Inlingua studies AEC opportunities
The Thai operator of Inlingua International School of Languages is eyeing expansion into Vietnam and Myanmar to cash in on opportunities arising from the imminent Asean Economic Community (AEC).
John Tyler, managing director of Inlingua Thailand, said school executives had visited Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam to look for new branch opportunities.
"Vietnam and Myanmar are the two countries in our future business pipeline," he said, adding that an Inlingua branch could open in Vietnam in the next three to five years.
Mr Tyler said Vietnam had the brightest potential among the countries visited due to its huge population, 91 million.
The country will be one of the most attractive investment destinations for foreign investors after the AEC kicks off late this year, he said.
At home, Inlingua Thailand will continue to open at least one new language school a year.
It now operates 20 branches nationwide.
Mr Tyler said knowledge of the coming AEC was encouraging Thais to be more active in developing their English-language skills.
"Thailand is able to become the centre of Asean because of its geographical location, industry support and population size," he said.
"English is the country's only weak point."
With that in mind, the school has created Dots by Inlingua, a programme aimed at teaching English to one-year-old babies for the proper development of their language abilities.
Dots by Inlingua has received a good response from customers, with demand for the programme beating expectations, Mr Tyler said.
Meanwhile, corporate demand for language training grew by 15-20%, much higher than more usual annual growth of 5%. English and Chinese dialects are the most popular languages taught at Inlingua.
But Mr Tyler said the economic environment was affecting overall business, with revenue growth of only 5% expected this year, down from 15-20% annually over the past five years.
Yet demand continues to grow thanks to parents wanting to spend money to improve their children's English.