Yu Minhong – New Oriental

Yu Minhong is the founder and CEO of the New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc. Born in a rural area in Jiangsu, China, Yu was admitted into Peking University in 1980 after failing the national entry exams two times. After only one year of schooling he was sent back home for a year having contracted pneumonia. Life continued to be challenging for him, after graduating from school in 1991 he unsuccessfully applied for a scholarship to pursue further education in the US. In order to save money, he started group English tutoring classes and in 1993 he registered his own company – New Oriental. He started as an English teacher using his experience to write a book on GRE vocabulary which has since become a bible for Chinese students preparing for GRE exams even now. In 2005 Yu Minhong started implementing his dreams to found a top private university by taking over Gengdan Institute of Beijing University of Technology. The institute is an independent undergraduate institution which operates under a new education mechanism and a mode of private tertiary education in China. In 2014, Yu as co-founder set up an angel investment fund, known as Hong Tai Fund (or Angel Plus), which focused on early-stage projects in media, culture, education, entertainment as well as high-tech and mobile Internet industries.

New Oriental Education & Technology Group Inc.was founded by Yu Minhong, in Beijing, China. The company started as an English learning school, for a while Yu was not only the boss but also the only English teacher. During the 90s with an increasing number of Chinese university grads choosing to go abroad to pursue further education, Yu’s school offered students effective strategies for passing the GRE and TOEFL exams. By 2010, the business expanded to the point that it was the largest private educational enterprise in China with approximately 10.5 million students enrolled and 465 learning centers in 44 cities and 29 bookstores.

In 2003 Yu renamed the company into the New Oriental Education and Technology Group and acted as the CEO. In 2006, the New Oriental Education and Technology Group got listed on the New York Stock Exchange, where it became the first Chinese educational institution to be listed on that stock market. Nowadays the company is still one of the largest private educational service in China and has further expand its service to include K-12 tutoring, online education, overseas study consulting, and textbook publishing. As of 2016, New Oriental has built 67 short-time language educational schools, 20 book stores, 771 learning centers, and more than 5,000 third-party bookstores in 56 cities in China. New Oriental has had over 26.6 million student enrollments, including over 1.3 million enrollments in first quarter 2017. The company’s market capitalization is now approximately US$14 billion.


His life experience spanning from roots as a rural poor student, progressing to enrolment in one of the top universities in China, and then as an English teacher founding the largest private educational company in China, serves as a model that inspires many Chinese people to dive into the business world and test their ideas.  In fact, his journey building up New Oriental has been made into a movie called “American Dreams in China”.

Before moving to Canada over 20 years ago I studied at his institute for a couple of months and was truly impressed with the testing strategies being taught there which helped enormously when I took a TOEFL test for my university entrance.




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3 responses to “Yu Minhong – New Oriental”

  1. Alice Shin

    What an accomplishment considering his circumstances which would otherwise cause most people to quit. His story is a testimony to sheer perseverence in light of several key failed attempts and setbacks, building on current experience, and pivoting an existing business upon identifying opportunities. It is not surprising that Chinese people – and anyone for that matter – would look to Yu MinHong for inspiration not only for ventures, but for success in life in general.

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  2. adrian wheeler

    Yu Minhong seems to be an excellent role-model for new entrepreneurs. His perseverance in the face of intense hardship is both inspiring and motivating. Stories like this can help entrepreneurs maintain their drive as they encounter the inevitable hurtles of a new business.

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  3. Menghan Guo

    I’ve previously read an interview with Minhong Yu. He believes that successful entrepreneurs must have five mindsets: change, curiosity, desire, fearlessness, and development, as well as eight additional abilities to run a successful company: target made, professional, marketing, transformation, social, employing, control, and innovation, based on his own experience. This, I believe, is the key to his success.

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