad faith toward us, we may have to take legal actions to compel them to perform their contractual obligations.

All the material agreements under the VIE Contractual Arrangements, which are summarized under “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Organizational Structure—VIE Contractual Arrangements,” are governed by PRC law and provide for the resolution of disputes under the agreements through arbitration in Beijing. Accordingly, these contracts would be interpreted in accordance with PRC law and any disputes would be resolved in accordance with PRC legal procedures. The legal system in China is not as developed as in some other jurisdictions, such as the United States. As a result, uncertainties in the PRC legal system could limit our ability to enforce the VIE Contractual Arrangements. Under PRC law, rulings by arbitrators are final, parties cannot appeal the arbitration results in courts, and the prevailing parties may only enforce the arbitration awards in PRC courts through arbitration award recognition proceedings, which would incur additional expenses and delay. In the event we are unable to enforce the VIE Contractual Arrangements, we may not be able to exert effective control over our Consolidated Affiliated Entities, and our ability to conduct our business may be negatively affected.

The legal owners of our VIEs may have potential conflicts of interest with us, which may materially and adversely affect our business and financial condition.

The four legal owners of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network are Mr. Bangxin Zhang, Mr. Yachao Liu, Mr. Yunfeng Bai and Mr. Yundong Cao, and the three legal owners of Xinxin Xiangrong are Mr. Zhang, Mr. Liu and Mr. Bai, and the sole legal owner of Lebai Education is Xueersi Education. Mr. Zhang, Mr. Liu and Mr. Bai are shareholders and directors or officers of TAL Education Group. The interests of Mr. Zhang, Mr. Liu, Mr. Bai and Mr. Cao as beneficial owners of the VIEs may differ from the interests of our company as a whole, since these parties’ respective equity interests in the VIEs may conflict with their respective equity interests in our company.

We cannot assure you that when conflicts of interest arise, any or all of these individuals will act in the best interests of our company or such conflicts will be resolved in our favor. In addition, these individuals may breach, or cause our Consolidated Affiliated Entities to breach, or refuse to renew, the existing VIE Contractual Arrangements. In June 2013, we entered into a deed of undertaking with Mr. Zhang, which prevents Mr. Zhang from using his majority voting power to remove, replace or appoint any of our directors, and from casting any votes he has as our director or shareholder on any resolutions or matters concerning the deed itself. The deed is irrevocable, and applies to any and all periods during which Mr. Zhang beneficially owns shares representing more than 50% of the aggregate voting power of our then total issued and outstanding shares. However, there can be no assurance that such arrangement is sufficient to address potential conflicts of interests Mr. Zhang may encounter. Other than this deed of undertaking we have entered into with Mr. Zhang, we currently do not have any arrangements to address potential conflicts of interest Mr. Zhang, Mr. Liu and Mr. Bai may encounter in their capacity as direct or indirect nominee shareholders of the VIEs (and, as applicable, as directors of the VIEs), on the one hand, and as beneficial owners of our company (and, as applicable, director and/or officers of our company), on the other hand. To a large extent, we rely on the legal owners of the VIEs to abide by the laws of the Cayman Islands and China, which provide that directors and officers owe a fiduciary duty to our company that requires them to act in good faith and in the best interests of our company and not to use their positions for personal gains. If we cannot resolve any conflict of interest or dispute between us and these individuals, we would have to rely on legal proceedings, which could result in disruption of our business and subject us to substantial uncertainty as to the outcome of any such legal proceedings.

If the custodians or authorized users of our controlling non-tangible assets, including chops and seals, fail to fulfill their responsibilities, or misappropriate or misuse these assets, our business and operations could be materially and adversely affected.

Under PRC law, legal documents for corporate transactions, including agreements and contracts such as the leases and sales contracts that our business relies on, are executed using the chop or seal of the signing entity or with the signature of a legal representative whose designation is registered and filed with the relevant local branch of the SAIC. We generally execute legal documents by affixing chops or seals, rather than having the designated legal representatives sign the documents.

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We have three major types of chops, corporate chops, contract chops and finance chops. We use corporate chops generally for documents to be submitted to government agencies, such as applications for changing business scope, directors or company name, and for legal letters. We use corporate chops or contract chops for executing leases and commercial contracts. We use finance chops generally for making and collecting payments, including, but not limited to issuing invoices. Use of chops must be approved by the responsible departments and follow our internal procedure. Although we usually utilize chops to execute contracts, the registered legal representatives of our PRC subsidiaries, VIEs and their schools and subsidiaries have the apparent authority to enter into contracts on behalf of such entities without chops.

In order to maintain the physical security of our chops, we generally have them stored in secured locations accessible only to authorized employees. Our designated legal representatives generally do not have access to the chops. Although we monitor such employees and the designated legal representatives, the procedures may not be sufficient to prevent all instances of abuse or negligence. There is a risk that our employees or designated legal representatives could abuse their authority, for example, by binding the relevant subsidiary or Consolidated Affiliated Entity with contracts against our interests, as we would be obligated to honor these contracts if the other contracting party acts in good faith in reliance on the apparent authority of our chops or signatures of our legal representatives. If any designated legal representative obtains control of the chop in an effort to obtain control over the relevant entity, we would need to have a shareholder or board resolution to designate a new legal representative and to take legal action to seek the return of the chop, apply for a new chop with the relevant authorities, or otherwise seek legal remedies for the legal representative’s violation of the duties to us.

If any of the authorized employees or designated legal representatives obtain and misuse or misappropriate our chops and seals or other controlling intangible assets for whatever reason, we could experience disruption to our normal business operations. We may have to take corporate or legal action, which could involve significant time and resources to resolve while distracting management from our operations.

Our Consolidated Affiliated Entities may be subject to significant limitations on their ability to operate private schools or make payments to related parties, or otherwise be materially and adversely affected by changes in PRC laws governing private education providers.

The principal regulations governing private education in China are The Private Education Law, or Private Education Law, and The Implementation Rules for Private Education Law, or Implementation Rules. Before September 1, 2017, under the Private Education Law and Implementation Rules, a private school could elect to be a school that did not require reasonable returns or a school that required reasonable returns. At the end of each fiscal year, every private school was required to allocate a certain amount to its development fund for the construction or maintenance of the school or procurement or upgrade of educational equipment. In the case of a private school that required reasonable returns, this amount should be no less than 25% of the annual net income of the school, while in the case of a private school that did not require reasonable returns, this amount should be equivalent to no less than 25% of the annual increase in the net assets of the school, if any. A private school that required reasonable returns must publicly disclose such election and additional information required under the regulations. A private school should consider factors such as the school’s tuition, ratio of the funds used for education-related activities to the course fees collected, admission standards and educational quality when determining the percentage of the school’s net income that would be distributed to the investors as reasonable returns. However, none of the current PRC laws and regulations provides a formula or guidelines for determining “reasonable returns.” In addition, none of the current PRC laws and regulations sets forth clear requirements or restrictions on a private school’s ability to operate its education business based on such school’s status as one that does or does not require reasonable returns.

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On November 7, 2016, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress amended the Private Education Law, or the Amended Private Education Law, which took effect on September 1, 2017. Under the Amended Private Education Law, the term “reasonable return” is no longer used, and sponsors of private school may choose to establish non-profit or for-profit private schools at their own discretion. Sponsors of for-profit private schools are entitled to retain the profits from their schools and the operating surplus may be allocated to the sponsors pursuant to the PRC Company Law and other relevant laws and regulations. Sponsors of non-profit private schools are not entitled to any distribution of profits from their schools and all revenue must be used for the operation of the schools. If a pre-existing private school chooses to register as a non-profit school, it shall amend its articles of association, continue its operation and complete the new registration process. If a pre-existing private school chooses to register as a for-profit school, it shall conduct a financial liquidation process, have the property rights of its assets such as lands, school buildings and net balance authenticated by relevant government authorities, pay up relevant taxes, apply for a new Permit for Operating a Private School, re-register as a for-profit school and continue its operation. Specific provisions regarding the above registration process shall be introduced by governments at the provincial level. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—PRC Regulation—The Private Education Law and the Implementation Rules for Private Education Law.”

We intend to register our pre-existing private schools as for-profit schools. However, as of the date of this annual report, only certain local governments, for example, Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Zhejiang Province, Hainan Province and Ningxia Province, have promulgated specific measures for registration of pre-existing private schools. And even for those places where specific measures for registration of pre-existing private schools have been promulgated, some local government authorities in practice have not started to accept application for registration of pre-existing private schools as for-profit schools. Therefore, we cannot assure you that our pre-existing private schools can all apply for and complete registration as for-profit schools in a timely manner or at all. And as measures for registration of pre-existing private schools in most provinces are yet to be introduced, we also cannot assure you whether there will be other risks associated with such registration.

Moreover, as of the date of this annual report, the implementation rules for the Amended Private Education Law and the relevant regulations adopted by competent government authorities in certain provinces have not been promulgated. It remains uncertain how the Amended Private Education Law will be interpreted and implemented and impact our business operations. There is no assurance that we will be able to operate our business in full compliance with the Amended Private Education Law or any relevant regulations in a timely manner or at all. Should we fail to fully comply with the Amended Private Education Law or any relevant regulations as interpreted by the relevant government authorities, we may be subject to administrative fines or penalties, an order to suspend the operation and refund the tuition fee or other negative consequences which could materially and adversely affect our brand name and reputation, and our business, financial condition and results of operations. As a holding company, we rely on dividends and other distributions from our PRC subsidiaries, including TAL Beijing and Lebai Information. TAL Beijing, Lebai Information and their designated affiliates are entitled to receive service fees from the schools according to the relevant exclusive business cooperation agreements. We do not believe that TAL Beijing, Lebai Information and their designated affiliates’ right to receive the service fees from the schools will be affected by the abovementioned elections, but if our judgment turns out to be incorrect, TAL Beijing, Lebai Information and our other PRC subsidiaries’ ability to make distributions or pay dividends to us may be materially and adversely impacted. If our schools choose to be non-profit private education entities, our contractual arrangements with such schools may be subject to more stringent scrutiny. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—If the PRC government determines that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business in China are not in compliance with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we could be subject to severe penalties.”

The VIE Contractual Arrangements may be subject to scrutiny by the PRC tax authorities and a finding that we or our Consolidated Affiliated Entities owe additional taxes could substantially reduce our consolidated net income and the value of your investment.

Under PRC laws and regulations, arrangements and transactions among related parties may be subject to audit or challenge by the PRC tax authorities within ten years after the taxable year when the transactions are conducted. We could face material and adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities determine that the VIE Contractual Arrangements do not represent an arm’s-length price and consequently adjust our Consolidated Affiliated Entities’ income in the form of a transfer pricing adjustment. A transfer pricing adjustment could, among other things, result in a reduction, for PRC tax purposes, of expense deductions recorded by our Consolidated Affiliated Entities, which could in turn increase their tax liabilities. In addition, the PRC tax authorities may impose late payment fees and other penalties to our Consolidated Affiliated Entities for unpaid taxes. Our consolidated net income may be materially and adversely affected if our Consolidated Affiliated Entities’ tax liabilities increase or if they are subject to late payment fees or other penalties.

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If any of our PRC subsidiaries or Consolidated Affiliated Entities becomes the subject of a bankruptcy or liquidation proceeding, we may lose the ability to use and enjoy certain important assets, which could reduce the size of our operations and materially and adversely affect our business, ability to generate revenue and the market price of our ADSs.

We currently conduct our operations in China mainly through the VIE Contractual Arrangements. As part of these arrangements, our Consolidated Affiliated Entities hold operating permits and licenses and some of the assets that are important to the operation of our business. If any of these entities goes bankrupt and all or part of their assets become subject to liens or rights of third-party creditors, we may be unable to continue some or all of our business activities, which could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.

We do not have priority pledges and liens against the assets of our Consolidated Affiliated Entities. As a contractual and property right matter, this lack of priority pledges and liens has remote risks. If any of our Consolidated Affiliated Entities undergoes an involuntary liquidation proceeding, third-party creditors may claim rights to some or all of its assets and we may not have priority against such third-party creditors on the assets. If any of our Consolidated Affiliated Entities liquidates, we may take part in the liquidation procedures as a general creditor under the PRC Enterprise Bankruptcy Law and recover any outstanding liabilities owed by the entity to our PRC subsidiaries under the applicable service agreements.

In the event that the shareholders of any of our VIEs initiates a voluntary liquidation proceeding without our authorization or attempts to distribute the retained earnings or assets of the relevant VIE without our prior consent, we may need to resort to legal proceedings to enforce the terms of the VIE Contractual Arrangements. Any such litigation may be costly and may divert our management’s time and attention away from the operation of our business, and the outcome of such litigation would be uncertain.

Risks Related to Doing Business in China

Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could have a material adverse effect on us.

The PRC legal system is a civil law system based on written statutes. Unlike the common law system, prior court decisions in a civil law system may be cited for reference but have limited precedential value. Since 1979, PRC legislation and regulations have significantly enhanced the protections afforded to various forms of foreign investments in China. However, since these laws and regulations are relatively new and the PRC legal system continues to rapidly evolve, the interpretations of many laws, regulations and rules are not always consistent, and enforcement of these laws, regulations and rules involve uncertainties, which may limit the available legal protections. In addition, the PRC administrative and court authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing or enforcing statutory rules and contractual terms, and it may be more difficult to predict the outcome of administrative and court proceedings and the level of legal protection we may enjoy in China than under some more developed legal systems. These uncertainties may affect our judgment on the relevance of legal requirements and our decisions on the measures and actions to be taken to fully comply therewith and may affect our ability to enforce our contractual or tort rights. In addition, the regulatory uncertainties may be exploited through unmerited legal actions or threats in an attempt to extract payments or benefits from us. Such uncertainties may therefore increase our operating expenses and costs, and materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

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Uncertainties exist with respect to the interpretation and implementation of the newly enacted Foreign Investment Law and how it may impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.

On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress promulgated the Foreign Investment Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2020 and replaced the trio of existing laws regulating foreign investment in China, namely, the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law and the Wholly Foreign-invested Enterprise Law, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations. On December 26, 2019, the State Council published the Implementation Rules of Foreign Investment Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2020. The Foreign Investment Law and its Implementation Rules embody an expected PRC regulatory trend to rationalize its foreign investment regulatory regime in line with prevailing international practice and the legislative efforts to unify the corporate legal requirements for both foreign and domestic investments. The enacted Foreign Investment Law or its Implementation Rules do not mention concepts such as “actual control” and “controlling PRC companies by contracts or trusts” that were included in the previous drafts, nor did it specify regulation on controlling through contractual arrangements, and thus this regulatory topic remains unclear under the Foreign Investment Law. However, since it is relatively new, uncertainties still exist in relation to its interpretation and implementation. For instance, though the Foreign Investment Law or its Implementation Rules do not explicitly classify contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment, it contains a catch-all provision under the definition of “foreign investment,” which includes investments made by foreign investors in China through means stipulated in laws or administrative regulations or other methods prescribed by the State Council. Therefore, it still leaves leeway for future laws, administrative regulations or provisions promulgated by the State Council to provide for contractual arrangements as a form of foreign investment. Furthermore, if future laws, administrative regulations or provisions prescribed by the State Council mandate further actions to be taken by companies with respect to existing contractual arrangements, such as unwinding our existing contractual arrangements and/or disposal of our related business operations, we may face substantial uncertainties as to whether we can complete such actions in a timely manner, or at all. Failure to take timely and appropriate measures to cope with any of these or similar regulatory compliance challenges could materially and adversely affect our current corporate structure, corporate governance and business operations.

Uncertainties with respect to PRC regulatory restrictions on after-school services could have a material adverse effect on us.

Under the regime of the Law on the Promotion of Private Education of China, the PRC government authorities have promulgated a number of regulations and implementation rules in 2018 governing the education industry and the after-school tutoring service market, including the Circular 3, the State Council Opinions 80, as well as Circular 10. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—PRC Regulations—Circular on Special Enforcement Campaign concerning After-school Tutoring Institutions to Alleviate Extracurricular Burden on Students of Primary and Secondary Schools” and “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—PRC Regulations—Opinions on Regulating Development of After-school Tutoring Institutions” for more details.

These new regulations and implementation rules provide a series of requirements in the operation of after-school tutoring business, which include that, among others: (1) key course information, including subjects, course schedules and course syllabi, for school academic courses, shall be filed with the local education administration authorities and be made publicly available; (2) the progress of the courses shall not surpass the same-period progress of local primary schools and secondary schools, and advanced trainings that do not follow the formal school curricula for the students in primary school and secondary school are prohibited; (3) training classes shall not be scheduled in conflict with the regular schooling time in local primary schools and secondary schools; (4) tutoring activities shall end before 8:30 p.m.; (5) homework shall not be assigned; (6) scored examination, competition or ranking in connection with the courses of primary schools or secondary schools shall not be arranged; (7) the periods for which tuition fees is charged shall be consistent with its respective curriculum, and the tuition fees for a period spanning more than three months should not be collected at one time; (8) no fees other than those that have been made public and no compulsory fund raising in any name may be made against the students; (9) student safety insurance shall be purchased by the after-school tutoring institutions; (10) teaching staff who teach Chinese, mathematics, foreign language, physics, chemistry and other subjects in the compulsory education stage as well as the academic subjects related to the entering of a higher school and their extension training shall have the requisite teacher qualifications; (11) online education institutions shall also make their teachers’ names, photographs, teaching classes and teaching qualification numbers public at a prominent location on their home page. In addition, the State Council Opinions 80 provides that relevant governmental authorities of market regulation, cyberspace administration, industry and information technology and others shall cooperate with the educational authorities to the extent of their respective scope of duties to regulate after-school tutoring institutions.

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We have been making efforts to ensure compliance with these regulations and implementation rules but there is no assurance that our operations comply with all applicable regulations in a timely manner due to various factors beyond our control. In particular, certain regulations and implementation provides new requirements and PRC government authorities have significant amount of discretion in interpreting, implementing and enforcing rules and regulations. If we fail to comply with the applicable legal requirements concerning the operation of after-school tutoring business in a timely manner, the relevant learning centers may be subject to the order of rectification, fines, confiscation of the gains derived from noncompliant operations or the suspension of noncompliant operations, which may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

In addition, uncertainties still exist as the competent authorities may set more specific and stringent operation requirements for after-school tutoring institutions on various aspects including the means and timing of fee collection, pricing, advertisements and promotion content, prepaid funds under supervision, teachers’ qualification licenses, refunds, course time and content, homework arrangement, and student enrollment, among others. For instance, with respect to educational fees supervision, on August 17, 2020, the MoE and other four departments jointly issued the Opinion on Further Strengthening and Regulating the Management of Educational Fees, which puts forward more specific and stricter requirements on educational fees supervision. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—PRC Regulations—Regulations on Educational Fees Management” for details. With respect to homework, the General Office of the MoE enacted the Notice of Strengthening the Management of Homework for Compulsory Education on April 8, 2021, which requires after-school tutoring institutions shall not leave homework to primary and secondary school student. Moreover, the MoE issued the Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Scientific Connection between Kindergarten and Primary School on March 30, 2021, which requires that after-school tutoring institutions shall not provide tutoring services to pre-school aged minors in violation of applicable regulations. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—PRC Regulations—Regulations on After-school Tutoring Institutions” for details. We may be unable to meet such requirements in a prompt manner or incur additional costs in complying with such requirements, which may adversely affect our business, financial conditions and results of operations.

Regulation and censorship of information disseminated over the internet in China may adversely affect our business and reputation and subject us to liability for information displayed on our websites.

The PRC government has adopted regulations governing internet access and the distribution of news and other information over the internet. Under these regulations, internet content providers and internet publishers are prohibited from posting or displaying over the internet content that, among other things, violates PRC laws and regulations, impairs the national dignity of China, or is reactionary, obscene, superstitious, fraudulent or defamatory. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in, and has previously resulted in, the revocation of licenses to provide internet content and other licenses, and the closure of the concerned websites. The website operator may also be held liable for such censored information displayed on or linked to the websites. If any of our websites, including those used for our online education business, are found to be in violation of any such requirements, we may be penalized by relevant authorities, and our operations or reputation could be adversely affected.

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Failure to comply with governmental regulation and other legal obligations concerning personal information may adversely affect our business, as we routinely collect, store and use personal information.

We routinely collect, store and use personal information during the ordinary course of our business. We are subject to PRC laws and regulations governing the receiving, storing, sharing, using, processing, disclosure and protection of personal information on the internet and mobile platforms. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—PRC Regulation—Laws of Protection of Personal Information of Citizen.” The scope of these laws and regulations is evolving and further detailed implementation rules and interpretations may be promulgated. It is possible that these obligations may be interpreted and applied in a manner that is inconsistent with our practices. In addition, the Office of the Central Cyberspace Affairs Commission, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, the Ministry of Public Security, and the State Administration for Market Regulation jointly issued an announcement on January 23, 2019 regarding carrying out special campaigns against mobile internet application programs collecting and using personal information in violation of applicable laws and regulations, which prohibits business operators from collecting personal information irrelevant to their services, or forcing users to give authorization in disguised manner. As this announcement is relatively new, we cannot assure you we can adapt our operations to it in a timely manner. Evolving interpretations of existing laws and regulations or any future regulatory changes might impose additional restrictions on us generating and processing personal information. We may be subject to additional regulations, laws and policies adopted by the PRC government to apply more stringent social and ethical standards in data privacy resulting from the increased global focus on this area. To the extent that we need to alter our business model or practices to adapt to these announcement and provisions and future regulations, laws and policies, we could incur additional expenses.

If we fail to comply with these laws and regulations, we may be penalized by relevant authorities and be subject to litigation or negative publicity against us by consumer advocacy groups or others, and our operations or reputation could be adversely affected.

We are required to obtain various operating licenses and permits and to make registrations and filings for our tutoring services in China; failure to comply with these requirements may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

We are required to obtain and maintain various licenses and permits and fulfill registration and filing requirements in order to operate our tutoring service business. For instance, a duly approved private school will be granted a Permit for Operating a Private School, and shall be registered with the Ministry of Civil Affairs or its local branches as a non-profit school or registered with the relevant local branch of the SAIC as a for-profit school. In addition, pursuant to the State Council Opinions 80 and relevant RPC laws and regulations, opening branches or learning centers by any after-school tutoring institution shall also be subject to registration or filing requirements. As of February 28, 2021, certain of our learning centers had not completed filing requirements for permits or registrations, which in the aggregate accounted for an immaterial portion of our total net revenues for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021.

We are in the process of preparing filings and applying for permits for these learning centers in accordance with the State Council Opinions 80 and relevant PRC laws and regulations but do not expect to complete all such filings or obtain all such permits in the near term. We are also considering other potential locations for certain learning centers and we may have difficulty obtaining those permits. We have been taking steps to meet these requirements, but there is no assurance that our efforts will result in full compliance given the significant amount of discretion PRC government authorities have in interpreting, implementing and enforcing rules and regulations and due to other factors beyond our control. However, if we fail to obtain or maintain requisite licenses and permits or fulfill requisite registration and filing requirements to operate our after-school tutoring business, including any failure to cure non-compliance in a timely manner, we may be subject to fines, confiscation of the gains derived from non-compliant operations or the suspension of non-compliant operations, which may materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.

We face risks and uncertainties with respect to our online education business.

We deliver certain tutoring services through our online course offerings.

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The MoE, jointly with certain other PRC government authorities, promulgated the Implementation Opinions on Regulating Online After-School Tutoring, or the Online After-School Tutoring Opinions, effective on July 12, 2019. The Online After-School Tutoring Opinions are intended to regulate academic after-school training involving internet technology provided to students in primary and secondary schools. Among other things, the Online After-School Tutoring Opinions require that online after-school training institutions shall file with the competent provincial education regulatory authorities and that such education regulatory authorities shall, jointly with other provincial government authorities, review such filings and the qualifications of the online after-school training institutions submitting such filings. The Online After-School Tutoring Opinions also impose a series of new regulatory requirements, including (i) each class shall not last longer than 40 minutes and shall be taken at intervals of not less than 10 minutes; (ii) live streaming courses provided to students receiving compulsory education shall not end later than 9:00 p.m.; (iii) the periods for which tuition is charged shall be consistent with its respective curriculum, where fees are charged based on the number of classes, fees are not allowed to be collected in a lump sum for more than 60 classes, and where fees are charged based on the length of the course, the fees shall not be collected for a course length of more than three months; (iv) instructors are required to obtain the necessary teacher qualification licenses; and (v) online after-school training institutions shall not engage in excessive marketing, make false or misleading promotion, or overstate the effect of the product. The Online After-School Tutoring Opinions provides that relevant governmental authorities of cyberspace administration, industry and information technology and others shall cooperate with the educational authorities to the extent of their respective scope of duties to regulate online after-school training institutions. According to the Online After-School Tutoring Opinions, provincial education regulatory authorities shall promulgate local implementing rules regarding the above-mentioned filing requirements. For details, see “Item 4. Information on the Company-B. Business Overview-PRC Regulation- Regulations on Online and Distance Education.” Moreover, the MoE, jointly with certain other PRC government authorities, issued the Opinions on Guiding and Regulating the Orderly and Healthy Development of Educational Mobile Apps on August 10, 2019, or the Opinions on Educational Apps, which requires that, among others, mobile apps that offer services for school teaching and management, student learning and student life, or home-school interactions, with school faculty, students or parents as the main users, and with education or learning as the main application scenarios, be filed with the competent provincial regulatory authorities for education. See “Item 4. Information on the Company-B. Business Overview-PRC Regulation- Regulations on Educational Applications (Apps).” Additionally, on March 23, 2021, the State Council’s Office of Education Steering Committee released an article warning parents of K-12 students about after-school tutoring service providers’ collection of tuition fees in ways that are in violation of the Online After-School Training Opinions.

We are making efforts to comply with the above-mentioned regulations. As these regulations were relatively newly promulgated, we cannot assure you that we will complete such filing and comply with other regulatory requirements under such regulations and their related local rules in a timely manner, or at all. The relevant governmental authorities have significant discretion in interpreting and implementing, and may from time to time conduct inspections on compliance with the such regulations and the relevant local rules. If we fail to promptly complete such filing and comply with other applicable regulatory requirements, we may be subject to fines, regulatory orders to suspend our operations or other regulatory and disciplinary sanctions, which may materially and adversely affect our online education business and results of operations.

Besides, in relation to our online education business, we may be deemed to provide certain services or conduct certain activities and thus be subject to a wide range of licenses, approvals, permits, registrations and filings due to the lack of official interpretations of certain terms under internet-related PRC regulations and laws, and we cannot assure you that we have obtained all of them or will continue to maintain or renew all of them. For example, due to the ambiguity of the definition of “online publishing service,” the online distribution of content, including our course materials, through our mobile apps, may be regarded as an “online publishing service” and therefore we may be required to obtain an Online Publishing License. Also, we deliver certain courses in live-streaming format which the relevant authorities may regard as a live-streaming platform and may thus require us to make necessary filings as a live-streaming platform. Moreover, any of our Consolidated Affiliated Entities that provide online course services are required to obtain an ICP license from the appropriate telecommunications authorities or otherwise register each and all of their websites, on which we provide online courses, in the existing and effective ICP licenses held by the relevant Consolidated Affiliated Entities. If any of such entities fail to obtain the ICP license or complete the required registration in a prompt manner, we may become subject to rectification order, significant penalties, fines, legal sanctions or an order of closing our relevant websites.

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In addition, uncertainties still exist as new laws and regulations, including without limitation the amended Implementation Rules, may set more specific and stringent requirements for online educational institutions on various aspects including the means and timing of fee collection, pricing, advertisements and promotion content, prepaid funds under supervision, teachers’ qualification licenses, refunds, course time and content, homework arrangement, and student enrollment, among others, or requiring online educational institutions to obtain the Permit for Operating a Private School. We may be unable to comply with such new laws and regulations in a prompt manner or incur additional costs in complying with relevant requirements, which may adversely affect our business, financial conditions and results of operations. Meanwhile, there can be no assurance that we will be able to maintain our existing licenses, approvals, registrations or permits necessary to provide our current online services in China, renew any of them when their current term expires, or update existing licenses or obtain additional licenses, approvals, permits, registrations or filings necessary for our business expansion from time to time. If we fail to do so, our business, financial condition and operational results may be materially and adversely affected.

We face risks and uncertainties in printing and providing teaching handouts and other materials to our students.

Our certain wholly owned subsidiaries and Consolidated Affiliated Entities engage in printing and providing teaching handouts and other materials to our students. According to the Administrative Regulations on Publication, any entity engaging in the activities of publishing, printing, copying, importation or distribution of publications, shall obtain relevant permits of publishing, printing, copying, importation or distribution of publications. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—PRC Regulations—Regulations on Publishing and Distribution of Publications.” Under the new regulation, it is uncertain whether printing and providing teaching handouts and other materials to our students would be deemed publishing activities. If the General Administration of Press and Publication or its local branches or other competent authorities deem such activities as publishing, we may become subject to significant penalties, fines, legal sanctions or an order suspending our printing and provision of teaching handouts and other materials to our students.

Adverse changes in economic and political policies of the PRC government could have a material adverse effect on the overall economic growth of China, which could adversely affect our business.

Substantially all of our business operations are conducted in China. Accordingly, our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects are affected significantly by economic, political and legal developments in China. The economy in China differs from the economies of most developed countries in many respects, including the degree of government involvement, level of development, growth rate, control of foreign exchange and currency conversion, access to financing and allocation of resources.

The PRC government has implemented various measures to encourage economic development and guide the allocation of resources. While some of these measures benefit the overall PRC economy, they may also have a negative effect on us. For example, our financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected by government control over capital investments, conversion of foreign exchange into Renminbi or changes in tax regulations and practices that are applicable to us. In addition, future actions or policies of the PRC government to control the pace of economic growth may cause a decrease in the level of economic activity in China, which in turn could materially affect our liquidity and access to capital and our ability to operate our business.

In addition, the changes in the policies regarding the control of foreign exchange could adversely affect our business. In 2016, PRC government has implemented various measures and policies regarding strengthening the management and supervision control of foreign control in both capital items and current items, which resulted in extension of time in the filing, registration and approval procedures of local branches and authorized banks in foreign control activities, and could result in delayed payment of salary to foreign employees by our subsidiaries and subsidiaries of our VIEs. The continued policies regarding strengthening the management and supervision control of foreign control could adversely affect our business development.

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A severe or prolonged downturn in the global or PRC economy could materially and adversely affect our business and our financial condition.

The global macroeconomic environment is facing challenges, especially the challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. See also “—Our business was materially adversely affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 and may be materially adversely affected by a similar outbreak in the future.” The PRC economy has shown slower growth compared to the previous decade since 2012 and such slowdown may continue. In addition, there is considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies, including the United States and China. Unrest, terrorist threats and potential for war in the Middle East and elsewhere may increase market volatility across the globe. There is significant uncertainty about the future relationship between the United States and China with respect to trade policies, treaties, government regulations and tariffs. There have also been concerns on the relationship between China and other countries, including the surrounding Asian countries, which may potentially have economic effects. Economic conditions in China are sensitive to global economic conditions, as well as changes in domestic economic and political policies and the expected or perceived overall economic growth rate in China. Any severe or prolonged slowdown in the global or PRC economy may materially and adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. In addition, continued turbulence in the international markets may adversely affect our ability to access capital markets to meet liquidity needs.

Increases in labor costs and potential non-compliance with labor laws and regulations may adversely affect our business and our profitability.

The economy of China has been experiencing increases in labor costs in recent years. The overall economy and the average wage in China are expected to continue to grow. The average wage level for our employees has increased in recent years. In addition, we are required by PRC laws and regulations to pay various statutory employee benefits, including pensions, housing fund, medical insurance, work-related injury insurance, unemployment insurance and childbearing insurance to designated government agencies for the benefit of our employees. It is up to the relevant government agencies to determine whether an employer has made adequate payments of the requisite statutory employee benefits, and those employers who fail to make adequate payments may be subject to late payment fees, fines and/or other penalties. We expect that our labor costs, including wages and employee benefits, will continue to increase. Unless we are able to pass on these increased labor costs to our students by increasing prices for our services or improving the utilization of our teachers and our staff, our profitability and results of operations may be materially and adversely affected.

Besides, we engaged certain independently contracted foreign teachers as independent contractors whose rights differ from those of employees at part of our English online education business. There are uncertainties in determining whether a service provider is an independent contractor or an employee due to vague terms in laws and regulations, and there are also uncertainties on whether such independently contracted foreign teachers, who work outside of PRC, shall comply with relevant PRC laws and regulations on qualification of foreign teachers.

Furthermore, the PRC government has stipulated new laws and regulations to enhance labor protection in recent years, such as the Labor Contract Law and the Social Insurance Law. Given that the interpretation and implementation of these new laws and regulations are still evolving and relevant laws and regulations are becoming stricter, our employment practice may not at all times be deemed in compliance with the new laws and regulations. If we are subject to penalties or incur significant liabilities in connection with labor disputes or investigation, our business and profitability may be adversely affected.

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We may rely on dividends paid by our subsidiaries for our cash needs, and any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to make payments to us could limit our ability to pay dividends to holders of our ADSs and common shares.

We are a holding company and conduct substantially all of our business through our operating subsidiaries and Consolidated Affiliated Entities. We may rely on dividends paid by our subsidiaries for our cash needs, including the funds necessary to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders, to service any debt we may incur and to pay our operating expenses. The payment of dividends by entities organized in China is subject to limitations. In particular, regulations in China currently permit payment of dividends only out of accumulated profits as determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. PRC companies are also required to set aside at least 10% of their after-tax profit based on PRC accounting standards each year to their statutory surplus reserves until the accumulative amount of such reserves reaches 50% of their registered capital. These reserves are not distributable as cash dividends. Furthermore, if our subsidiaries and Consolidated Affiliated Entities in China incur debt on their own behalf in the future, the instruments governing the debt may restrict their ability to pay dividends or make other payments to us. The PRC tax authorities may require us to adjust our taxable income under the contractual arrangements we currently have in place in a manner that would materially and adversely affect our subsidiaries’ ability to pay dividends and other distributions to us. Moreover, each of our affiliated schools is required to allocate certain amount of profits to its development fund for the construction or maintenance of school facilities or procurement or upgrade of educational equipment at the end of each fiscal year. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview— PRC Regulation—Regulations on Private Education—The Private Education Law and the Implementation Rules for Private Education Law” for a discussion on the requirements for private schools to make allocations to school development funds. Any direct or indirect limitation on the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to distribute dividends and other distributions to us could materially and adversely limit our ability to make investments or acquisitions at the holding company level, pay dividends or otherwise fund and conduct our business.

PRC laws and regulations may limit the use of the proceeds we received from our financing activities for our investment or operations in China.

In utilizing the proceeds we received from our financing activities as an offshore holding company with PRC subsidiaries, we may (i) make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, (ii) establish new PRC subsidiaries and make capital contributions to these new PRC subsidiaries, (iii) make loans to our PRC subsidiaries or our VIEs, or (iv) acquire offshore entities with business operations in China in an offshore transaction. However, most of these uses are subject to PRC regulations and approvals. For example:

capital contributions to our subsidiaries in China, whether existing ones or newly established ones, require that the PRC subsidiaries complete the relevant filing and reporting procedures with relevant governmental authorities and register with the local bank authorized by State Administration of Foreign Exchange, or SAFE;
loans by us to our subsidiaries in China, each of which is a foreign-invested enterprise, to finance their activities cannot exceed statutory limits and must be registered with local branches of SAFE; and
loans by us to our Consolidated Affiliated Entities, which are domestic PRC entities, cannot exceed statutory limits and must be registered with the National Development and Reform Commission and must also be registered with SAFE or its local branches.

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SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming the Administration of Foreign Exchange Settlement of Capital of Foreign-invested Enterprises, or SAFE Circular 19, effective in June 2015, in replacement of a former regulation. SAFE Circular 19 regulates the flow and use of the RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested company. According to SAFE Circular 19, RMB capital may not be used for the issuance of RMB entrusted loans, the repayment of inter-enterprise loans or the repayment of bank loans that have been transferred to a third party. Although SAFE Circular 19 allows RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested enterprise to be used for equity investments within China, it also reiterates the principle that RMB converted from the foreign currency-denominated capital of a foreign-invested company may not be directly or indirectly used for purposes beyond its business scope. Thus, it is unclear whether SAFE will permit such capital to be used for equity investments in China. SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming and Standardizing the Foreign Exchange Settlement Management Policy of Capital Account, or SAFE Circular 16, effective on June 9, 2016, which reiterates some of the rules set forth in SAFE Circular 19, but changes the prohibition against using RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested company to issue RMB entrusted loans to a prohibition against using such capital to issue loans to non-associated enterprises. Violations of SAFE Circular 19 and SAFE Circular 16 could result in administrative penalties. SAFE Circular 19 and SAFE Circular 16 may significantly limit our ability to transfer any foreign currency we hold, including the net proceeds from our offshore offerings, to our PRC subsidiaries, which may adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business in China. On October 23, 2019, the SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Further Promoting the Convenience of Cross-border Trade and Investment, or the SAFE Circular 28, which, among other things, allows all foreign-invested companies to use RMB converted from foreign currency-denominated capital for equity investments in China, as long as the equity investment is genuine, does not violate applicable laws, and complies with the negative list on foreign investment. However, due to lack of sufficient guidance, it is unclear how SAFE and competent banks will carry this out in practice.

We expect that PRC laws and regulations may continue to limit our use of proceeds from offshore offerings. We cannot assure you that we will be able to obtain these government registrations or approvals on a timely basis, if at all, with respect to our future plans to use the U.S. dollar proceeds we receive from offshore offerings for our investments and operations in China. If we fail to receive such registrations or approvals, our ability to use the proceeds of offshore offerings and to capitalize our PRC operations may be negatively affected, which could materially and adversely affect our liquidity and ability to fund and expand our business.

PRC regulations relating to the establishment of offshore special purpose companies by PRC residents may subject our PRC resident beneficial owners to personal liability and limit our ability to acquire PRC companies or to inject capital into our PRC subsidiary, limit our PRC subsidiary’s ability to distribute profits to us, or otherwise materially and adversely affect us.

SAFE promulgated the Circular on Relevant Issues Concerning Foreign Exchange Control on Domestic Residents’ Offshore Investment and Financing and Roundtrip Investment through Special Purpose Vehicles, or SAFE Circular 37, in July 2014. SAFE Circular 37 requires PRC residents to register with local branches of SAFE in connection with their direct establishment or indirect control of an offshore entity, for the purpose of overseas investment and financing, with such PRC residents’ legally owned assets or equity interests in domestic enterprises or offshore assets or interests, referred to in SAFE Circular 37 as a “special purpose vehicle.” The term “control” under SAFE Circular 37 is broadly defined as the operation rights, beneficiary rights or decision-making rights acquired by PRC residents in the offshore special purpose vehicles by such means as acquisition, trust, proxy, voting rights, repurchase, convertible bonds or other arrangements. SAFE Circular 37 further requires amendment to the registration in the event of any changes with respect to the basic information of the special purpose vehicle, such as changes in a PRC resident individual shareholder, name or operation period; or any significant changes with respect to the special purpose vehicle, such as increase or decrease of capital contributed by PRC individuals, share transfer or exchange, merger, division or other material event. If the shareholders of the offshore holding company who are PRC residents do not complete their registration with the local SAFE branches, the PRC subsidiaries may be prohibited from distributing their profits and proceeds from any reduction in capital, share transfer or liquidation to the offshore company, and the offshore company may be restricted in its ability to contribute additional capital to its PRC subsidiaries. Moreover, failure to comply with SAFE registration and amendment requirements described above could result in liability under PRC law for evasion of applicable foreign exchange restrictions. Further, the National Development and Reform Commission, or NDRC, issued the Administrative Measures for Outbound Investment by Enterprises, or Circular 11, on December 26, 2017, which took effect on March 1, 2018, pursuant to which outbound investments via the overseas enterprises controlled by PRC residents are subject to verification and approval, record-filing and reporting to the NDRC. Failure to comply with such verification and approval, record-filing and reporting requirements may subject such PRC Residents to personal liability. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—PRC Regulation—Administrative Measures for Outbound Investment by Enterprises” for more detail of Circular 11.

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In June 2015, SAFE promulgated SAFE Circular 13, according to which, local banks authorized by the SAFE are the new registration authorities under the SAFE foreign exchange control policies, instead of the local SAFE branches, in order to simplify the procedures of foreign exchange control related to direct investment. And therefore, pursuant to the SAFE Circular 13, the registration and amendment of PRC residents under SAFE Circular 37 should be conducted with local banks authorized by SAFE. The PRC residents are also required to, by themselves or entrusting accounting firms or banks, file with the online information system designated by SAFE with respect to its existing rights under offshore direct investment each year prior to the requisite time.

The failure or inability of our PRC resident beneficial owners to make any required registrations or filings or comply with these requirements may subject such beneficial owners to fines and legal sanctions and may also limit our ability to contribute additional capital into or provide loans to our PRC operations, limit our PRC subsidiary’s ability to pay dividends or otherwise distribute profits to us, or otherwise materially and adversely affect us.

The M&A rules and certain other PRC regulations establish complex procedures for some acquisitions of PRC companies by foreign investors, and the NDRC Circular 11 establishes certain procedures for our offshore investing activities, which could make it more difficult for us to pursue growth through acquisitions in and outside China.

The MOFCOM, the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the State Administration of Taxation, or the SAT, the SAIC, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, or CSRC, and SAFE jointly adopted regulations commonly referred to as the M&A Rules. The M&A Rules establish procedures and requirements that could make some acquisitions of PRC companies by foreign investors more time-consuming and complex, including requirements in some instances that the MOFCOM be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise. Moreover, the Anti-Monopoly Law promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress which became effective in 2008 requires that transactions which are deemed concentrations and involve parties with specified turnover thresholds must be cleared by relevant governmental authorities before they can be completed. In February 2021, the Anti-Monopoly Commission of the State Council published the Anti-Monopoly Guidelines for the Internet Platform Economy Sector that aims at specifying some of the circumstances under which an activity of internet platforms may be identified as monopolistic act as well as classifying that concentrations involving variable interest entities shall also be subject to anti-monopoly review. In addition, the security review rules issued by the MOFCOM that became effective in September 2011 specify that mergers and acquisitions by foreign investors that raise “national defense and security” concerns and mergers and acquisitions through which foreign investors may acquire de facto control over domestic enterprises that raise “national security” concerns are subject to strict review by the MOFCOM, and the rules prohibit any activities attempting to bypass a security review, including by structuring a transaction through a proxy or contractual control arrangement.

Further, pursuant to the Circular 11 issued by NDRC, outbound investment via the overseas enterprises controlled by PRC residents are subject to verification and approval, record-filing and reporting requirements to the NDRC. According to Circular 11, sensitive projects, such as outbound investment in real estate, hotels, news media, cinemas or sports club, carried out by overseas enterprises controlled by PRC residents shall obtain verification and approval from the NDRC prior to the implementation of the project. The non-sensitive projects carried out by overseas enterprises directly controlled by PRC residents, including by means of making asset or equity investment, or providing financing or guarantee, shall complete record-filing with the competent authority prior to the implementation of the Project. The non-sensitive projects carried out by overseas enterprises indirectly controlled by PRC residents with an investment amount over RMB0.3 billion shall be reported to the NDRC of relevant information by submitting an information reporting form for large-amount non-sensitive projects. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—PRC Regulation—Administrative Measures for Outbound Investment by Enterprises” for more detail of Circular 11. Through our dual-class share structure, Mr. Bangxin Zhang, a PRC citizen, possesses and controls 69.5% of the voting power of our company as of March 31, 2021, thus our investments outside China are subject to the abovementioned verification and approval, record-filing and reporting requirements to the NDRC under Circular 11.

We may expand our business in part by acquiring complementary businesses. Complying with the requirements of the M&A Rules and Circular 11 to complete such transactions could be time-consuming, and any required verification, approval, record-filing and reporting processes, including obtaining approval from the MOFCOM or NDRC, may delay or inhibit our ability to complete such transactions, which could affect our ability to expand our business or maintain our market share.

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The discontinuation of any of the preferential tax treatments currently available to us in China could adversely affect our overall results of operations.

Pursuant to the EIT Law, as further clarified by subsequent tax regulations implementing the EIT Law, foreign-invested enterprises and domestic enterprises are subject to EIT at a uniform rate of 25%. Certain enterprises may benefit from preferential tax rate if they qualify as “High and New Technology Enterprises”, or HNTE, “Newly Established Software Enterprise” or “Key Software Enterprise” pursuant to EIT Law and the related regulations. See “Item 4. Information on the Company-B. Business Overview-PRC Regulation-PRC Enterprise Income Tax.”

A number of our PRC subsidiaries and Consolidated Affiliated Entities are, or are expected to be, entitled to applicable preferential tax treatment. However, there can be no assurance that any of these entities will continue to enjoy such preferential tax rate. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—A. Operating Results—Taxation—PRC Enterprise Income Tax.” The discontinuation of any of the above-mentioned preferential income tax treatments currently available to us in the PRC could have a material and adverse effect on our result of operations and financial condition. We cannot assure you that we will be able to maintain our current effective tax rate in the future.

Under the EIT Law, we may be classified as a PRC “resident enterprise.” Such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders.

Under the EIT Law, an enterprise established outside China with a “de facto management body” within China is considered a “resident enterprise,” meaning that it can be treated in a manner similar to a PRC enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes, although the dividends paid to one resident enterprise from another may be qualified as “tax-exempt income.” The implementation rules of the EIT Law define de facto management as “substantial and overall management and control over the production and operations, personnel, accounting, and properties” of the enterprise. SAT has issued a circular providing that a foreign enterprise controlled by a PRC company or a PRC company group will be classified as a “resident enterprise” with its “de facto management body” located within China if all of the following requirements are satisfied: (i) the senior management and core management departments in charge of its daily operations function are mainly in China; (ii) its financial and human resources decisions are subject to determination or approval by persons or bodies in China; (iii) its major assets, accounting books, company seals, and minutes and files of its board and shareholders’ meetings are located or kept in China; and (iv) at least half of the enterprise’s directors with voting right or senior management reside in China.

In addition, the SAT issued bulletins to provide more guidance on the implementation of the above circular. These bulletins clarified certain matters relating to resident status determination, post-determination administration and competent tax authorities. It also specifies that when provided with a copy of a PRC tax resident determination certificate from a resident PRC-controlled offshore incorporated enterprise, the payer shall not be required to withhold 10% income tax when paying the PRC-sourced dividends, interest and royalties to the PRC-controlled offshore incorporated enterprise.

In addition, the SAT issued the Bulletin on Issues Concerning the Determination of Resident Enterprises on the Basis of their Actual Management Bodies in January 2014 to provide more guidance on the implementation of the above circular. This bulletin further provided that, among other things, an entity that is classified as a “resident enterprise” in accordance with the circular shall file the application for classifying its status of residential enterprise with the local tax authorities where its main domestic investors are registered. From the year in which the entity is determined as a “resident enterprise,” any dividend, profit and other equity investment gain shall be taxed in accordance with the Article 26 of the EIT law and Article 17 and Article 83 of its implementation rules. Although both the circular and these bulletins only apply to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises and not those controlled by PRC individuals, the determination criteria set forth in the circular and administration clarification made in the bulletin may reflect the SAT’s general position on how the “de facto management body” test should be applied in determining the tax residency status of offshore enterprises and the administration measures should be implemented, regardless of whether they are controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC individuals.

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As substantially all of our management members are based in China, it remains unclear how the tax residency rule will apply to our case. We believe that none of our offshore holding companies should be treated as a “resident enterprise” for PRC tax purposes. However, as the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to determination by the PRC tax authorities, there are uncertainties and risks associated with this issue. If the PRC tax authorities determine that any of our offshore holding companies are “resident enterprises” for PRC enterprise income tax purposes, a number of unfavorable PRC tax consequences could follow. First, we may be subject to enterprise income tax at a rate of 25% on our worldwide taxable income, as well as PRC enterprise income tax reporting obligations. Second, although under the EIT Law and its implementation rules, dividend income between qualified resident enterprises is a “tax-exempt income,” we cannot guarantee that dividends paid to TAL Education Group from our PRC subsidiaries through TAL Holding Limited, or TAL Hong Kong, or dividends paid from our PRC subsidiaries to Firstleap Education, which is incorporated in the Cayman Islands, through Firstleap Education (HK) Limited, which is incorporated in Hong Kong, would qualify as “tax-exempt income” and will not be subject to withholding tax, as the relevant government authorities that enforce the withholding tax, have not yet issued guidance with respect to the processing of outbound remittances to entities that are treated as “resident enterprises” for PRC enterprise income tax purposes. Finally, the “resident enterprise” classification could result in a situation in which a 10% withholding tax is imposed on dividends we pay to our non-PRC enterprise shareholders and with respect to gains derived by our non-PRC and enterprise shareholders from transferring our notes, shares or ADSs, if such income is considered PRC-sourced income by the relevant PRC authorities. This could have the effect of increasing our and our shareholders’ effective income tax rates and may require us to deduct withholding tax from any dividends we pay to our non-PRC shareholders. In addition to the uncertainties regarding how the “resident enterprise” classification may apply, it is also possible that the rules may change in the future, possibly with retroactive effect.

Dividends we receive from our operating subsidiaries located in China may be subject to PRC withholding tax.

Pursuant to the Arrangement between the PRC and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion, dividends declared after January 1, 2008 and distributed to our Hong Kong subsidiaries by our PRC subsidiaries are subject to withholding tax at a rate of 5%, provided that our Hong Kong subsidiaries are deemed by the relevant PRC tax authorities to be “non-PRC resident enterprises” under the EIT Law and hold at least 25% of the equity interest of our PRC subsidiaries. The SAT promulgated the Announcement on Issues concerning “Beneficial Owners” in Tax Treaties, or SAT Circular 9, which provides guidance for determining whether a resident of a jurisdiction with tax treaties with China is the “beneficial owner” of an item of income under PRC tax treaties and tax arrangements. According to SAT Circular 9, a beneficial owner generally must engage in substantive business activities. An agent or conduit company will not be regarded as a beneficial owner and, therefore, will not qualify for treaty benefits. A conduit company normally refers to a company that is set up for the purpose of avoiding or reducing taxes or transferring or accumulating profits. Although we may use our Hong Kong subsidiaries, namely TAL Holding Limited and Firstleap Education (HK) Limited, as a platform to expand our business in the future, our Hong Kong subsidiaries currently do not engage in any substantive business activities and thus it is possible that our Hong Kong subsidiaries may not be regarded as “beneficial owners” for the purposes of SAT Circular 9 and the dividends they receive from our PRC subsidiaries would be subject to withholding tax at a rate of 10%.

We face uncertainties with respect to indirect transfers of equity interests in PRC resident enterprises by their non-PRC holding companies.

Pursuant to the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Several Issues Concerning the Enterprise Income Tax on Indirect Property Transfer by Non-Resident Enterprises issued by the SAT in February 2015, or SAT Bulletin 7, where a non-resident enterprise indirectly transfers properties such as equity in PRC resident enterprises without any justifiable business purpose, aiming to avoid the payment of enterprise income tax, such indirect transfer must be reclassified as a direct transfer of equity in PRC resident enterprise, and gains derived from such transfer will be subject to PRC withholding tax at a rate of up to 10%. To assess whether an indirect transfer of PRC taxable properties has reasonable commercial purposes, all arrangements related to the indirect transfer must be considered comprehensively and factors set forth in SAT Bulletin 7 must be comprehensively analyzed in light of the actual circumstances. SAT Bulletin 7 also provides that, where a non-PRC resident enterprise transfers its equity interests in a resident enterprise to its related parties at a price lower than the fair market value, the competent tax authority has the power to make a reasonable adjustment to the taxable income of the transaction.

On October 17, 2017, the SAT issued the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or SAT Bulletin 37, which came into effect and superseded Circular 698 on December 1, 2017. The SAT Bulletin 37 further clarifies the practice and procedure of the withholding of nonresident enterprise income tax.

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There is uncertainty as to the implementation details of SAT Bulletin 7 and Bulletin 37. It is possible that we or our non-PRC resident investors may become at risk of being taxed under SAT Bulletin 7 and may be required to expend valuable resources to comply with SAT Bulletin 7 and Bulletin 37 or to establish that we or our non-PRC resident investors should not be taxed under SAT Bulletin 7, which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations or such non-PRC resident investors’ investment in us.

We face risks and uncertainties with respect to the licensing requirement for internet audio-video programs.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, or SARFT (which was merged with the General Administration of Press and Publication in 2013 to form the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, or SAPPRFT), and the Ministry of Information Industry, or MII (which was superseded in 2008 by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or MIIT), issued the Administrative Measures Regarding Internet Audio-Video Program Services, or the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures, revised August 2015. Among other things, the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures stipulate that no entities or individuals may provide internet audio-video program services without a License for Disseminating Audio-Video Programs through Information Network issued by the SARFT or SAPPRFT (as applicable) or the relevant local branches or completing the relevant registration with the SARFT or SAPPRFT (as applicable) or the relevant local branches, and only entities wholly owned or controlled by the PRC government may engage in the production, editing, integration or consolidation, and transmission to the public through the internet, of audio-video programs, or the provision of audio-video program uploading and transmission services. The SARFT and the MII have published a press release confirming that providers of audio-video program services established prior to the promulgation date of the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures that do not have any regulatory non-compliance records can re-register with the relevant government authorities to continue their current business operations. There are still significant uncertainties relating to the interpretation and implementation of the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures, in particular, the scope of Internet Audio-Video Programs.

Furthermore, the SARFT promulgated the Tentative Categories of Internet Audio-Visual Program Services (Trail), or the Audio-Visual Program Categories, which clarified the scope of internet audio-video program services. According to the Audio-Visual Program Categories, there are four categories of internet audio-visual program services which are further divided into seventeen sub-categories. The third sub-category to the second category covers the making and editing of certain specialized audio-video programs concerning, among other things, educational content, and broadcasting such content to the general public online.

On April 25, 2016, the SAPPRFT promulgated the Regulations of Management of Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs Service through Private Network and Directional Communication, or the Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs Regulations, which came into effect on June 1, 2016. The Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs Regulations provides, among other things, that a Permit for Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs via Information Network is required for engaging in broadcasting services through Private Network and Directional Communication. According to such Regulations, the broadcasting services through Private Network and Directional Communication shall mean the services and activities provided to the public through the private transmission channels that include internet, LAN and VPN based on internet and through the receiving terminals of televisions, and other handheld electronic equipment, and such services and activities include the activities of content supply, integrated broadcast control, transmission and distribution with IPTVs, private-network mobile televisions, internet televisions. According to such Regulations, only the entities wholly or substantially owned by the State could apply for such Permit.

We offer certain online courses on our platform. In the fiscal years ended February 28 /29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, revenues derived from audio-video program services offered through www.xueersi.com that may be subject to the Audio-Video Program Measures were 13.3%, 18.9% and 28.4%, respectively, of our total net revenues. Our teachers and students communicate and interact live with each other via our platforms. The audio and video data are transmitted through the platforms between specific recipients instantly without any further redaction. We believe the nature of the raw data we transmit distinguishes us from general providers of internet audio-visual program services, such as the operator of online video websites, and the provision of the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures and the Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs Regulations are not applicable with regard to our offering of the courses in live streaming format. However, we cannot assure you that the competent PRC government authorities will not ultimately take a view contrary to our opinion. In addition, we also offer video recordings of live streaming courses and certain other educational audio-video contents to our students on our online platforms. If the government authorities determine that our provision of online tutoring services falls within the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures or the Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs Regulations, we may not be able to obtain the required permit or license. If this occurs, we may become subject to significant penalties, fines, legal sanctions or an order to suspend our use of audio-video content.

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Fluctuations in exchange rates could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and the value of your investment.

Our revenues and costs are mostly denominated in RMB. The value of the RMB against the U.S. dollar and other currencies may fluctuate and is affected by, among other things, changes in China’s political and economic conditions and foreign exchange policies. After the PRC government changed its policy of pegging the value of RMB to the U.S. dollar in 2005, the RMB has fluctuated against the U.S. dollar, at times significantly and unpredictably. With the development of the foreign exchange market and progress towards interest rate liberalization and Renminbi internationalization, the PRC government may in the future announce further changes to the exchange rate system and there is no guarantee that the RMB will not appreciate or depreciate significantly in value against the U.S. dollar in the future. It is difficult to predict how market forces or PRC or U.S. government policy may impact the exchange rate between the RMB and the U.S. dollar in the future.

To the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars into Renminbi for capital expenditures and working capital and other business purposes, appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the RMB amount we would receive from the conversion. Conversely, if we decide to convert Renminbi into U.S. dollars for the purpose of making payments for dividends on our common shares or ADSs, strategic acquisitions or investments or other business purposes, appreciation of the U.S. dollar against the Renminbi would have a negative effect on the U.S. dollar amount available to us.

We have invested in derivative financial instruments such as the exchange option contracts that may hedge our exposure to foreign currency risks to a certain extent. The availability and effectiveness of hedges may be limited and we may not be able to adequately hedge our exposure or at all. In addition, our currency exchange losses may be magnified by PRC exchange control regulations that restrict our ability to convert Renminbi into foreign currency. As a result, fluctuations in exchange rates may have a material adverse effect on your investment.

Governmental control of currency conversion may affect the value of your investment.

The PRC government imposes controls on the convertibility between the Renminbi and foreign currencies and, in certain cases, the remittance of currency out of China. We received substantially all of our revenues in RMB. Under our current corporate structure, our income at the holding company level may be primarily derived from dividend payments from our PRC subsidiaries. Shortages in the availability of foreign currency may restrict the ability of our PRC subsidiaries to remit sufficient foreign currency to pay dividends or other payments to us, or otherwise satisfy their foreign currency-denominated obligations. Under existing PRC foreign exchange regulations, payments of current account items, including profit distributions, interest payments and expenditures from trade-related transactions, can be made in foreign currencies without prior approval from SAFE by complying with certain procedural requirements. However, for any PRC company, dividends can be declared and paid only out of the retained earnings of that company under PRC law. Furthermore, approval from SAFE or its local branch or prior registrant with banks, is required where Renminbi is to be converted into foreign currency and remitted out of China to pay capital expenses, such as the repayment of loans denominated in foreign currencies. Specifically, under the existing exchange restrictions, without a prior approval of SAFE or prior registrant with banks, cash generated from the operations of our subsidiaries in China may be used to pay dividends by our PRC subsidiaries to TAL Education Group through our Hong Kong subsidiaries and pay employees of our PRC subsidiaries who are located outside China in a currency other than the Renminbi. With a prior approval from SAFE, cash generated from the operations of our PRC subsidiaries and Consolidated Affiliated Entities may be used to pay off debt in a currency other than the Renminbi owed by our subsidiaries and Consolidated Affiliated Entities to entities outside China, and make other capital expenditures outside China in a currency other than the Renminbi. The PRC government may also at its discretion restrict access in the future to foreign currencies for current account transactions. If the foreign exchange control system prevents us from obtaining sufficient foreign currency to satisfy our currency demands, we may not be able to pay dividends in foreign currencies to our shareholders, including holders of our ADSs.

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Employee participants in our share incentive plan who are PRC citizens may be required to register with SAFE. We also face regulatory uncertainties in China that could restrict our ability to grant share incentive awards to our employees who are PRC citizens.

Pursuant to the Notices on Issues concerning the Foreign Exchange Administration for Domestic Individuals Participating in a Stock Incentive Plan of an Overseas Publicly-Listed Company issued by SAFE, or SAFE Circular 7, and the Notice on Relinquishing Power of Approving the First-time Application of Foreign Exchange Purchase Quotas, Opening of Special Bank Accounts issued by SAFE, a qualified PRC agent (which could be the PRC subsidiary of an overseas-listed company) is required to file, on behalf of “domestic individuals” (both PRC residents and non-PRC residents who reside in China for a continuous period of not less than one year, excluding the foreign diplomatic personnel and representatives of international organizations) who are granted shares or share options by an overseas-listed company according to its stock incentive plan, an application with SAFE to conduct the SAFE registration with respect to such stock incentive plan, and obtain approval for an annual allowance with respect to the purchase of foreign exchange in connection with the stock purchase or stock option exercise. Such PRC individuals’ foreign exchange income received from the sale of stocks and dividends distributed by the overseas listed company and any other income shall be fully remitted into a collective foreign currency account in China opened and managed by the PRC domestic agent before distribution to such individuals. In addition, such domestic individuals must also retain an overseas entrusted institution to handle matters in connection with their exercise of stock options and their purchase and sale of stock. The PRC domestic agent also needs to update registration with SAFE within three months after the overseas-listed company materially changes its stock incentive plan or make any new stock incentive plans.

Prior to the issuance of SAFE Circular 7, we received approval from SAFE’s Beijing branch in regards to applications we had submitted on behalf of certain of our employees who hold a significant number of restricted shares. Upon the issuance of SAFE Circular 7, we renewed our registration on behalf of these employees in accordance with SAFE Circular 7. From time to time, we need to apply for or to update our registration with SAFE or its local branches on behalf of our employees who are granted options or registered shares under our share incentive plan or material changes in our current share incentive plan. We may not always be able to make applications or update our registration on behalf of our employees who hold our restricted shares or other types of share incentive awards in compliance with SAFE Circular 7, nor can we ensure you that such applications or update of registration will be successful. If we or the participants of our share incentive plan who are PRC citizens fail to comply with SAFE Circular 7, we and/or such participants of our share incentive plan may be subject to fines and legal sanctions, there may be additional restrictions on the ability of such participants to exercise their stock options or remit proceeds gained from sale of their stock into China, and we may be prevented from further granting share incentive awards under our share incentive plan to our employees who are PRC citizens. Such events could adversely affect our business operations.

Our ADSs may be delisted under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act if the PCAOB is unable to inspect auditors who are located in China. The delisting of our ADSs, or the threat of their being delisted, may materially and adversely affect the value of your investment. Additionally, the inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections deprives our investors with the benefits of such inspections.

The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, or the HFCA Act, was enacted on December 18, 2020. The HFCA Act states if the SEC determines that we have filed audit reports issued by a registered public accounting firm that has not been subject to inspection by the United States Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, or the PCAOB, for three consecutive years beginning in 2021, the SEC shall prohibit our shares or ADSs from being traded on a national securities exchange or in the over the counter trading market in the U.S.

Our auditor, the independent registered public accounting firm that issues the audit report included elsewhere in this annual report, as an auditor of companies that are traded publicly in the United States and a firm registered with the PCAOB, is subject to laws in the United States pursuant to which the PCAOB conducts regular inspections to assess its compliance with the applicable professional standards. Since our auditor is located in China, a jurisdiction where the PCAOB has been unable to conduct inspections without the approval of the Chinese authorities, our auditor is currently not inspected by the PCAOB.

On March 24, 2021, the SEC adopted interim final rules relating to the implementation of certain disclosure and documentation requirements of the HFCA Act. We will be required to comply with these rules if the SEC identifies us as having a “non-inspection” year under a process to be subsequently established by the SEC. The SEC is assessing how to implement other requirements of the HFCA Act, including the listing and trading prohibition requirements described above.

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The SEC may propose additional rules or guidance that could impact us if our auditor is not subject to PCAOB inspection. For example, on August 6, 2020, the President’s Working Group on Financial Markets, or the PWG, issued the Report on Protecting United States Investors from Significant Risks from Chinese Companies to the then President of the United States. This report recommended the SEC implement five recommendations to address companies from jurisdictions that do not provide the PCAOB with sufficient access to fulfil its statutory mandate. Some of the concepts of these recommendations were implemented with the enactment of the HFCA Act. However, some of the recommendations were more stringent than the HFCA Act. For example, if a company was not subject to PCAOB inspection, the report recommended that the transition period before a company would be delisted would end on January 1, 2022.

The SEC has announced that the SEC staff is preparing a consolidated proposal for the rules regarding the implementation of the HFCA Act and to address the recommendations in the PWG report. It is unclear when the SEC will complete its rulemaking and when such rules will become effective and what, if any, of the PWG recommendations will be adopted. The implications of this possible regulation in addition to the requirements of the HFCA Act are uncertain. Such uncertainty could cause the market price of our ADSs to be materially and adversely affected, and our securities could be delisted or prohibited from being traded “over-the-counter” earlier than would be required by the HFCA Act. If our securities are unable to be listed on another securities exchange by then, such a delisting would substantially impair your ability to sell or purchase our ADSs when you wish to do so, and the risk and uncertainty associated with a potential delisting would have a negative impact on the price of our ADSs.

The PCAOB’s inability to conduct inspections in China prevents it from fully evaluating the audits and quality control procedures of our independent registered public accounting firm. As a result, we and investors in our ordinary shares are deprived of the benefits of such PCAOB inspections. The inability of the PCAOB to conduct inspections of auditors in China makes it more difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of our independent registered public accounting firm’s audit procedures or quality control procedures as compared to auditors outside of China that are subject to the PCAOB inspections, which could cause investors and potential investors in our stock to lose confidence in our audit procedures and reported financial information and the quality of our financial statements.

In May 2013, the PCAOB announced that it had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on Enforcement Cooperation with the CSRC and the PRC Ministry of Finance, which establishes a cooperative framework between the parties for the production and exchange of audit documents relevant to investigations undertaken by the PCAOB in the PRC or by the CSRC or the PRC Ministry of Finance in the United States. The PCAOB continues to be in discussions with the CSRC and the PRC Ministry of Finance to permit joint inspections in the PRC of audit firms that are registered with the PCAOB and audit Chinese companies that trade on U.S. exchanges.

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Proceedings instituted by the SEC against certain PRC-based accounting firms, including auditors of our consolidated financial statements in our prior annual reports, could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.

In December 2012, the SEC brought administrative proceedings against five accounting firms in China, including auditors of our consolidated financial statements in our annual reports, alleging that they had refused to produce audit work papers and other documents related to certain other China-based companies under investigation by the SEC. In January 2014, an initial administrative law decision was issued, censuring these accounting firms and suspending four of these firms from practicing before the SEC for a period of six months. The decision was neither final nor legally effective unless and until reviewed and approved by the SEC. In February 2014, four of these PRC-based accounting firms appealed to the SEC against this decision. In February 2015, each of the four PRC-based accounting firms agreed to a censure and to pay a fine to the SEC to settle the dispute and avoid suspension of their ability to practice before the SEC. Under the settlement, the SEC accepted that future requests by the SEC for the production of documents will normally be made to the CSRC. The firms were to receive matching Section 106 requests, and were required to abide by a detailed set of procedures with respect to such requests, which in substance require them to facilitate production via the CSRC. If they failed to meet the specified criteria during a period of four years starting from the settlement date, the SEC retained authority to impose a variety of additional remedial measures on the firms depending on the nature of the failure. Under the terms of the settlement, the underlying proceeding against the four China-based accounting firms was deemed dismissed with prejudice four years after entry of the settlement. The four-year mark occurred on February 6, 2019. While we cannot predict if the SEC will further challenge the four China-based accounting firms’ compliance with U.S. law in connection with U.S. regulatory requests for audit work papers or if the results of such a challenge would result in the SEC imposing penalties such as suspensions. If additional remedial measures are imposed on the Chinese affiliates of the “big four” accounting firms, including auditors of consolidated financial statements in our annual reports, we could be unable to timely file future financial statements in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act.

In the event that the Chinese affiliates of the “big four” become subject to additional legal challenges by the SEC or PCAOB, depending upon the final outcome, listed companies in the United States with major PRC operations may find it difficult or impossible to retain auditors in respect of their operations in the PRC, which could result in financial statements being determined to not be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act, including possible delisting. Moreover, any negative news about the proceedings against these audit firms may cause investor uncertainty regarding China-based, United States-listed companies and the market price of our ADSs may be adversely affected.

If auditors of our consolidated financial statements in our annual reports were denied, even temporarily, the ability to practice before the SEC and we were unable to timely find another registered public accounting firm to audit and issue an opinion on our financial statements, our financial statements could be determined not to be in compliance with the requirements of the Exchange Act. Such a determination could ultimately lead to delisting of our securities from the New York Stock Exchange or deregistration from the SEC, or both, which would substantially reduce or effectively terminate the trading of our ADSs in the United States.

Risks Related to Our ADSs

The market price for our ADSs may be volatile.

The market price for our ADSs has fluctuated significantly since we first listed our ADSs. For the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, the closing prices of our ADSs have ranged from $47.00 to $90.15 per ADS, and the last reported trading price on May 6, 2021 was $55.44 per ADS.

The market price for our ADSs is likely to be highly volatile and subject to wide fluctuations in response to factors such as:

actual or anticipated fluctuations in our operating results;
changes in financial estimates by securities research analysts;
changes in the economic performance or market valuation of other education companies;
announcements by us or our competitors of significant acquisitions, strategic partnerships, joint ventures or capital commitments;

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addition or departure of our executive officers and key personnel;
detrimental negative publicity about us, our competitors or our industry;
intellectual property litigation, regulatory investigation or other governmental proceedings against us;
substantial sales or perception of sales of our ADSs in the public market; and
general economic, regulatory or political conditions in China and the United States.

In addition, the stock market in general, and the market prices for companies with operations in China in particular, have experienced volatility that often has been unrelated to the operating performance of such companies. The securities of some PRC-based companies that have listed their securities in the United States have experienced significant volatility since their initial public offerings, including, in some cases, substantial price declines in the trading prices of their securities. The trading performances of these PRC-based companies’ securities after their offerings may affect the attitudes of investors toward PRC-based companies listed in the United States, which consequently may impact the trading performance of our ADSs, regardless of our actual operating performance. In addition, any negative news or perceptions about inadequate corporate governance practices or fraudulent accounting, corporate structure or other matters of other PRC-based companies may also negatively affect the attitudes of investors towards PRC-based companies in general, including us, regardless of whether we have conducted any inappropriate activities. Further, the global financial crisis, the ensuing economic recessions in many countries and the slowing PRC economy have contributed and may continue to contribute to extreme volatility in the global stock markets. These broad market and industry fluctuations may adversely affect operating performance. Volatility or a lack of positive performance in our ADS price may also adversely affect our ability to retain key employees, some of whom have been granted share incentive awards under our share incentive plan.

Our dual-class voting structure will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any change-of-control transactions that holders of our Class A common shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

Our common shares are divided into Class A common shares and Class B common shares. Holders of Class A common shares are entitled to one vote per share, while holders of Class B common shares are entitled to ten votes per share. We issued Class A common shares represented by our ADSs in our initial public offering in October 2010. As part of the redesignation of our capital structure at the time of our initial public offering, all of our existing shareholders as of September 29, 2010, including our founders, received Class B common shares, and our outstanding preferred shares at the time were automatically converted into Class B common shares immediately prior to the completion of our initial public offering. Each Class B common share is convertible into one Class A common share at any time by the holder thereof. Class A common shares are not convertible into Class B common shares under any circumstances.

Upon any transfer of Class B common shares by a holder thereof to any person or entity which is not an affiliate of such holder, such Class B common shares shall be automatically and immediately converted into the equal number of Class A common shares. In addition, if at any time, any of the persons who held Class B common shares immediately before our initial public offering and their affiliates collectively own less than 5% of the total number of the issued and outstanding Class B common shares, each issued and outstanding Class B common share owned by such Class B holder shall be automatically and immediately converted into one Class A common share, and no Class B common shares shall be issued by us thereafter. Due to the disparate voting powers attached to these two classes, as of March 31, 2021, holders of our Class B common shares (excluding any Class A common shares such holder may hold in the form of ADSs) collectively held approximately 81.9% the voting power of our outstanding shares and have considerable influence over matters requiring shareholder approval, including election of directors and significant corporate transactions, such as a merger or sale of our company or our assets. This concentrated control will limit your ability to influence corporate matters and could discourage others from pursuing any potential merger, takeover or other change-of-control transactions that holders of Class A common shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

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Our corporate actions are substantially controlled by our officers, directors and their affiliated entities.

As of March 31, 2021, our executive officers, directors and their affiliated entities beneficially owned approximately 31.5% of our total outstanding shares, representing 82.0% of our total voting power. These shareholders, if they acted together, could exert substantial influence over matters requiring approval by our shareholders, including electing directors and approving mergers or other business combination transactions and they may not act in the best interests of other minority shareholders. This concentration of ownership may also discourage, delay or prevent a change in control of our company, which could deprive our shareholders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their shares as part of a sale of our company and might reduce the price of our ADSs. These actions may be taken even if they are opposed by our other shareholders.

If securities or industry analysts publish negative reports about our business, the price and trading volume of our securities could decline.

The trading market for our securities depends, in part, on the research reports and ratings that securities or industry analysts or ratings agencies publish about us, our business and the K-12 after-school tutoring market in China in general. We do not have any control over these analysts or agencies. If one or more of the analysts or agencies who cover us downgrades us or our securities, the price of our securities may decline. If one or more of these analysts cease coverage of our company or fail to regularly publish reports on us, we could lose visibility in the financial markets, which could cause the price of our securities or trading volume to decline.

Substantial future sales or the expectation of substantial sales of our ADSs in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline.

Sales of our ADSs in the public market or the perception that these sales could occur, may cause the market price of our ADSs to decline and could materially impair our ability to raise capital through equity offerings in the future. We have Class A and Class B common shares outstanding, including Class A common shares represented by ADSs. All of our ADSs are freely transferable without restriction or additional registration under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or the Securities Act. Class A common shares not represented by ADSs, such as grants of share incentive awards which have vested, and Class B common shares are available for sale subject to volume and other restrictions as applicable under Rule 144 and Rule 701 under the Securities Act. To the extent shares are sold into the market, the market price of our ADSs could decline.

We will issue new Class A common shares upon conversion of our convertible notes. The conversion of some or all of the convertible notes will dilute the ownership interests of existing shareholders and holders of the ADSs. The issuance and sale of a substantial number of ADSs, or the perception that such issuances and sales may occur, could adversely affect the trading price of our convertible notes and the market price of the ADSs and impair our ability to raise capital through the sale of additional equity securities.

In addition, we may be required by our shareholders to register the sale of their shares under the Securities Act. Registration of these shares under the Securities Act would result in these shares becoming freely tradable without restriction under the Securities Act immediately upon the effectiveness of the registration of these shares. Sales of these registered shares in the public market could cause the price of our ADSs to decline.

Our articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could discourage a third party from acquiring us, which could limit our shareholders’ opportunity to sell their shares, including Class A common shares represented by our ADSs, at a premium.

Our articles of association contain provisions that limit the ability of others to acquire control of our company or cause us to engage in change-of-control transactions. These provisions could have the effect of depriving our shareholders of an opportunity to sell their shares at a premium over prevailing market prices by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transaction. For example, our board of directors has the authority, without further action by our shareholders, to issue preferred shares. These preferred shares may have better voting rights than our Class A common shares, in the form of ADSs or otherwise, and could be issued quickly with terms calculated to delay or prevent a change in control of our company or make removal of management more difficult. If our board of directors decides to issue preferred shares, the price of our ADSs may fall and the voting rights of the holders of our common shares and ADSs may be diluted.

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Holders of ADSs have fewer rights than shareholders and must act through the depositary to exercise those rights.

Holders of ADSs do not have the same rights as our shareholders and may only exercise voting rights with respect to the underlying Class A common shares in accordance with the provisions of the deposit agreement. Under our memorandum and articles of association, the minimum notice period required to convene a general meeting is ten days. When a general meeting is convened, you may not receive sufficient notice of a shareholders’ meeting to permit you to withdraw your common shares to allow you to cast your vote with respect to any specific matter. In addition, the depositary and its agents may not be able to send voting instructions to you or carry out your voting instructions in a timely manner. We will make all reasonable efforts to cause the depositary to extend voting rights to you in a timely manner, but we cannot assure you that you will receive the voting materials in time to ensure that you can instruct the depositary to vote your ADSs. Furthermore, the depositary and its agents will not be responsible for any failure to carry out any instructions to vote, for the manner in which any vote is cast or for the effect of any such vote. As a result, you may not be able to exercise your right to vote and you may lack recourse if the votes attaching to the common shares underlying your ADSs are not voted as you requested. In addition, in your capacity as an ADS holder, you will not be able to call a shareholders’ meeting.

You may not receive distributions on our common shares or any value for them if such distribution is illegal or if any required government approval cannot be obtained in order to make such distribution available to you.

The depositary of our ADSs has agreed to pay to you the cash dividends or other distributions it or the custodian receives on common shares or other deposited securities underlying our ADSs, after deducting its fees and expenses. You will receive these distributions in proportion to the number of Class A common shares your ADSs represent. However, the depositary is not responsible if it decides that it is unlawful, inequitable or impractical to make a distribution available to any holders of ADSs. For example, it would be unlawful to make a distribution to a holder of ADSs if it consists of securities that require registration under the Securities Act but that are not properly registered or distributed under an applicable exemption from registration. The depositary may also determine that it is not feasible to distribute certain property through the mail. Additionally, the value of certain distributions may be less than the cost of mailing them. In these cases, the depositary may determine not to distribute such property. We have no obligation to register under U.S. securities laws any ADSs, common shares, rights or other securities received through such distributions. We also have no obligation to take any other action to permit the distribution of ADSs, common shares, rights or anything else to holders of ADSs. This means that you may not receive distributions we make on our common shares or any value for them if it is illegal or impractical for us to make them available to you. These restrictions may cause a material decline in the value of our ADSs.

You may be subject to limitations on transfers of your ADSs.

Your ADSs are transferable on the books of the depositary. However, the depositary may close its transfer books at any time or from time to time when it deems expedient in connection with the performance of its duties. In addition, the depositary may refuse to deliver, transfer or register transfers of ADSs generally when our books or the books of the depositary are closed, or at any time if we or the depositary deem it advisable to do so because of any requirement of law or of any government or governmental body, or under any provision of the deposit agreement, or for any other reason.

Your right to participate in any future rights offerings may be limited, which may cause dilution to your holdings.

We may from time to time distribute rights to our shareholders, including rights to acquire our securities. However, we cannot make rights available to you in the United States unless we register the rights and the securities to which the rights relate under the Securities Act or an exemption from the registration requirements is available. Also, under the deposit agreement, the depositary will not make rights available to you unless the distribution to ADS holders of both the rights and any related securities are either registered under the Securities Act, or exempted from registration under the Securities Act. We are under no obligation to file a registration statement with respect to any such rights or securities or to endeavor to cause such a registration statement to be declared effective. Moreover, we may not be able to establish an exemption from registration under the Securities Act. Accordingly, you may be unable to participate in our rights offerings and may experience dilution in your holdings.

Conversion of our convertible notes may dilute the ownership interest of existing shareholders.

The conversion of some or all of our convertible notes may dilute the ownership interests of existing shareholders. Any sales in the public market of the common shares issuable upon such conversion could adversely affect prevailing market prices of our common shares. In addition, the existence of the notes may encourage short selling by market participants because the conversion of the notes could depress the market price of our common shares.

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Provisions of our convertible notes could discourage an acquisition of us by a third party.

In January 2021, we issued certain convertible notes for a total proceed of approximately US$2.3 billion to a group of investors. Certain provisions of our convertible notes could make it more difficult or more expensive for a third party to acquire us. For instance, holders of the notes will have the right to require us to repurchase for cash all or part of their notes upon the occurrence of certain fundamental changes at a repurchase price equal to 100% of the principal amount of the notes to be repurchased, plus accrued and unpaid interest to, but excluding, the repurchase date. The indentures for these convertible notes define a “fundamental change” to include, among other things: any person (other than certain specified holders) becoming the beneficial owner of the Company’s common shares representing more than 50% of the voting power or more than 50% of the outstanding common shares, any recapitalization, reclassification or change of our Class A common shares or the ADSs as a result of which these securities would be converted into, or exchanged for, shares, other securities, other property or assets; any share exchange, consolidation or merger involving our company as a result of which holders of our all classes of common equity do not own 50% of all classes of common equity of the surviving corporation; and any sale, lease or other transfer of all or substantially all of our assets to a third party; and the adoption of any plan relating to the dissolution or liquidation of our company.

We are a Cayman Islands company and, because judicial precedent regarding the rights of shareholders is more limited under Cayman Islands law than that under U.S. law, you may have less protection for your shareholder rights than you would under U.S. law.

Our corporate affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, as amended and restated from time to time, the Companies Act (As Revised) of the Company Islands and the common law of the Cayman Islands. The rights of shareholders to take action against the directors, actions by minority shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors to us under Cayman Islands law are to a large extent governed by the common law of the Cayman Islands. The common law of the Cayman Islands is derived in part from comparatively limited judicial precedent in the Cayman Islands as well as that from English common law, which has persuasive, but not binding, authority on a court in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedent in some jurisdictions in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws than the United States. In addition, some U.S. states, such as Delaware, have more fully developed and judicially interpreted bodies of corporate law than the Cayman Islands.

As a result of all of the above, public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests in the face of actions taken by management, members of the board of directors or controlling shareholders than they would as shareholders of a U.S. public company.

You may experience difficulties in effecting service of legal process, enforcing foreign judgments or bringing original actions in China against us or our management.

We are a Cayman Islands company and substantially all of our assets are located outside the United States. Substantially all of our current operations are conducted in China. In addition, some of our directors and all of our officers are nationals and residents of China. As a result, it may be difficult for you to effect service of process within the United States or elsewhere outside China upon these persons. It may also be difficult for you to enforce in U.S. courts judgments obtained in U.S. courts based on the civil liability provisions of the U.S. federal securities laws against us and our officers and directors, most of whom are not residents of the United States and the substantial majority of whose assets are located outside the United States. In addition, there is uncertainty as to whether the courts of the Cayman Islands or China would recognize or enforce judgments of U.S. courts against us or such persons predicated upon the civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the United States or any state and it is uncertain whether such Cayman Islands or PRC courts would be competent to hear original actions brought in the Cayman Islands or China against us or such persons predicated upon the securities laws of the United States or any state. In addition, since we are incorporated under the laws of the Cayman Islands and our corporate affairs are governed by the laws of the Cayman Islands, it is difficult for you to bring an action against us based upon PRC laws in the event that you believe that your rights as a shareholder have been infringed.

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It may be difficult for overseas regulators to conduct investigation or collect evidence within China.

Shareholder claims or regulatory investigation that are common in the United States generally are difficult to pursue as a matter of law or practicality in China. For example, in China, there are significant legal and other obstacles to obtaining information needed for regulatory investigations or litigations initiated outside China. Although the authorities in China may establish a regulatory cooperation mechanism with the securities regulatory authorities of another country or region to implement cross-border supervision and administration, such cooperation with the securities regulatory authorities in the Unities States may not be efficient in the absence of mutual and practical cooperation mechanism. Furthermore, according to Article 177 of the PRC Securities Law, or Article 177, which became effective in March 2020, no overseas securities regulator is allowed to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within the territory of the PRC, and no organization or individual may provide documents or materials relating to securities business activities to overseas parties arbitrarily without the consent of the competent securities regulatory authority in China. While detailed interpretation of or implementation rules under Article 177 have yet to be promulgated, the inability for an overseas securities regulator to directly conduct investigation or evidence collection activities within China may further increase the difficulties you face in protecting your interests. See also “-Risks Related to Our ADSs-We are a Cayman Islands company and, because judicial precedent regarding the rights of shareholders is more limited under Cayman Islands law than that under U.S. law, you may have less protection for your shareholder rights than you would under U.S. law.” for risks associated with investing in us as a Cayman Islands company.

We may be classified as a passive foreign investment company for U.S. federal income tax purposes, which could result in adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences to U.S. Holders of our ADSs or common shares.

Under U.S. federal income tax law, we will be classified as a PFIC for any taxable year if either (i) at least 75% of our gross income for the taxable year is passive income or (ii) at least 50% of the value of our assets (generally determined on the basis of a quarterly average) is attributable to assets that produce or are held for the production of passive income (the asset test). Although the law in this regard is unclear, we treat our VIEs and their respective subsidiaries and schools as being owned by us for U.S. federal income tax purposes, not only because we control their management decisions but also because we are entitled to substantially all of the economic benefits associated with these entities, and, as a result, we consolidate their operating results in our consolidated U.S. GAAP financial statements. If it were determined, however, that we are not the owner of the VIEs and their respective subsidiaries for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we would likely be treated as a PFIC for our current and any subsequent taxable year.

Assuming that we are the owner of our VIEs and their respective subsidiaries for U.S. federal income tax purposes, and based on our income and assets and the market price of our ADSs, we do not believe that we were a PFIC for the taxable year ended February 28, 2021 and do not anticipate becoming a PFIC for the foreseeable future. However, no assurance can be given in this regard because the determination of whether we will be or become a PFIC is a fact-intensive inquiry made on an annual basis that depends, in part, on the composition of our income and assets. Fluctuations in the market price of our ADSs may cause us to become a PFIC for the current or subsequent taxable years because the value of assets for the purpose of the asset test may be determined by reference to the market price of our ADSs from time to time (which may be volatile). The composition of our income and assets may also be affected by how, and how quickly, we use our liquid assets. Under circumstances where our revenue from activities that produce passive income significantly increase relative to our revenue from activities that produce non-passive income, or where we determine not to deploy significant amounts of cash for active purposes, our risk of becoming classified as a PFIC may substantially increase.

If we were to be or become classified as a PFIC, a U.S. Holder (as defined in “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations—General”) may be subject to reporting requirements and may incur significantly increased U.S. federal income tax on gain recognized on the sale or other disposition of the ADSs or common shares and on the receipt of distributions on the ADSs or common shares to the extent such gain or distribution is treated as an “excess distribution” under the U.S. federal income tax rules. Further, if we were a PFIC for any year during which a U.S. Holder held our ADSs or common shares, we generally would continue to be treated as a PFIC for all succeeding years during which such U.S. Holder held our ADSs or common shares. You are urged to consult your tax advisor concerning the U.S. federal income tax consequences of holding and disposing of ADSs or common shares if we are or become classified as a PFIC. See “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations—PFIC Considerations” and “Item 10. Additional Information—E. Taxation—U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations—PFIC Rules.”

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Item 4.    Information on the Company

A.        History and Development of the Company

We started our operation in 2005 with the establishment of Xueersi Education, a domestic company in China. We then incorporated TAL Education Group to become our offshore holding company under the laws of the Cayman Islands on January 10, 2008, in order to facilitate foreign investment in our company. TAL Education Group established TAL Holdings Limited in Hong Kong in March 2008 as our intermediary holding company.

In August 2013, we changed the name of TAL Education Technology (Beijing) Co., Ltd. to Beijing Century TAL Education Technology Co., Ltd. In addition, we changed our umbrella brand from “Xueersi” to “Haoweilai.”

We have made certain other principal expansion of our service offerings:

in January 2016, we completed the acquisition of Firstleap Education, a provider of small-class tutoring services in English to young learners in China;
in February 2016, we acquired majority equity interest of Beijing Yinghe Youshi Technology Co., Ltd., or Yinghe Youshi, which primarily provides online preparation services of English tests for study-abroad purposes, and purchased all its remaining noncontrolling interest in 2017;
in July 2016, we acquired majority interest in Beijing Shunshun Bida Information Consulting Co., Ltd., or Shunshun Bida, which primarily engages in providing professional counseling services to students who desire to study abroad;
in August 2016, we acquired majority equity interest in Shanghai Yaya Information Technology Co., Ltd., or Shanghai Yaya, which primarily operates an online platform focusing on children, babies and maternity market; in 2019, we acquired the remaining minority interest in steps;
in fiscal year 2019, we obtained control of Shanghai Xiaoxin Information and Technology Co., Ltd., a previously minority-owned investee. This investee is mainly engaged in the development of communication tools connecting teachers and students; and
in fiscal year 2019, we made two investments in Dada Education Group, or Dada, a company providing one-on-one online English tutoring for children. In April 2020, we completed the acquisition of a controlling interest in Dada.

We have also made certain material investments in other businesses that complement our existing business, including the following in recent years:

in January 2014, we made a minority equity investment in BabyTree Inc., an online parenting community and an online retailer of products for children, baby and maternity wear in China;
since April 2015, we have entered into a series of transactions to invest for minority equity interest in Changing Education Inc., which operates a customer-to-customer mobile tutoring platform and provides tutoring services in China;
in August 2016 and 2019, we completed two minority equity investment transactions in Shanghai Zhengda Ximalaya Technology Company Limited, an online Frequency Modulation radio platform; and
in December, 2018, we invested in minority equity interest in Xiamen Meiyou Information and Technology Co., Ltd, an internet company focusing on providing services to female clients.

For more information on our acquisitions and investments, see Note 3 “Business Acquisitions,” Note 10 “Long-term investments” and Note 15 “Fair Value” to the consolidated financial statements.

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For information on our capital expenditures, see “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—B. Liquidity and Capital Resources—Capital Expenditures.”

In October 2010, we completed an initial public offering of 13,800,000 ADSs. On October 20, 2010, we listed our ADSs on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “XRS” and changed the symbol to “TAL” effective from December 1, 2016.

In May 2014, we issued $230 million in aggregate principal amount of 2.50% convertible notes due 2019. The notes matured on May 15, 2019.

In January 2018, we issued certain numbers of Class A common shares to a long-term equity investment firm for a total proceed of approximately US$500 million.

In February 2019, we issued certain numbers of Class A common shares to a long-term equity investment firm for a total proceed of approximately US$500 million.

In November 2020, we issued certain numbers of Class A common shares to a global growth investment firm for a total proceed of approximately US$1.5 billion.

In January 2021, we issued certain numbers of Class A common shares for a total proceed of approximately US$1.0 billion and convertible notes for a total proceed of approximately US$2.3 billion to a group of investors.

Our principal executive offices are located at 15/F, Danling SOHO, 6 Danling Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100080, People’s Republic of China. Our telephone number at this address is +86 (10) 5292 6658. Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at Maples Corporate Services Limited, PO Box 309, Ugland House, Grand Cayman, KY1-1104, Cayman Islands. As of February 28, 2021, we had branch offices in 109 cities in China and three branch offices in other countries. Our agent for service of process in the United States in connection with our registration statement on Form F-1 for our initial public offering in October 2010 is Law Debenture Corporate Services Inc., located at 400 Madison Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, New York 10017.

B.        Business Overview

We are a leading K-12 after-school tutoring service provider in China. We mainly offer comprehensive tutoring services to K-12 students covering core academic subjects, including among others, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, history, geography, political science, English and Chinese. In order to diversify K-12 tutoring services, we also provide consulting services for overseas studies and preparation courses for major standardized tests, as well as operate several online community platforms including through www.jzb.com (together with the “Jiazhang Bang” app) and www.mmbang.com (together with the “Mama Bang” app). We also provide support in various forms such as educational products, contents, technologies, services and other learning resources to educational institutions and public schools in China through our various programs and solutions.

We have successfully established “Xueersi” as a leading brand in the PRC K-12 private education market closely associated with high teaching quality and academic excellence, as evidenced by our students’ academic performance, our ability to recruit students through word-of-mouth referrals and the numerous recognitions and awards we have received. In August 2013, we changed our umbrella brand from “Xueersi” to “Haoweilai,” and now we offer different service offerings under different brands, such as “Xueersi,” “Mobby” and “Firstleap,” through which we offer small-class services, “Izhikang,” through which we offer personalized premium services, and “Shunshun Liuxue,” through which we offer consulting services on overseas studies.

We deliver our tutoring services primarily through small classes (including Xueersi tutoring services, Mobby tutoring services and Firstleap tutoring services), personalized premium services and online course offerings. We are constantly working to expand and supplement our service offerings, through both internal development and strategic investments. As of February 28, 2021, our extensive educational network consisted of 1,098 learning centers and 990 service centers in 109 cities throughout China and one city in the United States, as well as our online courses and online education platform. Our average student enrollments of normal priced long-term course per quarter increased by 54.4% from over 3.0 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 to approximately 4.7 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021.

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We operate www.jzb.com (formerly www.eduu.com), a leading online education platform in China. The website serves as a gateway to our other websites, including (i) those offering online courses, such as small-class training, personalized premium services and tutoring services for thinking development, and (ii) those dedicated to specific topics and offerings, such as college entrance examinations, high school entrance examinations, graduate school entrance examinations, preschool education, mathematics, English, Chinese composition, and raising infants and toddlers. We also offer select educational content through mobile applications. We are constantly working to expand our online offerings, with learning materials and services in varying stages of development. Our online platform enables us to continue to roll out and expand our online course offerings. Our online platform is protected by a combination of PRC laws and regulations that protect trademarks, copyrights, domain names, know-how and trade secrets, as well as confidentiality agreements. In addition to our online education platform, we also operate www.mmbang.com and the “Mama Bang” app, an online platform focusing on children, baby and maternity market.

Our total net revenues increased from $3,273.3 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 by 37.3% to $4,495.8 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021. Net loss attributable to TAL Education Group was $110.2 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, compared to net loss attributable to TAL Education Group of $116.0 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021.

Our K-12 Tutoring Services

We deliver our K-12 tutoring services to our students through small-class offerings, personalized premium services and online courses.

Small-Class Offerings

We have been delivering courses in small-class offerings since the inception of our company through Xueersi small classes, which currently cover major subjects as supplement to school learning. Xueersi small-class courses consist of four semesters, namely the two school semesters in Spring and Fall and the two holiday semesters in summer and winter. Throughout the years, we have increasingly integrated online technologies into the course offerings. As of February 28, 2021, 879 of our 1,098 learning centers and 771 of our 990 service centers offered Xueersi small classes and international education classes.

In 2011, we began offering our Mobby tutoring services. Mobby small classes typically have up to 12 to 16 children per class and are currently focused on comprehensive development based on STEM education, namely science, technology, engineering and mathematics, for young learners.

In January 2016, we acquired 100% of equity interest in Firstleap Education, which provides small-class tutoring in English to young learners. Firstleap small classes typically have up to 14 students per class. Most of the Firstleap business is carried out through Lebai Education and its subsidiaries and schools which offered Firstleap small classes. A small portion of the Firstleap business is carried out through franchisees, who are typically located in lower-tier cities and operate their own learning centers not within our network. As of February 28, 2021, 82 of our learning centers and 82 of our service centers offered Firstleap or Mobby small classes, or both.

We believe that, under small-class offerings, students can receive more individual attention from teachers than what they would typically experience in a large class setting and are able to learn in an interactive group environment. We design curricula catering to our students’ different educational requirements and needs.

To maximize transparency, improve learning experience and build trust with students and parents, we allow parents to audit most of the small classes their children attend, and for all of our Xueersi small classes, also offer unconditional refunds for any remaining unattended classes net of the costs of materials.

In 2010, we launched the Intelligent Classroom System (ICS), a proprietary classroom teaching solution used in small-class instruction. Through ICS, teachers at each of our learning centers are able to upload over the internet all of our internally developed multi-media teaching content, including instructional videos and audio materials, and project this content onto white boards to make the instructional process more efficient and the learning experience more interactive and stimulating.

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Personalized Premium Services

We began to offer personalized premium services in 2007 under our “Izhikang” brand. As of February 28, 2021, our Izhikang network included 137 learning centers and 137 service centers in 18 cities.

Our personalized premium services mainly provide customized curricula and course materials and flexible schedules to suit each student’s educational focus in a one-on-one student-teacher setting. We provide personalized premium services to cater to the specific requirements of our students, such as addressing weaknesses in particular subjects or topics, providing intensive examination and tailoring the pace of learning to accommodate above- or below-average learning curves. Key features of our personalized premium services include:

Customized tutoring solution. Each prospective student of our personalized premium services must meet with our educational planner and undergo a diagnostic assessment of the student’s strengths, weaknesses and potential. We then design and recommend a customized tutoring solution to the student in consultation with the student’s parents with respect to timing, cost and other considerations specific to the students’ circumstances. During the entire course of our personalized premium services for a student, we actively monitor the student’s progress and adjust the curriculum and learning pace for the student when necessary.

Tailor-made course materials. The course materials used in our personalized premium services are selected by subject teachers from our comprehensive course material database for the benefits of each student. We leverage our strong curriculum and course material development capability to provide high quality course materials to our students.

One-on-one student-teacher setting, supported by a team of experienced teachers. Each student in our personalized premium service has access to a large pool of experienced teachers. Teachers are chosen by students and their parents based on the interests and needs of each student. Our personalized premium services are mostly offered in one-on-one format, with a small portion of small-group classes, which typically consist of only two to eight students.

Personalized attention. For most students, we assign a coordinator, who routinely communicates with the student and the student’s parents to address their questions and concerns and to closely monitor the quality of our services. The coordinator also solicits monthly feedback from students and parents. We also accommodate any request by students or parents to change teachers to the extent practicable.

Online Courses

We began to offer online courses in 2010 through www.xueersi.com. Through www.xueersi.com, we offer online courses on mathematics, English, Chinese, physics, chemistry, biology, programming and other subjects. We also offer select online courses through other websites. Online courses enable us to leverage our proprietary curricula and course materials and high quality teachers to target markets beyond the reach of our physical network. It also enables our students to access our courses through the internet at times and places most convenient for them and enable more students to access quality courses with affordable prices.

In the past, our online courses were mostly in the format of pre-recorded classes. In March 2015, we launched a new TEPC (standing for teaching, examination, practice and communication) flipped classroom format, which was intended to serve as a major upgrade from the traditional model of recorded classes, and to enable our students to participate in more proactive and interactive learnings. This new format was further developed into live-broadcasting classes starting from October 2015, which has become the principal format of our online courses.

Currently, our online courses mainly feature interactive, live-broadcasting lectures by experienced teachers. We seek to engage teachers who have a strong command of the respective subject areas and superior communication skills. By offering live broadcasting classes, our teachers can adjust the pace and content of each class according to student performance and reaction. Under this format, students can proactively participate in the class and obtain a more personalized learning experience. We also conduct in-class examination and have dedicated tutoring teachers who focus on the correction of examinations and post-exam tutoring for students. In this way, students can receive timely and tailored feedback on their learning.

We plan to further develop our online course offerings to extend our market reach and maximize the potential of our services. In particular, we intend to expand our course offerings to include more subjects and grade levels. We have also made a few acquisitions and investments to expand our online business and enhance our online presence.

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Student Services

We strive to provide a supportive learning environment to our students through our teachers, class coordinators, call centers and online platform.

Our teachers keep track of the students’ performance and progress and regularly communicate with the students and parents. Moreover, we assign most of our students in the personalized premium services a class coordinator who is in close contact with the students and parents regarding scheduling and other logistical issues, receives feedback on teaching quality and arranges teacher replacements where necessary.

Through our call centers, websites, mobile applications and WeChat platform, we provide support services for students and parents, including receiving enquiries, accepting registrations, addressing course-related issues and facilitating communication with existing and prospective students for our center-based offerings and the parents of such students.

In addition, the online platform, among other things, provides an efficient channel for students and parents to submit study questions to our subject experts.

Our Curricula and Course Materials

Curricula

The curricula for our K-12 tutoring services covers the core K-12 subjects. We started our business by offering tutoring classes in mathematics and then gradually rolled out courses in other subjects over years. In terms of grade levels, we initially focused on serving primary school students and over time expanded our course offerings into higher grade levels.

Our K-12 course offerings encompass all major subjects catered to students of grades ranging from kindergarten to the twelfth grade. Our offerings start off with the fundamentals such as mathematics, English and Chinese for kindergarten and primary school students. Physics, biology, and chemistry are added to our curricula as students progress through middle school, reflecting their expanded core subjects. For high school students, we offer a full spectrum of subjects in response to their expanded and elevated study needs, completing the offering with history, political science, and geography.

The history, political science and geography courses are offered mainly through personalized premium tutoring services under our “Izhikang” brand and small-class services under our “Xueersi” brand. In addition, we also offer science, programming and GO courses.

Curriculum and Course Material Development

Substantially all of our education content for our non-English subject areas is developed in-house.

For the science subjects offered through Xueersi small classes, our team works closely with experts in different subject fields to keep up with changing academic and examination requirements in the PRC education system and solicits feedback from our teachers based on their classroom experience. When developing our curricula and course materials, we typically review and reference recent teaching materials and teachers’ training materials from leading public schools, consider any new examination requirements and requirements on cultivation of student ability and quality, and analyze the latest market trends and needs. Our development team is able to identify subjects and concepts that are difficult for students and focuses on the most important and difficult concepts and skills in the curricula. We evaluate, update and improve course materials based upon usage rate, feedback from teachers, students and parents as well as student performance. Most of our curricula and course materials are developed at our corporate level in Beijing and adopted by other locations with modifications to meet local requirements and demands. We have modularized a portion of our course materials based on specific topics so that centrally developed content can be more easily adopted locally and make our services more scalable, and we are in the process of modularizing other portions of our course materials.

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In March 2014, we, through our “Xueersi” brand, collaborated closely with Cambridge University Press, and together, launched a series of English learning materials called “Hello Learner’s English.” The Hello Learner’s English series of learning materials is tailored specifically for Chinese students, from grades one through six, and introduces new learning patterns for students to advance their English speaking, listening, reading and writing abilities, preparing students to pass the government authorized English examinations or well-recognized English assessment tests, and for their future secondary school or college English entrance examinations.

Moreover, Since May 2016, we have cooperated with LAZEL Inc. by entering into content license agreements with LAZEL Inc., pursuant to which we are granted license to use leveled English reading materials “Reading A-Z” and certain other distribution rights with respect to such reading materials. The leveled reading method of “Reading A-Z” scientifically provides children of different age groups with English reading content that is suitable for their development.

Since November 2017, we entered into certain content license agreements with Educational Testing Service, or ETS, pursuant to which, we and ETS intend to collaborate on launching our TOEFL and GRE preparation materials, providing online practice and automated scoring and feedback systems to our students.

Our Teachers

We have a team of dedicated and highly qualified teachers with a strong passion for education, whom we believe are essential to our success. We are committed to maintaining consistent and high teaching quality across our business. This commitment is reflected in our highly selective teacher-hiring process, and in our emphasis on continued teacher training and rigorous evaluation, competitive performance-based compensation and opportunities for career advancement. We had 21,387, 27,500 and 44,849 full-time teachers and 4,616, 8,245 and 11,142 contract teachers as of February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

For our Xueersi business, personalized premium services and online education business, we recruit teachers from university graduates, including many from top-tier universities in China, as well as experienced teachers with a solid track record and strong reputation from other schools. Each of our newly hired full-time teachers is required to undergo certain standard and customized trainings that focus on education content, teaching skills and techniques as well as our corporate culture and values. In addition, our teachers are regularly evaluated for their classroom performance and teaching results. Our teachers’ retention, compensation and promotion are to a large extent based on the results of such evaluations. We offer our teachers competitive and performance-based compensation packages and provide them with prospects of career advancement within the company. Our best teachers may be promoted to become directors of our operations in new geographic markets outside Beijing, invited to participate in our educational content development effort and even considered for senior management positions.

Our Network

As of February 28, 2021, our extensive network consisted of 1,098 learning centers and 990 service centers in the cities set forth in the table below. Our learning centers are physical locations where classes are conducted. Our service centers offer consultation, course selection, registration and other services, most of which are also provided by our call centers and online platform.

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The following table sets forth the number of learning centers and service centers in each of the 110 cities in our physical network as of February 28, 2021.

    

Number of Learning

    

Number of Service

City

Centers

Centers

Beijing

 

155

 

138

Shanghai

 

100

 

95

Guangzhou

 

81

 

80

Shenzhen

 

79

 

73

Nanjing

 

79

 

59

Hangzhou

 

65

 

55

Tianjin

 

45

 

40

Wuhan

 

35

 

28

Xi’an

 

37

 

30

Chengdu

 

26

 

24

Zhengzhou

 

26

 

24

Suzhou

34

30

Chongqing

46

46

Shenyang

26

24

Taiyuan

12

9

Jinan

17

16

Qingdao

12

12

Changsha

16

10

Shijiazhuang

12

12

Wuxi

6

6

Fuzhou

11

10

Nanchang

8

7

Hefei

14

14

Ningbo

5

2

Luoyang

3

3

Lanzhou

4

3

Changchun

3

3

Guiyang

4

4

Xiamen

2

2

Dalian

3

2

Dongguan

4

4

Foshan

8

8

Nantong

3

3

Xuzhou

4

4

Changzhou

5

4

Zhenjiang

6

6

Shaoxing

2

2

Yangzhou

4

2

Yantai

2

2

Wenzhou

4

4

Zhongshan

2

2

Zibo

5

5

Huizhou

3

3

Huaian

4

4

Handan

1

1

Nanning

1

1

Kunming

2

2

Yinchuan

2

2

Urumqi

1

1

Haikou

1

1

Tangshan

1

1

Harbin

1

1

Huhehaote

1

1

Linyi

2

2

Langfang

2

2

Weifang

2

2

Jining

1

1

Zaozhuang

1

1

Tai’an

1

1

Yancheng

2

2

Suqian

1

1

Taizhou

1

1

Lianyungang

2

2

Jiaxing

1

1

Taizhou

2

2

Jinhua

1

1

Quanzhou

1

1

Zhangzhou

1

1

Yueyang

1

1

Changde

1

1

Hengyang

1

1

Zhuzhou

1

1

Xiangtan

1

1

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Number of Learning

    

Number of Service

City

Centers

Centers

Zhanjiang

 

1

 

1

Zhuhai

 

1

 

1

Jiangmen

 

1

 

1

Shantou

 

1

 

1

Xiangyang

 

1

 

1

Yichang

 

1

 

1

Mianyang

 

1

 

1

Deyang

 

1

 

1

Wuhu

 

2

 

2

Liuzhou

 

1

 

1

Zunyi

 

1

 

1

Baotou

 

1

 

1

Xining

 

1

 

1

Baoji

 

1

 

1

Baoding

 

1

 

1

Rizhao

 

1

 

1

Liaocheng

 

1

 

1

Heze

 

1

 

1

Binzhou

 

1

 

1

Dezhou

 

1

 

1

Weihai

 

1

 

1

Dongying

 

1

 

1

Xianyang

 

1

 

1

Yulin

 

1

 

1

Huzhou

 

1

 

1

Yibin

 

1

 

1

Nanchong

 

1

 

1

Ma’anshan

1

1

Jiujiang

1

1

Ganzhou

1

1

Zhaoqing

1

1

Jieyang

1

1

Maoming

1

1

Chenzhou

1

1

Cangzhou

1

1

Hong Kong

2

2

Silicon Valley

1

1

Total

1,098

990

We intend to open new learning and service centers both in our existing and newly identified geographic markets to capitalize on growth opportunities. We have adopted a systematic approach to expansion of our learning centers and geographic markets. The decision of whether to enter a new city is typically made at the corporate business unit level and involves a well-established process requiring participation by different levels of management personnel within our organizational structure. Our process in identifying a new market involves developing plans for promoting our brand locally, recruiting teachers and other staff and commencing course offerings with an initial focus on certain core subjects and grades. In then selecting the locations for new learning centers, we perform studies of each location by gathering education statistics, demographic data, public transportation information and other data.

Marketing and Student Recruitment

We recruit students for our small-class business primarily through word-of-mouth referrals. Our reputation and brand have also greatly facilitated our student recruitment. Moreover, we engage in a range of marketing activities to enhance our brand recognition among prospective students and their parents, generate interest in our service offerings and further stimulate referrals. In the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, our selling and marketing expenses were $484.0 million, $852.8 million and $1,680.1 million, respectively, accounting for 18.9%, 26.1% and 37.4% of our total net revenues, respectively.

Referrals

We believe a great contributor to our success in small-class student recruitment has been word-of-mouth referrals by our students and their parents who share their learning experiences with others. Our recruitment through word-of-mouth referrals has enjoyed a strong network effect with the rapid growth in our student base, and benefits from our reputation, brand and the performance track record of our students.

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Cross Selling

We also use our interaction with parents and students for one type of service offerings as an opportunity to advertise our other service offerings. With a variety of offerings aimed at different student groups or focused on different areas, our goal is to create a brand name that permeates every aspect of our potential students’ educational needs.

Online Platform

Our online and mobile platform is an important component of our marketing and branding efforts. It also facilitates direct and frequent communications with and among our prospective students as well as our existing students and parents, supporting our overall sales and marketing efforts.

Public Lectures, Seminars, Diagnostic Sessions and Media Interviews

We frequently offer public lectures, seminars and diagnostic sessions to students and parents as a way of providing useful information to our prospective students and relevant experience for them to evaluate our offerings. In addition, our approach to teaching quality and the track record of our student performance has been covered by traditional and new media, which we believe has further enhanced our reputation and brand.

Advertisement and Others

We advertise through social media, search engines, sponsorships of shows on TV and streaming platforms, brand ambassadors, as well as outdoor advertising.

Competition

The after-school tutoring service sector in China is rapidly evolving, highly fragmented and competitive. We face competition in each type of service we offer and each geographic market in which we operate. Our competitors include online and offline after-school tutoring service providers.

We believe the principal competitive factors in our business include the following:

brand;
overall student experience;
price-to-value;
type and quality of tutoring services offered; and
ability to effectively tailor service offerings to the needs of students, parents and educators.

We believe that we compete favorably with our competitors on the basis of the above factors. However, some of our competitors may have more resources than we do, and may be able to devote greater resources than we can to expand their business and market shares. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—We face significant competition, and if we fail to compete effectively, we may lose our market share and our profitability may be adversely affected.”

Intellectual Property

Our brands, trademarks, service marks, copyrights, patents and other intellectual property rights distinguish and protect our course offerings and services from infringement, and contribute to our competitive advantages in the after-school tutoring service sector in China. Our intellectual property rights include the following:

trademark registrations for our brand and logo in China and Hong Kong;

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domain names;
copyrights to substantially all of the course contents we developed in house, including all of our online courses;
copyright registration certificates for software programs developed by us relating to different aspects of our operations; and
patents granted in China relating to interactive and technology-driven teaching and learning in our classes, as well as user interface on various platforms.

Among the domain names we have registered, several are highly valued and unique online assets as the domain name incorporates the Chinese spelling of the theme of the corresponding website, and is therefore easy to remember. Our domain names include the following:

Website Domain Name

    

Topic

www.jzb.com

 

Our main webpage which mainly has links to the websites listed below

(formerly www.eduu.com)

 

 

www.xueersi.com

 

Online courses

www.gaokao.com

 

College entrance examinations

www.zhongkao.com

 

High school entrance examinations

www.jiajiaoban.com

 

Personalized premium services

www.aoshu.com

 

Mathematics for primary and middle schools; specialized training for competition mathematics

www.yingyu.com

 

English language

www.youjiao.com

 

Preschool and kindergarten education

www.speiyou.com

 

Small-class tutoring under our Xueersi brand

www.mobby.cn

 

Tutoring services for young learners under our Mobby brand

www.yuer.com

 

Raising infants and toddlers

www.kaoyan.com

 

Post-graduate degree entrance examination

www.firstleap.cn

 

Small-class tutoring services in English to young learners

www.kmf.com

 

Preparation of English tests for study abroad purposes

www.vipx.com

 

Online one-on-one English tutoring services from foreign teachers

www.liuxue.com

 

Overseas studies services

www.mmbang.com

 

Communication platform related to pregnant preparations, pregnancy and raising infants and toddlers

www.xes1v1.com

(formerly www.dahai.com)

 

Online one-on-one tutoring services

To protect our brand and other intellectual property, we rely on a combination of trademarks, copyrights, patents, domain names, know-how and trade secret laws as well as confidentiality agreements with our employees, contractors and others. We cannot be certain that our efforts to protect our intellectual property rights will be adequate or that third parties will not infringe or misappropriate these rights. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Business—If we fail to protect our intellectual property rights, our brand and business may suffer.”

Insurance

We have purchased limited liability insurance covering most of our learning centers and service centers. We consider our insurance coverage to be in line with that of other private education providers of a similar size in China.

PRC Regulation

This section summarizes the principal PRC regulations relating to our businesses.

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We operate our business in China under a legal regime consisting of the National People’s Congress, which is the country’s highest legislative body, the State Council, which is the highest authority of the executive branch of the PRC central government, and several ministries and agencies under its authority, including the MoE, the General Administration of Press and Publication, the MIIT, the SAIC, the Ministry of Civil Affairs and their respective local offices.

Regulations on Private Education

The principal laws and regulations governing private education in China consist of the PRC Education Law, the Private Education Law and Implementation Rules, and the Regulations on PRC-Foreign Cooperation in Operating Schools. Below is a summary of relevant provisions of these regulations.

PRC Education Law

The National People’s Congress enacted the PRC Education Law, the most recent amendment of which was effective on April 30, 2021. The PRC Education Law sets forth provisions relating to the fundamental education systems of China, including a school system of preschool education, primary education, secondary education (including middle and high schools) and higher education, a system of nine-year compulsory education and a system of education certificates. The PRC Education Law stipulates that the government formulates plans for the development of education, and establishes and operates schools and other institutions of education. Under the PRC Education Law, enterprises, social organizations and individuals are in principle encouraged to operate schools and other types of educational organizations in accordance with PRC laws and regulations. The amendment of the PRC Education Law on December 27, 2015, which became effective on June 1, 2016, abolished the provision that prohibits any organization or individual from establishing or operating a school or any other education institution for profit-making purposes. Nevertheless, schools and other education institutions sponsored wholly or partially by government financial funds and donated assets remain prohibited from being established as for-profit organizations.

The Private Education Law and the Implementation Rules for Private Education Law

The principal laws and regulations governing the private education industry in China are the Private Education Law and the Implementation Rules for Private Education Law, or collectively, the Private Education Law and Implementation Rules. The Private Education Law was promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress in 2002, and its material amendments were effective in 2013 and 2017. Under the Private Education Law and Implementation Rules, “private schools” are defined as schools established by non-governmental organizations or individuals using non-government funds. In addition, under the regulations, private schools providing certifications, pre-school education, self-study aid and other academic education are subject to approval by the education authorities, while private schools engaging in occupational qualification training and occupational skill training are subject to approval by the authorities in charge of labor and social welfare. A duly approved private school will be granted a Permit for Operating a Private School, and shall be registered in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.

Under the Private Education Law and Implementation Rules, private schools have the same status as public schools, though private schools are prohibited from providing military, police, political and other kinds of education that are of a special nature. Government-run schools that provide compulsory education are not permitted to be converted into private schools. In addition, under the Private Education Law and Implementation Rules, operation of a private school is highly regulated. For example, a private school shall establish an executive council, a board of directors or any other form of decision-making body and such a decision-making body shall meet at least once a year. Teachers employed by a private school shall have the qualifications specified for teachers and meet the conditions provided for in the Teachers Law of the PRC, or the Teachers Law, and the other relevant laws and regulations, and there shall be a definite number of full-time teachers in a private school.

Before September 1, 2017, the date the Amended Private Education Law became effective, private education is treated as a public welfare undertaking in all aspects. Nonetheless, investors of a private school may choose to require “reasonable returns” from the annual net balance of the school net of costs, donations received, government subsidies, if any, or the reserved development fund and other expenses as required by the regulations. Private schools fell into three categories, including private schools established with donated funds, private schools that require reasonable returns and private schools that do not require reasonable returns.

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The election to establish a private school requiring reasonable returns was required to be provided in the articles of association of a school. The percentage of the school’s annual net income that could be distributed as reasonable return was required to be determined by the school’s board of directors, taking into consideration the following factors: (i) school fee types and collection criteria, (ii) the ratio of the school’s expenses in connection with educational activities and improvement of educational conditions to the total fees collected; and (iii) the admission standards and educational quality. The relevant information relating to the above factors was required to be publicly disclosed before the school’s board may determine the percentage of the school’s annual net income to be distributed as reasonable returns. Such information and the decision to distribute reasonable returns shall also be filed with the relevant government authorities within 15 days of the board decision. However, none of the then effective PRC laws and regulations provided any specific formula or guideline for determining “reasonable returns.” In addition, none of the then effective PRC laws and regulations set forth clear requirements or restrictions on a private school’s ability to operate its education business as a school that required reasonable returns or as a school that did not require reasonable returns.

Every private school was required to allocate a certain amount to its development fund for the construction or maintenance of school facilities or procurement or upgrade of educational equipment. In the case of a private school that required reasonable returns, this amount shall be no less than 25% of the annual net income of the school, while in the case of a private school that does not require reasonable returns, this amount shall be equal to no less than 25% of the annual increase in the net assets of the school, if any. Private schools that did not require reasonable returns shall be entitled to the same preferential tax treatment as public schools, while the preferential tax treatment policies applicable to private schools requiring reasonable returns shall be formulated by the finance authority, taxation authority and other authorities under the State Council. However, no regulations had been promulgated by the relevant authorities in this regard.

On November 7, 2016 the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the Amended Private Education Law, which took effect on September 1, 2017.

Under the Amended Private Education Law, the term “reasonable return” is no longer used, and sponsors of private school may choose to establish non-profit or for-profit private schools at their own discretion. Nevertheless, school sponsors are not allowed to establish for-profit private schools that are engaged in compulsory education according to the Amended Private Education Law. Therefore, schools engaged in compulsory education must retain their non-profit status after the Amended Private Education Law takes effect.

The Amended Private Education Law further establishes a new classification system for private schools on whether they are established and operated for profit-making purposes. Key features of this system include the following:

sponsors of for-profit private schools are entitled to retain the profits and proceeds from the schools and the operation surplus may be allocated to the sponsors pursuant to the PRC Company Law and other relevant laws and regulations, whereas sponsors of non-profit private schools are not entitled to the distribution of profits or proceeds from the non-profit schools and all operation surplus of non-profit schools shall be used for the operation of the schools, except that sponsors of private schools established before November 7, 2016 and registered as non-profit private schools, are allowed to obtain compensation or reward after the liquidation of such schools based on their investment to the schools, the reasonable returned they had obtained from the schools and the effectiveness of their operation of the school;
for-profit private schools are entitled to set their own tuition and other miscellaneous fees without seeking prior approval from or reporting to the relevant government authorities. whereas the collection of fees by non-profit private schools shall be regulated by the provincial, autonomous regional or municipal governments;
private schools (for-profit and non-profit alike) may enjoy preferential tax treatments; non-profit private schools will be entitled to the same tax benefits as public schools whereas taxation policies for for-profit private schools are still unclear as more specific provisions are yet to be introduced;
for construction or expansion of the school, non-profit schools may acquire the required land use rights in the form of allocation by the government as a preferential treatment, whereas for-profit private schools shall acquire the required land use rights by purchasing them from the government;

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the remaining assets of non-profit private schools after liquidation shall continue to be used for the operation of non-profit schools, whereas the remaining assets of for-profit private schools shall be distributed to the sponsors in accordance with the PRC Company Law; and
governments at or above the prefecture level may support private schools (for-profit and non-profit alike) by subscribing to their services, providing student loans and scholarships, and leasing or transferring unused state assets to the schools, and the governments may further support non-profit private schools in the form of government subsidies, bonus funds and incentives for donation.

On December 29, 2016, the State Council issued the Several Opinions of the State Council on Encouraging the Operation of Education by Social Forces and Promoting the Healthy Development of Private Education, which requires to ease the access to the operation of private schools and encourages social forces to enter the education industry. The opinions also provide that each level of the government shall increase their support to the private schools in terms of financial investment, financial support, autonomy policies, preferential tax treatments, land policies, fee policies, autonomy operation, protection of the rights of teachers and students etc. Further, the opinions require each level of the government to improve local policies on government support to for-profit and non-profit private schools by such means as preferential tax treatments.

On December 30, 2016, the MoE, Ministry of Civil Affairs, the SAIC, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Welfare and the State Commission Office of Public Sectors Reform jointly issued the Implementation Rules on the Classification Registration of Private Schools to reflect the new classification system for private schools as set out in the Amended Private Education Law. Generally, if a private school established before promulgation of the Amended Private Education Law chooses to register as a non-profit school, it shall amend its articles of association, continue its operation and complete the new registration process. If such private school chooses to register as a for-profit school, it shall conduct a financial liquidation process, have the property rights of its assets such as lands, school buildings and net balance authenticated by relevant government authorities, pay up relevant taxes, apply for a new Permit for Operating a Private School, re-register as for-profit schools and continue its operation. Specific provisions regarding the above registration process shall be introduced by governments at the provincial level.

On December 30, 2016, the MoE, the SAIC and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Welfare jointly issued the Implementation Rules on the Supervision and Administration of For-profit Private Schools, pursuant to which the establishment, division, merger and other material changes of a for-profit private school shall first be approved by the education authorities or the authorities in charge of labor and social welfare, and then be registered with the competent branch of the SAIC.

On August 31, 2017, the SAIC and MoE jointly issued the Notice of Relevant Work on the Registration and Management of the Name of For-Profit Private Schools, which specifies the requirements on the names of for-profit private schools.

Besides the Amended Private Education Law and the above regulations, other details of the requirements on the operation of non-profit schools and for-profit schools will be provided in implementation regulations that are yet to be introduced, such as:

an amendment to the Implementation Rules for the Law for Private Education Law;
local regulations relating to legal person registration of for-profit and non-profit private schools in certain areas; and
specific measures to be formulated and promulgated by the competent authorities responsible for the administration of private schools in the province(s) in which our schools are located, including but not limited to specific measures for registration of pre-existing private schools, specific requirements for authenticating various parties’ property rights and payment of taxes and fees of for-profit private schools, taxation policies for for-profit private schools, measures for the collection of non-profit private schools’ fees.

As of the date of this report, certain local governments, for example, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong Province, Jiangsu Province, Chengdu (a city of Sichuan Province) have promulgated regulations relating to the registration and administration of for-profit and non-profit after-school tutoring institutions, among which, some local governments, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Hubei, Hebei, Anhui, Yunnan and Zhejiang require the existing private schools to register either as for-profit or non-profit schools within a specific time period and certain local governments, for example, Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Zhejiang Province, Hainan Province, Ningxia Province, have promulgated specific measures for registration of pre-existing private schools.

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As of March 31, 2021, none of our affiliated schools enjoys any preferential tax treatments pursuant to the requirements of local governmental authorities.

Regulations on PRC-Foreign Cooperation in Operating Schools

PRC-foreign cooperation in operating schools or training courses is specifically governed by the Regulations on PRC-Foreign Cooperation in Operating Schools, promulgated by the State Council in accordance with the PRC Education Law, the Occupational Education Law and Private Education Law, and the Implementation Rules for the Regulations on PRC-Foreign Cooperation in Operating Schools.

The Regulations on PRC-Foreign Cooperation in Operating Schools and its implementation rules encourage substantive cooperation between overseas educational organizations with relevant qualifications and experience in providing high-quality education and PRC educational organizations to jointly operate various types of schools in China. Cooperation in the areas of higher education and occupational education is especially encouraged. PRC-foreign cooperative schools are not permitted, however, to engage in compulsory education or military, police, political and other kinds of education that are of a special nature in China.

Permits for schools jointly operated by PRC and foreign entities shall be obtained from the relevant education authorities or the authorities that regulate labor and social welfare in China. We are not required to apply for such permits since we currently do not have schools jointly operated by PRC and foreign entities.

Regulations on Educational Fees Management

On August 17, 2020, the MoE and certain other PRC government authorities jointly promulgated the Opinion on Further Strengthening and Regulating the Management of Educational Fees, or the Education Fees Opinions, pursuant to which all fees collected by private schools shall be paid into the school’s bank account filed with the education authority, be unified managed, and mainly used for educational and teaching activities, improving the operational conditions, of teachers’ and staffs’ medical treatment and allocating development fund according to relevant laws and regulations. The fee level of for-profit private schools is open for market adjustment and can be determined by for-profit private schools at their own discretion, while the fee-collecting regulatory policies for non-profit private schools shall be formulated by the provincial governments. The Education Fees Opinions further clarify that private schools established prior to November 7, 2016 shall be regulated in the same way as non-profit private schools in terms of fee-collecting policies until the completion of the classification registration procedures. Besides, the Education Fees Opinions propose to explore a special audit system for school education fees, in particular for non-profit private schools. The Education Fees Opinions underline that sponsors of non-profit private schools shall not obtain proceeds from schools’ operating profits, distribute the operating surplus or residual assets, or transfer operating profits through related-party transactions or related parties.

Circular on Special Enforcement Campaign concerning After-school Tutoring Institutions to Alleviate Extracurricular Burden on Students of Primary and Secondary Schools

On February 13, 2018, the General Offices of the MoE, SAIC, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security promulgated the Circular on Special Enforcement Campaign concerning After-school Tutoring Institutions to Alleviate Extracurricular Burden on Students of Primary and Secondary Schools, or Circular 3. Among other things, the Circular 3 requires all local bureaus of the MoE, SAIC, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security to carry out a special enforcement campaign to prohibit extracurricular private training schools and institutions from the following activities: (1) providing courses that do not follow the formal school curricula, and providing trainings to strengthen testing abilities for students; (2) organizing after-school examinations and competitions for primary and secondary school students; and (3) any activities linking students’ performance in extracurricular private training schools with admission of primary and secondary school. In addition, Circular 3 prohibits teachers in primary and secondary schools from engaging in part-time jobs to provide tutoring services in after-school tutoring institutions.

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Regulations on After-school Tutoring Institutions

On August 22, 2018, the General Office of the State Council issued the State Council Opinions 80 which provided various guidance on regulating the after-school tutoring market for primary and secondary school students, including, among others, the operation standards that after-school tutoring institutions should follow, the requirements and approvals necessary for opening new after-school tutoring institutions, the guidance for daily operation of after-school tutoring institutions, and the regulatory supervision scheme for after-school tutoring institutions.

The State Council Opinions 80 set out the operation standards of after-school tutoring institutions, including but not limited to the requirements for the Permit for Operating a Private School, the size of training areas, the teachers’ qualifications, insurance, fire safety, environmental protection, and health and food safety. The State Council Opinions 80 also provide guidance on the daily operation of after-school tutoring institutions, including but not limited to the content of the courses, the time of the courses, the methods of training, the method of receiving training service fee, among which, consistent with Circular 3, the State Council Opinions 80 prohibit intensive exam-oriented training, advanced training that does not follow formal school curricula, and any arrangement that correlates students’ examination performance in after-school tutoring institutions to admission into primary and secondary schools. Moreover, the State Council Opinions 80 set out the general regulatory supervision scheme by education administration authorities.

On August 31, 2018, the General Office of the MoE promulgated the Circular regarding the Truly Implementation of Special Measures and Rectification Work on the Private Education Institutions, which provides detailed requirements for the provincial education departments to enforce the State Council Opinions 80.

On November 20, 2018, the General Office of the MoE, the General Office of the State Administration for Market Regulation of the PRC and the General Office of the Ministry of Emergency Management of the PRC jointly issued the Notice on Improving the Specific Governance and Rectification Mechanisms of After-school Tutoring Institutions, or Circular 10, which provides specific requirements for local people’s governments at all levels in the implementation of the State Council Opinions 80.

The Central Committee of the Communist Party and the State Council jointly issued the Opinions on the Further Reform of Education and Teaching and Comprehensive Improvement on the Compulsory Education Quality, or the Opinions, which became effective on June 23, 2019. The Opinions stipulates, among other things, that (i) the State Administration for Market Regulation of the PRC and its local counterparts shall be responsible for the registrations and filings of all the after-school tutoring institutions and shall supervise and govern their operational behaviors, such as advertising, fee collecting, antitrust competitions and etc., and (ii) the integrated application of information technology and education shall be promoted, the “education plus internet” operation model shall be encouraged and in the meantime, the approval and supervision system for digital educational resource applied by schools shall be established.

On May 6, 2020, the General Office of the MoE promulgated the Notice on the Negative List of Advanced Trainings that Do Not Follow the Formal School Curricula of Six Compulsory Education Subjects (for Trial Implementation), which, in accordance with the State Council Opinions 80, prohibits after-school tutoring institutions from providing advanced training that does not follow the formal school curricula to the students in primary school and secondary school, and sets forth the typical activities that shall be regarded as advanced training in the subjects of Chinese, mathematics, English, physics, chemistry and biology.

On June 10, 2020, the General Office of MoE and the General Office of State Administration for Market Regulation promulgated the Notice on Issuing the Form of Service Contract for After-school Training Provided to Primary and Secondary School Students, which requires the local competent regulatory authorities to guide the relevant parties to use the form of service contract for after-school training activities provided to primary and secondary school students. The form of service contract covers the obligations and rights of parties involved in the after-school training, including detailed provisions on training fees, refund arrangement and default liabilities.

On October 16, 2020, the General Office of the MoE and the General Office of the State Administration for Market Regulation of PRC jointly promulgated the Notice on the centralized rectification of after-school tutoring institutions’ illegal acts of infringing consumers’ rights by using unfair standard terms. The Notice stipulates that local education and market regulation authorities shall increase the efforts for the investigation of after-school tutoring institutions’ illegal acts which infringes consumers’ rights by using unfair standard terms/ to exempt them from their own responsibility, increase consumers’ liability and exclude consumers’ legal rights.

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The General Office of the MoE enacted the Notice of Strengthening the Management of Homework for Compulsory Education on April 8, 2021, which requires that the local governments shall take prohibition of leaving homework as an important part of the daily supervision on after-school training institutions in accordance with relevant regulations, and in order to avoid reducing the burden in schools but increasing the burden after-school, after-school training institutions shall not leave homework to primary and secondary school student.

The MoE issued the Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Scientific Connection between Kindergarten and Primary School on March 30, 2021, which requires after-school tutoring institutions shall not provide tutoring services to pre-school aged minors in violation of applicable regulations. Otherwise, the relevant education authorities may seriously punish and blacklist such after-school training institutions, incorporate blacklist information into the national credit information sharing platform, and implement joint punishments in accordance with relevant regulations.

Regulations on Online and Distance Education

Pursuant to the Administrative Regulations on Educational Websites and Online and Distance Education Schools issued by the MoE, educational websites and online education schools may provide education services in relation to higher education, secondary education, primary education, pre-school education, education for teachers, occupational education, adult education, and other education and public educational information services. “Educational websites” refers to organizations providing education or education-related information services to website visitors by means of a database or online education platform connected via the internet or an educational television station through an internet service provider. “Online education schools” refer to education websites providing academic education services or training services that issue education certificates within the issuance of various certificates. Setting up education websites and online education schools is subject to approval from relevant education authorities, depending on the specific types of education. Any educational website and online school shall, upon the receipt of approval, indicate on its website such approval information as well as the approval date and file number.

On February 3, 2016, the State Council promulgated the Decision on Cancelling the Second Batch of 152 Items Subject to Administrative Examination and Approval by Local Governments Designated by the Central Government, explicitly withdrew the approval requirements for operating educational websites and online education schools as provided by the Administrative Regulations on Educational Websites and Online Education Schools, and reiterated the principle that administrative approval requirements may only be imposed in accordance with the PRC Administrative Licensing Law.

On November 20, 2018, the General Office of the MoE, the General Office of the State Administration for Market Regulation of the PRC and the General Office of the Ministry of Emergency Management of the PRC jointly issued the Circular 10, which provides that provincial education departments shall ensure the filings of institutions which provide training services online to primary and secondary students through the Internet, and regulate the online education institutions synchronously with the regulations on after-school tutoring institutions. Online education institutions shall file with the provincial education departments, for courses on school academic subjects, class name, course content, enrollment target, course progress and class time. Online education institutions shall also make their teachers’ names, photographs, teaching classes and teaching qualifications number public in prominent locations on their home page.

On September 19, 2019, the MoE, jointly with certain other PRC government authorities, issued the Guidance Opinions on Promoting the Healthy Development of Online Education, which provides, among others, that (i) social forces are encouraged to establish online education institutions, develop online education resources, and provide high quality education services; and (ii) an online education negative list shall be promulgated and industries not included in the negative list are open for all types of entities to enter into.

The MoE, jointly with certain other PRC government authorities, promulgated the Implementation Opinions on Regulating Online After-School Tutoring, or the Online After-School Tutoring Opinions, effective on July 12, 2019. The Online After-School Tutoring Opinions are intended to regulate academic after-school tutoring involving internet technology provided to students in primary and secondary schools. Among other things, the Online After-School Tutoring Opinions requires that online after-school training institutions shall file with the competent provincial education regulatory authorities before October 31, 2019 and that such education regulatory authorities shall, jointly with other provincial government authorities, review such filings and the qualification of the online after-school training institutions submitting such filings.

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With respect to the filing requirements, the Online After-School Tutoring Opinions provides, among others:

(i) an online after-school tutoring institution shall file with the competent provincial education regulatory authorities at the place of its domicile after it has obtained the ICP license and the certificate and the grade evaluation report for the graded protection of cyber security, and furthermore, shall file before October 31, 2019 if it has already conducted online after-school tutoring; (ii) the online after-school tutoring institutions shall file, among others, (x) the materials related to the institution itself, including the information on their respective ICP license and other relevant licenses and the materials related to certain management systems regarding the protection of personal information and cyber security, (y) the materials related to the training content, and (z) the materials related to the training personnel; and (iii) the competent provincial education regulatory authorities shall promulgate local implementing rules about the filing requirements, focusing on the training institutions, training content and training personnel.

The Online After-school Tutoring Opinions further provides that the competent provincial education regulatory authorities shall, jointly with other provincial government authorities, review such filings and the qualification of the online after-school tutoring institutions submitting such filings before the end of December 2019, focusing on the following matters: (i) the training content shall not include online games or other content or links irrelevant with the training, and shall not be beyond the relevant national school syllabus. No illegal publications may be published, printed, reproduced or distributed, and no infringement or piracy activities may be conducted during the training. And the training content and data shall be stored for more than one year, among which, the live streaming teaching videos shall be stored for more than 6 months; (ii) each course shall not last longer than 40 minutes and shall be taken at intervals of not less than 10 minutes, and the training time shall not conflict with the teaching time of primary and secondary schools. Each live-streaming course provided to students receiving compulsory education shall not end later than 9:00 p.m. and shall not leave homework for primary school students in Grade 1 and Grade 2. The online after-school tutoring platforms shall have eye protection and parental supervision functions; (iii) the online after-school tutoring institutions shall not hire any teacher who is currently working at primary or secondary schools. Training personnel of academic subjects are required to obtain necessary teacher qualification licenses. The online after-school tutoring institutions’ training platforms and course interfaces shall publicize the names, photos and teacher qualification licenses of training personnel, and the learning, working and teaching experiences of foreign training personnel; (iv) with the consent of students and their respective parents, online after-school tutoring institutions shall verify the identification information of each student, and shall not illegally sell or provide such information to third parties. User behavior log must be kept for more than one year; (v) the charge items and standard and refund policy shall be specifically publicized on the training platforms, and the periods for which tuition is charged shall be consistent with its respective curriculum and the online after-school training institutions shall not engage in excessive marketing, make false or misleading promotion, or overstate the effect of the product. The prepaid fees can only be used for education and training purpose, and shall not be used for other investment activities; where fees are charged based on the number of classes, fees are not allowed to be collected in a lump sum for more than 60 classes, and where fees are charged based on the length of the course, the fees shall not be collected for a course length of more than three months; and (vi) the online after-school tutoring institutions found to have problems after reviewing by the competent provincial education regulatory authorities shall complete the rectification before the end of June 2020, and will be subject to fines, regulatory order to suspend operations or other regulatory and disciplinary sanctions if they fail to complete the rectification in time. The Online After-School Tutoring Opinions provides that relevant governmental authorities of cyberspace administration, industry and information technology and others shall cooperate with the educational authorities to the extent of their respective scope of duties to regulate online after-school training institutions.

As of the date of this annual report, most local governments at provincial level have issued the implementation rules with respect to the filing requirements in relation to the Online After-School Tutoring Opinions.

The Law for Protection of Minors issued by The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on December 29, 2006, was recently amended on October 17, 2020, which will take effect on June 1, 2021. According to the amended Law for Protection of Minors, kindergartens and after-school training agencies may not carry out primary school curriculum for the pre-school age minors, and online education products and services which are targeted at minors shall not include any links to online games or push any advertisements and other information irrelevant to teaching.

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Regulations on Educational Applications (Apps)

On December 25, 2018, the General Office of the MoE issued Notice on Prohibiting Harmful Apps from Entering the Primary and Secondary Schools, which provides that learning applications shall be reported to the relevant educational authorities for approval, and teachers shall not recommend to students any application which has not been approved by the relevant educational authorities and the school. The use of any application which contains pornography, violence, online games, commercial advertising or relevant links, or which increases the burden of students’ work by test-taking methods such as copying homework, providing large number of test questions or ranking shall be stopped immediately. There is uncertainty whether applications we provide to our students would be found in violation of the above notice or whether such applications need to be approved by the relevant educational authorities. If the relevant authorities find our operation in violation of the above notice, our relevant applications may be ordered to stop use, which may have adverse effect on our business.

Moreover, the MoE, jointly with certain other PRC government authorities, issued the Opinions on Guiding and Regulating the Orderly and Healthy Development of Educational Mobile Apps on August 10, 2019, or the Opinions on Educational Apps, which requires, among others, mobile Apps that provide services for school teaching and management, student learning and student life, or home-school interactions, with school faculty, students or parents as the main users, and with education or learning as the main application scenarios (the “Educational Apps”), be filed with competent provincial regulatory authorities for education. The Opinions on Educational Apps also requires, among others, that: (i) before filing, the Educational App’s provider obtain the ICP license or complete the ICP license filing and obtain the certificate and the grade evaluation report for graded protection of cybersecurity; (ii) Educational Apps whose main users are under the age of 18 limit the use time, specify the range of suitable ages, and strictly monitor their content; (iii) before an Educational App is introduced as a mandatory app to students, such Educational App be approved by the applicable school through its collective decision-making process and be filed with the competent education authority; and (iv) Educational Apps adopted by education authorities and schools as their uniformly used teaching or management tools not charge the students or parents any fee, and not offer any commercial advertisements or games. On November 11, 2019, the General Office of MoE promulgate the Administrative Measures for the Filing of Educational Apps, which further provided the detailed implementation rules with respect to such filing requirements under the Opinions on Educational Apps.

To strengthen the prevention and control of myopia among children and teenagers, the MoE, the State Administration for Market Regulation, or the SAMR, and certain other government authorities issued the Comprehensive Implementation Plan for Myopia Control in Children and Teenagers in August 2018, which requires, among others, that the schools (i) shall use electronic devices based on the principal of necessity, shall not rely on electronic devices for teaching and homework assignment and shall rather assign paper-based homework in principle, and shall limit use of electronic devices to no more than 30% of total teaching time; and (ii) shall strictly implement the learning and development guidelines for children aged from 3 to 6, pay attention to the importance of child life and play and avoid “primary school” teaching.

Regulations on Publishing and Distribution of Publications

The Administrative Regulations on Publication, promulgated by the State Council and most recently amended in February 6, 2016, apply to publication activities, i.e., the publishing, printing, copying, importation or distribution of publications, including books, newspapers, periodicals, audio and video products and electronic publications, each of which requires approval from the relevant publication administrative authorities. According to the Administrative Regulations on Publication, any entity engaging in the activities of publishing, printing, copying, importation or distribution of publications, shall obtain relevant permits of publishing, printing, copying, importation or distribution of publications. In addition, according to the effective Negative List, foreign investors are prohibited from engaging in the publishing business. Therefore, our subsidiaries and Consolidated Affiliated Entities are not permitted to engage in publishing business under these regulations. We have been cooperating with qualified PRC publishing companies to publish our self-developed books, to comply with the Administrative Regulations on Publication.

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According to the new Administrative Regulations on Publications Market issued by the General Administration of Press and Publication and MOFCOM, effective June 1, 2016, any organization or individual engaged in wholesale or retail distribution of publications shall obtain a Permit for Operating Publications Business. Distribution of publications in China is regulated on different administrative levels. An entity engaged in wholesaling of publications shall obtain such permit from the provincial office of the General Administration of Press and Publication. An entity engaged in retail distribution of publications shall obtain such permit from the local office of the Administration of Press and Publication. According to the new regulation, foreign-invested enterprises are allowed to engage in the business of distribution of publications. Foreign investors who intend to establish an enterprise engaging in the business of distribution of publications and foreign-invested enterprise which intends to engage in the business of distribution of publications shall firstly obtain the approval from local office of the MOFCOM. If and upon approval, the MOFCOM will issue the Approval Certificate for Foreign-Invested Enterprises, on which the business scope of distribution of publications is specified along with the word “subject to the permission in this industry.” Afterwards, the foreign-invested enterprise shall file with its business scope of distribution of publications local office of the SAIC and shall obtain the Permit for Operating Publications Business from relevant offices of the General Administration of Press and Publication before engaging in the business of distribution of publications.

In addition, pursuant to the Administrative Regulations on Publishing Audio-Video Products promulgated by the State Council on December 25, 2001, which became effective as of February 1, 2002, any entity engaged in the wholesale or retail distribution of audio-video products was required to secure a Business Certificate for Audio-Video Products from the relevant culture authorities. Such Administrative Regulations on Publishing Audio-Video Products was later amended several times, pursuant to which the Business Certificate for Audio-Video Products was replaced by the Permit for Operating Publications Business and entities or individuals engaging in distribution of audio-video products shall only need to hold a Permit for Operating Publications Business, while a Business Certificate for Audio-Video Products shall no longer be needed.

During the term of the above-mentioned permits, the General Administration of Press and Publication or its local branches or other competent authorities may conduct annual or spot examinations or inspections to ascertain their compliance with applicable regulations and may require changes in or renewal of such permits.

General Administration of Press and Publication and the MIIT promulgated the Provisions on the Administration of Online Publishing Services, effective March 10, 2016. The Provisions on the Administration of Online Publishing Services provides that the entity engaging in publication services through information network shall obtain Internet Publishing Service License from the General Administration of Press and Publication. Foreign-invested enterprises are prohibited from engaging in the business of publication service through information network. Therefore, our subsidiaries are not permitted to engage in the business of publication service through information network, while our VIEs are permitted to engage in such business after obtain the requisite licenses.

Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network, Xinxin Xiangrong and Lebai Education and their certain subsidiaries have obtained the Permit for Operating Publications Business for retail or wholesale distribution of publications. If our Consolidated Affiliated Entities that are engaged in the whole sale or retail distribution of teaching materials and audio-video products or other publications are not able to pass the subsequent inspection or examination, they may not be able to maintain such permits or licenses necessary for their business. In addition, our VIEs are engaging in publishing teaching materials and audio-video products or other publications to students online, but our VIEs have not obtained the Internet Publishing Service License. We may become subject to significant penalties, fines, legal sanctions or an order to suspend our publishing of teaching materials and audio video online.

Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening Reforms

The Decision of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China on Major Issues Concerning Comprehensively Deepening Reforms, which was adopted at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, further open and liberalize certain investment access. The finance, education, culture and medical sectors will enjoy an orderly opening-up to market access and the government will encourage non-state capital to invest in the education sector.

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Regulations on Value-Added Telecommunications Services

Under the PRC Telecommunications Regulations, promulgated by the State Council and most recently amended in February 2016, a telecommunication services provider in China must obtain an operating license from the MIIT, or its provincial authorities. The PRC Telecommunications Regulations categorize all telecommunication services in China as either basic telecommunications business or value-added telecommunications business. Internet information services and the business of online data transaction processing are two of the subsectors of the value-added telecommunications business.

As a subsector of the value-added telecommunications business, business of online data transaction processing refers to the business to provide online data processing and transaction processing services through public communication network or internet for users through various data/transaction application platform connected to the public communication network or internet, including transaction processing services, electronic data exchange services and network/electronic equipment data processing services. Under the PRC Telecommunications Regulations, any entity engages in the business of transaction processing services as an online marketplace platform is required to obtain a license from the MIIT or its provincial authorities in providing transaction processing services.

As a subsector of the value-added telecommunications business, internet information services are also regulated by the Administrative Measures on Internet Information Services promulgated by the State Council, or the Internet Information Measures. The Internet Information Measures require that commercial internet content providers, or ICP providers, obtain a license for internet information services, or ICP license, from the appropriate telecommunications authorities in order to offer any commercial internet information services in China. ICP providers shall display their ICP license number in a conspicuous location on their home page. In addition, the Internet Information Measures also provide that ICP providers that operate in sensitive and strategic sectors, including news, publishing, education, health care, medicine and medical devices, must obtain additional approvals from the relevant authorities regulating those sectors as well. According to the Internet Information Measures, internet information service providers shall not produce, duplicate, publish or disseminate information which: (i) is against the fundamental principles set out in the PRC Constitution; (ii) endangers national security, divulges state secrets, subverts State power, or undermine the national unity; (iii) damages the State’s honor or interests; (iv) incite ethnic hatred and ethnic discrimination or undermine inter-ethnic unity; (v) undermines the PRC’s religious policy, advocates religious cults or feudal superstition; (vi) disseminates rumors to disrupt social order and undermine social stability; (vii) disseminates obscenity or pornography, advocates gambling, violence, murder and terrorism, or instigates others to commit crimes; (viii) humiliates or defames other persons or infringes the legitimate rights and interests of the others; or (ix) is otherwise prohibited by laws and administrative regulations.

The Notice on Strengthening Management of Foreign Investment in Operating Value-Added Telecom Services issued by the MII prohibits PRC internet content providers from leasing, transferring or selling their ICP licenses or providing facilities or other resources to any illegal foreign investors. The notice states that PRC internet content providers should directly own the trademarks and domain names for websites operated by them, as well as servers and other infrastructure used to support these websites.

In addition to the Telecommunications Regulations and the other regulations discussed above, the provision of commercial internet information services on mobile internet applications is regulated by the Administrative Provisions on Mobile Internet Applications Information Services, which was promulgated by Cyberspace Administration of China, or the CAC. The providers of mobile internet applications are subject to requirements under these provisions, including acquiring the qualifications and complying with other requirements provided by laws and regulations and being responsible for information security.

Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and certain other VIE’s subsidiaries, which engage in providing most of our commercial internet information services or providing online bulletin board services in China, have each obtained an ICP license from, and will duly amend registrations with, the competent local branch of the MII.

Regulation of Advertising and Promotion Services

The principal regulations governing advertising businesses in China are the PRC Advertising Law, effective in September 2015 and was recently amended in October 2018, and the Advertising Administrative Regulations promulgated by the State Council. These laws, rules and regulations require companies that engage in advertising activities to obtain a business license that explicitly includes advertising in the business scope from the SAIC or its local branches.

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Applicable PRC advertising laws, rules and regulations contain certain prohibitions on the content of advertisements in China (including prohibitions on misleading content, superlative wording, socially destabilizing content or content involving obscenities, superstition, violence, discrimination or infringement of the public interest). Advertisements for anesthetic, psychotropic, toxic or radioactive drugs are prohibited, and the dissemination of advertisements of certain other products, such as tobacco, patented products, pharmaceuticals, medical instruments, agrochemicals, foodstuff, alcohol and cosmetics, are also subject to specific restrictions and requirements. Education and/or training advertisements shall not contain the following contents: (i) explicit or implicit guarantee for successful enrollment to a higher grade, passing of examination, obtaining of degree qualification or passing certificate, or the effect of education or training; (ii) explicit or implicit expression of participation by the relevant examination body or its personnel, personnel setting examination questions in the education or training; and (iii) recommendation and/or endorsement by scientific research institutes, academic institutions, educational organizations, industry associations, professionals or beneficiaries using their name or image.

Advertisers, advertising operators and advertising distributors, which certain of our variable interest entities may be categorized as due to the businesses they engage in, are required by applicable PRC advertising laws, rules and regulations to ensure that the content of the advertisements they prepare or distribute are true and in compliance with applicable laws, rules and regulations. Violation of these laws, rules and regulations may result in penalties, including fines, confiscation of advertising income, orders to cease dissemination of the advertisements and orders to publish an advertisement correcting the misleading information. In circumstances involving serious violations, the SAIC or its local branches may revoke the violator’s license or permit for advertising business operations. In addition, advertisers, advertising operators or advertising distributors may be subject to civil liability if they infringe the legal rights and interests of third parties, such as infringement of intellectual proprietary rights, unauthorized use of a name or portrait and defamation.

In addition, the Anti-Unfair Competition Law promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, last amended on April 23, 2019, requires that business operators shall not make false or misleading commercial promotion for the performance, functions, quality, sales, user evaluation, accolades, among others, as to defraud or mislead customers.

Regulation Related to Pricing

The PRC Pricing Law is promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on December 29, 1997, and became effective on May 1, 1998. Pursuant to the PRC Pricing Law, an operator is prohibited from using false or misunderstanding pricing methods to trick consumers or other operators into trading with it. Otherwise, such operator may be subject to penalties, including orders to make correction, confiscation of illegal income, fines, orders to cease operation for rectification or revocation of the business licenses.

Regulations on Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs through the Internet or Other Information Network

The Rules for Administration of Broadcasting of Audio-Video Programs through the Internet and Other Information Networks, or the Broadcasting Rules, promulgated by the SARFT, apply to the activities of broadcasting, integration, transmission, downloading of audio-video programs with computers, televisions or mobile phones as main terminals and through various types of information networks. Pursuant to the Broadcasting Rules, a Permit for Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs via Information Network is required for engaging in internet broadcasting activities. The State Council announced a policy on private investments in businesses in China that relate to cultural matters, which prohibits private investments in businesses relating to the dissemination of audio-video programs through information networks.

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The SARFT and the MII issued the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures, revised August 2015. Among other things, the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures stipulate that no entities or individuals may provide internet audio-video program services without a License for Disseminating Audio-Video Programs through Information Network issued by the SARFT or SAPPRFT (as applicable) or the relevant local branches or completing the relevant registration with the SARFT or SAPPRFT (as applicable) or the relevant local branches and only entities wholly owned or controlled by the PRC government may engage in the production, editing, integration or consolidation, and transmission to the public through the internet, of audio-video programs, and the provision of audio-video program uploading and transmission services. There are significant uncertainties relating to the interpretation and implementation of the Internet Audio-Video Program Measures, in particular, the scope of “Internet Audio-Video Programs.” However, the SARFT promulgated Audio-Visual Program Categories in 2010, which is updated on March 10, 2017, clarifying the scope of Internet Audio-Video Programs. According to the Audio-Visual Program Categories, there are four categories of internet audio-visual program service which in turn are divided into seventeen sub-categories. The third sub-category of the second category covers the making and broadcasting of certain specialized audio-visual programs concerning art, culture, technology, entertainment, finance, sports, and education.

On April 25, 2016, the SAPPRFT promulgated the Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs Regulations, effective June 1, 2016 in replacement of the Broadcasting Rules. The Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs Regulations provides, among other things, that a Permit for Broadcasting Audio-Video Programs via Information Network is required for engaging in broadcasting services through private network and directional communication. According to such Regulations, the Broadcasting Services through Private Network and Directional Communication shall mean the services and activities provided to the public through the private transmission channels that include internet, LAN and VPN based on internet and through the receiving terminals of televisions, and other handheld electronic equipment, and such services and activities include the activities of content supply, integrated broadcast control, transmission and distribution with IPTVs, private-network mobile televisions, internet televisions. According to such Regulations, only the entities wholly or substantially owned by the State could apply for such Permit.

In the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, 28.4% of our total net revenues were derived from audio-video program services offered through www.xueersi.com and that may be subject to the Audio-Video Program Measures. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—We face risks and uncertainties with respect to the licensing requirement for internet audio-video programs.”

Regulations on Television Program Industry

Television program productions and distribution businesses are mainly regulated by the Administrative Regulations on Radio and Television, the Administrative Regulations on the Production and Operation of Radio and Television Program, and the Administrative Regulations on the Content of Television Plays. Pursuant to these regulations, television programs can only be produced by television stations at the municipal level or above or entities with either a Film Production License or a License for the Production and Operation of Radio and Television Program.

The SARFT Circular on the Implementation of Licensing System for the Distribution of Domestically Produced TV Animation Movies provides for a licensing system for the distribution of domestically produced TV animation movies. The Permit for Public Projection of Film or the Permit for Distribution of Domestically Produced TV Animation Movies must be obtained for broadcasting any domestically produced TV animation movie from the SARFT, before a TV animation movie could be broadcasted through television channels.

Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and certain other VIE’s subsidiaries, which carry out producing TV animation movies, have each obtained the License for the Production and Operation of Radio and Television Program from the Beijing branch of the SARFT.

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Regulations on Protection of the Right of Dissemination through Information Networks

The Regulations on Protection of the Right of Dissemination through Information Networks, promulgated by the State Council, require that every organization or individual who disseminates a third party’s work, performance, audio or visual recording products to the public through information networks shall obtain permission from, and pay compensation to, the legitimate copyright owner of such products, unless otherwise provided under relevant laws and regulations. The legitimate copyright owner may take technical measures to protect his or her copyright and any organization or individual shall not intentionally jeopardize, destroy or otherwise assist others in jeopardizing such protective measures unless otherwise permitted under law. The regulations also provide that permission from and compensation to the copyright owner is not required in the case of limited dissemination to teaching or research staff for the purpose of school instruction or scientific research only.

We have established policies related to intellectual property rights protection in accordance with applicable PRC laws and regulations.

Guidelines for Overseas Study Tour participated by the Primary and Secondary School Students (Trial)

In July 2014, the MoE promulgated the Guidelines for Overseas Study Tour participated by the Primary and Secondary School Students (Trial). Under the guidelines, overseas study tours participated in by primary and secondary school students means, by adapting to the characteristics and educational needs of the primary and secondary school students, programs that organize such students to travel overseas in the manner of group travel and group accommodation, either during the academic semesters or vacations, to learn foreign languages and other short-term curriculum, perform art shows, compete in contests, visit schools, attend summer/winter school programs, or take part in other similar activities. During these tours, the proportion of study, in terms of both content and duration, must be no less than half of all activities on these tours. The organizer must choose legitimate and qualified institutions to cooperate with, stress the importance of education on safety, and appoint a guiding teacher for each group. The organizer must apply the rules of cost accounting, notify the students and their guardians of the composition of the fees and expenses, and enter into agreements as required by law. Schools and school personnel must not seek any economic benefit from organizing its own students to attend an overseas study tour.

Regulation on Tourism

PRC Tourism Law, promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress and most recently amended on October 26, 2018, provides that, among other things, to engage in the businesses of outbound tourism, a travel agency shall obtain corresponding business permit, and the specific conditions shall be provided for by the State Council and that when organizing an outbound touring group, or organizing or receiving an inbound touring group, a travel agency shall, in accordance with the relevant provisions, arrange for a tour leader or tour guide to accompany the touring group in the whole tour. Regulations on Travel Agencies promulgated by the State Council, and the implementation rules of Regulations on Travel Agencies, provide that, among other things, travel agency shall mean any entity that engages in the business of attracting, organizing, and receiving tourists, providing tourism services for tourists and operating domestic, outbound or border tourism; the aforementioned business shall include but not limit to arranging for transport services, arranging for accommodation services, providing services for tour guides or team leaders, providing services of tourism consultation and tourism activities design. According to the Regulations on Travel Agencies and its implementation rules, any tourism agent engages in the outbound tourism shall apply for a permit to engage in the outbound tourism from the administrative department of tourism under the State Council, the governments of provinces, autonomous regions, or municipalities. We are not sure whether relevant governmental authorities will find our services related to organizing overseas trips for students, including insurance purchase, visa application and ticket booking, require us to obtain a travel agency license. If our overseas trip business is challenged by relevant governmental authorities for lack of travel agency license, we may need to cease such services, or cooperate with travel agency to provide such services and subject to government penalties.

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Regulations on Commercial Franchises

The State Council promulgated the Regulation on the Administration of Commercial Franchises, which, among other things, provides that: (i) ”commercial franchise,” or franchise, refers to such business operations by which an enterprise owning a registered trademark, enterprise mark, patent, know-how or any other business resource, or Franchiser, confers the said business resource to any other business operator, or Franchisee, by contract, and the Franchisee undertakes business operations under the uniform business model as provided in the contract, and pay franchising fees to the Franchiser; (ii) a Franchiser that engages in franchise activities shall possess a mature business model and the ability to provide long-term business guidance, technical support, business training and other services to the Franchisee; (iii) a Franchiser that engages in franchise activities shall have at least two direct sales stores, and have undertaken the business for more than a year; and (iv) a Franchiser shall, within 15 days after having concluded a franchise contract for the first time, file to the commercial administrative department where if a Franchiser engages in any franchised operations within the scope of a province, autonomous region, or municipality directly under the central government, it shall file with the commercial administrative department of the province, autonomous region or municipality directly under the central government and if a franchiser engages in any franchised operations within the scope of two or more provinces, autonomous regions, or municipalities directly under the central government it shall file with the commercial administrative department of the State Council. According to the Administrative Measures for Archival Filing of Commercial Franchises issued by the MOFCOM, the filling shall be conducted on the commercial franchise information management system established by the MOFCOM. In addition, the Regulation on the Administration of Commercial Franchises provides that the Franchiser and the Franchisee shall conclude a franchise contract in writing, and the term of such franchise contract shall not less than 3 years except the Franchisee otherwise agrees.

The MOFCOM issued Administrative Measures for Commercial Franchise Information Disclosure, which provides that the Franchisers shall, as required by the Regulation on the Administration of Commercial Franchises, disclose the following information to Franchisees in writing not later than 30 days prior to the conclusion of franchise contracts, unless such contracts are renewed under the original terms:(i) the basic information of the Franchisers and its franchise business, (ii) the basic information of the business resource of the Franchiser, (iii) the basic information of the franchise fee, (iv) the basic information of the price, conditions and other information related to the products, services, and equipment provided to the Franchisee, (v) the follow-up service provided to the Franchisee, (vi) the methods and contents of guidance and supervisions provided by the Franchiser on the Franchisee related to the business; (vii)the investment budget of the sales stores, (viii) the relevant information about the franchisees within China, which includes the amount, geographical distributions, scope of authorities, whether there is any exclusive authorized region, and the basic situation of their franchise business; (ix) the record of materially illegal business, including any fine over RMB30 thousand imposed by competent authority and any criminal liability of the Franchiser and its legal representative; and the (x) agreement of franchise. However, this Administrative Measures for Commercial Franchise Information Disclosure provides that the Franchiser has right to require the Franchisee enter into a confidential agreement with the Franchiser prior to the disclosure of the aforementioned information; and if the Franchisee knows any commercial secret of Franchiser due to the contractual relationship between the Franchisee and the Franchiser, the Franchisee still have the obligation to keep such commercial secret confidential even though there is no confidential agreement between the Franchiser and the Franchisee after the termination of relevant contractual relationship between them.

In order to further effectively conduct the administration of commercial franchise, the General Office of MOFCOM issued Notice of the General Office of the Ministry of Commerce on Further Effectively Conducting the Administration of Commercial Franchise, which provides directions and requirements for the local commerce departments in administrative work related to establishing sound working system, improving the management and services in franchise filing, facilitating the brand construction of franchise enterprises, administrating franchise business in accordance with law and the promotion and construction of credit record and credit evaluation system in franchise business.

Regulations on Intellectual Property Rights Protection

China has adopted legislation governing intellectual property rights, including copyrights, Trademarks, patent rights and domain names. China is a signatory to major international conventions on intellectual property rights and is subject to the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights as a result of its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001.

On May 28, 2020 the National People’s Congress promulgated the Civil Code, which takes effect on January 1, 2021. Under the Civil Code, if an offender intentionally infringes upon the intellectual property rights of others and the circumstance is severe, the infringed party shall have the right to request for the corresponding punitive compensation.

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Copyright. The National People’s Congress amended the Copyright Law to widen the scope of works and rights that are eligible for copyright protection. The amended Copyright Law extends copyright protection to internet activities, products disseminated over the internet and software products. In addition, there is a voluntary registration system administered by the China Copyright Protection Center.

To address copyright infringement related to content posted or transmitted over the internet, the National Copyright Administration and the MII jointly promulgated the Administrative Measures for Copyright Protection Related to the Internet.

Trademark. The PRC Trademark Law, most recent revision effective November 1, 2019, protects the proprietary rights to registered trademarks. The Trademark Office under the SAIC handles trademark registrations and may grant a term of ten years for registered trademarks, which may be extended for another ten years upon request. Trademark license agreements must be filed with the Trademark Office for record. In addition, if a registered trademark is recognized as a well-known trademark, the protection of the proprietary right of the trademark holder may reach beyond the specific sector of the relevant products or services. The transfer of registered trademarks shall be registered with the Trademark Office. An application for registration of a malicious trademark not for use shall be rejected and those who apply for trademark registration maliciously shall be given administrative penalties of warning or fines according to the circumstances; those who file trademark lawsuits maliciously shall be punished by the people’s court according to applicable laws.

Patent. Under the PRC Patent Law, a patentable invention, utility model or design must meet three conditions: novelty, inventiveness and practical applicability. Patents cannot be granted for scientific discoveries, rules and methods for intellectual activities, methods used to diagnose or treat diseases, animal and plant breeds or substances obtained by means of nuclear transformation. The Patent Office under the State Council is responsible for receiving, examining and approving patent applications. The PRC Patent Law was amended on October 17, 2020, effective as of June 1, 2021, pursuant to which an invention patent is valid for 20 years, a utility model is valid for 20 years, and a design patent is valid for 15 years, starting from the application date. A third-party user must obtain consent or a proper license from the patent owner to use the patent except for certain specific circumstances provided by law.

Domain names. Pursuant to the Measures for the Administration of Internet Domain Names, which was promulgated by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of the PRC on August 24, 2017 with effect from November 1, 2017, “domain name” shall refer to the character mark of hierarchical structure, which identifies and locates a computer on the internet and corresponds to the internet protocol (IP) address of that computer and the principle of “first come, first serve” is followed for the domain name registration service. Domain name applicants shall provide true, accurate and complete identification of the domain name holder as requested by the domain name registration service provider.

The PRC Foreign Investment Law

On March 15, 2019, the National People’s Congress promulgated the Foreign Investment Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2020 and replaced the trio of existing laws regulating foreign investment in China, namely, the Sino-foreign Equity Joint Venture Enterprise Law, the Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Venture Enterprise Law and the Wholly Foreign-invested Enterprise Law, together with their implementation rules and ancillary regulations. The existing foreign-invested enterprises established prior to the effective of the Foreign Investment Law may keep their corporate forms within five years. The implementing rules of the Foreign Investment Law will be stipulated separately by State Council. Pursuant to the Foreign Investment Law, “foreign investors” means natural person, enterprise, or other organization of a foreign country, “foreign-invested enterprises” (FIEs) means any enterprise established under PRC law that is wholly or partially invested by foreign investors and “foreign investment” means any foreign investor’s direct or indirect investment in mainland China, including: (i) establishing FIEs in mainland China either individually or jointly with other investors; (ii) obtaining stock shares, stock equity, property shares, other similar interests in Chinese domestic enterprises; (iii) investing in new projects in mainland China either individually or jointly with other investors; and (iv) making investment through other means provided by laws, administrative regulations, or State Council provisions.

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The Foreign Investment Law stipulates that China implements the management system of pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list to foreign investment and the government generally will not expropriate foreign investment, except under special circumstances, in which case it will provide fair and reasonable compensation to foreign investors. Foreign investors are barred from investing in prohibited industries on the negative list and must comply with the specified requirements when investing in restricted industries on that list. When a license is required to enter a certain industry, the foreign investor must apply for one, and the government must treat the application the same as one by a domestic enterprise, except where laws or regulations provide otherwise. In addition, foreign investors or FIEs are required to file information reports and foreign investment shall be subject to the national security review.

On December 26, 2019, the State Council published the Implementation Rules of Foreign Investment Law, which came into effect on January 1, 2020. The Implementation Rules of Foreign Investment Law restates certain principles of the Foreign Investment Law and further provides, among others, (i) an FIE’s investment within the territory of PRC is also subject to the Foreign Investment Law and the Implementation Rules of Foreign Investment Law; (ii) an FIE may, within five years following January 1, 2020, choose to amend its legal form or the corporate governance and complete amendment registration, or to keep its original legal form or the corporate governance; (iii) the provisions regarding the transfer of equity interests, distribution of profits and remaining assets as stipulated in the contracts among the joint venture parties of an existing FIE may survive the Foreign Investment Law after such FIE amends its legal form or the corporate governance in accordance with relevant applicable laws.

On December 26, 2019, the Supreme People’s Court of the PRC promulgated the Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues Concerning the Application of the Foreign Investment Law of the PRC, effective as of January 1, 2020, pursuant to which “investment contracts” shall mean the relevant agreements formed as a result of direct or indirect investments in the PRC by foreign investors, i.e. foreign natural persons, foreign enterprises or other foreign organizations, including contracts for establishment of foreign investment enterprises, share transfer contracts, equity transfer contracts, contracts for transfer of property or other similar interests, contracts for newly-built projects, etc. Where a party concerned claims that an investment contract is invalid for investing in prohibited industries as stipulated in the Negative List for foreign investment access or due to violation of specified administrative measures in restricted industries, the People’s Court shall support such claim.

Regulation Related to Foreign Investment Restrictions

According to the list of special management measures for the market entry of foreign investment, or the Negative List promulgated by MOFCOM and NDRC and took effect on July 23, 2020, foreign investors shall comply with such restrictive requirements when engaging in the restricted activities listed in the Negative List. In addition, according to the Negative List, foreign investors shall not engage in the prohibited activities listed in the Negative List. Under the Negative List, the provision of pre-school, ordinary senior high school and higher education services in the PRC is restricted for foreign investors. Foreign investments in such education institutions are only allowed in the form of PRC-foreign cooperative school in which the PRC party shall play a dominant role. It suggests that the principal or the chief executive officer of an education institutions shall be a PRC national and the representatives of the PRC party shall account for no less than half of the total number of members of the board of directors, the executive council or the joint administration committee of a PRC-foreign cooperative school. The Negative List further provides that foreign investors are prohibited from providing compulsory education services.

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Regulations on Foreign Exchange Registration of Overseas Investment by PRC Residents

SAFE promulgated SAFE Circular 37 in July 2014. SAFE Circular 37 requires PRC residents to register with local branches of SAFE in connection with their direct establishment or indirect control of an offshore entity, for the purpose of overseas investment and financing, with such PRC residents’ legally owned assets or equity interests in domestic enterprises or offshore assets or interests, referred to in SAFE Circular 37 as a “special purpose vehicle.” The term “control” under SAFE Circular 37 is broadly defined as the operation rights, beneficiary rights or decision-making rights acquired by the PRC residents in the offshore special purpose vehicles by such means as acquisition, trust, proxy, voting rights, repurchase, convertible bonds or other arrangements. SAFE Circular 37 further requires amendment to the registration in the event of any changes with respect to the basic information of the special purpose vehicle, such as changes in a PRC resident individual shareholder, name or operation period; or any significant changes with respect to the special purpose vehicle, such as increase or decrease of capital contributed by PRC individuals, share transfer or exchange, merger, division or other material event. If the shareholders of the offshore holding company who are PRC residents do not complete their registration with the local SAFE branches, the PRC subsidiaries may be prohibited from distributing their profits and proceeds from any reduction in capital, share transfer or liquidation to the offshore company, and the offshore company may be restricted in its ability to contribute additional capital to its PRC subsidiaries. Moreover, failure to comply with SAFE registration and amendment requirements described above could result in liability under PRC law for evasion of applicable foreign exchange restrictions.

In June 2015, SAFE promulgated SAFE Circular 13, according to which, in order to simplify the procedures of performing the foreign exchange control policy of direct investment, the registration authorities under the SAFE foreign exchange control policies, including the registration of PRC residents under SAFE Circular 37 change from local SAFE branches to local banks authorized by SAFE. Thus, according to SAFE Circular 13, the registration of PRC residents under SAFE Circular 37 shall be conducted with local banks authorized by SAFE. The PRC residents shall also, by themselves or entrusting accounting firms or banks, file with the online information system designated by SAFE with respect to its existing rights under offshore direct investment each year prior to the requisite time.

Our beneficial owners who are PRC residents immediately before our initial public offering had registered with the local branch of SAFE prior to our initial public offering in 2010.

Regulations on Loans to and Direct Investment in the PRC Entities by Offshore Holding Companies

According to the Implementation Rules for the Provisional Regulations on Statistics and Supervision of Foreign Debt promulgated by SAFE in 1997, the Interim Provisions on the Management of Foreign Debts, promulgated by SAFE, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Finance in 2003, and Measures for the Administration of the Registration of Foreign Debts, effective May 2013 and revised on May 4, 2015, loans by foreign companies to their subsidiaries in China, which are foreign-invested enterprises, are considered foreign debt, and such loans must be registered with the local branches of SAFE. Under the provisions, these foreign-invested enterprises must submit registration applications to the local branches of SAFE within 15 days following execution of foreign loan agreements, and the registration should be completed within 20 business days from the date of receipt of the application. In addition, the total amount of accumulated medium-term and long-term foreign debt and the balance of short-term foreign debt borrowed by a foreign-invested enterprise is limited to the difference between the total investment and the registered capital of the foreign-invested enterprise.

Each of our PRC subsidiaries is a foreign-invested enterprise, is not engaged in any businesses listed in either the previous or the current Negative List and has not incurred any foreign debt.

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On January 1, 2017, PBOC promulgated Notice of the People’s Bank of China on Issues Concerning Macro Prudential Management of Full Scale Cross-border Financing or PBOC Circular 9. According to PBOC Circular 9, PBOC establishes a cross-broader financing regulation system based on the capital or net assets of the micro main body under macro prudential rules, and the legal entities and financial institutions established in PRC including the branches of foreign banks registered in China but excluding government financing vehicles and real estate enterprise, may carry out cross-border financing of foreign currency in accordance with relevant regulations of such system. PBOC Circular 9 provides that, among other things, the outstanding amount of the foreign currency for the entities in cross-border financing shall be limited to the Upper Limit of the Risk Weighted Balance of such entity, which shall be calculated according to the formula provided in PBOC Circular 9; the enterprise shall, after signing the contract for cross-border financing, but not later than three business days before the withdrawal of the borrowing funds, file with the local branches of SAFE for the cross-border financing through SAFE’s capital project information system. PBOC Circular 9 also provides that during the one-year period started from January 11, 2017, foreign-invested enterprises may choose one method to carry out cross-broader financing in foreign currency either according to PBOC Circular 9 or according to the Interim Provisions on the Management of Foreign Debts. After the end of such one-year period, the method of foreign-invested enterprises to carry out cross-broader financing in foreign currency will be determined by PBOC and SAFE. As of the date of this annual report, neither the PBOC nor SAFE has promulgated and made public any further rules, regulations, notices or circulars in this regard.

Regulations on Labor

Pursuant to the PRC Labor Law, and the PRC Labor Contract Law and the Implementation Regulations of the Labor Contracts Law, promulgated by the State Council, labor contracts in written form shall be executed to establish labor relationships between employers and employees. Wages cannot be lower than local minimum wage. The employer must establish a system for labor safety and sanitation, strictly abide by state standards, and provide relevant education to its employees. Employees are also required to work in safe and sanitary conditions meeting State rules and standards, and carry out regular health examinations of employees engaged in hazardous occupations.

With respect to the employment of foreigner in China, according to the Provision on the Employment of Foreigners in China and the Circular on the Comprehensive Implementation of the Permit System for Foreigners to Work in China, to employ a foreigner who does not have PRC nationality, an employer shall apply for an employment license, namely the Permit to Work in China, or the Employment License for such foreigner, and may only employ him or her after such foreigner obtains the Employment License; prior to obtaining employment in China, a foreigner shall enter China with an employment visa (or in accordance with an agreement on mutual exemption of visas if there is such an agreement); and after entering China, such foreigner shall obtain an Employment License, and a residence permit for foreigners. The Provision on the Employment of Foreigners in China also provides that the Employment License is valid only in the area defined by the authority which issued such license; the actual employer of a foreigner shall be consistent with the employer recorded on the Employment License; if the actual employer changed but the foreigner is employed in a similar job by another employer within the same area defined by the authority which issued such license, the foreigner shall file with such authority to change information on the Employment License.

If the employment of foreigners is not in compliance with the above relevant regulations, the employer may become subject to penalties, fines or an order to terminate such employment and to bear all the expenses and costs arising from the repatriation of such foreigner.

Regulations on Employee Share Incentive Awards Granted by Listed Companies

According to a series of notices concerning individual income tax on earnings from employee share incentive awards, issued by the Ministry of Finance and the SAT, companies that implement employee stock ownership programs shall file the employee stock ownership plans and other relevant documents with the local tax authorities having jurisdiction over such companies before implementing such plans, and shall file share option exercise notices and other relevant documents with local tax authorities before exercise by their employees of any share options, and clarify whether the shares issuable under the employee share options referenced in the notice are shares of publicly listed companies.

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According to SAFE Circular 7 issued in 2012, if “domestic individuals” (meaning both PRC residents and non-PRC residents who reside in China for a continuous period of not less than one year, excluding the foreign diplomatic personnel and representatives of international organizations) participate in any stock incentive plan of an overseas listed company, a qualified PRC domestic agent, which could be the PRC subsidiaries of such overseas listed company, shall, among other things, file, on behalf of such individuals, an application with SAFE to conduct the SAFE registration with respect to such stock incentive plan, and obtain approval for an annual allowance with respect to the purchase of foreign exchange in connection with the stock purchase or stock option exercise. Such PRC individuals’ foreign exchange income received from the sale of stocks and dividends distributed by the overseas listed company and any other income shall be fully remitted into a collective foreign currency account in China opened and managed by the PRC domestic agent before distribution to such individuals. In addition, such domestic individuals must also retain an overseas entrusted institution to handle matters in connection with the exercise of their stock options and their purchase and sale of stock. The PRC domestic agent also needs to update registration with SAFE within three months after the overseas-listed company materially changes its stock incentive plan or make any new stock incentive plans.

According to SAFE Circular 7, from time to time, we need to make applications or update our registration with SAFE or its local branches on behalf of our employees who are affected by our new share incentive plan or material changes in our current share incentive plan. However, we may not always be able to make applications or update our registration on behalf of our employees who hold our restricted shares or other types of share incentive awards in compliance with SAFE Circular 7, nor can we ensure you that such applications or update of registration will be successful. If we or the participants of our share incentive plan who are PRC citizens fail to comply with SAFE Circular 7, we and/or such participants of our share incentive plan may be subject to fines and legal sanctions, there may be additional restrictions on the ability of such participants to exercise their stock options or remit proceeds gained from sale of their stock into China, and we may be prevented from further granting share incentive awards under our share incentive plan to our employees who are PRC citizens.

M&A Regulations

The MOFCOM, the State Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the SAT, the SAIC, the CSRC and SAFE jointly adopted the M&A Rules. The M&A Rules establish procedures and requirements that could make some acquisitions of PRC companies by foreign investors more time-consuming and complex, including requirements in some instances that the MOFCOM be notified in advance of any change-of-control transaction in which a foreign investor takes control of a PRC domestic enterprise where any of the following situations exist: (i) the transaction involves an important industry in China, (ii) the transaction may affect national “economic security,” or (iii) the PRC domestic enterprise has a well-known trademark or historical Chinese trade name in China. Complying with the requirements of the M&A Rules to complete acquisitions of PRC companies by foreign investors could be time-consuming, and any required approval processes, including obtaining approval from the MOFCOM, may delay or inhibit the ability to complete such transactions.

Regulations on Anti-Monopoly

The Anti-Monopoly Law promulgated by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, which became effective on August 1, 2008, and the Interim Provisions on the Review of Concentrations promulgated by the State Administration for Market Regulation, which became effective on December 1, 2020, require that transactions which are deemed concentrations and involve parties with specified turnover thresholds must be cleared by the State Administration for Market Regulation before they can be completed. Where the participation in concentrations by way of foreign-funded merger and acquisition of domestic enterprises or any other method which involves national security, the examination of concentration shall be carried out pursuant to the provisions of The Anti-Monopoly Law and examination of national security shall be carried out pursuant to the relevant laws and regulations. Failure to comply with above regulations may result in an order to stop concentration, dispose the shares/assets or transfer the operation within a stipulated period, or adopt other necessary measures to reinstate the pre-concentration status, or fines.

On February 7, 2021, the Anti-Monopoly Commission of the State Council issued the Anti-Monopoly Guidelines for the Internet Platform Economy Sector that aims at specifying some of the circumstances under which an activity of internet platforms may be identified as monopolistic act as well as classifying that concentrations involving variable interest entities shall also be subject to anti-monopoly review.

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Regulations on Cross-border Fund Pool of Multinational Corporations

In September 2015, PBOC promulgated the Notice to Further Facilitate Multinational Corporation Groups to Carry Out Round-way Cross-border RMB Fund Pool Business, or PBOC Circular 279. According to PBOC Circular 279, the term “Multinational Corporation Group” refers to the enterprise consortium consisting of the entities with equity relationship, including a parent company and its subsidiaries, or Parent Company’s Subsidiaries, more than 51% equity interest of which is held by such parent company, the wholly owned subsidiaries of Parent Company’s Subsidiaries, the subsidiaries more than 20% equity interest of which is held by one or more Parent Company’s Subsidiaries, and the subsidiaries less than 20% equity interest of which is held by one or more Parent Company’s Subsidiaries but the first majority shareholder is the Parent Company’s Subsidiary. Multinational Enterprise Group can arrange the surplus and deficiency of cross-border RMB funds of domestic and foreign members of the Multinational Corporation Group and centralize the cross-border RMB funds between domestic and foreign members based on the needs of its operation and management subject to the requirements of PBOC Circular 279, or Round-way Cross-border RMB Fund Pool Business. The domestic enterprise which carries out the Round-way Cross-border RMB Fund Pool Business shall open an RMB special deposit account for Round-way Cross-border RMB Fund Pool Business. Pengxin TAL, together with our company, five of our wholly owned subsidiaries and one VIE as a Multinational Enterprise Group, started the Round-way Cross-border RMB Fund Pool Business and open a special deposit account for Round-way Cross-border RMB Fund Pool Business in China Construction Bank Shanghai Pudong Branch.

Regulations on Foreign Currency Exchange

Pursuant to applicable PRC regulations on foreign currency exchange, the Renminbi is freely convertible to foreign currencies for current account items only, such as trade-related receipts and payments, interest and dividends. Conversion of Renminbi to foreign exchange for capital account items, such as direct equity investments, loans and repatriation of investments, are subject to the prior approval of SAFE or its local branches or prior registration with banks. Domestic companies or individuals can repatriate payments received from abroad in foreign currencies or deposit those payments abroad. Foreign-invested enterprises may retain foreign exchange in accounts with designated foreign exchange banks. Foreign exchange on the current account and capital account of foreign-invested enterprises can be either retained or sold to financial institutions that have foreign exchange settlement or sales business based on the need of the enterprise without prior approval from SAFE, subject to certain restrictions.

In utilizing the proceeds we received from our initial public offering and other financing activities as an offshore holding company with PRC subsidiaries, we may (i) make additional capital contributions to our PRC subsidiaries, (ii) establish new PRC subsidiaries and make capital contributions to these new PRC subsidiaries, (iii) make loans to our PRC subsidiaries or our Consolidated Affiliated Entities, or (iv) acquire offshore entities with business operations in China in an offshore transaction. However, most of these uses are subject to PRC regulations and approvals. For example:

capital contributions to our subsidiaries in China, whether existing ones or newly established ones, require that the PRC subsidiaries completes the relevant filing and reporting procedures with relevant governmental authorities and register with the local bank authorized by SAFE;
loans by us to our subsidiaries in China, each of which is a foreign-invested enterprise, to finance their activities cannot exceed statutory limits and must be registered with the local branches of SAFE; and
loans by us to our Consolidated Affiliated Entities, which are domestic PRC entities, cannot exceed statutory limits and must be registered with the National Development and Reform Commission and must also be registered with SAFE or its local branches.

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SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming the Administration of Foreign Exchange Settlement of Capital of Foreign-invested Enterprises, or SAFE Circular 19, effective in June 2015, in replacement of a former regulation. SAFE Circular 19 regulates the flow and use of the RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested company. According to SAFE Circular 19, RMB capital may not be used for the issuance of RMB entrusted loans, the repayment of inter-enterprise loans or the repayment of bank loans that have been transferred to a third party. Although SAFE Circular 19 allows RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested enterprise to be used for equity investments within China, it also reiterates the principle that RMB converted from the foreign currency-denominated capital of a foreign-invested company may not be directly or indirectly used for purposes beyond its business scope. Thus, it is unclear whether SAFE will permit such capital to be used for equity investments in China. SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Reforming and Standardizing the Foreign Exchange Settlement Management Policy of Capital Account, or SAFE Circular 16, effective on June 9, 2016, which reiterates some of the rules set forth in SAFE Circular 19, but changes the prohibition against using RMB capital converted from foreign currency-denominated registered capital of a foreign-invested company to issue RMB entrusted loans to a prohibition against using such capital to issue loans to non-associated enterprises. Violations of SAFE Circular 19 and SAFE Circular 16 could result in administrative penalties. SAFE Circular 19 and SAFE Circular 16 may significantly limit our ability to transfer any foreign currency we hold, including the net proceeds from our offshore offerings, to our PRC subsidiaries, which may adversely affect our liquidity and our ability to fund and expand our business in China. On October 23, 2019, the SAFE promulgated the Notice of the State Administration of Foreign Exchange on Further Promoting the Convenience of Cross-border Trade and Investment, or the SAFE Circular 28, which, among other things, allows all foreign-invested companies to use RMB converted from foreign currency-denominated capital for equity investments in China, as long as the equity investment is genuine, does not violate applicable laws, and complies with the negative list on foreign investment. However, due to lack of sufficient guidance, it is unclear how SAFE and competent banks will carry this out in practice.

Laws of Protection of Personal Information of Citizen

The PRC Constitution states that the PRC laws protect the freedom and privacy of communications of citizens and prohibit infringement of such rights. PRC government authorities have enacted laws and regulations on internet information security and protection of personal information from any abuse or unauthorized disclosure. Under PRC laws and regulations, “Personal information” is defined as all kinds of information that is recorded by electronic or other means that can identify a specific natural person independently or in combination with other information, such as his/her birth date, ID card number, biometric information, address, telephone number, e-mail address, health information, whereabouts information.

According to the Civil Code, which takes effect on January 1, 2021, a natural person shall have the right of privacy and the personal information of a natural person shall be protected in accordance with law. Information processors shall not divulge or tamper with the personal information collected or stored by them and shall not illegally provide any natural person’s personal information to others without the consent of such natural person.

The Decisions on Maintaining Internet Security, which was enacted by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, may subject violators to criminal punishment in the PRC for any effort to: (i) gain improper entry into a computer or system of strategic importance; (ii) disseminate politically disruptive information; (iii) leak state secrets; (iv) spread false commercial information; or (v) infringe intellectual property rights.

According to the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests, business operators must collect and use personal information of consumers in a lawful and proper manner by following the principle that information collection or use is genuinely necessary. They must expressly state the purposes, methods and scope of information collection or use, and obtain the consent of the consumers whose information is to be collected. To collect or use the personal information of consumers, business operators must disclose their information collection or use rules, and may not collect or use information in violation of laws or regulations, or in breach of any agreements between the parties concerned. Business operators and their staff members must strictly keep confidential the personal information of consumers collected, and may not divulge, sell or illegally provide others with such information.

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According to the Interpretation of the Supreme People’s Court and the Supreme People’s Procuratorate on Several Issues Concerning the Application of Law in Handling Criminal Cases of Infringing Personal Information of Citizens, if a business operator collects personal information of citizens by purchasing, accepting or exchanging, or collects personal information of citizens in the course of performing their duties and providing services in violation of relevant laws and regulations of the State and meet one of the following standards, such operator will be considered in breach of criminal law and such operator and its responsible personnel must undertake criminal liabilities: (i) illegal acquisition, sale or provision of more than 50 pieces of track information, communication content, credit information or property information; (ii) illegal acquisition, sale, or provision of more than 500 pieces of accommodation information, communication records, health and physiological information, trading information, and other personal information which may affect personal and property safety; (iii) illegal acquisition, sale, or provision of more than 5000 pieces of personal information other than the information mentioned in the preceding (i) and (ii); (iv) the profits generated from using the illegally collected and acquired personal information is more than RMB50,000; and (v) resale the personal information collected during the course of performing their duties and providing service and the amount of resold personal information reaches 50% of the prescribed standard mentioned in (i), (ii), (iii) or (iv), as applicable.

Pursuant to the Decision on Strengthening the Protection of Online Information issued by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, and the Order for the Protection of Telecommunication and Internet User Personal Information issued by the MIIT, any collection and use of user personal information must be subject to the consent of the user, abide by the principles of legality, rationality and necessity and be within the specified purposes, methods and scopes. An internet information service provider must also keep information collected strictly confidential, and is further prohibited from divulging, tampering or destroying of any such information, or selling or providing such information to other parties. Any violation of the above decision or order may subject the internet information service provider to warnings, fines, confiscation of illegal gains, revocation of licenses, cancelation of filings, closedown of websites or even criminal liabilities.

On November 28, 2019, the CAC, the MIIT, the Ministry of Public Security and the State Administration for Market Regulation jointly promulgated Notice on Promulgation of the Method for Identifying the Illegal Collection and Use of Personal Information by Apps, in order to provide reference for the identification of illegal collection and use of personal information by Apps and in the implementation of the Cybersecurity Law and other relevant laws and regulations. This Notice provide the detailed methods to identifying of illegal behaviors in collecting and using personal information by Apps, such as the behavior of “non-disclosure of collection and use rules,” “failing to expressly state the purpose, method and scope of collecting and using personal information,” “collecting or using personal information without the consent of users,” “collecting personal information unrelated to the services they provide in violation of the principle of necessity,” “providing others with personal information without the consent,” “failure to provide the function of deleting or correcting personal information in accordance with the law” and “failure to disclose the information on complaints and whistleblowing reports.”

On August 22, 2019, CAC promulgated the Provisions on the Cyber Protection of Children’s Personal Information, which became effective on October 1, 2019. According to such Provisions, among other things, (i) “children” in these Provisions refers to minors under the age of 14; any network operator collecting, storing, using, transferring or disclosing children’s personal information shall follow the principles of properness and necessity, informed consent, explicit purpose, security assurance and lawful use; (ii) network operators shall establish special rules and user agreements for the protection of children’s personal information, and designate persons to take charge of the protection of children’s personal information; (iii) to collect, use, transfer or disclose a child’s personal information, any network operator shall inform the child’s guardians in a noticeable and clear manner, and shall obtain the consent of the child’s guardians; network operators shall, upon seeking consent, provide the option of rejecting option for the child’s guardians; (iv) network operators shall not collect children’s personal information unrelated to the services they provide, nor shall they collect children’s personal information in violation of the provisions of laws and administrative regulations and the agreements reached by both parties, and if it is really necessary to use such information beyond the agreed purposes and scope due to business needs, consent shall be obtained from the child’s guardians again; (vi) where a network operator entrusts a third party with the processing of children’s personal information, it shall conduct security assessment of the entrusted party and the acts of entrustment, sign an entrustment agreement, specifying responsibilities of both parties, matters to be handled, handling period, nature and purpose of the handling; the entrustment shall not exceed the scope of authorization, and where network operators intend to transfer children’s personal information to a third party, they shall carry out security assessment by themselves or entrust a third-party institution to do so.

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Pursuant to the Notice on Promulgation of the Rules on the Scope of Necessary Personal Information for Common Types of Mobile Internet Applications, which was promulgated by the CAC, the MIIT and certain other government authorities on March 12, 2021 to be effective on May 1, 2021, “necessary personal information” refers to the personal information necessary for ensuring the normal operation of an App’s basic functional services, without which the App cannot achieve its basic functional services. For learning and education App, the basic functional services are “online tutoring, online classes, etc.” and the necessary personal information is mobile phone numbers of registered users.

Further, the SAMR promulgated the Measures for the Supervision and Administration of Online Transactions, which will take effect from May 1, 2021. The measures require that online transaction operators shall not force customers, whether or not in a disguised manner, to consent to the collection and use of information not directly related to their business activities by means of one-off general authorization, default authorization, bundling with other authorizations, or the suspension of installation and use. Otherwise, such online transaction operator may be subject to fines and consequences under related laws and regulations, including without limitation suspension of business for rectification and revocation of permits and licenses.

Cybersecurity Law

According to the Cybersecurity Law promulgated in November 7, 2016 and effective on June 1, 2017, in construction or operation of networks or supply of services through networks, technical measures and other necessary measures must be implemented in accordance with laws and regulations as well as the compulsory requirements of the national and industrial standards to safeguard the safe and stable operation of the networks, effectively respond to cybersecurity incidents, prevent illegal and criminal activities, and maintain the integrity, confidentiality and availability of network data. Cybersecurity Law provides that, among other things, the network operators must perform the following obligations:

protect networks from disturbance, damage or unauthorized access and prevent network data from being divulged, stolen or tampered with in accordance with the requirements of security graded protection system;
comply with the compulsory requirements of relevant national standards and take remedial measures to promptly notify users in accordance with relevant provisions and report the same to relevant competent authorities in a timely manner if they find that their network products or services have security defects, loopholes or other risks;
provide security maintenance for their products and services on a continuous basis;
comply with relevant laws and administrative regulations on protection of personal information;
require users to provide authentic identity information when they enter into agreements with the users or when they confirm the supply of services where the network operators handle the network access or domain name registration services, the access formalities for fixed-line telephone or mobile phone for users, or provide users with the services of information release or instant messaging;
formulate emergency response plans for network security incidents and dispose of system loopholes, computer virus, network attack, network intrusion and any other security risks in a timely manner and initiate the emergency response plans, take appropriate remedial measures, and report the same to relevant competent authorities in accordance with relevant provisions in the event of any incidents endangering network security;
strengthen the management of the information published by their users; if they find any information that is prohibited from publication or transmission by laws or administrative regulations, they must immediately stop the transmission of such information, take disposal measures such as removal to prevent the spread of such information, keep relevant records, and report the same to relevant competent authorities; and
set up complaint and reporting platform for network information security, make public the complaint or reporting methods and other relevant information, accept and handle the complaints and reports on network information security in a timely manner, and cooperate with supervision and inspections conducted by internet information department and other relevant departments in accordance with the applicable laws and regulations.

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Administrative Measures for Outbound Investment by Enterprises

Administrative Measures for Outbound Investment by Enterprises, or Circular 11, is promulgated by NDRC, on December 26, 2017 and became effective on March 1, 2018. According to Circular 11, to make Outbound Investment, the investor shall go through verification and approval, record-filing and other procedures applicable to outbound investment projects, report relevant information, and cooperate with supervision and inspection. Outbound investments for purpose of Circular 11 are the investment activities whereby an enterprise within PRC, directly or via overseas enterprises under its control, acquires ownership, controlling power, rights of operation and management and other relevant rights and interests overseas by making asset or equity investment, providing financing or guarantee, etc., and the aforementioned investment activities shall include but not limited to (1) acquiring land ownership, land-use rights and other rights and interests overseas; (2) acquiring concession rights to explore or exploit natural resources and other rights and interests overseas; (3) acquiring ownership, rights of operation and management and other rights and interests of infrastructure overseas; (4) acquiring ownership, rights of operation and management and other rights and interests of enterprises or assets overseas; (5) constructing new fixed assets overseas, or renovating or expanding existing fixed assets overseas; (6) establishing a new enterprise overseas or increasing investment in an existing enterprise overseas; (7) setting up a new overseas equity investment fund or purchasing units in an existing overseas equity investment fund; and (8) controlling enterprises or assets overseas by agreements or trusts. Individual resident of PRC who invest overseas via overseas enterprises or enterprises in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan regions which are under their control shall also be subject to this Circular 11.

According to Circular 11, sensitive outbound investment projects carried out by an enterprise within PRC directly or via the overseas enterprises under their control should obtain verification and prior approval from NDRC. For the purpose of the Circular 11, sensitive outbound investment projects include: (1) Projects involving sensitive countries and regions, including (i) countries and regions that have not established diplomatic relations with China; (ii) countries and regions where war or civil unrest has broken out; (iii) countries and regions in which investment by enterprises shall be restricted pursuant to the international treaties, agreements, etc. concluded or acceded to by China; and (iv) other sensitive countries and regions, and (2) Projects involving sensitive industries, including (i) research, production and maintenance of weaponry and equipment; (ii) development and utilization of cross-border water resources; (iii) news media; and (iv) other industries in which outbound investment needs to be restricted pursuant to China’s laws and regulations as well as related control policies.

According to Circular 11, the non-sensitive outbound investment projects directly carried out by an enterprise within the PRC, including directly making asset or equity investment, or providing financing or guarantee, shall complete record-filing with the competent authority prior to the implementation of the Project. Where an investor within the PRC carries out a large-amount non-sensitive outbound investment project with the investment amount over RMB0.3 billion via overseas enterprises under its control, such investor shall submit an information reporting form for large-amount non-sensitive projects with the investment amount over RMB0.3 billion via the Network System prior to the implementation of the said Project to inform the NDRC of relevant information.

Where an outbound investment project falls within the scope of administration by verification and approval or record-filing but its investor within the PRC fails to obtain a valid verification and approval document or notice of record-filing, departments in charge of foreign exchange administration and customs, should, pursuant to the law, not process its application, and no financial enterprises should, pursuant to the law, provide relevant fund settlement and financing services.

Regulations on Dividend Distribution

Under applicable PRC laws and regulations, companies in China may pay dividends only out of their accumulated profits, if any, determined in accordance with PRC accounting standards and regulations. In addition, companies in China are required to allocate at least 10% of their accumulated profits each year, if any, to fund statutory reserves of up to 50% of the registered capital of the enterprise. Statutory reserves are not distributable as cash dividends. Each of our subsidiaries, VIEs and VIEs’ subsidiaries in China are required to comply with this statutory reserve funding requirement. Although the statutory surplus reserves can be used, among other ways, to increase the registered capital and eliminate future losses in excess of retained earnings of the respective companies, the reserve funds are not distributable as cash dividends except in the event of liquidation. In addition, at the end of each fiscal year, each of our affiliated schools in China is required to allocate a certain amount out of its annual net income, if any, to its development fund for the construction or maintenance of the school or procurement or upgrade of educational equipment.

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Administrative Measures for the Due Diligence Investigation of the Tax-related Information of Non-resident Financial Accounts

According to Administrative Measures for the Due Diligence Investigation of the Tax-related Information of Non-resident Financial Accounts, or the Measures in this paragraph, which is promulgated by State Administration of Taxation, Ministry of Finance, PBOC and relevant department of PRC in 2017, a financial institution shall, in accordance with the principle of good faith, prudence and due diligence, distinguish accounts of different types to understand the tax resident status of their respective account holders or relevant controllers in accordance with these Measures, identify non-resident financial accounts, and collect and submit account-related information. For the purpose of these Measures, non-residents shall refer to individuals and enterprises (including organizations of other types) other than Chinese tax residents, but shall not include government agencies, international organizations, central banks, financial institutions or companies listed and traded on securities markets and their affiliated institutions. For the purpose of these Measures, financial institutions shall refer to deposit-taking institutions, custody institutions, investment institutions, specific insurance institutions and their branches. The aforesaid securities markets shall refer to securities markets recognized and regulated by their respective local government. Chinese tax residents shall refer to resident enterprises or resident individuals prescribed under Chinese tax laws. For the purpose of these Measures, non-resident financial accounts shall refer to the financial accounts that are opened or maintained with financial institutions within the Mainland China, and are held by non-residents or passive non-financial institutions with non-resident controllers. A financial institution shall classify a non-resident financial account in the category of non-resident financial accounts for management from the date when it is identified as such. Where an account holder constitutes both a Chinese tax resident and a tax resident of other countries (regions), a financial institution shall collect and submit information on the account of the said holder in accordance with these Measures.

Regulations on Anti Long-Arm Jurisdiction

The MOFCOM issued Provisions on the List of Unreliable Entities, or the MOFCOM Order No. 4 of 2020, on September 19, 2020. Pursuant to the order, an interagency task force composed of central government agencies, or the Working Mechanism, shall, according to the investigation results and by taking the following factors into comprehensive consideration, decide whether or not to include a foreign entity concerned in the list of unreliable entities, and make an announcement on such inclusion: (i) the extent of damage caused to China’s sovereignty, security and development interests; (ii) the extent of the damage to the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises, other organizations or individuals; (iii) whether or not the international economic and trade rules are followed; and (iv) other factors that shall be taken into consideration. If a foreign entity is included in the list of unreliable entities, the Working Mechanism may decide to take one or more of the following measures: (i) restricting or prohibiting the foreign entity from engaging in import or export activities related to China; (ii) restricting or prohibiting the foreign entity’s investment within the territory of China; (iii) restricting or prohibiting the entry of the foreign entity’s relevant personnel or transport vehicles into the territory of China; (iv) restricting or cancelling the work permit, stay or residence qualification of the foreign entity’s relevant personnel in China; (v) imposing a fine corresponding to the seriousness of the case against the foreign entity; or (vi) Other necessary measures.

On January 9, 2021, the MOFCOM promulgated the Rules on Counteracting Unjustified Extra-Territorial Application of Foreign Legislation and Other Measures, or the MOFCOM Order No. 1 of 2021. Pursuant to the MOFCOM Order No. 1 of 2021, where a citizen, legal person or other organization of China is prohibited or restricted by foreign legislation and other measures from engaging in normal economic, trade and related activities with a third State (or region) or its citizens, legal persons or other organizations, he/she/it shall truthfully report such matters to MOFCOM within 30 days. The Working Mechanism will take following factors into overall account when assessing whether there exists unjustified extra-territorial application of foreign legislation and other measures: (i) whether international law or the basic principles of international relations are violated; (ii) potential impact on China’s national sovereignty, security and development interests; (iii) potential impact on the legitimate rights and interests of the citizens, legal persons or other organizations of China; and (iv) other factors that shall be taken into account. If the Working Mechanism determine that there exists unjustified extra-territorial application of foreign legislation and other measures, MOFCOM may issue an injunction that the relevant foreign legislation and other measures shall not be accepted, executed, or observed. A citizen, legal person or other organization in China may apply for exemption from compliance with an injunction.

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C. Organizational Structure

The following diagram sets out details of our significant subsidiaries and Consolidated Affiliated Entities as of February 28, 2021:

Graphic

(1)Mr. Bangxin Zhang is director and chief executive officer who owned 26.4% of the common shares and 69.5% of the voting power of TAL Education Group as of March 31, 2021.
(2)Mr. Yachao Liu is our chief operating officer who owned 4.1% of the common shares and 10.1% of the voting power of TAL Education Group as of March 31, 2021.
(3)Mr. Yunfeng Bai is chairman of the Company’s board of directors and president who owned 0.9% of the common shares and 2.5% of voting power of TAL Education Group as of March 31, 2021.
(4)Ten schools’ majority ownership are directly or indirectly held by Xueersi Education, and the remaining minority ownership are directly or indirectly held by Xueersi Network. For the other schools, Xueersi Education held either 100% or majority ownership for which the remaining minority ownership were held by third parties.

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VIE Contractual Arrangements

Due to PRC legal restrictions on foreign ownership and investment in the education business in China, aside from our personalized premium tutoring services in Beijing conducted by our PRC subsidiaries, Huanqiu Zhikang and Zhixuesi Beijing, substantially all of our education business in China is conducted through the VIE Contractual Arrangements. The VIE Contractual Arrangements, which are summarized below, enable us, through TAL Beijing and Lebai Information, to direct the activities of our VIEs that most significantly affect the VIEs’ economic performance and to receive substantially all the benefits from our Consolidated Affiliated Entities.

Exclusive Business Service Agreements. Pursuant to the Exclusive Business Cooperation Agreement entered into on June 25, 2010 by and among TAL Beijing, Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network, the shareholders, subsidiaries and schools of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network, or the Agreement of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network, which supersedes all agreements among parties with respect to subject matters thereof, TAL Beijing or its designated affiliates have the exclusive right to provide each of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network and their subsidiaries and schools comprehensive intellectual property licensing and various technical and business support services. Pursuant to the Exclusive Business Service Agreement entered into by and among TAL Beijing, Xinxin Xiangrong and its shareholders on August 4, 2015, or the Agreement of Xinxin Xiangrong, TAL Beijing and its designated affiliates have the exclusive right to provide Xinxin Xiangrong and its subsidiaries and schools (if any) comprehensive intellectual property licensing and various technical and business support services. Lebai Information, Lebai Education and its sole shareholder, subsidiaries and schools have entered into an Exclusive Business Service Agreement on October 26, 2015, or the Agreement of Lebai Education, the terms of which are substantially the same as the Agreement of Xinxin Xiangrong summarized above. The services under each of these agreements include, but are not limited to, employee training, technology development, transfer and consulting services, public relation services, market survey, research and consulting services, market development and planning services, human resource and internal information management, network development, upgrade and ordinary maintenance services, and software and trademark licensing and other additional services as the parties may mutually agree from time to time. Without the prior written consent of TAL Beijing or Lebai Information, none of the VIEs or their respective subsidiaries or schools may accept services provided by any third party which are covered by the agreements set forth above. TAL Beijing and Lebai Information or their designated affiliates owns the exclusive intellectual property rights created as a result of the performance of these agreements. With respect to the Agreement of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network, the relevant Consolidated Affiliated Entities agree to pay annual service fees to TAL Beijing or its designated affiliates and adjust the service fee rates from time to time at TAL Beijing’s discretion. Such agreement will not expire unless terminated pursuant by a mutual agreement of parties. With respect to the Agreement of Xinxin Xiangrong, the relevant Consolidated Affiliated Entities agree to pay service fees regularly to TAL Beijing or its designated affiliates and adjust the service fee rates from time to time at TAL Beijing’s discretion. Such agreement will not expire unless terminated pursuant by a mutual agreement of parties. With respect to the Agreement of Lebai Education, the relevant Consolidated Affiliates Entities agree to pay service fees regularly to Lebai Information or its designated affiliates and adjust the service fee rates from time to time at Lebai Information’s discretion. The term of such agreement is 10 years and will be renewed for another 10 years at Lebai Information’s discretion. Each of these agreements entitle TAL Beijing or its designated affiliates and Lebai Information to charge our Consolidated Affiliated Entities service fees regularly that amount to substantially all of the net income of the Consolidated Affiliated Entities before the service fees.

Call Option Agreement. Pursuant to a call option agreement, dated on February 12, 2009, by and among TAL Beijing, Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and the respective shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network, the respective shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network unconditionally and irrevocably granted TAL Beijing or its designated party an exclusive option to purchase from the shareholders part or all of the equity interests in Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network, as the case may be, for the minimum amount of consideration permitted by the applicable PRC laws and regulations under the circumstances where TAL Beijing or its designated party is permitted under PRC laws and regulations to own all or part of the equity interests of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network or where we otherwise deem it necessary or appropriate to exercise the option. TAL Beijing, Xinxin Xiangrong and the shareholders of Xinxin Xiangrong have entered into a call option agreement on August 4, 2015, and Lebai Information, Lebai Education and the sole shareholder of Lebai Education have entered into a call option agreement on October 26, 2015, the terms of which are substantially the same as the call option agreement summarized above. These agreements become effective on the date of execution and terminate when all of the obligations and rights under such agreement are completely performed. Under each of these agreements, TAL Beijing or Lebai Information has sole discretion to decide when to exercise the option, and whether to exercise the option in part or in full. The key factor for us to decide whether to exercise the option is whether the current regulatory restrictions on foreign investment in the educational service business will be removed in the future, the likelihood of which we are not in a position to know or comment on.

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Equity Pledge Agreement. Pursuant to an equity pledge agreement, dated on February 12, 2009, by and among TAL Beijing, Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and the respective shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network, and supplemental agreements, dated on June 25, 2010, by and among TAL Beijing, Xueersi Education, Xueersi Network and their respective shareholders, the respective shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network unconditionally and irrevocably pledged all of their equity interests in Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network to TAL Beijing to guarantee performance of the obligations of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network and their respective subsidiaries and schools under the technology support and service agreements with TAL Beijing. The shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network agree that, without the prior written consent of TAL Beijing, they will not transfer or dispose the pledged equity interests or create or allow any encumbrance on the pledged equity interests that would prejudice TAL Beijing’s interest.

TAL Beijing, Xinxin Xiangrong and the shareholders of Xinxin Xiangrong have entered into an equity pledge agreement on August 4, 2015, and Lebai Information, Lebai Education and the sole shareholder of Lebai Education have entered into an equity pledge agreement on October 26, 2015, the terms of which are substantially the same as the agreement summarized above. These agreements are effective on the date of execution and terminate when all the secured rights under the relevant agreements, as the case may be, are completely fulfilled or terminated in accordance thereof. The above pledges of the equity interests in Xueersi Network, Lebai Education, Xueersi Education and Xinxin Xiangrong have been registered with the relevant local branch of the SAIC.

Letter of Undertaking. All of the shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network have executed a letter of undertaking on September 8, 2010 to covenant with and undertake to TAL Beijing that, if, as the respective shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network, such shareholders receive any dividends, interests, other distributions or remnant assets upon liquidation from Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network, such shareholders shall, to the extent permitted by applicable laws, regulations and legal procedures, remit all such income after payment of any applicable tax and other expenses required by laws and regulations to TAL Beijing without any compensation therefore. All of the shareholders of Xinxin Xiangrong have made similar undertakings in a letter of undertaking on August 4, 2015. The sole shareholder of Lebai Education has made similar undertakings in the power of attorney described below.

Power of Attorney. Each of the shareholders of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network has executed an irrevocable power of attorney on August 12, 2009, appointing TAL Beijing, or any person designated by TAL Beijing as their attorney-in-fact to vote on their behalf on all matters of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network requiring shareholder approval under PRC laws and regulations and the articles of association of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network. Each of the shareholders of Xinxin Xiangrong has executed an irrevocable power of attorney on August 4, 2015, and the sole shareholder of Lebai Education has executed an irrevocable power of attorney on October 26, 2015, the terms of which are substantially the same as the power of attorney of Xueersi Education and Xueersi Network summarized above. The power of attorney remains effective as long as the relevant person remains a shareholder of the VIE.

The articles of association of each of our VIEs states that the major rights of the shareholders in a shareholders’ meeting include the power to approve the operating strategy and investment plan, elect the members of board of directors and approve their compensation and review and approve the annual budget and earning distribution plan. Therefore, through the irrevocable power of attorney arrangement, TAL Beijing and Lebai Information has the ability to exercise effective control over each of our VIEs respectively through shareholder votes and, through such votes, to also control the composition of the board of directors. In addition, the senior management team of each of our VIEs is the same as that of, or is appointed and controlled by, TAL Beijing and Lebai Information, as applicable. As a result of these contractual rights, we have the power to direct the activities of each of our VIEs that most significantly impact their economic performance.

Spousal consent letter. The spouse of each shareholder, who is a natural person, of our VIEs has entered into a spousal consent letter to acknowledge that she is aware of, and consents to, the execution by her spouse of the call option agreement described above. Each such spouse further agrees that she will not take any actions or raise any claims to interfere with performance by her spouse of the obligations under the above mentioned agreements.

In the opinion of Tian Yuan Law Firm, our PRC counsel:

the ownership structures of our Consolidated Affiliated Entities and wholly owned subsidiaries in China are in compliance with existing PRC laws and regulations; and
the VIE Contractual Arrangements are valid, binding and enforceable under, and will not result in any violation of, PRC laws or regulations currently in effect.

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We have been advised by our PRC counsel, however, that there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws and regulations. Accordingly, there can be no assurance that the PRC regulatory authorities will not in the future take a view that is contrary to the above opinion of our PRC counsel. We have been further advised by our PRC counsel that if the PRC government finds that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our PRC education business do not comply with PRC government restrictions on foreign investment in the education business, we could be subject to severe penalties, which could include the PRC government:

revoking our business and operating licenses;
requiring us to discontinue or restrict our operations;
limit our business expansion in China by way of entering into contractual arrangements;
restricting our right to collect revenues;
blocking our websites;
requiring us to restructure our operations in such a way as to compel us to establish a new enterprise, re-apply for the necessary licenses or relocate our businesses, staff and assets;
imposing additional conditions or requirements with which we may not be able to comply; or
taking other regulatory or enforcement actions against us that could be harmful to our business.

The imposition of any of these penalties could result in a material adverse effect on our ability to conduct our business. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—If the PRC government determines that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business in China are not in compliance with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we could be subject to severe penalties” and “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could have a material adverse effect on us.”

In addition to the VIE Contractual Arrangements, we have entered into a deed of undertaking on June 24, 2013 and a side letter dated July 29, 2013 with Mr. Bangxin Zhang, our director and Chief Executive Officer, or the Deed collectively. Pursuant to the Deed, Mr. Zhang has irrevocably covenanted and undertaken to us that:

as long as Mr. Bangxin Zhang owns shares in our company, whether legally or beneficially, and directly or indirectly (including shares held through Mr. Bangxin Zhang’s personal holding company Bright Unison Limited or any other company, trust, nominee or agent, if any), representing more than 50% of the aggregate voting power of the then total issued and outstanding shares of our company, Mr. Bangxin Zhang will not, directly or indirectly, (i) requisition or call any meeting of our shareholders for the purpose of removing or replacing any of our existing directors or appointing any new director, or (ii) propose any resolution at any of our shareholders meetings to remove or replace any of our existing directors or appoint any new director;
should any meeting of our shareholders be called by the board of directors or requisitioned or called by our shareholders for the purpose of removing or replacing any of the directors or appointing any new director, or if any resolution is proposed at any of our shareholder meetings to remove or replace any of the directors or appoint any new director, the maximum number of votes which Mr. Bangxin Zhang will be permitted to exercise shall be equal to the total aggregate number of votes of the then total issued and outstanding shares of our company held by all members of our company, other than shares which are owned, whether legally or beneficially, and directly or indirectly by Mr. Bangxin Zhang, less one vote; and
Mr. Bangxin Zhang will not cast any votes he has as a director or shareholder (if applicable) on any resolutions or matters concerning enforcing, amending or otherwise relating to the Deed being considered or voted upon by our board of directors or our shareholders, as the case may be.

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In the opinion of Maples and Calder (Hong Kong) LLP, our Cayman Islands legal counsel, the deed of undertaking constitutes the legal, valid and binding obligations of Mr. Bangxin Zhang, which cannot be unilaterally revoked by Mr. Bangxin Zhang, and is enforceable in accordance with its terms under existing Cayman Islands laws.

D.        Property, Plants and Equipment

Facilities

Our headquarters are located in Beijing, China. As of February 28, 2021, we leased approximately 434,750 square meters in Beijing, consisting of approximately 251,740 square meters of learning center and service center space and approximately 183,010 square meters of office space. As of February 28, 2021, we owned approximately 7,582 square meters of office space in Beijing.

In addition to our learning center and service center space and office space leased in Beijing, as of February 28, 2021, we leased an aggregate of approximately 1,636,430 square meters of learning center and service center space and an aggregate of approximately 437,300 square meters of office space in 108 other cities throughout China and three cities in other countries.

On March 19, 2019, we acquired land use rights of a parcel in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu for the construction of office building, at total cost of approximately RMB92 million for approximately 83,025 square meters. In December 2019, we entered into a contract at total cost of approximately RMB1,424 million for the development of office space in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, covering approximately 222,730 square meters of construction area. As of February 28, 2021, RMB151 million had been paid. We expect to complete the construction in May 2022. We intend to fund the construction through cash on hand and bank financing. On December 19, 2019, we entered into a loan facilities agreement with a group of lenders pursuant to which we can draw down up to RMB1,800 million, provided that the proceeds be used in the construction of the building in Zhenjiang. As of February 28, 2021, we had not withdrawn any amount under the facilities.

On July 8, 2019, we acquired land use rights of a parcel in Beijing for the development of office space, at a total cost of approximately RMB1,360 million for approximately 28,600 square meters. In December 2019, we entered into a contract at total cost of approximately RMB920 million for the development of office space in Changping District, Beijing, as supplemented from time to time, covering approximately 127,670 square meters of construction area. As of February 28, 2021, RMB106 million had been paid. We expect to complete the construction in December 2022. We intend to fund the foregoing construction through cash on hand and/or bank financing.

For more information concerning the usage of our learning centers and service centers, see “Item 4. Information on the Company-B. Business Overview-Our Network.”

Item 4A  Unresolved Staff Comments

None.

Item 5.  Operating and Financial Review and Prospects

You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements and the related notes included elsewhere in this annual report. This discussion contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results and the timing of selected events could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including those set forth under “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors” and elsewhere in this annual report.

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A.        Operating Results

Overview

Our extensive network of learning centers and service centers has increased from 871 and 767, respectively, in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, to 1,098 and 990, respectively, in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021. Our average student enrollments of normal priced long-term course per quarter increased by 54.4% from approximately 3.0 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 to approximately 4.7 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021.

We have experienced significant growth in our business in recent years. Our total net revenues increased from $3,273.3 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 by 37.3% to $4,495.8 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021. Net loss attributable to TAL Education Group was $110.2 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, compared to net loss attributable to TAL Education Group of $116.0 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021.

Factors Affecting Our Results of Operations

We have benefited significantly from the overall economic growth, the increase in household disposable income, the rising household spending on private education and the intense competition for quality education in China, which has caused the K-12 after-school tutoring market in China to grow in recent years. We anticipate that the demand for K-12 after-school tutoring services will continue to grow. However, any adverse changes in the economic conditions in China that adversely affect the K-12 after-school tutoring service market in China may harm our business and results of operations.

Our results of operations are also affected by the education system or policies relating to the after-school tutoring service market in China. Due to PRC legal restrictions on foreign ownership and investment in education businesses in China, substantially all of our education business in China is conducted through the VIE Contractual Arrangements. We do not have equity interests in our VIEs. However, as a result of the VIE Contractual Arrangements, we are the primary beneficiary of these entities and treat them as our variable interest entities under U.S. GAAP. In the opinion of Tian Yuan Law Firm, our PRC counsel, (i) the ownership structures of our Consolidated Affiliated Entities and wholly owned subsidiaries in China are in compliance with existing PRC laws and regulations, and (ii) the VIE Contractual Arrangements are valid, binding and enforceable under, and will not result in any violation of, PRC laws or regulations currently in effect. We have been advised by our PRC counsel, however, that there are substantial uncertainties regarding the interpretation and application of current and future PRC laws and regulations. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure—If the PRC government determines that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business in China are not in compliance with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we could be subject to severe penalties” and “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China-Uncertainties with respect to the PRC legal system could have a material adverse effect on us.”

While our business is influenced by factors affecting the private education industry in China generally and by conditions in each of the geographic markets covered by our service network, we believe that our results of operations are more directly affected by company-specific factors, including the number of student enrollments, the pricing of our tutoring services and the amount of our costs and expenses.

Number of Student Enrollments

Our revenue growth is primarily driven by the increase in the number of student enrollments, which is directly affected by the number of our learning centers, the number and varieties of our courses and service offerings, including both our center-based and online courses offerings, our student retention rate, our ability to attract new students and the effectiveness of our cross-selling efforts.

In recent years, we have opened new learning centers to further penetrate our existing markets and enter new markets. The number of our learning centers grew from 871 in 70 cities as of February 29, 2020, to 1,098 in 110 cities as of February 28, 2021. We plan to open additional learning centers in these existing cities and explore opportunities to open learning centers in other targeted geographic markets in China in order to continue to attract new student enrollments.

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In addition, in recent years we have significantly expanded our course offerings to cover new subjects and additional grade levels. In Beijing, we grew from primarily offering tutoring classes in mathematics to becoming a comprehensive after-school tutoring service provider, covering all core subjects in PRC school curricula at each grade level of the K-12 system. We initially offered only small-class tutoring services, and then added personalized premium services in 2007 and began offering online courses through www.xueersi.com in 2010. We also began offering “Dual-Teacher Classroom” courses in certain pilot city in 2015. Our expansion of courses and service offerings allows us to better attract new students with different needs and provides us greater cross-selling opportunities with respect to our existing students.

Our planned expansion may result in substantial demands on our management, operational, technological, and financial and other resources. To manage and support our growth, we must improve our existing operational, administrative and technological systems and our financial and management controls, and recruit, train and retain additional qualified teachers and school management personnel as well as other administrative and sales and marketing personnel, particularly as we grow outside of our existing markets. We will continue to implement additional systems and measures and recruit qualified personnel in order to effectively manage and support our growth. If we cannot achieve these improvements, our financial condition and results of operations may be materially adversely affected.

Pricing

Our results of operations are also affected by the pricing for our tutoring services. We generally charge students based on the hourly rates of our courses and the total number of hours for all the courses taken by each student. We determine hourly rates for our courses primarily based on the demand for our courses, cost of our services, the geographic markets where the courses are offered, and the fees charged by our competitors for the same or similar courses.

Costs and Expenses

Our ability to maintain and increase profitability also depends on our ability to effectively control our costs and expenses. A significant component of our cost of revenues is compensation to our teachers. We offer competitive remunerations to our teachers in order to attract and retain top teaching talent. Fees and performance-linked bonuses to our teachers accounted for approximately 21.6%, 21.4% and 23.1% of our net revenues for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. Another important component of our cost of revenues is rental expenses for our learning and service centers, which accounted for approximately 10.7%, 9.7% and 8.2% of our net revenues for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. For the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, we incurred share-based compensation expenses representing approximately 3.0%, 3.6% and 4.6%, respectively, of our net revenues, and we expect to continue to incur share-based compensation expenses in the future.

Impact of COVID-19

Our results of operations for the fourth fiscal quarter ended February 29, 2020 was impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting precautionary measures with respect to our offline business, though the negative impact on our offline business was partially offset by the growth in student enrollments in online courses and related revenues for the quarter. Beginning in the first fiscal quarter of fiscal year 2021, we experienced continued recovery and growth, driven by online courses and despite the lingering pressure on our offline business. The COVID-19 outbreak may continue affect our business operations and its financial condition and operating results in the future, including but not limited to negative impact to our total revenues, fair value adjustments or impairment to our long-term investments and goodwill. See “Our business was materially adversely affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 and may be materially adversely affected by a similar outbreak in the future.”

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Key Components of Results of Operations

Net Revenues

In the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, we generated total net revenues of $2,563.0 million, $3,273.3 million and $4,495.8 million, respectively. We derive substantially all of our revenues from tutoring services, including small-class offerings, personalized premium services and online course offerings. Revenues generated from our online course offerings through www.xueersi.com contributed 13.3%, 18.9% and 28.4% of our total net revenues in the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

We generally collect course fees in advance, which we initially record as deferred revenues. We had deferred revenues in the amounts of $436.1 million, $781.0 million and $1,417.5 million, as of February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Cost of Revenues and Operating Expenses

The following table sets forth, for the periods indicated, our cost of revenues and operating expenses, in absolute amounts and as percentages of the total net revenues:

    

For the Years Ended February 28/29,

2019

2020

2021

    

$

    

%  

    

$

    

%  

    

$

    

%  

(in thousands of $, except percentages)

Net revenues

$

2,562,984

100.0

$

3,273,308

100.0

$

4,495,755

 

100.0

Total cost of revenues(1)

 

(1,164,454)

(45.4)

 

(1,468,569)

(44.9)

 

(2,048,561)

 

(45.6)

Operating expenses:

 

  

  

 

  

  

 

 

Selling and marketing(2)

 

(484,000)

(18.9)

 

(852,808)

(26.1)

 

(1,680,050)

 

(37.4)

General and administrative(3)

 

(579,672)

(22.6)

 

(794,957)

(24.3)

 

(1,117,324)

 

(24.9)

Impairment loss on intangible assets and goodwill

 

 

(28,998)

(0.9)

 

(107,535)

 

(2.4)

Total operating expenses

$

(1,063,672)

(41.5)

(1,676,763)

(51.2)

(2,904,909)

 

(64.6)

(1)Includes share-based compensation expenses of $0.7 million, $1.1 million and $1.8 million for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.
(2)Includes share-based compensation expenses of $10.5 million, $19.4 million and $56.6 million for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.
(3)Includes share-based compensation expenses of $66.1 million, $97.5 million and $146.5 million for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Cost of Revenues

Our cost of revenues primarily consists of teaching fees, performance-linked bonuses and other compensations for our teachers and rental cost for our learning centers and service centers, compensation to personnel providing educational service support, costs of course materials, and to a lesser extent, depreciation and amortization of long-lived assets used in the provision of educational services, and other office supplies. We expect our cost of revenues to increase as we further expand our network and operations by opening new learning centers and service centers and hiring additional teachers. The increase in cost of revenues was mainly due to increase in teacher compensation, rental costs and costs of learning materials.

Operating Expenses

Our operating expenses consist primarily of selling and marketing expenses and general and administrative expenses.

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Our selling and marketing expenses primarily consist of advertising expenses, compensation to our personnel involved in sales and marketing expenses relating to our marketing and branding promotion activities, rental and utilities expenses relating to selling and marketing functions and, to a lesser extent, depreciation and amortization of long-lived assets used in our selling and marketing activities. Our selling and marketing expenses as a percentage of net revenues was 18.9%, 26.1% and 37.4% for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. Our selling and marketing expenses increased because of more marketing promotion activities to expand our customer base and brand enhancement, as well as a rise in the compensation to sales and marketing staff to support a greater number of programs and service offerings.

Our general and administrative expenses primarily consist of compensation paid to our management and administrative personnel, research and development expenses, costs of third-party professional services, rental and utilities expenses relating to office and administrative functions, and, to a lesser extent, depreciation and amortization of long-lived assets used in our administrative activities. Our general and administrative expenses as a percentage of our total net revenues was 22.6%, 24.3% and 24.9% for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. We expect that our general and administrative expenses will continue to increase in the near term as we hire additional personnel and incur additional expenses in connection with the expansion of our business operations, in particular in connection with our online education initiatives and other new programs and service offerings, the enhancement of our internal controls, the establishment of our internal administrative and technological system and our financial and management control and the provisions of share-based compensation to our employees, as well as other expenses associated with our being a publicly traded company.

Impairment loss on intangible assets and goodwill was mainly due to the decline in reporting units’ fair value.

Taxation

Cayman Islands

We are an exempted company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. Under the current law of the Cayman Islands, we are not subject to income, corporate or capital gains tax, and the Cayman Islands currently have no form of estate duty, inheritance tax or gift tax. In addition, payments of dividends and capital in respect of our shares are not subject to taxation in the Cayman Islands and no withholding will be required in the Cayman Islands on the payment of any dividend or capital to any holder of our shares, nor will gains derived from the disposal of our shares be subject to Cayman Islands income or corporation tax.

Hong Kong

Each of our Hong Kong subsidiaries are subject to a two-tiered income tax rate for taxable income earned in Hong Kong effectively since April 1, 2018. The first 2 million Hong Kong dollars of profits earned by a company are subject to be taxed at an income tax rate of 8.25%, while the remaining profits will continue to be taxed at the existing tax rate, 16.5%. No provision for Hong Kong profits tax has been made in our consolidated financial statements, as these Hong Kong subsidiaries have no assessable income for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021.

PRC Enterprise Income Tax

Our subsidiaries in China are companies incorporated under PRC law and, as such, are subject to PRC enterprise income tax on their taxable income in accordance with the relevant PRC income tax laws. Pursuant to the EIT Law, a uniform 25% enterprise income tax rate is generally applicable to both foreign-invested enterprises and domestic enterprises, except where a special preferential rate applies.

Enterprises qualified as “Newly Established Software Enterprise” are entitled to an income tax exemption for two calendar years, followed by reduced income tax at a rate of 12.5% for three calendar years. If an enterprise qualified as “Newly Established Software Enterprise” is also entitled to other tax preferential policies in enterprise income tax, such enterprise shall elect only one tax preference among these tax preferential policies. Enterprises qualified as “High and New Technology Enterprises” are entitled to a 15% enterprise income tax rate rather than the 25% uniform statutory tax rate. The preferential tax treatment continues as long as an enterprise can retain its “High and New Technology Enterprise” status. Enterprises qualified as “Key Software Enterprise” are entitled to a preferential tax rate of 0% or 10%.

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The following preferential tax treatments are enjoyed by certain of our subsidiaries and Consolidated Affiliated Entities:

Yidu Huida qualified as a High and New Technology Enterprise from the calendar year of 2015 to the calendar year of 2020 and accordingly was entitled to the 15% preferential tax rate during the period. It is expected to be subject to an EIT rate of 15% as long as it maintains its status as an HNTE. Yidu Huida applied and was approved for Key Software Enterprise status for calendar year 2016, 2017 2018 and 2019, which entitled Yidu Huida at the preferential tax rate of 10%. Yidu Huida elected to adopt the 12.5% preferential tax rate in 2015, the 10% preferential tax rate from calendar year 2016 to 2019, and 15% for calendar year 2020 as a HNTE. For calendar year 2020, Yidu Huida applied for the qualification of Key Software Enterprise to enjoy the preferential tax rate of 10%. As of the date of this annual report, the filings are still being reviewed by the government authorities.
Beijing Xintang Sichuang was qualified as a Software Enterprise in 2013 and accordingly was entitled to an income tax exemption in 2013 and 2014 followed by reduced income tax at a rate of 12.5% from 2015 through 2017. Beijing Xintang Sichuang was also qualified as a High and New Technology Enterprise from the calendar year of 2017 to the calendar year of 2022 and accordingly is entitled to the 15% preferential tax rate during the period. Beijing Xintang Sichuang was also qualified as a Key Software Enterprise for calendar year 2018 and 2019, and accordingly was entitled to 10% preferential tax rate. Beijing Xintang Sichuang elected to adopt the 12.5% preferential tax rate in 2017, the 10% preferential tax rate in 2018 and 2019, and 15% for calendar year 2020 as a HNTE. For calendar year 2020, Beijing Xintang Sichuang applied for the qualification of Key Software Enterprise to enjoy the preferential tax rate of 10%. As of the date of this annual report, the filings are still being reviewed by the government authorities.
Xueersi Education was qualified as a “High and New Technology Enterprise” from 2012 to 2016 and accordingly enjoyed the 15% preferential tax rate during the period. Its tax preference discontinued since January 2017.
TAL Beijing was qualified as a “High and New Technology Enterprise” from 2014 to 2016 and it maintained the qualification from the calendar year of 2017 to the calendar year of 2022, and as a result it continued to enjoy the 15% preferential tax rate during the period. TAL Beijing was also qualified as a Key Software Enterprise for calendar year 2018 and 2019, and accordingly was entitled to 10% preferential tax rate. TAL Beijing elected to adopt the 10% preferential tax rate in 2018 and 2019, and 15% for calendar year 2020 as a HNTE. For calendar year 2020, TAL Beijing applied for the qualification of Key Software Enterprise to enjoy the preferential tax rate of 10%. As of the date of this annual report, the filings are still being reviewed by the government authorities.
Yinghe Youshi was qualified as a “High and New Technology Enterprise” from 2016 to 2018 and it maintained the qualification for the calendar year of 2019 through 2021, and as a result it continued to enjoy the 15% preferential tax rate during the period.
Beijing Yizhen Xuesi was qualified as a Software Enterprise in 2017 and accordingly was entitled to an income tax exemption in 2017 and 2018 followed by reduced income tax at a rate of 12.5% from 2019 through 2021. For calendar year 2020, Yizhen Xuesi applied for the qualification of a special term of Key Software Enterprise to enjoy the preferential tax rate of 0% for the first five years upon the first profitable year and 10% for the years beyond, which is still subject to the review by the government authorities.
Beijing Lebai Information Consulting Co., Ltd. was qualified as “Newly Established Software Enterprise” in calendar year 2018 and therefore it was entitled to a two-year income tax exemption and a further reduction to 12.5% from calendar years 2020 through 2022.

Preferential tax treatments granted to our PRC subsidiaries and Consolidated Affiliated Entities in China by local governmental authorities are subject to review and may be adjusted or revoked at any time. The software enterprises which enjoy preferential tax treatments shall also provide filing documents with respect to preferential tax treatments to the relevant tax authority when filing annual enterprise income tax returns for the settlement of tax payments. The discontinuation of any preferential tax treatments currently available to us, will cause our effective tax rate to increase, which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations.

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PRC Withholding Tax

As a Cayman Islands holding company, we may receive dividends from our PRC operating subsidiaries through TAL Hong Kong. The EIT Law and its implementation rules provide that dividends paid by a PRC entity to a non-resident enterprise for income tax purposes is subject to PRC withholding tax at a rate of 10%, subject to reduction by an applicable tax treaty with China. According to the Arrangement between Mainland China and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion, dividends paid to shareholders residing in Hong Kong are subject to a reduced 5% rate of tax withholding provided the Hong Kong residents’ equity interests in the mainland dividend issuer is above 25%. However, the SAT promulgated SAT Circular 601 in 2009, which provides guidance for determining whether a resident of a contracting state is the “beneficial owner” of an item of income under PRC tax treaties and tax arrangements. In February 2018, the SAT promulgated Circular 9, which supersedes the Circular 601, to clarify the definition of beneficial owner under PRC tax treaties and tax arrangements. According to Circular 9, a beneficial owner refers to a party who holds ownership and control over incomes or the rights or assets from which the incomes are derived. In determining whether a resident of the other contracting party to a double taxation agreement, or a DTA, who is applying for enjoying preferential treatment under the DTA has the status as a beneficial owner, comprehensive analysis shall be conducted in light of the actual circumstances of the specific case and based on several factors, include among others, if (1) an applicant is under the obligation to pay 50% or more of the incomes received to any resident of any third country (region) within 12 months upon receipt of the incomes; and (2) if the business activities carried out by an applicant constitutes substantive business activities. Substantive business activities shall include substantive manufacturing, distribution, management and other activities. Whether an applicant’s business activities are substantive shall be determined based on the functions actually performed by the applicant and the risks assumed thereby. The substantive investment and shareholding management activities carried out by the applicant may constitute substantive business activities. Where the applicant concurrently engages in investment and shareholding management activities that do not constitute substantive business activities and other business activities, if the other business activities are not significant enough, the applicant will not be considered as engaging in substantive business activities and hence more likely not a beneficial owner;

In addition, if the incomes derived by any of the following applicants from China are dividends, the relevant applicant may be directly determined as having the status of a “beneficial owner”:

(1)The government of the other contracting party to the relevant DTA;
(2)A company that is a resident of, and is listed on the market of, the other contracting party to the relevant DTA;
(3)A resident individual of the other contracting party to the relevant DTA; or
(4)Where one or more parties referred to in Item (1) through Item (3) directly or indirectly hold 100% of the shares of the applicant, and the mid-tier in the case of indirect shareholding is a resident of China or a resident of the other contracting party to the relevant DTA.

Further, according to Circular 9, agents or designated payees are not beneficial owners. The fact that an applicant collects incomes via an agent or a designated payee does not affect the determination of whether the applicant has the status of a beneficial owner irrespective of whether an agent or a designated payee is a resident of the other contracting party to the relevant DTA.

According to such SAT Circular 9, if the business activities carried out by an applicant do not constitute substantive business activities, then such applicant is likely not to be regarded as a beneficial owner. Although we may use our Hong Kong subsidiaries as a platform to expand our business in the future, our Hong Kong subsidiaries currently do not engage in any substantive business activities and thus it is possible that our Hong Kong subsidiaries may not be regarded as “beneficial owners” for the purposes of SAT Circular 9 and the dividends they receive from our PRC subsidiaries would be subject to withholding tax at a rate of 10%. In addition, our Hong Kong subsidiaries may be considered PRC resident enterprises for enterprise income tax purposes if the relevant PRC tax authorities determine that our Hong Kong subsidiaries’ “de facto management bodies” are within China, in which case dividends received by them from our PRC subsidiaries would be exempt from PRC withholding tax because such income is exempted under the EIT Law for a PRC resident enterprise recipient. As there remain uncertainties regarding the interpretation and implementation of the EIT Law and its implementation rules, it is uncertain whether, if we are deemed a PRC resident enterprise, any dividends to be distributed by us to our non-PRC shareholders and ADS holders would be subject to any PRC withholding tax. For a detailed discussion of PRC tax issues related to resident enterprise status, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China-Under the EIT Law, we may be classified as a PRC “resident enterprise.” Such classification could result in unfavorable tax consequences to us and our non-PRC shareholders.”

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In December 21, 2017, SAT promulgated Notice on Issues Concerning the Policy for Temporary Exemption of Withholding Income Tax on Direct Investment by Overseas Investors with Distributed Profits, or Circular 88. According to the Circular 88, where overseas investors use the profits obtained from resident enterprises within China to invest directly in the encouraged investment projects, the deferred tax payment policy shall apply thereto and withholding income tax thereon shall be exempted temporarily. An overseas investor that is entitled to but has not actually enjoyed the policy of temporary exemption of withholding income tax under this Notice may apply to retroactively enjoy such policy within three years from the date of actual payment of relevant tax and for refund of the tax already paid.

In September 29, 2018, the SAT promulgated Notice on the Scope of Application Concerning the Policy for Temporary Exemption of Withholding Income Tax on Direct Investment by Overseas Investors with Distributed Profits, or Circular 102, which terminated the aforementioned articles of Circular 88. Pursuant to Circular 102, the scope of application of the temporary exemption of Withholding Income Tax was expanded from where overseas investors use the profits obtained from resident enterprises within China to invest directly in the encouraged investment projects, to where overseas investors use the profits obtained from resident enterprises within China to invest directly in all projects and fields which are not prohibited from foreign investment pursuant to the Special Administrative Measures for Foreign Investment Access (2019), or Negative List.

Further, according to the Circular 102, for the temporary exemption of overseas investors from payment of withholding income tax, the following conditions must be satisfied at the same time:

(1)Direct investment made by overseas investors with the profits distributed thereto, includes their activities of equity investment with the distributed profits such as capital increase, new establishment and equity purchase and excludes the increase through purchase or distribution and purchase of the shares of listed companies (excluding the conforming strategic investment), specifically including: (i) Increasing through purchase or distribution of the paid-in capital or capital reserve of resident enterprises within PRC; (ii) Investing in new establishment of resident enterprises within PRC; (iii) Purchasing the shares of resident enterprises within China from nonaffiliated parties; and (iv) Other methods prescribed by the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation. The enterprises in which overseas investors invest through above investment activities shall be collectively referred to the invested enterprises.
(2)The profits distributed to overseas investors fall under the dividends, bonus and other equity investment income formed from the actual distribution of the retained income already realized by resident enterprises within China to investors.
(3)Where the profits used by overseas investors for direct investment are paid in cash, relevant amounts shall be transferred directly from the accounts of the profits distributing enterprises to the accounts of the invested enterprises or equity transferors and shall not be circulated among other domestic and overseas accounts before direct investment; where the profits used by overseas investors for direct investment are paid in kind, negotiable securities and other non-cash form, the ownership to relevant assets shall be transferred directly from the profits distributing enterprises to the invested enterprises or equity transferors and shall not be held by other enterprises and individuals on behalf thereof or temporarily.

PRC Business Tax and Value-Added Tax (VAT)

Details of the pilot VAT reform program was set out in two circulars jointly issued by the Ministry of Finance and the SAT. The VAT reform program change the charge of sales tax from business tax to VAT for certain pilot industries, and was initially applied only to certain pilot industries in Shanghai. The VAT reform program started to apply nationwide in 2013, was extended to cover additional industry sectors such as construction, real estate, finance and consumer services in May 2016.

With respect to all of our PRC entities for the period immediately prior to the implementation of the VAT reform program, revenues from our services are subject to a 5% or 3% PRC business tax. After implementation of the VAT reform program, revenues from our services are mainly subject to a 6% or 3% PRC VAT. Since January 2020, in accordance with the Announcement on Tax Policies to Support Prevention and Control of Pneumonia Caused by Novel Coronavirus Infection issued by Ministry of Finance and SAT, or the Cai Shui [2020] No.8, due to the COVID-19 virus, the VAT from providing daily life services will be exempted starting on January 1, 2020 until December 31, 2020. In March 17, 2021, the SAT promulgated Announcement on Continued Implementation of Some Preferential Tax/Fee Policies for Responding to the COVID-19 Epidemic, or Circular 7, which extended the aforementioned articles of Cai Shui [2020] No.8, and the VAT exemption from providing daily life services has been extended to March 31, 2021.

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Urban Maintenance and Construction Tax and Education Surcharge

Any foreign-invested or purely domestic entity or individual that is subject to consumption tax and VAT is also required to pay PRC urban maintenance and construction tax. The rates of urban maintenance and construction tax are 7%, 5% or 1% of the amount of consumption tax and VAT actually paid depending on where the taxpayer is located. All entities and individuals who pay consumption tax and VAT are also required to pay education surcharge at a rate of 3%, and local education surcharges at a rate of 2% of the amount of VAT and consumption tax actually paid.

Critical Accounting Policies

We prepare our financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, which requires us to make estimates and assumptions that affect reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue, costs, and expenses, and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities. Actual results could differ from those estimates. We continually evaluate these estimates and assumptions based on the most recently available information, our own historical experiences and other factors that we believe to be relevant under the circumstances. Our management has discussed the development, selection and disclosure of these estimates with our board of directors. Since our financial reporting process inherently relies on the use of estimates and assumptions, actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.

An accounting policy is considered to be critical if it requires an accounting estimate to be made based on assumptions about matters that are highly uncertain at the time the estimate is made, and if different estimates that could reasonably have been used, or changes in the accounting estimates that are reasonably likely to occur periodically, could materially impact the consolidated financial statements. We consider the policies discussed below to be critical to an understanding of our audited consolidated financial statements because they involve the greatest reliance on our management’s judgment. You should read the following descriptions of critical accounting policies, judgments and estimates in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and other disclosures included with this prospectus.

Consolidation of our VIEs

We, through TAL Beijing and Lebai Information, our wholly owned foreign enterprises, has executed a series of contractual agreements with our VIEs, the VIEs’ subsidiaries and schools and the VIEs’ nominee shareholders. For a description of these contractual arrangements, see “Item 4. Information on the Company-B. Business Overview-Organizational Structure-VIE Contractual Arrangements.” These contractual agreements do not provide TAL Beijing and Lebai Information with an equity interest in legal form in the VIEs. As the Company holds no legal form of equity ownership in the VIEs, the Company applied the variable interest entity consolidation model as set forth in Accounting Standards Codification 810, Consolidation (“ASC 810”) instead of the voting interest model of consolidation.

By design, the contractual agreements provide TAL Beijing and Lebai Information with the right to receive benefits equal to substantially all of the net income of these entities, and thus under ASC 810, these agreements are considered variable interests. Subsequent to identifying any variable interests, any party holding such variable interests must determine if the entity in which the interest is held is a variable interest entity and subsequently which reporting entity is the primary beneficiary of, and should therefore consolidate the variable interest entity.

The contractual arrangements, by design, enable TAL Beijing and Lebai Information to have (a) the power to direct the activities that most significantly impact the economic performance of the VIEs and (b) the right to receive substantially all the benefits of the VIEs. As a result, the VIEs are considered to be variable interest entities under ASC 810 and TAL Beijing and Lebai Information are considered to be the primary beneficiary of the VIEs and consolidate the VIEs’ financial position and results of operations.

Determining whether TAL Beijing and Lebai Information are the primary beneficiaries requires a careful evaluation of the facts and circumstances, including whether the VIE Contractual Arrangements are substantive under the applicable legal and financial reporting frameworks, i.e., PRC law and U.S. GAAP. We continually review our corporate governance arrangements to ensure that the VIE Contractual Arrangements are indeed substantive.

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We have determined that the contractual agreements are in fact valid and legally enforceable. Such arrangements were entered into in order to comply with the underlying legal and/or regulatory restrictions that govern the ownership of a direct equity interest in the VIEs. In the opinion of our PRC counsel, Tian Yuan Law Firm, the contracts are legally enforceable under PRC law. See “Item 4. Information on the Company-B. Business Overview-Organizational Structure-VIE Contractual Arrangements.”

On June 24, 2013 and July 29, 2013, the Company and Mr. Bangxin Zhang executed a deed of undertaking dated June 24, 2013 and a side letter dated July 29, 2013, respectively, or the Deed collectively. Pursuant to the terms of the Deed, as long as Mr. Bangxin Zhang owns a majority voting interest, whether legally or beneficially, and directly or indirectly, in the Company, (1) Mr. Bangxin Zhang cannot request or call a meeting of shareholders or propose a shareholders resolution to appoint or remove a director, (2) if shareholders are asked to appoint or remove a director, the maximum number of votes which Mr. Bangxin Zhang will be permitted to exercise in connection with such shareholder approval is equal to the total aggregate number of votes of the then total issued and outstanding shares of the Company held by all members of the Company, other than shares which are owned, whether legally or beneficially, and directly or indirectly by Mr. Bangxin Zhang, less one vote and (3) if shareholders or board of directors are asked to consider or approve any matter related to the Deed, Mr. Bangxin Zhang cannot exercise his voting power.

Upon execution of the Deed, despite his ownership of and as long as he holds a majority voting interest, whether legally or beneficially, and directly or indirectly, in the Company, Mr. Bangxin Zhang will (1) not be permitted to requisition or call a meeting of shareholders or propose a shareholders resolution to appoint or remove a director, (2) in relation to any shareholder approvals to appoint or remove a director, only be permitted to exercise up to the number of votes equal to the total aggregate number of votes of the then total issued and outstanding shares of the Company held by all members of the Company, other than shares which are owned, whether legally or beneficially, and directly or indirectly by Mr. Bangxin Zhang, less one vote and (3) in relation to shareholders’ or board of directors’ consideration or approval of any matter related to the Deed, Mr. Bangxin Zhang cannot exercise his voting power. The terms of the Deed prevent Mr. Bangxin Zhang from controlling the rights of the Company as it relates to the contractual agreements, and accordingly, the Company retains a controlling financial interest in the VIEs and would consolidate them as the VIEs’ primary beneficiary.

See the consolidated financial statements Note 1 for the presentation of our condensed financial information of the VIEs and VIEs’ subsidiaries and schools, after elimination of intercompany balances and transactions.

Revenue recognition

On March 1, 2018, we adopted Revenue from Contracts with Customers, or Topic 606, applying the modified retrospective method to all contracts that were not completed as of March 1, 2018.

Revenue is recognized when control of promised goods or services is transferred to the customers in an amount of consideration to which we expect to be entitled to in exchange for those goods or services. We follow the five steps approach for revenue recognition under Topic 606: (i) identify the contract(s) with a customer, (ii) identify the performance obligations in the contract, (iii) determine the transaction price, (iv) allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract, and (v) recognize revenue when (or as) we satisfy a performance obligation.

The primary sources of our revenues are as follows:

(a)Small class tutoring services, personalized premium services and others

Small class tutoring services primarily consist of Xueersi Peiyou small class, Firstleap and Mobby. Personalized premium services are referring to Izhikang after-school one-on-one tutoring services. Each contract of small class tutoring service or personalized premium service is accounted for as a single performance obligation which is satisfied proportionately over the service period. Tuition fee is generally collected in advance and is initially recorded as deferred revenue. Tuition revenue is recognized proportionately as the tutoring sessions are delivered.

Generally, for small class tutoring services we offer refunds for any remaining classes to students who decide to withdraw from a course. The refund is equal to and limited to the amount related to the undelivered classes. For personalized premium services, a student can withdraw at any time and receive a refund equal to and limited to the amount related to the undelivered classes. Historically, we have not had material refunds.

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We distribute coupons to attract both existing and prospective students to enroll in our courses. The coupon has fixed dollar amounts and can only be used against future courses. The coupon is not considered a material right to the customer and accounted for as a reduction of transaction price of the service contract.

Other revenues are primarily derived from one-on-one online tutoring services for children, artificial intelligence (“AI”) interactive courses provided on the Group’s online platforms, and books related to preschool and K-12 education. Revenue is recognized when control of promised goods or services is transferred to our customers in an amount of consideration to which we expect to be entitled to in exchange for those goods or services.

(b)Online education services through www.xueersi.com

We provide online education services, including live class and pre-recorded course content, to our students through www.xueersi.com. Students enroll for online courses through www.xueersi.com by the use of prepaid study cards or payment to our online accounts. Each contract of the online education service is accounted for as single performance obligation which is satisfied ratably over the service period. The proceeds collected are initially recorded as deferred revenue. For live class courses, revenues are recognized proportionately as the tutoring sessions are delivered. For pre-recorded course content, revenues are recognized on a straight-line basis over the subscription period from the date in which the students activate the courses to the date in which the subscribed courses end. Refunds are provided to the students who decide to withdraw from the subscribed courses within the course offer period and a proportional refund is based on the percentage of untaken courses to the total courses purchased. Historically, we have not experienced material refunds.

Business combinations

Business combinations are recorded using the acquisition method of accounting. The assets acquired, the liabilities assumed and any noncontrolling interests of the acquiree at the acquisition date, if any, are measured at their fair values as of the acquisition date. Goodwill is recognized and measured as the excess of the total consideration transferred plus the fair value of any noncontrolling interests of the acquiree and fair value of previously held equity interest in the acquiree, if any, at the acquisition date over the fair values of the identifiable net assets acquired. Common forms of the consideration made in acquisitions include cash and common equity instruments. Consideration transferred in a business acquisition is measured at the fair value as of the date of acquisition.

Where the consideration in an acquisition includes contingent consideration the payment of which depends on the achievement of certain specified conditions post-acquisition, the contingent consideration is recognized and measured at its fair value at the acquisition date and if recorded as a liability, it is subsequently carried at fair value with changes in fair value reflected in the consolidated statements of operations.

In a business combination achieved in stages, we remeasure the previously held equity interest in the acquiree immediately before obtaining control at its acquisition-date fair value and the remeasurement gain or loss, if any, is recognized in the consolidated statements of operations.

Where in a business combination, the noncontrolling shareholder received a put option to sell its entire noncontrolling interest of the acquiree to us at the price stipulated by the contract when option is exercised, the noncontrolling interest has been recorded as a redeemable noncontrolling interest presented in the mezzanine equity section of the consolidated balance sheets.

Goodwill and impairment of Long-lived assets

The excess of the purchase price over the fair value of net assets acquired is recorded on the consolidated balance sheets as goodwill. Goodwill is not amortized, but tested for impairment annually or more frequently if event and circumstances indicate that it might be impaired.

ASC 350-20 permits us to first assess qualitative factors to determine whether it is “more likely than not” that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount as a basis for determining whether it is necessary to perform the two-step goodwill impairment test. We early adopted ASU 2017-04: Intangibles—Goodwill and Other (Topic 350), which eliminated Step 2 from the goodwill impairment test on a prospective basis.

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Under ASU 2017-04, we perform our annual impairment test by comparing the fair value of a reporting unit with its carrying amount. We should recognize an impairment charge for the amount by which the carrying amount exceeds the reporting unit’s fair value; however, the loss recognized should not exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to that reporting unit.

We review our long-lived assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may no longer be recoverable. When these events occur, we measure impairment by comparing the carrying value of the long-lived assets to the estimated undiscounted future cash flows expected to result from the use of the assets and their eventual disposition. If the sum of the expected undiscounted cash flow is less than the carrying amount of the assets, we would recognize an impairment loss based on the fair value of the assets.

Long-term investments

Our long-term investments include equity securities without readily determinable fair values, equity securities with readily determinable fair values, equity method investments, available-for-sale investments, fair value option investment and held-to-maturity investments.

Equity securities without readily determinable fair values

We adopted ASC Topic 321, Investments-Equity Securities, or ASC 321, on March 1, 2018. Under ASC 321, for equity securities without readily determinable fair value that qualify for the practical expedient to estimate fair value using net asset value per share, we estimate the fair value using net asset value per share. For other equity securities without readily determinable fair value, we elected to use the measurement alternative to measure those investments at cost, minus impairment, if any, plus or minus changes resulting from observable price changes in orderly transactions for identical or similar investments of the same issuer.

We review our equity securities without readily determinable fair value for impairment at each reporting period. If a qualitative assessment indicates that the investment is impaired, we estimate the investment’s fair value in accordance with the principles of ASC 820. If the fair value is less than the investment’s carrying value, we recognize an impairment loss in net income/(loss) equal to the difference between the carrying value and fair value.

Equity securities with readily determinable fair values

Equity securities with readily determinable fair values are measured at fair values, and any changes in fair value are recognized in the consolidated statements of operations.

Equity method investments

Investee companies over which we have the ability to exercise significant influence, but does not have a controlling interest through investment in common shares or in-substance common shares, are accounted for using the equity method. Significant influence is generally considered to exist when we have an ownership interest in the voting stock of the investee between 20% and 50%, and other factors, such as representation on the investee’s board of directors, voting rights and the impact of commercial arrangements, are also considered in determining whether the equity method of accounting is appropriate. For certain investments in limited partnerships, where we hold less than a 20% equity or voting interest, we may also have significant influence.

Under the equity method, we initially record its investment at cost and subsequently recognize our proportionate share of each equity investee’s net income or loss after the date of investment into the consolidated statements of operations and accordingly adjust the carrying amount of the investment. If financial statements of an investee cannot be made available within a reasonable period of time, we record our share of the net income or loss of an investee on a one quarter lag basis in accordance with ASC 323-10-35-6.

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We review our equity method investments for impairment whenever an event or circumstance indicates that an other-than-temporary impairment has occurred. We consider available quantitative and qualitative evidence in evaluating potential impairment of its equity method investments. An impairment charge is recorded when the carrying amount of the investment exceeds its fair value and this condition is determined to be other-than-temporary.

Available-for-sale investments

For investments in investees’ shares which are determined to be debt securities, we account for them as available-for-sale investments when they are not classified as either trading or held-to-maturity investments. Available-for-sale investments are reported at fair value, with unrealized gains and losses recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income as a component of shareholders’ equity. Declines in the fair value of individual available-for-sale investments below their amortized cost due to credit-related factors are recognized as an allowance for credit losses, whereas if declines in the fair value is not due to credit-related factors, the loss is recorded in other comprehensive income (loss).

Fair value option investments

We elected the fair value option to account for certain investment whereby the change in fair value is recognized in the consolidated statements of operations.

Held-to-maturity investments

Long-term investments include wealth management products, which are mainly deposits with variable interest rates placed with financial institutions and are restricted as to withdrawal and use. We classify the wealth management products as “held-to-maturity” securities.

Income Taxes

As part of the process of preparing our consolidated financial statements, we are required to estimate our income taxes in each of the jurisdictions in which we operate. Significant management judgment is required in determining our provision for income taxes, our deferred tax assets and liabilities and any valuation allowance recorded against our net deferred tax assets, including evaluating uncertainties in the application of accounting principles and complex tax laws.

We account for income taxes using the asset and liability approach. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liability are recognized based on the differences between the tax basis of assets and liabilities and their reported amounts in the financial statements, net of operating loss carry forwards and credits, by applying enacted statutory tax rates applicable to future years. Deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance when, in the opinion of management, it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized. Current income taxes are provided for in accordance with the laws and regulations applicable to us as enacted by the relevant tax authorities.

We account for uncertain tax positions by reporting a liability for unrecognized tax benefits resulting from uncertain tax positions taken or expected to be taken in a tax return. Tax benefits are recognized from uncertain tax positions when we believe that it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained on examination by the taxing authorities based on the technical merits of the position. We recognize interest and penalties, if any, related to unrecognized tax benefits in income tax expense.

Share-Based Compensation

Share-based payment transactions with employees are measured based on the grant date fair value of the equity instrument and recognized as compensation expense on a straight-line basis over the requisite service period, with a corresponding impact reflected in additional paid-in capital. For share-based awards granted with performance condition, the compensation cost is recognized when it is probable that the performance condition will be achieved. We reassess the probability of achieving the performance condition at the end of each reporting date and record a cumulative catch-up adjustment for any changes to its assessment. Forfeitures are recognized as they occur. Liability-classified awards are remeasured at their fair-value-based measurement as of each reporting date until settlement.

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For share options, we use the Black-Scholes option-pricing model to determine the estimated fair value. The volatility assumption was estimated based on the historical volatility of our share price applying the guidance provided by ASC 718. We estimate the volatility assumption based on our historical information since October 2010.

Operating leases

On March 1, 2019, we adopted New Leasing Standard (“ASC 842”), using the modified retrospective transition method resulting in the recording of operating lease right-of-use (ROU) assets and operating lease liabilities upon adoption. Prior period amounts have not been adjusted and continue to be reported in accordance with the previous accounting guidance.

We determine if an arrangement is a lease or contains a lease at lease inception. Operating leases are required to record in the statement of financial position as right-of-use assets and lease liabilities, initially measured at the present value of the lease payments. We have elected the package of practical expedients, which allows us not to reassess (1) whether any expired or existing contracts as of the adoption date are or contain a lease, (2) lease classification for any expired or existing leases as of the adoption date and (3) initial direct costs for any expired or existing leases as of the adoption date. We also elected the practical expedient not to separate lease and non-lease components of contracts. Lastly, for lease assets other than real estate, such as printing machine and electronic appliances, we elected the short-term lease exemption as their lease terms are 12 months or less.

As the rate implicit in the lease is not readily determinable, we estimate its incremental borrowing rate based on the information available at the commencement date in determining the present value of lease payments. The incremental borrowing rate is estimated in a portfolio approach to approximate the interest rate on a collateralized basis with similar terms and payments in a similar economic environment. Our leases often include options to extend and lease terms include such extended terms when we are reasonably certain to exercise those options. Lease terms also include periods covered by options to terminate the leases when we are reasonably certain not to exercise those options. Lease expense is recorded on a straight-line basis over the lease term.

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Results of Operations

The following table sets forth a summary of our consolidated results of operations for the periods indicated, both in absolute amounts and as percentages of our net revenues. This information should be read together with our consolidated financial statements and related notes included elsewhere in this annual report. The operating results in any period are not necessarily indicative of the results that may be expected for any future period.

    

For the Years Ended February 28/29,

 

2019

2020

2021

 

    

$

    

%

    

$

    

%

    

$

    

%

 

(in thousands of $, except percentages)

 

Net revenues

$

2,562,984

100.0

%  

$

3,273,308

100.0

%  

$

4,495,755

100.0

%

Cost of revenues(1)

 

(1,164,454)

(45.4)

 

(1,468,569)

(44.9)

 

(2,048,561)

(45.6)

Gross profit

 

1,398,530

54.6

 

1,804,739

55.1

 

2,447,194

54.4

Operating expenses

 

  

  

 

  

 

Selling and marketing(2)

 

(484,000)

(18.9)

 

(852,808)

(26.1)

 

(1,680,050)

(37.3)

General and administrative(3)

 

(579,672)

(22.6)

 

(794,957)

(24.3)

 

(1,117,324)

(24.9)

Impairment loss on intangible assets and goodwill

 

 

(28,998)

(0.9)

 

(107,535)

(2.4)

Total operating expenses

 

(1,063,672)

(41.5)

 

(1,676,763)

(51.2)

 

(2,904,909)

(64.6)

Government subsidies

 

6,724

0.3

 

9,467

0.3

 

19,491

0.4

Income/(loss) from operations

 

341,582

13.4

 

137,443

4.2

 

(438,224)

(9.8)

Interest income

 

59,614

2.3

 

72,991

2.2

 

114,232

2.5

Interest expense

 

(17,628)

(0.7)

 

(11,820)

(0.4)

 

(16,946)

(0.4)

Other income/(expense)

 

131,727

5.1

 

(95,297)

(2.9)

 

140,878

3.1

Impairment loss on long-term investments

 

(58,091)

(2.3)

 

(153,970)

(4.7)

 

(24,563)

(0.6)

Income /(loss) before income tax (expense)/benefit and (loss)/income from equity method investments

 

457,204

17.8

 

(50,653)

(1.5)

 

(224,623)

(5.2)

Income tax (expense)/benefit

 

(76,504)

(3.0)

 

(69,328)

(2.1)

 

69,897

1.6

(Loss)/income from equity method investments

 

(16,186)

(0.6)

 

(7,670)

(0.2)

 

11,676

0.3

Net income/(loss)

 

364,514

14.2

 

(127,651)

(3.9)

 

(143,050)

(3.3)

Add: Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest

 

2,722

0.1

 

17,456

0.5

 

27,060

0.6

Net income/(loss) attributable to TAL Education Group

$

367,236

14.3

$

(110,195)

(3.4)

$

(115,990)

(2.7)

(1)Includes share-based compensation expenses of $0.7 million, $1.1 million and $1.8 million for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.
(2)Includes share-based compensation expenses of $10.5 million, $19.4 million and $56.6 million for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.
(3)Includes share-based compensation expenses of $66.1 million, $97.5 million and $146.5 million for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

Fiscal Year Ended February 28, 2021 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended February 29, 2020

Net Revenues

Our total net revenues increased by 37.3% to $4,495.8 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021 from $3,273.3 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. The increase was mainly driven by the growth in average student enrollments of normal priced long-term courses. The increase in average student enrollments of normal priced long-term courses was driven primarily by the growth of enrollments in the small class offerings and online courses.

100

Cost of Revenues

Our cost of revenues increased by 39.5% to $2,048.6 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021 from $1,468.6 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. This increase was largely due to the increase in teaching fees and performance-linked bonuses to our teachers, and rental costs for our learning centers and service centers and costs of learning materials. The increase of teaching fees and performance-linked bonuses was primarily due to the increase in the number of our full-time teachers from 27,500 for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 to 44,849 for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021. The increase of rental costs for our facilities was primarily due to the increase in the leased space of learning centers and service centers from approximately 1,693,655 square meters as of February 29, 2020 to approximately 1,888,170 square meters as of February 28, 2021. Cost of revenues for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021 included $1.8 million in share-based compensation expenses, as compared to $1.1 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020.

Operating Expenses

Our operating expenses increased by 73.2% to $2,904.9 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021 from $1,676.8 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. This increase primarily resulted from increases in both our selling and marketing expenses and general and administrative expenses.

Selling and Marketing Expenses. Our selling and marketing expenses increased by 97.0% to $1,680.1 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021 from $852.8 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. This increase was primarily a result of more marketing promotion activities to expand our customer base and for brand enhancement, as well as a rise in the compensation to sales and marketing staff to support a greater number of programs and service offerings. Selling and marketing expenses for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021 also included $56.6 million in share-based compensation expenses, as compared to $19.4 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020.

General and Administrative Expenses. Our general and administrative expenses increased by 40.6% to $1,117.3 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021 from $795.0 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. This increase was primarily due to an increase of the number of our general and administrative personnel and a rise in compensation to our general and administrative personnel. General and administrative expenses for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021 included $146.5 million in share-based compensation expenses, as compared to $97.5 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020.

Impairment loss on intangible assets and goodwill was $107.5 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, compared to US$29.0 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. Impairment loss on intangible assets and goodwill was due to the decline in reporting units’ fair value.

Government Subsidies

We received government subsidies related to government sponsored projects and recorded such government subsidies as a liability when such government subsidies were received and recorded it as other operating income when there was no further performance obligation. We received government subsidies of $20.3 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, compared to $9.5 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. We recorded $19.5 million and $9.5 million government subsidies as other operating income for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2021 and 2020, respectively.

Interest Income

We had interest income of $114.2 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, compared to $73.0 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. Our interest income in both fiscal years consisted primarily of interest earned from our cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments.

Other income/(expense)

We recorded other income of $140.9 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, primarily consisting of the value-added tax and social security expense exemption offered by the government during the COVID-19 outbreak. Other expense was $95.3 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, mainly related to loss from the fair value change of an equity security with readily determinable fair value.

101

Impairment loss on long-term investments

We incurred $24.6 million of impairment loss on long-term investments for fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, compared to $154.0 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. Impairment loss on long-term investments was due to declines in the value of long-term investments in several investees.

Income tax (expense)/benefit

We had $69.9 million of income tax benefit for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, compared to $69.3 million of income tax expense for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020.

Net Income/(loss)

As a result of the foregoing, net loss was $143.1 million for fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, compared to net loss of $127.7 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020.

Fiscal Year Ended February 29, 2020 Compared to Fiscal Year Ended February 28, 2019

Net Revenues

Our total net revenues increased by 27.7% to $3,273.3 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 from $2,563.0 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019. The increase was mainly driven by the growth in average student enrollments of normal priced long-term courses. The increase in average student enrollments of normal priced long-term courses was driven primarily by the growth of enrollments in the small class offerings and online courses.

Cost of Revenues

Our cost of revenues increased by 26.1% to $1,468.6 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 from $1,164.5 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019. This increase was largely due to the increase in teaching fees and performance-linked bonuses to our teachers, and rental costs for our learning centers and service centers and costs of learning materials. The increase of teaching fees and performance-linked bonuses was primarily due to the increase in the number of our full-time teachers from 21,387 for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019 to 27,500 for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. The increase of rental costs for our facilities was primarily due to the increase in the leased space of learning centers and service centers from approximately 1,351,000 square meters as of February 28, 2019 to approximately 1,693,655 square meters as of February 29, 2020. Cost of revenues for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 included $1.1 million in share-based compensation expenses, as compared to $0.7 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019.

Operating Expenses

Our operating expenses increased by 57.6% to $1,676.8 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 from $1,063.7 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019. This increase primarily resulted from increases in both our selling and marketing expenses and general and administrative expenses.

Selling and Marketing Expenses. Our selling and marketing expenses increased by 76.2% to $852.8 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 from $484.0 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019. This increase was primarily due to an increase in salaries and benefits for our selling and marketing personnel and more marketing promotion activities both for brand enhancement and consumer experience. Selling and marketing expenses for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 also included $19.4 million in share-based compensation expenses, as compared to $10.5 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019.

General and Administrative Expenses. Our general and administrative expenses increased by 37.1% to $795.0 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 from $579.7 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019. This increase was primarily due to an increase of the number of our general and administrative personnel and a rise in compensation to our general and administrative personnel. General and administrative expenses for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 included $97.5 million in share-based compensation expenses, as compared to $66.1 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019.

102

Government Subsidies

We received government subsidies related to government sponsored projects and recorded such government subsidies as a liability when such government subsidies were received and recorded it as other operating income when there was no further performance obligation. We received government subsidies of $9.5 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, compared to $6.7 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019. We recorded $9.5 million and $6.7 million government subsidies as other operating income for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2020 and 2019, respectively.

Interest Income

We had interest income of $73.0 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, compared to $59.6 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019. Our interest income in both fiscal years consisted primarily of interest earned from our cash and cash equivalents and short-term investments.

Other income/(expense)

We recorded other expense of $95.3 million for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, compared to other income of $131.7 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019. Other income/(expense) for both fiscal years was mainly from the fair value changes of a long-term investment.

Impairment loss on long-term investments

We incurred $154.0 million of impairment loss on long-term investments for fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, compared to $58.1 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019. Impairment loss on long-term investments was mainly due to the other-than-temporary declines in the value of long-term investments.

Provision for Income Tax

We had $69.3 million of provision for income tax for the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, compared to $76.5 million in fiscal year 2019.

Net Income/(loss)

As a result of the foregoing, net loss was $127.7 million for fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, compared to net income of $364.5 million for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019.

Inflation

According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the year-over-year percent changes in the consumer price index in China for February 2019, 2020 and 2021 were increases of 1.5%, 5.2% and a decrease of 0.2%, respectively. Inflation has had some impact on our operations in recent years, in the form of higher salaries for our teachers and other staff and higher rental payments for certain of the office space and service center and learning center space we lease. We can provide no assurance that we will not continue to be affected in the future by higher rates of inflation in China, or that we will be able to adjust our tuition rates to mitigate the impact of inflation on our results of operations.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

A list of recent accounting pronouncements that are relevant to us is included in note 2 to our consolidated financial statements, which are included in this annual report.

103

B.       Liquidity and Capital Resources

Cash Flows and Working Capital

In recent years, we have financed our operations and the expansion of our business primarily through cash flows from operations, proceeds from our various private placements of our common shares, offering or private placement of convertible notes, the term and revolving credit facilities we entered into in June 2016 and February 2019 and a construction loan facility we entered into December 2019. As of February 28, 2021, we had $3,243.0 million in cash and cash equivalents, $1,775.0 million in restricted cash, $2,694.6 million in short-term investments. The total outstanding balance of our current portion of long-term debt and bond payable as of February 28, 2021 amounted to $270.0 million and $2,300 million, respectively. Our cash and cash equivalents consist of cash on hand, demand deposits and highly liquid investments that are placed with banks and other financial institutions and which are either unrestricted as to withdrawal or use, or have remaining maturities of three months or less when purchased. Our restricted cash mainly represents security deposits held in designated bank accounts for future transactions, deposits required by PRC government authorities for establishing new schools and subsidiaries and deposits in connection with the term and revolving facilities agreement. The short-term investments primarily consist of wealth management products with variable interest rates with original maturity of less than one year and more than three months.

The following table sets forth a summary of our cash and cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments inside and outside China as of February 28, 2021.

    

Cash, cash

    

Cash, cash

    

Total

    

    

    

equivalents

equivalents

Cash, cash

and

and

equivalents

Short-term

restricted

restricted

and

Short-term

investments

Total

cash in

cash in other

restricted

investments

in other

short-term

    

RMB

    

currencies

    

cash

    

in RMB

    

currencies

    

investments

(in thousands)

Entities outside China

 

83,174

 

3,250,801

 

3,333,975

 

 

2,113,164

 

2,113,164

VIEs in China

 

842,005

 

130

 

842,135

 

 

 

Non-VIEs in China

 

829,331

 

12,543

 

841,874

 

546,341

 

35,050

 

581,391

Entities inside China

 

1,671,336

 

12,673

 

1,684,009

 

546,341

 

35,050

 

581,391

Total

 

1,754,510

 

3,263,474

 

5,017,984

 

546,341

 

2,148,214

 

2,694,555

Although we consolidate the results of our VIEs, our access to our Consolidated Affiliated Entities is only through the VIE Contractual Arrangements. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Organizational Structure—VIE Contractual Arrangements.” For restrictions and limitations on liquidity and capital resources as a result of our corporate structure, see “—Holding Company Structure.”

On February 1, 2019, we signed a 3-year $600 million term and revolving facilities agreement with a group of arrangers led by Deutsche Bank AG, Singapore Branch. The facilities, a $270 million 3-year bullet maturity term loan and a $330 million 3-year revolving facility, are priced at 175 basis points over LIBOR. As of February 28, 2021, the Company had drawn down $270 million three-year bullet maturity term loan under the facility commitment. In March 2021, the Company repaid the drawn down amount and terminated the facility.

On December 19, 2019 we, through our consolidated affiliated entities in the PRC, entered into a loan facilities agreement with a group of lenders pursuant to which we can draw down up to RMB1,800 million, provided that the proceeds be used in our construction project in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu. The facilities have a term of eight years and an effective drawdown period of three years. The land and the constructions thereon are collaterals to the loan facilities. As of February 28, 2021, we had not made any draw down of the loan under the facilities agreement.

In January 2021, we issued certain convertible notes for a total proceed of approximately US$2.3 billion to a group of investors. The convertible notes bear an interest of 0.50% per annum, mature on February 1, 2026, and be convertible into American depositary shares at the holder’s option.

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We believe that our current cash, cash equivalents, restricted cash and short-term investments and anticipated cash flow from operations will be sufficient to meet our anticipated cash needs to support our organic growth, including our cash needs for working capital and capital expenditures, for at least the next 12 months. However, we may need additional cash resources in the future if we experience changed business conditions or other developments or if we find and wish to pursue opportunities for investment, acquisition, strategic cooperation or other similar actions. If we determine that our cash requirements exceed our cash on hand, we may seek to issue debt or equity securities or obtain a credit facility. Any issuance of equity securities could cause dilution to our shareholders. Any incurrence of indebtedness could increase our debt service obligations and cause us to be subject to restrictive operating and finance covenants. In addition, there can be no assurance that when we need additional cash resources, financing will be available to us on commercially acceptable terms and amount, or at all.

The following table sets forth a summary of our cash flows for the periods indicated.

    

For the Years Ended February 28/29,

    

2019

    

2020

    

2021

(in thousands of $)

Net cash provided by operating activities

$

194,361

$

855,850

$

954,732

Net cash used in investing activities

 

(166,584)

 

(338,815)

 

(2,641,469)

Net cash provided by financing activities

 

475,019

 

131,231

 

4,794,813

Effect of exchange rate changes

 

33,208

 

3,218

 

(5,277)

Net increase in cash and cash equivalents and restricted cash

 

536,004

 

651,484

 

3,102,799

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at the beginning of the period

 

727,697

 

1,263,701

 

1,915,185

Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at end of the period

$

1,263,701

$

1,915,185

$

5,017,984

Operating Activities

Net cash provided by operating activities amounted to $954.7 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, as compared to $855.9 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. Net cash provided by operating activities in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021 reflected net loss of $143.1 million, adjusted by non-cash expenses and gain, mainly including depreciation of property and equipment of $137.0 million, share-based compensation expenses of $204.9 million, impairment loss on operating assets, intangible assets and goodwill of $154.7 million, and changes in working capital mainly including an increase in deferred revenues of $529.2 million, and an increase in accrued expenses and other current liabilities of $283.1 million.

Net cash provided by operating activities amounted to $855.9 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, as compared to $194.4 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019. Net cash provided by operating activities in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 reflected net loss of $127.7 million, adjusted by non-cash expenses and gain, mainly including depreciation of property and equipment of $99.5 million, share-based compensation expenses of $117.9 million, impairment loss on long-term investments of $154.0 million, loss from fair value change of investments of $104.2 million. Other major factors affecting operating cash flow in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 mainly included an increase in deferred revenues of $343.6 million.

Investing Activities

Net cash used in investing activities amounted to $2,641.5 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, as compared to $338.8 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. Net cash used in investing activities in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021 primarily related to purchase of short-term investments of $2,534.7 million and purchase of property and equipment of $245.1 million, partially offset by proceeds from maturity of short-term investment of $207.6 million.

Net cash used in investing activities amounted to $338.8 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, as compared to $166.6 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019. Net cash used in investing activities in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 primarily related to purchase of short-term investments of $546.7 million, payments for long-term investments of $117.5 million and purchase of property and equipment of $178.1 million, partially offset by proceeds from maturity of short-term investment of $517.0 million.

105

Financing Activities

Net cash provided by financing activities amounted to $4,794.8 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, as compared to $131.2 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020. Net cash provided by financing activities in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021 was attributable to the proceeds of $2,300 million from issuance of convertible bond and the proceeds of $2,500 million from private placement.

Net cash provided by financing activities amounted to $131.2 million in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020, as compared to $475.0 million in the fiscal year ended February 28, 2019. Net cash provided by financing activities in the fiscal year ended February 29, 2020 was attributable to the cash received of $73.2 million from exercise of capped call option, net proceeds of $270.0 million from long-term debt and short-term debt and partially offset by repayment of long-term debt and short-term debt of $209.3 million.

Holding Company Structure

Overview

We are a holding company with no material operations of our own. Substantially all of our education business in China is conducted through the VIE Contractual Arrangements. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Organizational Structure—VIE Contractual Arrangements.” In the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, our Consolidated Affiliated Entities contributed 93.9%, 93.4% and 94.4%, respectively, of our total net revenues.

Conducting most of our operations through the VIE Contractual Arrangements entails a risk that we may lose effective control over our Consolidated Affiliated Entities, which may result in our being unable to consolidate their financial results with our results and may impair our access to their cash flow from operations and thereby reduce our liquidity. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Our Corporate Structure” for more information, including the risk factors titled “If the PRC government determines that the agreements that establish the structure for operating our business in China are not in compliance with applicable PRC laws and regulations, we could be subject to severe penalties” and “We rely on the VIE Contractual Arrangements for our PRC operations, which may not be as effective in providing operational control as direct ownership.”

Dividend Distributions

As a holding company, our ability to pay dividends and other cash distributions to our shareholders depends upon dividends and other distributions paid to us by our PRC subsidiaries. The amount of dividends paid by our PRC subsidiaries to us primarily depends on the service fees paid to our PRC subsidiaries from our Consolidated Affiliated Entities, and, to a lesser degree, our PRC subsidiaries’ retained earnings. In the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, TAL Beijing, Lebai Information and their designated PRC subsidiaries collectively charged $657.0 million, $726.7 million and $1,123.5 million in service fees, respectively, to our Consolidated Affiliated Entities. The Consolidated Affiliated Entities collectively paid $589.3 million, $776.3 million and $784.4 million in service fees to TAL Beijing, Lebai Information and its designated PRC subsidiaries in the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. As of February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, the balance of the amount payable for the fees was $128.0 million, $78.4 million and $417.5 million, respectively.

Under PRC law, each of our PRC subsidiaries and Consolidated Affiliated Entities in China is required to set aside at least 10% of its after-tax profits each year, if any, to fund a statutory surplus reserve until such reserve reaches 50% of its registered capital and to further set aside a portion of its after-tax profit to fund the reserve fund at the discretion of our board of directors. Although the statutory reserves can be used, among other ways, to increase the registered capital and eliminate future losses in excess of retained earnings of the respective companies, the reserve funds are not distributable as cash dividends except in the event of liquidation.

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Pursuant to the VIE Contractual Arrangements, the earnings and cash of each of our VIEs (including dividends received from their respective subsidiaries and schools) are used to pay service fees in RMB to TAL Beijing or Lebai Information or its designated affiliates, as applicable, in the manner and amount set forth in the VIE Contractual Arrangements. After paying the applicable withholding taxes, making appropriations for its statutory reserve requirement and retaining any profits from accumulated profits, the remaining net profits of TAL Beijing and its designated affiliates would be available for distribution to TAL Hong Kong, and the remaining net profits of Lebai Information and its designated affiliates would be available for distribution to Firstleap Education (HK) Limited then to Firstleap Education, and from TAL Hong Kong and Firstleap Education to our company. See “Item 3. Key Information-D. Risk Factors-Risks Related to Doing Business in China-Dividends we receive from our operating subsidiaries located in China may be subject to PRC withholding tax.” and “Item 5. Operating Results-Taxation-PRC” for detailed discussions on withholding taxes; and see “Item 4. Information on the Company-B. Business Overview-PRC Regulation-Regulations on Dividend Distribution” for a detailed discussion on statutory reserve requirement. As of February 28, 2021, the net assets of our PRC subsidiaries and Consolidated Affiliated Entities which were restricted due to statutory reserve requirements and other applicable laws and regulations, and thus not available for distribution, was in aggregate $790.5 million, and the net assets of our PRC subsidiaries and Consolidated Affiliated Entities which were unrestricted and thus available for distribution was in aggregate $2,584.0 million.

We do not believe that these restrictions on the distribution of our net assets will have a significant impact on our ability to timely meet our financial obligations in the future. See “Item 3. Risk Factors—D. Risks Related to Doing Business in China—We may rely on dividends paid by our subsidiaries for our cash needs, and any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to make payments to us could limit our ability to pay dividends to holders of our ADSs and common shares” for more information.

Furthermore, cash transfers from our PRC subsidiaries to our subsidiaries in Hong Kong are subject to PRC government control of currency conversion. Restrictions on the availability of foreign currency may affect the ability of our PRC subsidiaries and our Consolidated Affiliated Entities to remit sufficient foreign currency to pay dividends or other payments to us, or otherwise satisfy their foreign currency denominated obligations. See “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors—Risks Related to Doing Business in China—Governmental control of currency conversion may affect the value of your investment.”

Capital Expenditures

For the fiscal years 2019 to 2021, our primary capital expenditures were mainly related to purchase of land use rights, leasehold improvements, construction projects costs and purchase of servers, computers, network equipment, and software systems. Our capital expenditures were $353.3 million, $187.5 million and $245.0 million for the fiscal years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively, representing 13.8%, 5.7% and 5.4% of our total net revenues for such years, respectively. See “Item 4. Information on the Company-C. Property, Plants and Equipment” for more information.

C.       Research and Development, Patents, and Licenses, etc.

Our competitive advantages in the PRC after-school tutoring service market is supported by our up-to-date technology platform, our strong in-house ability in developing curricular and course materials, and a range of our intellectual property rights. In addition, we operate www.jzb.com (formerly www.eduu.com), a leading online education platform in China. The website serves as a gateway to our online courses, primarily offered through our website www.xueersi.com, and other websites dedicated to specific topics and offerings. We also offer select educational content through mobile applications. Our online platform facilitates direct and frequent communications with and among our existing and prospective students, which forms an important part of our efforts to provide a supportive learning environment to our students and support our overall sales and marketing activities. For detailed information about our online course offerings, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Our Tutoring Services—Online Courses.” We have a strong in-house team responsible for developing, updating and improving our curricula and course materials, and substantially all of our education content for our non-English subject areas is developed in-house. See “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Our Curricula and Course Materials” for detailed information. Our online platform, course contents and our other intellectual property rights are protected by a combination of PRC laws and regulations that protect trademarks, copyrights, domain names, know-how and trade secrets, as well as confidentiality agreements. For more information about our brands and intellectual property rights, see “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Intellectual Property.”

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D.       Trend Information

Other than as disclosed elsewhere in this annual report, we are not aware of any trends, uncertainties, demands, commitments or events for the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021 that are reasonably likely to have a material adverse effect on our net revenues, income, profitability, liquidity or capital resources, or that would cause the disclosed financial information to be not necessarily indicative of future operating results or financial conditions.

E.       Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements

We have not entered into any financial guarantees or other commitments to guarantee the payment obligations of any third parties. We have not entered into any derivative contracts that are indexed to our shares and classified as shareholders’ equity, or that are not reflected in our consolidated financial statements. Furthermore, we do not have any retained or contingent interest in assets transferred to an unconsolidated entity that serves as credit, liquidity or market risk support to such entity. We do not have any variable interest in any unconsolidated entity that provides financing, liquidity, market risk or credit support to us or engages in leasing, hedging or research and development services with us.

F.       Tabular Disclosure of Contractual Obligations

The following table sets forth our contractual obligations as of February 28, 2021:

Payment due by period

Less than

More than

    

Total

    

1 year

    

13 years

    

35 years

    

5 years

(in thousand) $

Lease property management fee obligations(1)

134,737

30,372

55,507

30,194

18,664

Purchase of property and equipment obligations

502,799

306,691

196,108

Acquisitions and investments obligations(2)

12,895

7,520

5,375

Long-term debt obligations

2,570,000

270,000

2,300,000

Other commitment(3)

56,542

11,500

23,000

22,042

Total

3,276,973

626,083

279,990

2,352,236

18,664

(1)Represents our non-cancelable agreements for property management fees in relation to leases for our offices, learning centers and service centers.
(2)Represents obligations in connection with several investments and acquisitions as of February 28, 2021.
(3)Represents interests to be paid for convertible bond issued in January 2021.

G.       Safe Harbor

See “Forward Looking Statements” on page 2 of this annual report.

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Item 6.    Directors, Senior Management and Employees

A.       Directors and Senior Management

The following table sets forth information regarding our directors and executive officers as of the date of this annual report.

Directors and Executive Officers

    

Age

    

Position/Title

Yunfeng Bai

 

39

 

Chairman of the Board of Directors and President

Bangxin Zhang

 

40

 

Director and Chief Executive Officer

Yachao Liu

 

39

 

Chief Operating Officer

Jane Jie Sun

 

52

 

Independent Director

Kaifu Zhang

 

36

 

Independent Director

Weiru Chen

 

50

 

Independent Director

Rong Luo

 

39

 

Chief Financial Officer

Mi Tian

 

38

 

Chief Technology Officer

Yunfeng Bai has been our chairman since January 2020, and president since October 2016. From April 2011 to October 2016, Mr. Bai was our senior vice president and led our Small Class business throughout China. Prior to this, Mr. Bai served as our vice president between June 2008 and April 2011, and in this capacity he oversaw our personalized premium services. Mr. Bai founded our high school division in 2005 and was the director of our Beijing operations from June 2006 to May 2008. Mr. Bai received his bachelor’s degree in engineering automation from Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 2003. He attended the CEO course of Guanghua Management School at Peking University between 2008 and 2009 and graduated from the EMBA program of China Europe International Business School in 2012.

Bangxin Zhang is one of our founders and has served as our director and chief executive officer since our inception and our chairman prior to January 2020. Mr. Zhang has been instrumental to the development and success of our business. Mr. Zhang provides vision, overall management, and strategic decision-making relating to marketing, investment planning, and corporate development. Mr. Zhang received his bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences from Sichuan University in 2001, was in the postgraduate program of the Life Science School of Peking University from 2002 to 2007, and received an EMBA degree from China Europe International Business School in 2009.

Yachao Liu has served as our chief operating officer since June 2017. Dr. Liu also served as our director from October 2016 to January 2020. Prior to that, Dr. Liu had been our senior vice president from April 2011 to September 2016 and in charge of our Kaoyan business and certain new businesses from February 2015 to September 2016. Dr. Liu was in charge of our strategic investments from November 2014 to January 2015. From February 2013 to October 2014, Dr. Liu was in charge of our online course offerings. From May 2012 to January 2013, Dr. Liu was in charge of our enterprise planning division and information management center in addition to our online course offerings. From April 2011 to April 2012, Dr. Liu was in charge of our teaching and research division, teachers’ training school, information management center and network operation center. From January 2008 to April 2011, Dr. Liu was our vice president and was in charge of our online course offerings. From September 2005 to January 2008, Dr. Liu was director of our middle school division. Dr. Liu received his bachelor’s degree in Mechanics from Peking University in 2003 and Ph.D. from the Institute of Mechanics of the Chinese Academy of Science in 2008.

Jane Jie Sun has served as our independent director since October 2010. Ms. Sun is the chief executive officer and a member of the board of directors of Trip.com Group Limited, the largest travel company in China and Asia, and the second largest in the world. Ms. Sun first joined the company as the chief financial officer in 2005, later serving as the chief operating officer and the co-president, before moving into the chief executive officer role in 2016. Ms. Sun is a JPMorgan Asian Advisory Board member, Vice Chair of the World Travel & Tourism Council, Co-Chair of the Development Advisory Board of University of Michigan and Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint Institute, and a Board member and Business Leaders Group committee member of Business China established by Singapore’s Founding Prime Minister Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. In 2019, Ms. Sun was awarded an Asia Society Asia Game Changer Award and joined as a member of the Asia Society Board of Trustee. Forbes named her one of the Emergent 25 Asia’s Latest Star Businesswomen in 2018, and one of the Most Influential and Outstanding Businesswomen in China in 2017. Ms. Sun was also one of Fortune’s Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, and one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business in 2017. During her tenure at Trip.com Group, Ms. Sun also won the Institutional Investor Awards for the Best CEO and the Best CFO.

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Kaifu Zhang has served as our director since October 2016. Dr. Zhang is a researcher at Alibaba Group. Prior to that, he was an assistant professor and the Xerox Junior Chair at Carnegie Mellon University and an assistant professor at Cheung Kong Graduate Schools of Business in China. His research interests include the economics of multi-sided markets, business model design for on-line platforms, and the use of big data and machine learning in econometrics. He has consulted for and offered executive training at a number of tech firms in Europe, US and China. He holds a Ph.D. in Management from INSEAD (France) and a BE in Computer Science from Tsinghua University.

Weiru Chen has served as our independent director since June 2015. Mr. Chen has served as an associate professor at China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) since July 2011, and in-between he served as a chief strategic officer of China Smart Logistic Network from August 2017 to February 2019. Prior to joining CEIBS, he served as assistant professor of strategy at INSEAD Business School from 2003 to 2011. Mr. Chen’s research is centered on firms’ technological search behaviors, strategic dynamics, and across-boarder business model transfer. Mr. Chen has also served as an independent director of several public companies, including Dian Diagnostics Group (SHE: 300244) since August 2017, Country Garden Services Holdings Company Limited (SEHK: 6098) since February 2018, Fangdd Network Group Ltd. (Nasdaq: DUO) since November 2019 and BlueCity Holdings Limited (Nasdaq: BLCT) since December 2020. Mr. Chen received a Ph.D. in Management from Purdue University in 2003.

Rong Luo has served as our chief financial officer since November 2014 and has been in charge of our international education business since December 2016. Mr. Luo was in charge of strategic investments from February 2015 to December 2016. Mr. Luo has served as an independent director of the Jiangsu Phoenix Pressing Media Co., Ltd, a leading PRC media group listed on Shanghai Stock Exchange since March 2016. Prior to joining us, Mr. Luo was the chief financial officer of eLong Inc from 2013 to 2014. Before that, Mr. Luo was finance senior manager (China) for the Lenovo Group. Prior to Lenovo, Mr. Luo held a number of positions in Beijing and Seattle in the finance function of the Microsoft Corporation, including analyst, manager and senior manager. Mr. Luo holds a double major bachelor’s degree in economics and information management & systems from Peking University, a master’s degree in management science and engineering from Tsinghua University.

Mi Tian has served as our chief technology officer since May 2020. Before that, Mr. Tian had served as our vice chief technology officer since December 2019, and had been responsible for technical system management. Mr. Tian joined us in May 2019 and had been in charge of product technology for Xueersi Peiyou. Prior to his role with us, Mr. Tian served as a senior technology director for Alibaba from October 2016, the vice president of technology for AutoNavi from August 2014 to October 2016, and the general manager of AutoNavi’s big data department from August 2013 to August 2014. Mr. Tian received his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree from Beihang University in computer science.

Employment Agreements

We have entered into employment agreements with each of our executive officers. Under these agreements, each of our senior executive officers is employed for a specified time period. We may terminate employment for cause, at any time, without advance notice or remuneration, for certain acts of the executive officer, such as conviction or plea of guilty to a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude, negligent or dishonest acts to our detriment, or misconduct or a failure to perform agreed duties. We may also terminate an executive officer’s employment without cause upon one-month advance written notice. The executive officer may terminate the employment at any time with a one-month advance written notice under certain circumstances.

Each executive officer has agreed to hold, both during and after the termination or expiry of his or her employment agreement, in strict confidence and not to use, except as required in the performance of his or her duties in connection with the employment, any of our confidential information or trade secrets, any confidential information or trade secrets of our clients or prospective clients, or the confidential or proprietary information of any third party received by us and for which we have confidential obligations. The executive officers have also agreed to disclose in confidence to us all inventions, designs and trade secrets which they conceive, develop or reduce to practice and to assign all right, title and interest in them to us, and assist us in obtaining patents, copyrights and other legal rights for these inventions, designs and trade secrets.

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In addition, each executive officer has agreed to be bound by non-competition and non-solicitation restrictions during the term of his or her employment and for half a year following the last date of employment. Specifically, each executive officer has agreed not to:

(i)approach our clients, customers or contacts or other persons or entities introduced to the executive officer for the purpose of doing business with such persons or entities that will harm our business relationships with these persons or entities; (ii) assume employment with or provide services to any of our competitors, or engage, whether as principal, partner, licensor or otherwise, any of our competitors; or (iii) seek directly or indirectly, to solicit the services of any of our employees who is employed by us on or after the date of the executive officer’s termination, or in the year preceding such termination.

B.       Compensation

For the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, the aggregate cash compensation we paid to our executive officers as a group was approximately $2.0 million. We do not pay our non-executive directors in cash for their services on our board. For the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, we granted 28,500 non-vested restricted Class A common shares and 24,000 share options to purchase 24,000 Class A common shares to our executive officers and non-executive directors. For the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, we recognized a total share-based compensation expense of $6.1 million for our executive officers and non-executive directors. See “—Share Incentive Plan.”

Starting from January 2015, we offer a housing benefit plan to employees who have been employed by us for three years or more and meet certain performance standard. Under this benefit plan, we offer eligible participants interest-free loans for purposes of home purchases. Each loan has a term of four years and must be repaid by equal annual installments.

2010 Share Incentive Plan

In June 2010, we adopted our 2010 Share Incentive Plan in order to attract and retain the qualified personnel, provide additional incentives to employees, directors and consultants and promote the success of our business. The plan permits the grant of options to purchase our Class A common shares, restricted shares, restricted share units, share appreciation rights, dividend equivalent rights and other instruments as deemed appropriate by the administrator under the plan. In August 2013, we amended and restated the 2010 Share Incentive Plan, or the 2010 Plan. Pursuant to the amended and restated 2010 Share Incentive Plan, the maximum aggregate number of Class A common shares that may be issued pursuant to all awards under our share incentive plan is equal to five percent (5%) of the total issued and outstanding shares as of the date when the amended and restated 2010 Share Incentive Plan became effective; provided that, the shares reserved shall be increased automatically if and whenever the unissued shares reserved accounts for less than one percent (1%) of the total then issued and outstanding shares, as a result of which increase the shares unissued and reserved in the Award Pool immediately after each such increase shall equal to five percent (5%) of the then issued and outstanding shares. The 2010 Plan ceased to be used for grants of future awards upon the effectiveness of the 2020 Plan.

The following paragraphs describe the principal terms of our share incentive plan:

Plan Administration. The plan is administered by our board of directors or our compensation committee. The compensation committee or the full board of directors, as appropriate, determines the provisions and terms and conditions of each award grant except for grants below a certain threshold in which the Board has delegated authority to the Chief Executive Officer of the Company.

Awards and Award Agreement. Pursuant to our amended and restated 2010 Share Incentive Plan, we may grant options, restricted shares, restricted share units, share appreciation rights, dividend equivalent rights or other instruments to our directors, employees or consultants. Awards granted under our plan are evidenced by award agreements that set forth the terms, conditions and limitations for each award, which may include the term of an award, the provisions applicable in the event the participant’s employment or service terminates, and our authority to unilaterally or bilaterally amend, modify, suspend, cancel or rescind an award.

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Option Exercise Price. The exercise price of an option is determined by the plan administrator and set forth in the award agreement and may be a fixed or variable price related to the fair market value of the shares, to the extent not prohibited by applicable laws. Subject to certain limits set forth in the plan, the exercise price may be amended or adjusted in the absolute discretion of the plan administrator, the determination of which shall be final, binding and conclusive. To the extent not prohibited by applicable laws or any exchange rule, a downward adjustment of the exercise prices of options shall be effective without the approval of the shareholders or the approval of the affected participants.

Eligibility. We may grant awards to our employees, directors and consultants or those of any of our related entities, which include our subsidiaries or any entities in which we hold a substantial ownership interest, as determined by our plan administrator. Awards other than incentive share options may be granted to our employees, directors and consultants. Incentive share options may be granted only to employees of our company or a parent or a subsidiary of our company.

Term of the Awards. The term of each award grant is determined by our plan administrator, provided that the term shall not exceed ten years from the date of the grant.

Vesting Schedule. In general, the plan administrator determines, or the award agreement specifies, the vesting schedule. We have the right to repurchase the restricted shares until vested.

Transfer Restrictions. Except as otherwise provided by our plan administrator, an award may not be transferred or otherwise disposed of by a participant other than by will or the laws of descent and distribution. Our plan administrator by express provision in the award or an amendment may permit an award (other than an incentive share option) to be transferred to or exercised by certain persons related to the participant.

Corporate Transactions. Except as may be provided otherwise in an individual award agreement or any other written agreement entered into by a participant and us, in the event of a change-of-control or other corporate transactions, our plan administrator may determine to provide for one or more of the following: (i) each award outstanding under the plan to terminate at a specific time in the future and give each participant the right to exercise the vested portion of the awards during a period of time as determined by our plan administrator; or (ii) termination of any award in exchange for an amount of cash equal to the amount that could have been attained upon the exercise of the award; or (iii) the replacement of such award with other rights or property selected by our plan administrator; or (iv) the assumption of or substitution of such award by our successor, parent or subsidiary, with appropriate adjustments; or (v) payment of an award in cash based on the value of shares on the date of the corporate transaction plus reasonable interest on the award.

Amendment and Termination of the Plan. With the approval of our board, our plan administrator may, at any time and from time to time, amend, modify or terminate the plan, provided, however, that no such amendment shall be made without the approval of our shareholders to the extent such approval is required by applicable laws, or in the event that such amendment increases the number of shares available under our plan, permits our plan administrator to extend the term of our plan or the exercise period for an option beyond ten years from the date of grant, or results in a material increase in benefits or a change in eligibility requirements, unless we decides to follow home country practice.

2020 Share Incentive Plan

In June 2020, we adopted our 2020 Share Incentive Plan, or the 2020 Plan, in order to motivate, attract and retain the qualified personnel, provide additional incentives to employees, directors and consultants and promote the success and enhance the value of our business. The plan permits the grant of options to purchase our Class A common shares, restricted shares, restricted share units and other instruments as deemed appropriate by the administrator under the plan. Pursuant to the 2020 Plan, the maximum aggregate number of shares that may be issued pursuant to all awards (including incentive share options) (the “Award Pool”) is initially five percent (5%) of our total issued and outstanding shares as of the effective date of the 2020 Plan, provided that (A) the Award Pool shall be increased automatically if and whenever the number of shares that may be issued pursuant to ungranted awards pursuant to the 2020 Plan (the “Ungranted Portion”) accounts for less than one percent (1%) of the then total issued and outstanding shares of our company, so that for each automatic increase, the Ungranted Portion immediately after such increase shall equal five percent (5%) of the then total issued and outstanding shares of our company, and (B) the size of the Award Pool shall be equitably adjusted in the event of any share dividend, subdivision, reclassification, recapitalization, split, reverse split, combination, consolidation or similar transactions.

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The following paragraphs describe the principal terms of our 2020 share incentive plan:

Types of awards. The 2020 Plan permits the awards of options, restricted shares, restricted share units or any other type of awards approved by the plan administrator.

Plan administration. Our board of directors or a committee of one or more members of the board of directors will administer the 2020 Plan. The committee or the full board of directors, as applicable, will determine the participants to receive awards, the type and number of awards to be granted to each participant, and the terms and conditions of each award.

Award agreement. Awards granted under the 2020 Plan will be evidenced by an award agreement that sets forth terms, conditions and limitations for each award, which may include the term of the award, the provisions applicable in the event that the grantee’s employment or service terminates, and our authority to unilaterally or bilaterally amend, modify, suspend, cancel or rescind the award.

Eligibility. We may grant awards to our employees, directors and consultants of our company. However, we may grant options that are intended to qualify as incentive share options only to our employees and employees of our subsidiaries.

Vesting schedule. In general, the plan administrator determines the vesting schedule, which is specified in the relevant award agreement.

Exercise price. The plan administrator determines the exercise price for each award, which is stated in the award agreement.

Term of the awards. The vested portion of options will expire if not exercised prior to the time as the plan administrator determines at the time of its grant. However, the maximum exercisable term is ten years from the date of a grant.

Transfer restrictions. Awards may not be transferred in any manner by the participant other than in accordance with the exceptions provided in the 2020 Plan or the relevant award agreement or otherwise determined by the plan administrator, such as transfers by will or the laws of descent and distribution.

Termination and amendment. Unless terminated earlier, the 2020 Plan has a term of ten years from its date of effectiveness. Our board of directors has the authority to amend or terminate the plan. However, no such action may adversely affect in any material way any awards previously granted without the written consent of the participant.

As of March 31, 2021, 8,902,881 non-vested restricted Class A common shares and 538,583 share options to purchase 538,583 Class A common shares under the 2010 Plan and the 2020 Plan previously granted to our employees and directors are outstanding. The following table summarizes, as of March 31, 2021, the share options and non-vested restricted shares granted and outstanding under our share incentive plan to our directors and executive officers and to other individuals as a group.

Number of Class A  

Common Shares  

Underlying Share  

Exercise  

Options and Class A

Price ($per  

Name

    

Restricted Shares

    

share)

    

Date of Grant

    

Date of Expiration

Yunfeng Bai

*

(1)

October 25, 2013 / March 1, 2014/October 11, 2018

13 years from the date of the grant

Yachao Liu

*

(1)

October 25, 2013 / March 1, 2014/October 11, 2018

13 years from the date of the grant

Jane Jie Sun

*

(1)

January 26, 2018 / October 26, 2018

10 years from the date of the grant

Kaifu Zhang

*

(1)

October 26, 2018

10 years from the date of the grant

Weiru Chen

 

*

(1)

 

October 26, 2018

 

10 years from the date of the grant

Rong Luo

 

*

(1)

 

October 26, 2014 / April 26, 2015 / October 11, 2018

 

14 years from the date of the grant

 

*

(2)

$

16.1

April 26, 2015

 

10 years from the date of the grant

Mi Tian

 

*

(1)

 

July 26, 2019 / September 30, 2020

 

10 years from the date of the grant

 

*

(2)

From $81.0 to $221.4

July 26, 2019 / September 30, 2020

 

10 years from the date of the grant

Other individuals as a group

 

7,935,931

(1)

 

 

10 or 13 years from the date of the grant

 

474,583

(2)

 

from $14.5 to $239.0

 

10 or 12 years from the date of the grant

Notes:

*Less than 1% of the outstanding common shares.

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(1)Non-vested restricted shares.
(2)Share options.

C.       Board Practices

Composition of Board of Directors

Our board of directors consists of five directors. A director is not required to hold any shares in our company by way of qualification. A director who is in any way, whether directly or indirectly, interested in a contract or proposed contract with our company must declare the nature of his interest at a meeting of our directors. A director may vote in respect of any contract or proposed contract or arrangement notwithstanding that he may be interested therein and if he does so his vote shall be counted and he may be counted in the quorum at the board meeting at which such contract or proposed contract or arrangement is considered. Subject to our memorandum and articles of association, the directors may exercise all the powers of our company to borrow money and to mortgage its undertaking, property and uncalled capital or any part thereof, to issue debentures, debenture stock and other securities whenever money is borrowed or as security for any debt, liability or obligation of our company or of any third party.

Code of Business Conduct and Ethics

Our code of business conduct and ethics provides that our directors and officers are expected to avoid any action, position or interest that conflicts with the interests of our company or gives the appearance of a conflict. Directors and officers have an obligation under our code of business conduct and ethics to advance our company’s interests when the opportunity to do so arises.

Duties of Directors

Under Cayman Islands law, our directors owe to us fiduciary duties, including a duty of loyalty, a duty to act honestly, and a duty to act in what they consider in good faith to be in our best interests. Our directors also have a duty to exercise the skill they possess and such care and diligence that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in comparable circumstances. In fulfilling their duty of care to us, our directors must ensure compliance with our memorandum and articles of association, as amended and restated from time to time. Our company has the right to seek damages if a duty owed by our directors is breached.

Terms of Directors and Executive Officers

Our officers are elected by and serve at the discretion of our board of directors. Our directors are not subject to a term of office and hold office until such time as they are removed from office by an ordinary resolution passed at a shareholder meeting, or in the absence of a shareholder meeting by a unanimous written resolution of our shareholders. In addition, the office of a director will be vacated if, among other things, the director (i) becomes bankrupt or makes any arrangement or composition with his creditors; (ii) dies or is found to be or becomes of unsound mind; (iii) resigns his office by notice in writing to our company; or (iv) without special leave of absence from our board, is absent from three consecutive meetings of our board, and our board resolves that his office be vacated.

Committees of the Board of Directors

Our board of directors has three committees, namely the audit committee, the compensation committee and the nominating and corporate governance committee. We have adopted a charter for each of the three committees. Each committee’s members and functions are described below.

Audit Committee. Our audit committee consists of Ms. Jane Jie Sun, Mr. Weiru Chen and Mr. Kaifu Zhang. Ms. Sun, Mr. Chen and Mr. Kaifu Zhang satisfy the “independence” requirements of Section 303A of the Corporate Governance Rules of the New York Stock Exchange and Rule 10A-3 under the Exchange Act. Ms. Sun is the chair of our audit committee. Our board of directors has determined that Ms. Sun is an audit committee financial expert as defined in the instructions to Item 16A of Form 20-F. Each of Mr. Chen and Mr. Zhang are financially literate. The purpose of the audit committee is to assist our board of directors with its oversight responsibilities regarding: (i) the integrity of our financial statements, (ii) our compliance with legal and regulatory

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requirements, (iii) the independent auditor’s qualifications and independence and (iv) the performance of our internal audit function and independent auditor. The audit committee is responsible for, among other things:

appointing the independent auditors and pre-approving all auditing and non-auditing services permitted to be performed by the independent auditors;
reviewing with the independent auditors any audit problems or difficulties and management’s response;
discussing the annual audited financial statements with management and the independent auditors;
reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of our accounting and internal control policies and procedures and any steps taken to monitor and control major financial risk exposures;
reviewing and approving all proposed related party transactions;
meeting separately and periodically with management and the independent auditors; and
monitoring compliance with our code of business conduct and ethics, including reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of our procedures to ensure proper compliance.

Compensation Committee. Our compensation committee consists of Mr. Weiru Chen, Mr. Kaifu Zhang and Ms. Jane Jie Sun. Mr. Chen, Mr. Zhang and Ms. Sun satisfy the “independence” requirements of Section 303A of the Corporate Governance Rules of the New York Stock Exchange. Mr. Chen is the chair of our compensation committee. The compensation committee assists the board in reviewing and approving the compensation structure, including all forms of compensation, relating to our directors and executive officers. Our chief executive officer may not be present at any committee meeting during which his compensation is deliberated. The compensation committee is responsible for, among other things:

reviewing and approving, or recommending to the board for its approval, the compensation for our chief executive officer and other executive officers;
reviewing and recommending to the board for determination with respect to the compensation of our non-employee directors; and
reviewing periodically and approving any incentive compensation or equity plans, programs or similar arrangements.

Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee. Our nominating and corporate governance committee consists of Mr. Kaifu Zhang, Mr. Weiru Chen and Ms. Jane Jie Sun. Mr. Zhang, Mr. Chen and Ms. Sun satisfy the “independence” requirements of Section 303A of the Corporate Governance Rules of the New York Stock Exchange. Mr. Zhang is the chair of our nominating and corporate governance committee. The nominating and corporate governance committee assists the board of directors in selecting individuals qualified to become our directors and in determining the composition of the board and its committees. The nominating and corporate governance committee is responsible for, among other things:

selecting and recommending to the board nominees for election by the shareholders or appointment by the board;
reviewing annually with the board the current composition of the board with regards to characteristics such as independence, knowledge, skills, experience and diversity;
making recommendations on the frequency and structure of board meetings and monitoring the functioning of the committees of the board; and
advising the board periodically with regards to significant developments in the law and practice of corporate governance as well as our compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and making recommendations to the board on all matters of corporate governance and on any remedial action to be taken.

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D.       Employees

We had 34,733, 45,271 and 70,914 full-time employees as of February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively. Of our total number of full-time employees as of February 28, 2021, 23,348 were located in Beijing, and 47,566 in other places in China and other countries.

In addition to full-time employees, from time to time, we also employ contract teachers, contract labor and engage independent consultants to support our teaching and curriculum and course material development activities. We remunerate our employees with basic salaries as well as performance-based bonuses. None of our employees are represented by collective bargaining arrangements. We believe that we maintain a good working relationship with our employees and we have not experienced any significant labor disputes.

E.       Share Ownership

The following table sets forth information with respect to the beneficial ownership of our common shares (including shares represented by our ADSs), as of March 31, 2021, by:

each of our directors and executive officers; and
each person known to us to own beneficially more than 5% of our common shares.

    

Shares Beneficially Owned

% of Voting 

    

Number(1)

    

%(2)  

    

Power(3)

    

Directors and Executive Officers:

  

  

  

 

Yunfeng Bai(4)

 

2,036,103

 

*

2.5

%

Bangxin Zhang(5)

 

56,788,704

 

26.4

%  

69.5

%

Yachao Liu(6)

 

8,812,500

 

4.1

%  

10.1

%

Jane Jie Sun(7)

 

*

 

*

 

Kaifu Zhang(8)

 

 

 

Weiru Chen(9)

 

*

 

*

Rong Luo

 

*

 

*

 

Mi Tian

 

*

 

*

 

All directors and executive officers as a group

 

67,762,939

 

31.5

%  

82.0

%

Principal Shareholders:

 

 

 

Bright Unison Limited(10)

 

47,991,204

 

22.3

%  

58.7

%

Morgan Stanley entities(11)

 

29,555,001

 

13.8

%  

3.6

%

Baillie Gifford & Co (12)

 

13,702,515

 

6.4

%  

1.7

%

UBS Asset Management division of UBS Group AG(13)

 

18,917,074

 

8.8

%  

2.3

%

*     Less than 1% of our total outstanding shares.

(1)Beneficial ownership is determined in accordance with the rules of the SEC and includes voting or investment power with respect to the securities. In computing the number of shares beneficially owned by a person and the percentage ownership of that person, we have included shares that the person has the right to acquire within 60 days, including through the exercise of any option, warrant, restricted shares or other right or the conversion of any other security. These shares, however, are not included in the computation of the percentage ownership of any other person.
(2)For each person and group included in this column, percentage ownership is calculated by dividing the number of shares beneficially owned by such person or group by the sum of (1) 214,938,826, being the number of common shares issued as of March 31, 2021, and (2) the number of shares such person or group has the right to acquire or receive within 60 days after March 31, 2021.
(3)Percentage of total voting power represents voting power with respect to all of our Class A and Class B common shares, as a single class. As of March 31, 2021, our issued and outstanding share capital consisted of 147,999,622 Class A common shares

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and 66,939,204 Class B common shares. Each holder of our Class B common shares is entitled to ten votes per Class B common share and each holder of Class A common shares is entitled to one vote per Class A common share held by our shareholders on all matters submitted to them for a vote. Our Class A common shares and Class B common shares vote together as a single class on all matters submitted to a vote of our shareholders, except as may otherwise be required by law. Our Class B common shares are convertible at any time by the holder into Class A common shares on a 1:1 basis.
(4)Consists of (i) 2,000,000 Class B common shares held by Excellent New Limited, a British Virgin Islands company and (ii) 36,103 class A common shares in the form of ADS. Yunfeng Bai has the power to direct the retention or disposal of, and the exercise of any voting rights attached to, the foregoing shares through a trust structure. Yunfeng Bai’s business address is 15/F, Danling SOHO, 6 Danling Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100080, People’s Republic of China.
(5)Consists of (i) 47,991,204 Class B common shares held by Bright Unison Limited, a British Virgin Islands company, and (ii) 8,797,500 Class B common shares held by FAITH FIT LIMITED, a British Virgin Islands company. Bangxin Zhang has the power to direct the retention or disposal of, and the exercise of any voting rights attached to, the foregoing shares through a trust structure. For more details, see Schedule 13G/A filed by the relevant reporting persons on February 10, 2021. Bangxin Zhang’s business address is 15/F, Danling SOHO, 6 Danling Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100080, People’s Republic of China.
(6)Consists of (i) 5,875,000 Class B common shares held by Perfect Wisdom International Limited, a British Virgin Islands company, (ii) 2,275,500 Class B common shares held by COMPLETE HONOUR GLOBAL LIMITED, and (iii) 662,000 Class A common shares held by COMPLETE HONOUR GLOBAL LIMITED, a British Virgin Islands company. Yachao Liu has the power to direct the retention or disposal of, and the exercise of any voting rights attached to, the foregoing shares through a trust structure. Yachao Liu’s business address is 15/F, Danling SOHO, 6 Danling Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100080, People’s Republic of China.
(7)The business address of Ms. Sun is 968 Jinzhong Road, Shanghai 200335, People’s Republic of China.
(8)The business address of Mr. Zhang is No. 28, Xi Zhi Men North Street, Beijing, People’s Republic of China.
(9)The business address of Mr. Chen is No. 699 Hongfeng Road, Pudong New District, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China.
(10)Bright Unison Limited is a company incorporated in the British Virgin Islands. Bangxin Zhang is the sole shareholder and the sole director of Bright Unison Limited. Its registered office is at P.O. Box 957, Offshore Incorporations Centre, Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands.
(11)Based on Schedule 13G/A filed with the SEC on February 12, 2021 by Morgan Stanley and Morgan Stanley Asia Limited, consists of 16,822,384 and 12,732,617 Class A common shares, respectively, in the form of 88,665,003 ADSs in aggregate. The principal business office of Morgan Stanley is 1585 Broadway New York, NY 10036, United States of America. The principal business office of Morgan Stanley Asia Limited is Level 46, International Commerce Centre, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, Hong Kong.
(12)Based on Schedule 13G/A filed with the SEC on January 8, 2021 by Baillie Gifford & Co, consists of 13,702,515 Class A common shares in the form of 41,107,547 ADSs. The principal business office of Baillie Gifford & Co is Calton Square, 1 Greenside Row, Edinburg EH1 3AN, Scotland, United Kingdom.
(13)Based on Schedule 13G/A filed with the SEC on February 12, 2021 by UBS Group AG (for the benefit and on behalf of the UBS Asset Management division of UBS Group AG), consists of 18,917,074 Class A common shares (upon conversion of ADSs) beneficially owned by the UBS Asset Management division of UBS Group AG and its subsidiaries and affiliates on behalf of clients. The principal business office of UBS Group AG is Bahnhofstrasse 45, Zurich, Switzerland.

Our common shares are divided into Class A common shares and Class B common shares. Holders of Class A common shares are entitled to one vote per share, while holders of Class B common shares are entitled to ten votes per share. Holders of our Class B common shares may choose to convert their Class B common shares into the same number of Class A common shares at any time. See “Item 10. Additional Information—B. Memorandum and Articles of Association—Common Shares” for a more detailed description of our Class A common shares and Class B common shares.

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To our knowledge, as of March 31, 2021, 139,741,362 of our issued and outstanding Class A common shares were held by one record holder in the United States, which was JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., the depositary of our ADS program. The number of beneficial owners of our ADSs in the United States is likely to be much larger than the number of record holders of our Class A common shares in the United States.

For the restricted Class A common shares granted to our directors, officers, employees and consultants, please refer to “—B. Compensation—Share Incentive Plan.”

We are not aware of any arrangement that may, at a subsequent date, result in a change of control of our company.

Item 7.  Major Shareholders and Related Party Transactions

A.       Major Shareholders

Please refer to “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—E. Share Ownership.”

B.       Related Party

Transactions with Related Investees

We have amounts due from related parties representing loans and prepayments to certain investees for service fees. As of February 29, 2020, we had $3.6 million current amounts due from related parties. As of February 28, 2021, we had $3.0 million current amounts due from related parties. In fiscal year 2020 and 2021, we recorded $33.2 million and $16.1 million impairment loss on the amounts due from related parties, substantially all was provided during the year ended February 29, 2020 and the year ended February 28, 2021.

We have amounts due to related parties primarily related to service fees payable to related parties. As of February 28, 2021, we had $3.5 million current amounts due to related parties.

We incur services fees in connection with services provided by certain investees to us. For the years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively, we incurred services fees to related parties of $1.9 million, $6.4 million and $3.7 million.

We generate other revenue from related parties in connection with services provided by us. For the years ended February 28/29, 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively, we generated other revenue from related parties of $1.4 million, $4.1 million and $1.6 million.

We purchase equipment from related parties used in our educational programs. For the years ended February 28/29, 2020 and 2021, respectively, we purchased equipment in an amount of $0.1 million and $0.8 million.

VIE Contractual Arrangements

Please refer to “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—Organizational Structure—VIE Contractual Arrangements.”

Employment Agreement

Please refer to “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—A. Directors and Senior Management—Employment Agreements.”

Stock Incentives

Please refer to “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—B. Compensation—Share Incentive Plan.”

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C.       Interests of Experts and Counsel

Not applicable.

Item 8.  Financial Information

A.       Consolidated Statements and Other Financial Information

See “Item 18. Financial Statements.”

Legal and Administrative Proceedings

From time to time, we are subject to legal proceedings and claims incidental to the conduct of our business.

Litigation

On June 18, 2018 and July 17, 2018, two putative shareholder class action lawsuits were filed against our company and certain officers of our company in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The putative class action lawsuits are captioned Lea v. TAL Education Group, et al. , Case No. 1:18-cv-05480-RWS (S.D.N.Y.) (filed on June 18, 2018); Extract v. TAL Education Group, et al. , Case No. 1:18-cv-06440 (filed on July 17, 2018). The plaintiffs seek to represent a class of persons who allegedly suffered damages as a result of their trading activities related to our ADSs from April 26 to June 13, 2018. The plaintiffs allege that certain press releases and financial statements made by our company during the alleged class period contained material misstatements and omissions in violation of the federal securities laws, and advances claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78(b) and 78t(a), and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, 17 C.F.R. § 240.10b-5 (2013). On September 27, 2018, the Court consolidated the two lawsuits as In re Tal Education Group Securities Litigation, Case No. 1: 18-cv-05480-LAP-KHP. On September 25, 2019, the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted the Company’s motion to dismiss the case in its entirety with prejudice.

On November 25, 2020, the Second Circuit reversed and remanded the case to the District Court for further proceedings. On April 26, 2021, the Company and plaintiffs submitted a joint letter to the Court stating that the parties reached an agreement in principle to settle all claims, subject to, among other items, definitive documentation and the Court’s approval. For risks and uncertainties relating to the pending case against us, please see “Item 3. Key Information-D. Risk Factors-Risks Related to Our Business-We have been named as a defendant in a putative shareholder class action lawsuit and are subject to SEC investigation which could have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operation, cash flows and reputation.”

Internal Review and SEC Proceeding

Muddy Waters Capital LLC, an entity unrelated to us, issued a series of reports containing various allegations about us in June and July 2018. In response, the audit committee of our board of directors directed our internal audit team to conduct an internal review of such allegations. Our internal audit team’s review was completed and uncovered no evidence which would support these allegations prior to the filing of our last annual report in 2019. To assist us responding to the requests from the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, we authorized external professional advisers to conduct an internal review of certain allegations in the Muddy Waters reports; this internal review within the agreed scope was substantially completed in June 2020 uncovering no evidence which would support the allegations.

As we previously announced on April 7, 2020, during our routine internal auditing process, we discovered certain employee misconduct in relation to the “Light Class” business and upon such discovery, we immediately reported to the local police which resulted in a number of employees being taken into custody by the local police. In response, the audit committee of our board of directors directed external professional advisers to conduct an internal review. Based on the agreed scope and procedures performed, we do not believe the internal review has uncovered material findings that would have a material adverse financial impact on our results of operations for the fiscal year 2020, except for the issues related to the “Light Class” business. The issues related to the “Light Class” business that we discovered and announced in April 2020 resulted in reversal of our net revenues and net income attributable to our company for the first nine months of fiscal year 2020 in the aggregate amount of US$86.1 million and US$26.6 million, respectively; after the above reversal, revenue from the “Light Class” business for our fiscal year 2020 was less than 1% of our total revenues for the year.

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The SEC’s Division of Enforcement has sought the production of certain documents and information related to the transactions identified in the Muddy Water reports, the issues regarding the “Light Class” business, and the subsequent internal reviews and other related information. We are cooperating with the SEC. We cannot predict the timing, outcome or consequences of the SEC investigations.

Dividend Policy

In November 2010, we paid a $30 million cash dividend to our shareholders of record as of September 29, 2010, the date we declared this dividend. In December 2012, we paid a $39.0 million cash dividend with $0.25 per share to our shareholders of record at the close of business on December 7, 2012. In May 2017, we paid US$41.2 million special cash dividend with $0.25 per share to our shareholders of record at the close of business on May 11, 2017. We expect to source cash for future dividends, if any, from our offshore cash balance, which is more cost-efficient than using onshore cash we hold.

Our board of directors has complete discretion whether to declare dividends, subject to the Companies Act, our articles of association, and the common law of the Cayman Islands. In addition, our shareholders may by ordinary resolution declare a dividend, but no dividend may exceed the amount recommended by our directors. Even if our board of directors decides to declare dividends, their form, frequency and amount will depend upon our future operations and earnings, capital requirements and surplus, general financial condition, contractual restrictions and other factors that the board of directors may deem relevant. Under Cayman Islands law, a Cayman Islands company may pay a dividend out of either profit or share premium account, provided that in no circumstances may a dividend be paid if this would result in the company being unable to pay its debts as they fall due in the ordinary course of business.

Holders of our ADSs will be entitled to receive dividends, if any, subject to the terms of the deposit agreement, to the same extent as the holders of our Class A common shares. Cash dividends will be paid to the depositary of our ADSs in U.S. dollars, which will distribute them to the holders of ADSs after fees according to the terms of the deposit agreement. Other distributions, if any, will be paid by the depositary to the holders of ADSs in any means it deems legal, fair and practical.

We are a holding company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. We may rely on dividends from our subsidiaries in China for our cash needs. To pay dividends to us, our subsidiaries in China shall comply with the current PRC laws and regulations. See “Item 3. Key Information-D. Risk Factors-Risks Related to Doing Business in China-We may rely on dividends paid by our subsidiaries for our cash needs, and any limitation on the ability of our subsidiaries to make payments to us could limit our ability to pay dividends to holders of our ADSs and common shares.”

B.       Significant Changes

Except as disclosed elsewhere in this annual report, we have not experienced any significant changes since the date of our audited consolidated financial statements included in this annual report.

Item 9.  The Offer and Listing

A.       Offering and Listing Details

See “C. Markets.”

B.       Plan of Distribution

Not applicable.

C.       Markets

Our ADSs, each three representing one Class A common share, have been listed on the New York Stock Exchange since October 20, 2010 and trade under the symbol “XRS,” which was changed to “TAL” effective from December 1, 2016. Effective on August 16, 2017, we adjusted the ratio of our ADSs to Class A common shares from one ADS representing two Class A common shares to three ADSs representing one Class A common share.

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D.       Selling Shareholders

Not applicable.

E.       Dilution

Not applicable.

F.       Expenses of the Issue

Not applicable.

Item 10. Additional Information

A.       Share Capital

Not applicable.

B.       Memorandum and Articles of Association

We are a Cayman Islands company and our affairs are governed by our memorandum and articles of association, as amended from time to time, and the Companies Act (As Revised) of the Cayman Islands, which is referred to below as the Companies Act, and the common law of the Cayman Islands.

The following are summaries of material provisions of our Fourth Amended and Restated Memorandum and Articles of Association and the Companies Act insofar as they relate to the material terms of our common shares.

Registered Office and Objects

Our registered office in the Cayman Islands is located at Maples Corporate Services Limited, P.O. Box 309, Ugland House, Grand Cayman, KY1-1104, Cayman Islands or at such other place within the Cayman Islands as our board of directors may from time to time decide. The objects for which our company is established are unrestricted and we have full power and authority to carry out any object not prohibited by the Companies Act, or any other law of the Cayman Islands.

Board of Directors

See “Item 6. Directors, Senior Management and Employees—C. Board Practices—Composition of Board of Directors.”

Common Shares

General. Our common shares are divided into Class A common shares and Class B common shares. Holders of our Class A common shares and Class B common shares have the same rights except for voting and conversion rights. Our authorized share capital is $2,000,000 divided into 500,000,000 Class A common shares, with a par value of $0.001 each, 500,000,000 Class B common shares of $0.001 each and 1,000,000,000 shares with a par value of $0.001 each of such class or classes (howsoever designated) as our board of directors may determine in accordance with our articles of association. Certificates representing the common shares are issued in registered form. Our shareholders who are nonresidents of the Cayman Islands may freely hold and vote their shares.

Dividends. The holders of our common shares are entitled to such dividends as may be declared by our board of directors subject to the Companies Act, our articles of association, and the common law of the Cayman Islands. Our shareholders may by ordinary resolution declare a dividend, but no dividend may exceed the amount recommended by our directors. Under Cayman Islands law, a Cayman Islands company may pay a dividend on its shares out of either profit or share premium account, provided that in no circumstances may a dividend be paid if this would result in the company being unable to pay its debts as they fall due in the ordinary course of business.

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Conversion. Each Class B common share is convertible into one Class A common share at any time by the holder thereof. Class A common shares are not convertible into Class B common shares under any circumstances. Upon any transfer of Class B common shares by a holder thereof to any person or entity which is not an affiliate of such holder (as defined in our articles of association), such Class B common shares shall be automatically and immediately converted into an equal number of Class A common shares. In addition, if at any time, any of the persons who held Class B common shares immediately before our initial public offering and their affiliates collectively own less than 5% of the total number of the issued and outstanding Class B common shares, each issued and outstanding Class B common share owned by such Class B holder shall be automatically and immediately converted into one Class A common share.

Voting Rights. In respect of matters requiring shareholders’ vote, each Class A common share is entitled to one vote, and each Class B common share is entitled to ten votes. Shareholders may attend any shareholders’ meeting and vote in person or by proxy, and in the case of a corporation or other non-natural person, by its duly authorized representative or proxy; we currently do not allow shareholders to vote electronically. Voting at any shareholders’ meeting is by show of hands unless a poll is demanded. A poll may be demanded by the chairman of the meeting or by any shareholder holding at least one-tenth of the voting power of our shares given the right to vote at the meeting, present in person or by proxy.

General Meetings and Shareholder Proposals. As a Cayman Islands exempted company, we are not obliged by the Companies Act to call shareholders’ annual general meetings. Our memorandum and articles of association provide that we may (but are not obliged to) in each year hold a general meeting as our annual general meeting in which case we shall specify the meeting as such in the notices calling it, and the annual general meeting shall be held at such time and place as may be determined by our directors. We, however, will hold an annual shareholders’ meeting during each fiscal year, as required by the rules of the New York Stock Exchange. To hold a general meeting, at least ten days’ notice shall be given specifying the place, the day and the hour of the meeting and the general nature of the business.

Cayman Islands law provides shareholders with only limited rights to requisition a general meeting, and does not provide shareholders with any right to put any proposal before a general meeting. However, these rights may be provided in a company’s articles of association. Our memorandum and articles of association allow our shareholders holding in aggregate not less than one-third of such of our issued shares as carries the right of voting at general meetings of our company to requisition an extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders, in which case our directors are obliged to call such meeting and to put the resolutions so requisitioned to a vote at such meeting; however, our memorandum and articles of association do not provide our shareholders with any right to put any proposals before annual general meetings or extraordinary general meetings not called by such shareholders. In addition, extraordinary general meetings may be convened by our board of directors on its own initiative.

A quorum required for a meeting of shareholders consists of at least one shareholder present in person or by proxy or, if a corporation or other non-natural person, by its duly authorized representative, and entitled to vote, holding in aggregate not less than one-tenth of the voting power of our shares in issue carrying a right to vote at such meeting. Advance notice of at least ten days is required for the convening of our shareholders’ annual general meeting and any extraordinary general meeting of our shareholders.

An ordinary resolution to be passed by the shareholders requires a simple majority of votes cast in a general meeting, while a special resolution requires no less than two-thirds of the votes cast. A special resolution is required for important matters such as a change of name or any amendments to our memorandum or articles of association. Our shareholders may effect certain changes by ordinary resolution, including to appoint, remove, and replace directors, increase the amount of our authorized share capital, to consolidate and divide all or any of our share capital into shares of larger amount than our existing shares, and to cancel any of our authorized but unissued shares.

Transfer of Shares. Subject to the restrictions of our memorandum and articles of association, as applicable, any of our shareholders may transfer all or any of his or her common shares by an instrument of transfer in the usual or common form or any other form approved by our board.

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Our board of directors may, in its sole discretion, decline to register any transfer of any common share which is not fully paid up or on which we have a lien. Our directors may also decline to register any transfer of any share unless (a) the instrument of transfer is lodged with us, accompanied by the certificate for the shares to which it relates and such other evidence as our board of directors may reasonably require to show the right of the transferor to make the transfer; (b) the instrument of transfer is in respect of only one class of shares; (c) the instrument of transfer is properly stamped, if required; (d) in the case of a transfer to joint holders, the number of joint holders to whom the share is to be transferred does not exceed four; (e) the shares transferred are free of any lien in favor of us; or (f) a fee of such maximum sum as the New York Stock Exchange may determine to be payable, or such lesser sum as our board of directors may from time to time require, is paid to us in respect thereof.

If our directors refuse to register a transfer they shall, within two months after the date on which the instrument of transfer was lodged, send to each of the transferor and the transferee notice of such refusal. The registration of transfers may, on 14 days’ notice being given by advertisement in such one or more newspapers or by electronic means, be suspended and the register closed at such times and for such periods as our board of directors may from time to time determine, provided, however, that the registration of transfers shall not be suspended nor the register closed for more than 30 days in any year.

Liquidation. On a return of capital on winding up or otherwise (other than on conversion, redemption or purchase of shares), assets available for distribution among the holders of common shares shall be distributed among the holders of the common shares on a pro rata basis. If our assets available for distribution are insufficient to repay all of the paid-up capital, the assets will be distributed so that the losses are borne by our shareholders proportionately.

Calls on Shares and Forfeiture of Shares. Our board of directors may from time to time make calls upon shareholders for any amounts unpaid on their shares in a notice served to such shareholders at least 14 days prior to the specified time of payment. The shares that have been called upon and remain unpaid on the specified time are subject to forfeiture.

Redemption, Repurchase and Surrender of Shares. We may issue shares on terms that such shares are subject to redemption, at our option or at the option of the holders thereof, on such terms and in such manner as may be determined, before the issue of such shares, by our board of directors or by a special resolution of our shareholders. Our company may also repurchase any of our shares provided that the manner of such purchase has been approved by an ordinary resolution of our shareholders, or the manner of purchase is in accordance with the procedures set out in our memorandum and articles of association. Under the Companies Act, the redemption or repurchase of any share may be paid out of our company’s profits or out of the proceeds of a fresh issue of shares made for the purpose of such redemption or repurchase, or out of capital (including share premium account and capital redemption reserve) if our company can, immediately following such payment, pay its debts as they fall due in the ordinary course of business. In addition, under the Companies Act no such share may be redeemed or repurchased (a) unless it is fully paid up, (b) if such redemption or repurchase would result in there being no shares outstanding, or (c) if the company has commenced liquidation. In addition, our company may accept the surrender of any fully paid share for no consideration.

Variations of Rights of Shares. Whenever the capital of our company is divided into different classes, the rights attached to any such class may, subject to the rights and restrictions for the time being attached to any class, only be materially adversely varied or abrogated either with the written consent of the holders of a majority of the issued shares of that class or with the sanction of a special resolution passed at a separate meeting of the holders of the shares of that class. The rights conferred upon the holders of the shares of any class issued with preferred or other rights shall not, subject to any rights or restrictions for the time being attached to the shares of that class, be deemed to be materially adversely varied or abrogated by the creation, allotment or issue of further shares ranking in priority to or pari passu with such previously existing shares, or the redemption or purchase of any shares of any class by our company. The rights of the holders of shares shall not be deemed to be materially adversely varied or abrogated by the creation or issue of shares with preferred or other rights including, without limitation, the creation of shares with enhanced or weighted voting rights.

Inspection of Books and Records. Holders of our common shares will have no general right under Cayman Islands law to inspect or obtain copies of our list of shareholders or our corporate records (other than copies of our memorandum and articles of association and any special resolutions passed by our shareholders, and our register of mortgages and charge). However, we will provide our shareholders with annual audited financial statements.

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C.       Material Contracts

For the two years immediately preceding the date of this annual report, we have not entered into any material contracts other than in the ordinary course of business and other than those described in “Item 4. Information on the Company” or elsewhere in this annual report.

D.       Exchange Controls

The Cayman Islands currently have no exchange control restrictions. Also see “Item 4. Information on the Company—B. Business Overview—PRC Regulation—Regulations on Foreign Currency Exchange.”

E.       Taxation

Cayman Islands Taxation

We are an exempted company incorporated in the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands currently levies no taxes on individuals or corporations based upon profits, income, gains or appreciation and there is no taxation in the nature of inheritance tax or estate duty. Payments of dividends by our company will not be subject to taxation in the Cayman Islands and no withholding will be required on the payment of dividends to any shareholder of our company. There are no other taxes likely to be material to us levied by the Government of the Cayman Islands except for stamp duties which may be applicable on instruments executed in, or brought within the jurisdiction of the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands is not party to any double tax treaties that are applicable to any payments made to or by our company. There are no exchange control regulations or currency restrictions in the Cayman Islands.

People’s Republic of China Taxation

Enterprise Income Tax

Under the EIT Law, an enterprise established outside China with “de facto management body” within China is considered a “resident enterprise,” meaning that it can be treated in a manner similar to a PRC enterprise for enterprise income tax purposes, although the dividends paid to one resident enterprise from another may qualify as “tax-exempt income.” The implementation rules of the EIT Law define de facto management as “substantial and overall management and control over the production and operations, personnel, accounting, and properties” of the enterprise. SAT has issued circular to provide that a foreign enterprise controlled by a PRC company or a PRC company group will be classified as a “resident enterprise” with its “de facto management body” located within China if all of the following conditions are satisfied: (i) the senior management and core management departments in charge of its daily operations function are mainly in China; (ii) its financial and human resources decisions are subject to determination or approval by persons or bodies in China; (iii) its major assets, accounting books, company seals, and minutes and files of its board and shareholders’ meetings are located or kept in China; and (iv) at least half of the enterprise’s directors with voting right or senior management reside in China.

In addition, the SAT issued a bulletin to provide more guidance on the implementation of the above circular. The bulletin clarified certain matters relating to resident status determination, post-determination administration and competent tax authorities. It also specifies that when provided with a copy of a PRC tax resident determination certificate from a resident PRC-controlled offshore incorporated enterprise, the payer shall not be required to withhold 10% income tax when paying the PRC-sourced dividends, interest and royalties to the PRC-controlled offshore incorporated enterprise. Although both the circular and the bulletin only apply to offshore enterprises controlled by PRC enterprises and not those by PRC individuals, the determination criteria set forth in the circular and administration clarification made in the bulletin may reflect the SAT’s general position on how the “de facto management body” test should be applied in determining the tax residency status of offshore enterprises and the administration measures should be implemented, regardless of whether they are controlled by PRC enterprises or PRC individuals.

In addition, the SAT issued the Bulletin on Issues Concerning the Determination of Resident Enterprises on the Basis of their Actual Management Bodies in January 2014, to provide more guidance on the implementation of the above circular. This bulletin further provided that, among other things, an entity that is classified as a “resident enterprise” in accordance with the circular shall file the application for classifying its status of residential enterprise with the local tax authorities where its main domestic investors registered. From the year in which the entity is determined as a “resident enterprise,” any dividend, profit and other equity investment gain shall be taxed in accordance with the Article 26 of the EIT law and the Article 17 and Article 83 of its implementation rules.

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We do not believe that any of our offshore holding companies meets all of the conditions above. In addition, we are not aware of any offshore holding companies with a similar corporate structure as ours ever having been deemed to be PRC “resident enterprises” by the PRC tax authorities. Therefore, we believe that none of our offshore holding companies should be treated as a “resident enterprise” for PRC tax purposes. However, as the tax resident status of an enterprise is subject to determination by the PRC tax authorities, there are uncertainties and risks associated with this issue. If the PRC tax authorities determine that any of our offshore holding companies are “resident enterprises,” a number of unfavorable PRC tax consequences could follow. First, we may be subject to enterprise income tax at a rate of 25% on our worldwide taxable income. Second, although under the EIT Law and its implementation rules, dividend income between qualified resident enterprises is a “tax-exempt income,” we cannot guarantee that dividends paid to TAL Education Group from our PRC subsidiaries through our Hong Kong subsidiaries would qualify as “tax-exempt income” and will not be subject to withholding tax, as the PRC foreign exchange control authorities, which enforce the withholding tax, have not yet issued guidance with respect to the processing of outbound remittances to entities that are treated as “resident enterprises” for PRC enterprise income tax purposes. Finally, the “resident enterprise” classification could result in a situation in which a 10% withholding tax is imposed on dividends we pay to our non-PRC enterprise shareholders and with respect to gains derived by our non-PRC enterprise shareholders from transferring our shares or ADSs, if such income is considered PRC-sourced income by the relevant PRC authorities. This could have the effect of increasing our and our shareholders’ effective income tax rates and may require us to deduct withholding tax from any dividends we pay to our non-PRC shareholders.

In addition to the uncertainty in how the “resident enterprise” classification could apply, it is also possible that the rules may change in the future, possibly with retroactive effect. We are actively monitoring the possibility of “resident enterprise” treatment for the current and future tax years and are evaluating appropriate organizational changes to avoid this treatment, to the extent possible.

Circular on Strengthening the Administration of Enterprise Income Tax for Share Transfer by Non-PRC Resident Enterprises

Pursuant to the SAT Circular 698 promulgated in 2009, where a foreign investor transfers the equity interests of a PRC resident enterprise indirectly via disposing of the equity interests of an overseas holding company, or an Indirect Transfer, and such overseas holding company is located in a tax jurisdiction that: (i) has an effective tax rate less than 12.5% or (ii) does not tax foreign income of its residents, the foreign investor shall report this Indirect Transfer to the competent tax authority. The PRC tax authority will examine the true nature of the Indirect Transfer, and if the tax authority considers that the foreign investor has adopted an “abusive arrangement” in order to avoid PRC tax, it may disregard the existence of the overseas holding company and re-characterize the Indirect Transfer and as a result, gains derived from such Indirect Transfer may be subject to PRC withholding tax at a rate of up to 10%.

In February 2015, the SAT issued SAT Bulletin 7, which terminated the aforementioned articles of SAT Circular 698. Pursuant to SAT Bulletin 7, where a non-resident enterprise indirectly transfers properties such as equity in PRC resident enterprises without any justifiable business purposes and aiming to avoid the payment of enterprise income tax, such indirect transfer must be reclassified as a direct transfer of equity in PRC resident enterprise. To assess whether an indirect transfer of PRC taxable properties has reasonable commercial purposes, all arrangements related to the indirect transfer must be considered comprehensively and factors set forth in SAT Bulletin 7 must be comprehensively analyzed in light of the actual circumstances. SAT Bulletin 7 also provides that, where a non-PRC resident enterprise transfers its equity interests in a resident enterprise to its related parties at a price lower than the fair market value, the competent tax authority has the power to make a reasonable adjustment to the taxable income of the transaction.

On October 17, 2017, the SAT issued the Announcement of the State Administration of Taxation on Issues Concerning the Withholding of Non-resident Enterprise Income Tax at Source, or SAT Bulletin 37, which came into effect and superseded Circular 698 on December 1, 2017. The SAT Bulletin 37 further clarifies the practice and procedure of the withholding of nonresident enterprise income tax.

In certain practical cases regarding the application of SAT Bulletin 7 and Bulletin 37, intermediary holding companies were actually looked through by the PRC tax authorities, and consequently the non-PRC resident investors were deemed to have transferred the PRC subsidiaries and PRC corporate taxes were assessed accordingly. It is possible that we or our non-PRC resident investors may become at risk of being taxed under SAT Bulletin 7 and Bulletin 37 may be required to expend valuable resources to comply with SAT Bulletin 7 and Bulletin 37 or to establish that we or our non-PRC resident investors should not be taxed under SAT Bulletin 7 and Bulletin 37, which may have an adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations or such non-PRC resident investors’ investment in us.

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U.S. Federal Income Tax Considerations

The following is a discussion of the U.S. federal income tax consequences of the ownership and disposition of our ADSs or common shares by a U.S. Holder (as defined below) that will hold our ADSs or common shares as “capital assets” (generally, property held for investment) under the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, or the Code. This discussion is based upon existing U.S. federal income tax law, which is subject to differing interpretations or change, possibly with retroactive effect. This discussion does not address all aspects of U.S. federal income taxation that may be important to particular investors in light of their individual investment circumstances, including investors subject to special tax rules that differ significantly from those summarized below (for example, financial institutions, insurance companies, broker-dealers, traders in securities that elect mark-to-market treatment, pension plans, regulated investment companies, real estate investment trusts, cooperatives, and tax-exempt organizations (including private foundations)), holders who are not U.S. Holders, holders who own (directly, indirectly, or constructively) 10% or more of our stock (by vote or value), investors that will hold their ADSs or common shares as part of a straddle, hedge, conversion, constructive sale, or other integrated transaction for U.S. federal income tax purposes, U.S. expatriates, persons liable for alternative minimum tax, or investors that have a functional currency other than the U.S. dollar. In addition, this discussion does not address any non-U.S., state or local tax considerations, or non-income (such as estate, gift or Medicare) tax considerations. Each U.S. Holder is urged to consult its tax advisor regarding the U.S. federal, state, local, non-U.S. income and other tax considerations of an investment in our ADSs or common shares.

General

For purposes of this discussion, a “U.S. Holder” is a beneficial owner of our ADSs or common shares that is, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, (i) an individual who is a citizen or resident of the United States, (ii) a corporation (or other entity treated as a corporation for U.S. federal income tax purposes) created in, or organized under the law of, the United States or any state thereof or the District of Columbia, (iii) an estate the income of which is includible in gross income for U.S. federal income tax purposes regardless of its source, or (iv) a trust (A) the administration of which is subject to the primary supervision of a U.S. court and which has one or more U.S. persons who have the authority to control all substantial decisions of the trust or (B) that has otherwise elected to be treated as a U.S. person under the Code.

If a partnership (including any entity treated as a partnership for U.S. federal income tax purposes) is a beneficial owner of our ADSs or common shares, the tax treatment of a partner in the partnership will generally depend upon the status of the partner and the activities of the partnership. Partners of a partnership holding our ADSs or common shares are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding an investment in our ADSs or common shares.

For U.S. federal income tax purposes, it is generally expected that a U.S. Holder holds ADSs will generally be treated as the beneficial owner of the underlying common shares represented by those ADSs. The remainder of this discussion assumes that a U.S. Holder of our ADSs will be treated in this manner. Accordingly, deposits or withdrawals of common shares for ADSs will generally not be subject to U.S. federal income tax.

PFIC Considerations

A non-U.S. corporation, such as our company, will be classified as a passive foreign investment company (PFIC) for U.S. federal income tax purposes for any taxable year, if either (i) at least 75% of its gross income for such year consists of certain types of “passive” income or (ii) at least 50% of the value of its assets (generally determined on the basis of a quarterly average) during such year is attributable to assets that produce or are held for the production of passive income. Passive income generally includes dividends, interest, royalties, rent, annuities, net gains from the sale or exchange of property producing such income and net foreign currency gains. For this purpose, cash and assets readily convertible into cash are categorized as passive assets and the company’s goodwill and other unbooked intangibles are taken into account for determining the value of its assets. We will be treated as owning a proportionate share of the assets and earning a proportionate share of the income of any other corporation in which we own, directly or indirectly, 25% or more (by value) of the stock.

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Although the law in this regard is unclear, we treat our VIEs and their respective subsidiaries as being owned by us for U.S. federal income tax purposes, not only because we control their management decisions but also because we are entitled to substantially all of the economic benefits associated with these entities, and, as a result, we consolidate their results of operations in our consolidated U.S. GAAP financial statements. If it were determined, however, that we are not the owner of our VIEs and their respective subsidiaries, as applicable, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, we would likely be treated as a PFIC for the current taxable year and any subsequent taxable year.

Accordingly, assuming that we are the owner of our VIEs and their respective subsidiaries for U.S. federal income tax purposes and based on our income and assets and the market price of our ADSs, we do not believe that we were a PFIC for the taxable year ended February 28, 2021 and do not anticipate becoming a PFIC for the foreseeable future. However, no assurance can be given in this regard because the determination of whether we will be or become a PFIC is a fact-intensive inquiry made on an annual basis that depends, in part, on the composition of our income and assets. Fluctuations in the market price of our ADSs may cause us to become a PFIC for the current or subsequent taxable years because the value of assets for the purpose of the asset test, including the value of our goodwill and other unbooked intangibles, may be determined by reference to the market price of our ADSs from time to time (which may be volatile). In estimating the value of our goodwill and other unbooked intangibles, we have taken into account our market capitalization. If our market capitalization becomes less than anticipated, we may be classified as a PFIC for the current or future taxable years.

Furthermore, the determination of whether we will be or become a PFIC may also be affected by how, and how quickly, we use our liquid assets. Under circumstances where our revenue from activities that produce passive income significantly increase relative to our revenue from activities that produce non-passive income, or where we determine not to deploy significant amounts of cash for active purposes, our risk of becoming classified as a PFIC may substantially increase. If we are classified as a PFIC for any year during which a U.S. Holder holds our ADSs or common shares, we generally would continue to be treated as a PFIC for all succeeding years during which such U.S. Holder holds our ADSs or common shares unless we cease to be a PFIC and the U.S. Holder makes a “deemed sale” election with respect to the ADSs or common shares.

The discussion below under “Dividends” and “Sale or Other Disposition of ADSs or Common Shares” assumes that we will not be classified as a PFIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes. The U.S. federal income tax rules that apply if we are classified as a PFIC for the current taxable year or any subsequent taxable year are generally discussed below under “PFIC Rules.” Each U.S. Holder is urged to consult with its tax advisor regarding the U.S. federal income tax consequences of an investment in our ADSs or common shares if we are or become classified as a PFIC.

Dividends

Any cash distributions (including the amount of any PRC tax withheld) paid on our ADSs or common shares out of our current or accumulated earnings and profits, as determined under U.S. federal income tax principles, will generally be includible in the gross income of a U.S. Holder as dividend income on the day actually or constructively received by the U.S. Holder, in the case of common shares, or by the Depositary, in the case of ADSs. Because we do not intend to determine our earnings and profits on the basis of U.S. federal income tax principles, any distribution paid will generally be treated as a “dividend” for U.S. federal income tax purposes. A non-corporate recipient of dividend income generally will be subject to tax on dividend income from a “qualified foreign corporation” at a reduced U.S. federal tax rate rather than the marginal tax rates generally applicable to ordinary income provided that certain holding period requirements are met.

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A non-U.S. corporation (other than a corporation that is classified as a PFIC for the taxable year in which the dividend is paid or the preceding taxable year) generally will be considered to be a qualified foreign corporation (i) if it is eligible for the benefits of a comprehensive tax treaty with the United States which the Secretary of Treasury of the United States determines is satisfactory for purposes of this provision and which includes an exchange of information program, or (ii) with respect to any dividend it pays on stock (or ADSs in respect of such stock) which is readily tradable on an established securities market in the United States. Our ADSs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, which is an established securities market in the United States, and qualify as readily tradable. Thus, we believe that we will be treated as a qualified foreign corporation with respect to dividends we pay on our ADSs, but there can be no assurance that our ADSs will continue to be considered readily tradable on an established securities market in later years. Since we do not expect that our common shares will be listed on established securities markets, it is unclear whether dividends that we pay on our common shares that are not backed by ADSs currently meet the conditions required for the reduced tax rate. However, in the event that we are deemed to be a resident enterprise under the EIT Law, as discussed above under “-People’s Republic of China Taxation,” we may be eligible for the benefits of the U.S.-PRC income tax treaty (which the U.S. Treasury Department has determined is satisfactory for this purpose) and be treated as a qualified foreign corporation with respect to dividends paid on our ADSs or common shares. Dividends received on our ADSs or common shares will not be eligible for the dividends-received deduction allowed to corporations under the Code. U.S. Holders are urged to consult their tax advisors regarding the availability of the reduced tax rate on dividends in their particular circumstances.

Dividends generally will be treated as income from foreign sources for U.S. foreign tax credit purposes and generally will constitute passive category income. In the event that we are deemed to be a PRC “resident enterprise” under the EIT Law, a U.S. Holder may be subject to PRC withholding taxes on dividends paid, if any, on our ADSs or common shares. See “-People’s Republic of China Taxation.” The U.S. Holder may be eligible to claim a foreign tax credit in respect of any foreign withholding taxes imposed on dividends received on our ADSs or common shares. A U.S. Holder who does not elect to claim a foreign tax credit for foreign tax withheld is permitted instead to claim a deduction, for U.S. federal income tax purposes, in respect to such withholdings, but only for a year in which such holder elects to do so for all creditable foreign income taxes. The rules governing the foreign tax credit are complex and their outcome depends in large part on the taxpayer’s individual facts and circumstances. Each U.S. Holder is urged to consult its tax advisors regarding the availability of the foreign tax credit under their particular circumstances.

Sale or Other Disposition of ADSs or Common Shares

A U.S. Holder will generally recognize capital gain or loss upon the sale or other disposition of ADSs or common shares in an amount equal to the difference between the amount realized upon the disposition and the U.S. Holder’s adjusted tax basis in such ADSs or common shares. Any capital gain or loss will be long-term if the ADSs or common shares have been held for more than one year and will generally be U.S. source gain or loss for U.S. foreign tax credit purposes. Net long-term capital gains of non-corporate U.S. Holders currently are eligible for reduced rates of taxation. The deductibility of a capital loss may be subject to limitations. In the event that we are deemed to be a “resident enterprise” under the EIT Law and gain from the disposition of the ADSs or common shares is subject to tax in China, such gain may be treated as PRC-source gain for foreign tax credit purposes under the U.S.-PRC income tax treaty. If such gain is not treated as PRC-source gain, however, a U.S. Holder generally will not be able to obtain a U.S. foreign tax credit for any PRC tax withheld or imposed unless such U.S. Holder has other foreign source income in the appropriate category for the applicable tax year. Each U.S. Holder is urged to consult its tax advisors regarding the tax consequences if a foreign tax is imposed on a disposition of our ADSs or common shares, including the availability of the foreign tax credit under their particular circumstances.

PFIC Rules

If we are classified as a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. Holder holds our ADSs or common shares, unless the U.S. Holder makes a mark-to-market election (as described below), the U.S. Holder will generally be subject to special tax rules that have a penalizing effect, regardless of whether we remain a PFIC, on (i) any excess distribution that we make to the U.S. Holder (which generally means any distribution paid during a taxable year to a U.S. Holder that is greater than 125% of the average annual distributions paid in the three preceding taxable years or, if shorter, the U.S. Holder’s holding period for the ADSs or common shares), and (ii) any gain realized on the sale or other disposition, including, under certain circumstances, a pledge, of ADSs or common shares. Under the PFIC rules:

the excess distribution and/or gain will be allocated ratably over the U.S. Holder’s holding period for the ADSs or common shares;

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the amount allocated to the current taxable year and any taxable years in the U.S. Holder’s holding period prior to the first taxable year in which we are classified as a PFIC (a pre-PFIC year) will be taxable as ordinary income;
the amount allocated to each prior taxable year, other than a pre-PFIC year, will be subject to tax at the highest tax rate in effect applicable to the U.S. Holder for that year; and
an additional tax equal to the interest charge generally applicable to underpayments of tax will be imposed on the tax attributable to each prior taxable year, other than a pre-PFIC year.

If we are a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. Holder holds our ADSs or common shares and any of our non-U.S. subsidiaries is also a PFIC (i.e., a lower-tier PFIC), such U.S. Holder would be treated as owning a proportionate amount (by value) of the shares of the lower-tier PFIC for purposes of the rules described above. Each U.S. Holder is urged to consult its tax advisors regarding the application of the PFIC rules to any of our subsidiaries.

As an alternative to the foregoing rules, a U.S. Holder of “marketable stock” in a PFIC may make a mark-to-market election with respect to our ADSs, but not our common shares, provided that the ADSs are regularly traded on a qualified exchange or other market. Our ADSs are listed on the New York Stock Exchange, which is a qualified exchange. Our ADSs are expected to qualify as being regularly traded, but no assurances may be given in this regard. If a U.S. Holder makes this election, the U.S. Holder will generally (i) include as ordinary income for each taxable year that we are a PFIC the excess, if any, of the fair market value of ADSs held at the end of the taxable year over the adjusted tax basis of such ADSs and (ii) deduct as an ordinary loss the excess, if any, of the adjusted tax basis of the ADSs over the fair market value of such ADSs held at the end of the taxable year, but such deduction will only be allowed to the extent of the net amount previously included in income as a result of the mark-to-market election. The U.S. Holder’s adjusted tax basis in the ADSs would be adjusted to reflect any income or loss resulting from the mark-to-market election. If a U.S. Holder makes a mark-to-market election in respect of a corporation classified as a PFIC and such corporation ceases to be classified as a PFIC, the U.S. Holder will not be required to take into account the mark-to-market gain or loss described above during any period that such corporation is not classified as a PFIC. If a U.S. Holder makes a mark-to-market election, any gain such U.S. Holder recognizes upon the sale or other disposition of our ADSs in a year when we are a PFIC will be treated as ordinary income and any loss will be treated as ordinary loss, but such loss will only be treated as ordinary loss to the extent of the net amount previously included in income as a result of the mark-to-market election.

Because a mark-to-market election cannot technically be made for any lower-tier PFICs that we may own, a U.S. Holder may continue to be subject to the PFIC rules with respect to such U.S. Holder’s indirect interest in any investments held by us that are treated as an equity interest in a PFIC for U.S. federal income tax purposes.

We do not intend to provide information necessary for U.S. Holders to make qualified electing fund elections, which, if available, would result in tax treatment different from the general tax treatment for PFICs described above.

If a U.S. Holder owns our ADSs or common shares during any taxable year that we are a PFIC, the holder must generally file an annual Internal Revenue Service Form 8621 and provide such other information as may be required by the U.S. Treasury. In the case of a U.S. Holder who has held ADSs or common shares during any taxable year in respect of which we were classified as a PFIC and continues to hold such ADSs or common shares (or any portion thereof) and has not previously determined to make a mark-to-market election, and who later considers making a mark-to-market election, special tax rules may apply relating to purging the PFIC taint of such ADSs or common shares. Each U.S. Holder is urged to consult its tax advisor concerning the U.S. federal income tax consequences of holding and disposing ADSs or common shares if we are or become classified as a PFIC, including the possibility of making a mark-to-market election and the unavailability of the qualified electing fund election.

F.       Dividends and Paying Agents

Not applicable.

G.       Statement by Experts

Not applicable.

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H.       Documents on Display

We previously filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, a registration statement on Form F-1 under the Securities Act with respect to our initial public offering of our Class A common shares represented by ADSs.

We are subject to the periodic reporting and other informational requirements of the Exchange Act. Under the Exchange Act, we are required to file reports and other information with the SEC, including the annual filing of a Form 20-F within four months after the end of each fiscal year. Our company’s fiscal year ends on February 28/29. The SEC maintains a website at www.sec.gov that contains reports, proxy and information statements, and other information regarding registrants that make electronic filings with the SEC using its EDGAR system. Copies of reports and other information, when filed, may also be inspected without charge and may be obtained at prescribed rates at the public reference facilities maintained by the SEC at 100 F Street, N.E., Room 1580, Washington, D.C. 20549. The public may obtain information regarding the Washington, D.C. Public Reference Room by calling the SEC at 1-800-SEC-0330. As a foreign private issuer, we are exempt from the rules under the Exchange Act prescribing the furnishing and content of quarterly reports and proxy statements, and officers, directors and principal shareholders are exempt from the reporting and short-swing profit recovery provisions contained in Section 16 of the Exchange Act.

We will furnish JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., the depositary of our ADSs, with our annual reports, which will include a review of operations and annual audited consolidated financial statements prepared in conformity with U.S. GAAP, and all notices of shareholders’ meetings and other reports and communications that are made generally available to our shareholders. The depositary will make such notices, reports and communications available to holders of ADSs and, upon our request, will mail to all record holders of ADSs the information contained in any notice of a shareholders’ meeting received by the depositary from us. We will file our annual report on Form 20-F, including our audited financial statements, with the SEC. Form 20-F can be accessed on the SEC’s website as well the investor relations section of our website. Investors may request a hard copy of our annual report, free of charge, by contacting us.

I.       Subsidiary Information

Not applicable.

Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk

Interest Rate Risk

Our exposure to interest rate risk primarily relates to the interest income generated by excess cash invested in liquid investments. Our future interest income may fluctuate due to changes in market interest rates.

On February 1, 2019, we signed a 3-year $600 million term and revolving facilities agreement with a group of arrangers led by Deutsche Bank AG, Singapore Branch. The facilities, a $270 million 3-year bullet maturity term loan and a $330 million 3-year revolving facility, are priced at 175 basis points over LIBOR.

As of February 28, 2021, we had drawn down $270 million three-year bullet maturity term loan under the facility commitment. In March 2021, we repaid the drawn down amount and terminated the facility.

As of February 28, 2021, we had no other short-term or long-term borrowings associated with floating rate.

We have not been exposed, nor do we anticipate being exposed, to material risks due to changes in interest rates. Currently, we do not have any derivative financial instruments to manage our interest risk exposure.

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Foreign Exchange Risk

The value of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar and other currencies is affected by changes in China’s political and economic conditions and by China’s foreign exchange policies, among other things. After the PRC government changed its policy of pegging the value of Renminbi to the U.S. dollar in 2005, the Renminbi has fluctuated against the U.S. dollar, at times significantly and unpredictably. With the development of the foreign exchange market and progress towards interest rate liberalization and Renminbi internationalization, the PRC government may in the future announce further changes to the exchange rate system and there is no guarantee that the Renminbi will not appreciate or depreciate significantly in value against the U.S. dollar in the future. It is difficult to predict how market forces or PRC or U.S. government policy may impact the exchange rate between the Renminbi and the U.S. dollar in the future.

Appreciation or depreciation in the value of the Renminbi relative to the U.S. dollar would affect our financial results reported in U.S. dollar terms without giving effect to any underlying change in our business or results of operations. Fluctuations in the exchange rate will also affect the relative value of any dividend we issue that will be exchanged into U.S. dollars and earnings from, and the value of, any U.S. dollar-denominated investments we make in the future. We have invested in derivative financial instruments such as the exchange option contracts that may hedge our exposure to foreign currency risks to a certain extent. Although our exposure to foreign exchange risks should be limited in general, the value of your investment in our ADSs is affected by the foreign exchange rate between U.S. dollar and Renminbi because the value of our business is effectively denominated in RMB, while the ADSs are traded in U.S. dollars.

Moreover, to the extent that we need to convert U.S. dollars into Renminbi for our operations, appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the RMB amount we receive from the conversion. To the extent that we seek to convert Renminbi into U.S. dollars, depreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar would have an adverse effect on the RMB amount we receive from the conversion. Assuming we had converted the U.S. dollar-denominated cash and cash equivalent, restricted cash and short investments balance of $5,406.6 million as of February 28, 2021 into RMB at the exchange rate of $1.00 for RMB6.473 as of February 28, 2021, this cash balance would have been RMB34,996.7 million. Assuming a 1.0% appreciation of the Renminbi against the U.S. dollar, this cash balance would have decreased to RMB34,646.7 million as of February 28, 2021.

Item 12.    Description of Securities Other than Equity Securities

A.       Debt Securities

Not applicable.

B.       Warrants and Rights

Not applicable.

C.       Other Securities

Not applicable.

D.       American Depositary Shares

Fees and Charges Our ADS holders May Have to Pay

The depositary may charge each person to whom ADSs are issued, including, without limitation, issuances against deposits of shares, issuances in respect of share distributions, rights and other distributions, issuances pursuant to a share dividend or share split declared by us or issuances pursuant to a merger, exchange of securities or any other transaction or event affecting the ADSs or deposited securities, and each person surrendering ADSs for withdrawal of deposited securities or whose ADRs are cancelled or reduced for any other reason, $5.00 for each 100 ADSs (or any portion thereof) issued, delivered, reduced, cancelled or surrendered, as the case may be. The depositary may sell (by public or private sale) sufficient securities and property received in respect of a share distribution, rights and/or other distribution prior to such deposit to pay such charge.

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The following additional charges shall be incurred by the ADR holders, by any party depositing or withdrawing shares or by any party surrendering ADSs or to whom ADSs are issued (including, without limitation, issuance pursuant to a share dividend or share split declared by us or an exchange of shares regarding the ADRs or the deposited securities or a distribution of ADSs), whichever is applicable:

a fee of $1.50 per ADR or ADRs for transfers of certificated or direct registration ADRs;
a fee of up to $0.05 per ADS for any cash distribution made pursuant to the deposit agreement;
a fee of up to $0.05 per ADS per calendar year (or portion thereof) for services performed by the depositary in administering the ADRs (which fee may be charged on a periodic basis during each calendar year and shall be assessed against holders of ADRs as of the record date or record dates set by the depositary during each calendar year and shall be payable in the manner described in the next succeeding provision);
reimbursement of such fees, charges and expenses as are incurred by the depositary and/or any of the depositary’s agents (including, without limitation, the custodian and expenses incurred on behalf of holders in connection with compliance with foreign exchange control regulations or any law or regulation relating to foreign investment) in connection with the servicing of the shares or other deposited securities, the delivery of deposited securities or otherwise in connection with the depositary’s or its custodian’s compliance with applicable law, rule or regulation (which charge shall be assessed on a proportionate basis against holders as of the record date or dates set by the depositary and shall be payable at the sole discretion of the depositary by billing such holders or by deducting such charge from one or more cash dividends or other cash distributions);
a fee for the distribution of securities (or the sale of securities in connection with a distribution), such fee being in an amount equal to the fee for the execution and delivery of ADSs which would have been charged as a result of the deposit of such securities (treating all such securities as if they were shares) but which securities or the net cash proceeds from the sale thereof are instead distributed by the depositary to those holders entitled thereto;
share transfer or other taxes and other governmental charges;
cable, telex and facsimile transmission and delivery charges incurred at your request in connection with the deposit or delivery of shares;
transfer or registration fees for the registration of transfer of deposited securities on any applicable register in connection with the deposit or withdrawal of deposited securities; and
expenses of the depositary in connection with the conversion of foreign currency into U.S. dollars.

We will pay all other charges and expenses of the depositary and any agent of the depositary (except the custodian) pursuant to agreements from time to time between us and the depositary. The charges described above may be amended from time to time by agreement between us and the depositary.

Fees and Other Payments Made by the Depositary to Us

Our depositary has agreed to contribute us for certain expenses we incur that are related to establishment and maintenance of the ADR program, including investor relations expenses and exchange application and listing fees. There are limits on the amount of expenses for which the depositary will contribute us, and the amount of contribution available to us is not entirely related to the amounts of fees the depositary collects from investors. For the fiscal year ended February 28, 2021, we have received an insignificant amount of reimbursement from the depositary, which was paid to us for expenses incurred in connection with the establishment and maintenance of the ADS program.

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PART II

Item 13.    Defaults, Dividend Arrearages and Delinquencies

None.

Item 14.     Material Modifications to the Rights of Security Holders and Use of Proceeds

None.

Item 15.     Controls and Procedures

Disclosure Controls and Procedures

As of the end of the period covered by this annual report, our management, with the participation of our chief executive officer and chief financial officer, has performed an evaluation of the effectiveness of our disclosure controls and procedures within the meaning of Rules 13a-15(e) and 15d-15(e) of the Exchange Act. Based upon this evaluation, our management has concluded that, as of February 28, 2021, our existing disclosure controls and procedures were effective.

Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting

Our management is responsible for establishing and maintaining adequate internal control over financial reporting. Our internal control system was designed to provide reasonable assurance regarding the reliability of financial reporting and the preparation and fair presentation of its published consolidated financial statements. All internal control systems, no matter how well designed, have inherent limitations. Therefore, even those systems determined to be effective may not prevent or detect misstatements and can provide only reasonable assurance with respect to financial statement preparation and presentation. Also, projections of any evaluation of effectiveness to future periods are subject to the risk that controls may become inadequate because of changes in conditions, or that the degree of compliance with the policies or procedures may deteriorate.

Our management conducted an assessment of the design and operation effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting as of February 28, 2021. In making this assessment, we used the criteria established within the Internal Control-Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). Based on this assessment, our management has concluded that, as of February 28, 2021, our internal control over financial reporting was effective.

Our management identified one material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting as of February 29, 2020 in accordance with the standards established by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board of the United States and concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was not effective due to this material weakness as of February 29, 2020. The material weakness identified related to our failure to timely update our design on controls with a sufficient level of precision to prevent and detect misstatements related to our newly developed business. Specifically, the material weakness was a combination of control deficiencies surrounding Light Class business where transactions were conducted through agents, including: (1) lack of continuous and sufficient risk assessment and monitoring on the newly developed business along with the expansion of such business; (2) inadequate review over vendor selection and approval; (3) insufficient review over approval of supplemental agreements; (4) insufficient review over the business substance when approving expenditure payments by the operation department; and (5) insufficient monitoring over hospitality expenses incurred related to newly developed business in light of the higher risks of the potential FCPA violation. The material weakness resulted in restatement of our unaudited quarterly financial statements for the periods ended May 31, August 31 and November 30, 2019, respectively, to reflect correction of errors which led to reversal of our net revenues and net income attributable to our company for the first nine months of fiscal year 2020 in the aggregate amount of US$86.1 million and US$26.6 million, respectively.

We have taken a number of measures to remedy the material weakness and the deficiencies that have been identified, including (1) established a compliance committee; (2) established an internal control department to optimize design; (3) released updated policies and rules related to expense reimbursement, supplier management and contract management; (4) launched new modules in the IT systems to support the implementation of updated policies and rules; (5) released and implemented policies and protocols for FCPA issues (e.g. employee FCPA training).

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Our management has concluded that our internal control over financial reporting was effective as of February 28, 2021 after the remediation. However, we cannot assure you that we will not identify any additional material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in the future. For risks and uncertainties related to our internal control, see “Item 3. Key Information—D. Risk Factors-Risks Related to Our Business—Failure to maintain effective internal controls over financial reporting could cause us to inaccurately report our financial result or fail to prevent fraud and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and the trading price of our ADSs.”

Our independent registered public accounting firm, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Certified Public Accountants LLP, has issued an attestation report on our internal control over financial reporting. That attestation report appears below.

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REPORT OF INDEPENDENT REGISTERED PUBLIC ACCOUNTING FIRM

TO THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS OF TAL EDUCATION GROUP

Opinion on Internal Control over Financial Reporting

We have audited the internal control over financial reporting of TAL Education Group and its subsidiaries (the “Company”), as of February 28, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control—Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO). In our opinion, the Company maintained, in all material respects, effective internal control over financial reporting as of February 28, 2021, based on criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework (2013) issued by COSO.

We have also audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the consolidated financial statements as of and for the year ended February 28, 2021, of the Company and our report dated May 7, 2021, expressed an unqualified opinion on those financial statements.

Basis for Opinion

The Company’s management is responsible for maintaining effective internal control over financial reporting and for its assessment of the effectiveness of internal control over financial reporting, included in the accompanying Management’s Annual Report on Internal Control over Financial Reporting. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company’s internal control over financial reporting based on our audit. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and