Thinking Citizen Blog — The Incredible Story of Yu Minhong and New Oriental Education (NYSE — EDU)

John Muresianu
4 min readJan 22, 2022


Thinking Citizen Blog: Friday is Education and Education Policy Day

Today’s Topic — The Incredible Story of Yu Minhong (1962 — ) and New Oriental Education (NYSE — EDU)

Yu Minhong is the founder of a Chinese education company which three years ago had 88,000 employees and 26 million students. “Approximately 70% of Chinese students studying in the US and Canada have taken English classes from the firm.” Its stock still trades on the New York Stock Exchange with the symbol EDU. A year ago the company was valued at $30 bn. Today that value is under $2 billion. Revenues have plummeted 80% and 60,000 employees have been fired. Why? In 2021, Xin Jinping began a regulatory crackdown on for-profit education industry reminiscent of that of the Obama administration in the United States a little over a decade ago. Was the Chinese crackdown warranted? Or is this the buying opportunity of the century? Who is Yu Mi]nhong anyway? Today’s post focuses on the last question. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.

THE RAGS TO RICHES STORY OF YU MINHONG — “the richest teacher in China”

1. He was born into rural poverty and twice failed the entrance exam to Beijing University. When he was finally accepted he was “placed in a class for sub-standard students because he could not speak standard Chinese.”

2. “Yu was a poor student, both financially and academically. In his junior year, pneumonia forced him to take a year off. After graduation in 1985, many classmates went abroad for further education, Yu began to apply for US universities while teaching English in Beijing University. After three years, Yu was accepted by a university. His requests for overseas study visas were repeatedly denied.”

3. He founded New Oriental in 1993. “In 2010 it was the largest private educational enterprise in China, with approximately 10.5 million enrolment, 465 learning centers in 44 cities and 29 bookstores.”

NB: “As of November 30, 2015, New Oriental had a network of 63 schools, 720 learning centers, 25 New Oriental bookstores and over 5,000 third-party bookstores and over 17,000 teachers in 53 cities, as well as an online network with approximately 11.9 million registered users.” New Oriental was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2006. The stock rose from $.60 a share to almost $20 per share in the next 15 years. It now trades at $1.60 per share !!!


1. “My biggest dream is to found a private university, and for it to be one of China’s top educational institutions after 40–50 years of development.”

2. “When applying for higher education, my dream is for the best high school graduates to take my university into consideration, along with the likes of Tsinghua and Beijing University.”

NB: Yu Minhong is a member of the central committee of the China Democratic League which is “one of the eight legally recognized minor political parties in the People’s Republic of China under the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front.”

HIS PHILOSOPHY — “hewing a stone of hope out of a mountain of despair”

1. “Hew a stone of hope out of a mountain of despair and you can make your life a splendid one.”

2. “In the beginning, there were no roads in the world; only as people began traveling did roads come into being. Successful roads are formed not when people roam aimlessly, but when they are headed in the same direction.”

3.“The same is true for New Oriental; it was formed as people gathered to study. And like a successful road, it did not achieve its success by chance. People who shared dreams and aspirations worked together to forge an exciting trail.”

NB: “The road ahead will be even longer and more arduous, because our goals are even grander. But with a clear mission, dedicated hearts and the pioneering spirit that has driven us from the beginning, we’re certain that our strength, wisdom, and energy will enable us to write a new page in the records of China’s educational undertaking.”


“Yu is married and has a son and a daughter. His wife and daughter immigrated to Canada in 1995.” (first link below)

American Dreams in China — Wikipedia

China Democratic League — Wikipedia

Why New Oriental Education Stock Plummeted 74% Last Month | The Motley Fool

7 Top Education Stocks | The Motley Fool


PDF with headlines — Google Drive


Please share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to education or education policy. Or the coolest thought however half-baked you had. Or the coolest, most important thing you learned in your life related to education or education policy that the rest of us may have missed. Or just some random education-related fact that blew you away.

This is your chance to make some one’s day. Or to cement in your own mind something that you might otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than otherwise about something that is dear to your heart.



John Muresianu

Passionate about education, thinking citizenship, art, and passing bits on of wisdom of a long lifetime.