Foreign-owned buxibans/anqinbans

I’m getting hitched fairly soon[color=red]*[/color], and with the flexibility and freedom that a Joining Family ARC and an Open Work Permit gives, I am considering starting my own biz. I am particularly interested to hear from anyone who has opened a legal combination anqinban/buxiban. I know very little about anqinbans, and I do not know any foreigners who own one or work in one. I’d be interested to hear other foreigner’s experiences.

I’m pretty familiar with most aspects of the buxiban biz, but if you have some comments to share regarding the operation of a buxiban, please feel free to share them here too.

We’re getting our marriage license first, but the xijiu won’t be until next year when my whole family can make it out here. Don’t worry, I’ll set aside a table or two…

I am interested in this one too.

Have two large An Ching schools and am planning to open up #3 (I hope) in August.

I won’t spoil all the fun for you but a good An Ching program is where the loot is :smiley: You are on the right track.

As I understand it, an Anqin ban is basically afterschool care, or a homework centre. They don’t necessarily have to teach English. They’re especiually useful for Grades 1 and 2 who finish school at lunchtime 4 days a week. After school they go to the Anqin Ban where they have there own classes. They usually have a sleep first. There’s a teacher who looks after them and helps them with their homework and stuff. Then they might have some special lessons like Math, help with Chinese, and of course English. Some Anqin bans have gone all-English and others offer English classes on the side. I’ve worked parttime for a long time in a school which is a combination Anqin Ban/English school. Some kids just attend the Anqin Ban, others just come in for 4 hours of English lessons a week, but more than half do both. Oh yeah, kindergartens will often (even usually) have their own Anqin Ban. This is so that their ‘graduates’ can go there after school once they’re in Grade 1 and 2 (usually only up to Grade two for these ones), and sometimes for the older sibs of the kindy kids.


Got to make sure the Anjinban is legal. And follows the city requirements like firesafety. Otherwise competing Anjinban’s will give you a bad name and draw business away from you. A friend of a friend bought an Anjinban for a large sum but had to close it because it wasn’t legal according to the regulations… Him and his investors are SOL.

if you run into regulation problems, look up your local buxiban association. in fact, unless you are personally or otherwise familiar with the licensing regulations–which are a huge headache and always changing of course–I strongly recommend you do so before you rent a place. you may find that you cannot get it licensed for one reason or another. you may have to pay more than you’d like for this service but it is worth it unless you are able to wade thru the red tape yourself.

Maoman and BH,

Here are some random thoughts. So much stuff to consider/write about.

Picking up kids from twelve different schools at practically the same time. Speed is important as parents whine if the kids wait too long at school. We have four of our own buses as well as charter everything from freeway buses to taxis. Scheduling the transportation should only be done in the company of drinks (Greyhounds work best).

Can’t find a kid we are supposed to pick up. Panic…despair…lawsuits. Phone calls back to the school. Is he there? No. Run to his classroom…panic…we’re fked. Ask his teacher, “have you see him?”. No. Can I escape to the border before the parents catch me? Last resort…call mom to tell her we can’t find her child…feel ill…dizzy…we’re really fked…“Mrs. Blah, we have…ahhh…umm…been unable to pick up your child because…ahhh…ummm…we can’t find him.” “Oh, I picked him up at school today because he has a piano recital. I didn’t call you to tell you there is no need to pick him up today?” THIS S**T HAPPENS ALL THE TIME!

Okay, got the kids to school. Now we have to divide them up by both their English level and their grade level. Should be easy…ahhh…wait…different primary schools use different textbooks. Try teaching a class where everybody has a different book.

“My son has studied English for four years. I know he can handle level ‘D’” “Listen lady, I just gave your son our placement test and he couldn’t write his name and when I asked him a question, he sang me the ABC song.” “Oh yes, my husband and I thought singing was very important to his English ability.” (slap!)

“My son has studied English for four years in an immersion program. We feel that English is very important.” “Well, yes it is but you neglected to teach your son his mother tongue. He starts first grade next week and he is a year behind all the other kids who were unfortunate enough to have a balanced education.” “Oh that’s okay, I’m sure you have time to give him extra (ie free) one-to-one tutoring. Say 20 hours a week?”

With just having a night school you only have to worry about English. An Ching, you have to worry about English, Chinese, math, and civics. A student will leave if he/she does poorly in any of those subjects. "What? My son got a 93 on his math test. I’m leaving…this school is no good. "“Listen mister, your kid’s teacher took off marks because she couldn’t read the answers where your son’s drool smudged the writing. He is in first grade now and perhaps he would be able to focus more if you weened him from his pacifier.”

Part 2…The English Schedule…

Duris Bane,

Your responses on this thread are conflicting. First you encourage Maoman to open anqinban because of the money, and then you rant about every aspect of one, from transport, to parents, to kids. What’s your stance really? And why do you drink greyhounds when seabreezes are so much more refreshing?
All sounds like a big headache to me.


I think it is important to let Maoman know what he is getting into. It would not be fair to paint a picture that is all roses and vodka!

Hey, I love my job and I love what I am doing. Something weird happens everyday…constantly challenged. And of course, there are the rewards. I get to work when I want to (need to) and the loot (but I won’t touch that aspect of the schools because talking about money in public is crass).

I’ll drink anything, as long as it has one of those cute paper umbrellas in the glass!

I not only thought about this but I did the math. I would actually make less money for the same number of hours and have a hell of a lot more stress owning my own school. It would take at least five years to come out better, averaging out pay and benefits. I decided that a much better investment would be a house in Idaho.

Random thoughts for you, Maoman, because you paid for them :smiley:

1.) saturday morning detention/make-up classes

2.) night classes are scheduled per class/ anching, per month

3.) standardized teaching and tests

4.) do not buy programs or franchises, make your own

5.) anching and kefu classes/ make sure their homework is finished before they go home.

6.) high academic standards for English, keep the singing and dancing BS out.

7.) know what is being taught in elementary schools and how they are teaching it.

8.) No Chinese in the classroom during English class.

9.) Don’t rent, buy.

10.) All schools are pretty much the same, the difference is in quality of instruction and service.

11.) communicate with the parents often.

12.) train your foreign teachers well and keep them on a short leash. Spell everything out for them. They are not your friends, they are employees.

13.) “ping liang” sheets for Chinese and math.

14.) keep the school clean.

15.) work during the school year but ease up on the students during winter and summer breaks. Have activities during that time.

16.) find something that makes your school unique

hope this helps

Duris Bane,

What would you have to say about the location of the Anching Ban? Does it matter? And how did you advertise starting out?

Perhaps you could tell us a little more about how much work and money you have put into your schools and what they have put out for you.

It is best if the an ching ban is close to an elementary school or if not, then a kindy. It would be best if it is near both. We are lucky in that we have two kindys that were already established and so advertising was easy.

EOD, whew… talking about money…I will try to do this in a tasteful way. :blush: I would recommend start up loot at $1,000,000NT. This depends on where you are and how big the school is. But that figure should get you a pretty nice school with all the goodies. Our start up costs were much more than that but we justified the cost as 1.) It is a large school and 2.) We knew that we wanted to open up other schools so we wanted the flagship to look good. I would venture to say that owning a school might, and I emphasize “might”, be the most lucrative job a foreigner can have in Taiwan. I have no regrets opening schools.

All this being said, it is not easy. You have to bust your ass. Too many schools fighting for market shares, a poor economy and now this SARS stuff. Really need to do your research and choose good material and be very organized. If you find a good place, put together a good program (don’t buy an established program, no, no, no), work your fingers to the bone, and develop something unique about your school, then you should do fine.

I used to work in a place like that. I taught one group from daban through second grade (8 hours a week in 1st and 2nd grade). They had, by far, the best spoken English of any kids I ever taught. They were even reading and writing fairly well by second grade. If I ever decide to go back to Taiwan it would probably be to open up a combo anqingban/English school. Of course I haven’t taught in 6 years, so that would probably be a mistake!

How about posting your calculations?

Speaking of foreign-owned buxibans, how many people know foreigners who have been screwed out of their language schools by their local partners?

A lot of them screw their local business partners on a regular basis…

Why does everyone poo-poo these franchises?

Fill me in!


Please define “screw” for me.
It has been my experience that partnerships don’t work. Taiwan is no exception and may be one of the best places to prove my point.
If business is bad it is the partners fault. If business is good the partner is cheating you out of your share. The only partnerships that work are with “the” wife or “the” husband. The divorce rate is around 50% so even those partnerships are risky.
The way my wife and I figured it, minimum start up cost was around 200,000 to 300,000 Nt. outside of Taipei. For the first two years it may not make any real money and I would have to take on part time work to cover living expenses. After 2 years it may start making almost as much as I make now, working for somebody else.
Having 1,000,000 Nt. to start a new business is great so long as it is not your money. Family connections also play a vital role in business success. Basically if you are not Chinese you have none outside of your in-laws.
The house in Idaho cost me 10,000us$ down payment with monthly payments around 1000 US$. I rent it out for 750$ a month and the property increases in value almost 3-5% a year. Even if the whole island closes down, the Chinese invade or I lose everything in the next big earthquake, I still have the equity in that house and I am currently looking at buying another here.