SINGAPORE (Mar 5): MindChamps Preschool launched a US$200 million ($265.4 million) fund last month to expand into China and realise its ambition of becoming a global brand in education. “We are running out of space here,” says executive chairman and CEO David Chiem on March 1, referring to the 39 centres MindChamps already has in Singapore. They currently contribute about 90% of earnings. “Australia and China will be shifting the balance this year, for sure.”

The impending expansion into China comes just four months after MindChamps acquired four preschool centres in Australia and sealed master franchise deals with partners in Vietnam and Myanmar. However, the scale of its planned expansion in China is likely to be significantly larger than any of these markets. The fund formed for this venture will be used to acquire existing preschools in China. These preschools will adopt the MindChamps brand, and their teachers will be put through the same compulsory training as teachers at its facilities in Singapore.

The fund, which was unveiled on Feb 18, is structured as a 50:50 joint venture with China First Capital Group, a Hong-Kong listed fund manager that was one of the three cornerstone investors in MindChamps when it launched its IPO in November. Wilson Sea, chairman and executive director of CFCG, tells The Edge Singapore that he has been urging Chiem to expand MindChamps as fast as possible. “I’ve been telling him, ‘You have such good stuff, you should share this with even more people more quickly.’”

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