Global Education Management Systems Education (GEMS), the biggest private-schools operator in the UAE, is planning to invest as much as US$18 million (Dh66.1m) to open its first school in China.
"China is one of the biggest and fastest-growing economies in the world," said GEMS.
"With that growth comes foreign investment. The level of investment is unprecedented and those expatriate families living and working in China require international schools in order to deliver the educational needs of both parents and children."
GEMS began with a single Indian primary school in Dubai in 1968. It is now the largest network of private schools in the Emirates. It also has dozens of schools across the Middle East, India and Europe.
Sunny Varkey, the chairman and founder of GEMS, has said he wants the company's schools to become the largest network in the world.
Some of GEMS's new additions include a school in Nawalgarh, Rajasthan, which opened in July, and a location in Gurgaon, India, due to open in April 2012.
The GEMS World Academy planned for Tianjin, however, is its first entry into China. It is being built through a joint venture with Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City Investment and Development. It will offer the International Baccalaureate programme to 2,000 foreign students from pre-school through to secondary school.
GEMS's other targets include Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea. It opened an office in Singapore last November to help with its push into east Asia, China and the Pacific Rim.