The office will open in Q3 2018, the company explained, and operate in partnership with a local company. Local staff are also being recruited to ease the firm’s transition into a new market.
“The number of students is more than enough for us to sustain this growth”
After starting by connecting students in Malaysia to universities in 2010, the firm saw fertile ground in the Middle East, and set up a second base in Saudi Arabia. The expansion into the new market came alongside a move into Vietnam, which was targeted due to the “demographic profile”.
The focus on Asia, explained Edwin Tay, CEO of EasyUni, is a product of the “imbalance between supply and demand” in regional HE.
“There is a huge supply of students who need to improve their conditions and go into HE, but the local universities are not able to supply that demand. [The problem is ] not so much the seats available, but more the quality of education or the perceived quality of education,” Tay said.
Indonesia is now a market showing the same burgeoning expectations, which Vietnam and the Middle East displayed, Tay relayed to The PIE News.
“Indonesia is also facing the same issues. They have a lot more universities… but most are private and not well funded. Hence the quality is not as expected by the population,” he argued.
“[It] has about 250 million people right now and huge numbers are going into the middle class and above, so more and more people are able to afford to go abroad to study.”
This rapid expansion has been made possible by successful funding rounds and outside investment, including from venture capital.
It is also influenced by a concentrated effort to cement dominance in markets before moving on.
“We really want to be the dominant player in all the countries we go into. So rather than stretch ourselves thin and go open up offices in Singapore, Brunei, Thailand, we’d rather go into one country and be strong there before we move on,” Tay disclosed.
Satisfied with market share in Malaysia, EasyUni is pivoting its focus.
“For the next year, we’re going to put more resources into Vietnam and Indonesia. We’ve started hiring people and that won’t stop for the next six months.”
“I don’t think [200% year-on-year growth] will stop for the next three years. The number of students there is more than enough for us to sustain this growth period,” Tay said.