An article featured in The China Post back in May shone a spotlight on the insanely competitive public school exams in Hong Kong that have created a million-dollar tutoring industry and celebrity tutors with cult-like followings.
The million dollar smiles and flashy facade of Richard Eng and Alex Lam are plastered on the sides of buses and gigantic billboards in downtown Hong Kong. They drive Lamborghini’s and live in multi-million dollar palaces. You’d think they were the latest soap opera stars or reality show obsessions. But what makes Mr. Eng and Mr. Lam so popular are their tutoring businesses. Yep, you heard right–they’re private tutors who’ve reached celebrity status in the hyper competitive, exam obsessed education system in Hong Kong.
It’s estimated that in this former British colony, the tutoring industry is worth an exorbitant $51 million, with at least half of all secondary students enrolled in after-school tutoring. And with parents desperate to see their children succeed in Hong Kong’s cut-throat exam system, they’re willing to shell out massive sums to make it happen. Eng and Lam have cashed in and built tutoring empires that are worth millions. Eng even plans on taking his company, Beacon College, public.
So what does this mean for tutors in the west? With more and more emphasis put on standardized testing and admission into top universities and college creeping further and further out of reach, will we soon find this same exam crazed phenomenon that’s swept through high schools in Hong Kong right here in middle America? We’re definitely heading in that direction.
What techniques do you use to attract students to your tutoring business? It may not be billboards on the sides of buses, but we’d love to hear what works for you.
Check out this post for more detail