SHANGHAI, May 17 (Reuters) - Canada's Visionary Education Technology Holdings Group said on Tuesday it expects to boost tuition fees over the next few years largely from Chinese students and hopefully earn more revenue from helping them and their families emigrate to Canada.
Canada has long been an attractive destination for Chinese students, and interest could accelerate if more Chinese families plan to move to North America, said Thomas Traves, chairman and CEO of Visionary Group, whose shares debut on Nasdaq on Tuesday.
There have been signs that China's tough Covid policies, which led to the lockdown of Shanghai and other cities, have fuelled discontent with the government among some Chinese, and led to a rise in emigration interest.
"I think that would be a good thing for us. So I'm happy if that is true," Traves told Reuters.
"If there's a demand to look at other countries as a place to live, then we'd be happy to see people come to Canada."
China has reaffirmed its commitment to a tough COVID-19 policy while Canada and many other countries have relaxed restrictions. Since China locked down the city of Shanghai in late March, emigration-focused chat groups have sprung up on China's popular WeChat messaging app.
Traves said Visionary Group's founders, who are Chinese immigrants themselves, have a vision to bolster immigration of students to Canada, and would take advantage of their deep connections to recruit students from China.
The company began its education business roughly two years ago. It aims to recruit several thousand students over the next couple of years, which "will ramp up our revenues very substantially," Traves said. Revenue from the existing real estate business would be stable, he added.
Traves said Canada has seen much greater demand recently from China for either immigration and education, and he sees no slowing down of that trend.
"We're just stepping into the middle of a fast moving river ... and we believe we have the opportunity now." (Reporting by Samuel Shen and Andrew Galbraith; Editing by David Gregorio)