Carlyle invests in Korean after-school private education(2)

The Carlyle Group will invest up to $20 million in Korea’s Topia Academy, an after-school private education business founded in 1995 by a former English lecturer.

The Carlyle Group will invest up to KRW 18.6 billion or $20 million in Topia Academy, to support continuing growth at one of Korea’s largest and most diversified after-school private education institute. The investment will be made from Carlyle’s $680 million Asia growth fund, according to a statement.

Founded in 1995, Topia offers supplementary curriculum and single-subject classes to 10,000 elementary and high school students across 14 schools and 12 franchise schools. It has also diversified into online and franchise education services while continuing to institutionalise its operation and broaden its revenue streams.

Kim Seok Hwan, founder and chief executive officer of Topia said: “Korean parents place a particular emphasis on education, leading to a thriving after-school private tuition sector of $8 billion in market size.”

After-school private tuition is also common across other Asian countries such as Japan, China and Singapore.

Wayne Tsou, head of Carlyle Asia Growth Capital group said: “We like this sector, which shows great resilience to economic cycles, and will continue to explore opportunities in this space in other Asian countries.”

Carlyle’s Asia growth group comprises 20 professionals across six offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Shanghai, Seoul and Tokyo. The most recent fund, closed ten months ago, has made eight investments in its four target markets.