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Investing in private education in Southeast Asia

Portrait of Thomas Klotz
Senior Partner
Singapore Office, Southeast Asia
+65 6597-4566
March 16, 2017

In Southeast Asia education is one of the most appealing sectors to private equity houses. However, early success stories in Singapore and Malaysia seem hard to replicate in other markets across the region. We believe investors need to shy from mainstream options, focus on limited niches and countries, and leverage technology to position themselves for mid-term value creation.

The economic and population growth in Southeast Asia has spurred the growth of private education, as parents aspire for their children to attain an even better standard of living. Education is viewed as essential, to attain this success.

As a result, private sector education has become quite sophisticated over the past 5 to 10 years. It was an estimated USD 90–110 billion in 2016, while the overall education sector is expected to grow 5-6% p.a., till 2020.

Further liberalization, integration and consolidation of the Southeast Asia education market are likely to happen, however with uncertain timelines. We believe certain segments off the beaten secondary and tertiary tracks will remain appealing to investors. We show what some private equity houses have done in the past. There are lessons to learn.

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Investing in private education in Southeast Asia

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In Southeast Asia education is one of the most appealing sectors to private equity houses. However, early success stories in Singapore and Malaysia seem hard to replicate in other markets across the region

Published March 2017. Available in