Wall Street Indonesia has now opened its seventh branch, in the Paris Von Java Mall in Bandung. This is the chain’s first premises outside of Jakarta and hence it marks the first step in its much-vaunted expansion through Java. This is now its third school opening in the past three years, a period when other school chains, notably The British Institute, have been in the doldrums. Clearly, Wall Street English is on a roll, rapidly expanding its market share at the top or “premium” end of the TEFL market. This growth is a validation of WSI’s policy of rigorous compliance with the new DIKNAS regulations, which require teachers to have a degree in an English-related subject. Rather than trying to cheat the system like some of the TEFL academies, they have made an effort to raise educational standards and qualifications, and they are now reaping the rewards.
It is worth stressing that WSI typically have around 1200 students at a single centre, compared to around 200 to 250 at a TBI school. Further, they get more than twice as much money per month per student. Therefore, in terms of market share and revenue, a single WSI school is equal to between 5 and 10 TBIs. Admittedly their operating costs must be much higher as they have a slick, impressive marketing campaign and they rent expensive premises (such as the one in Paris Von Java Mall). TBI often contents itself with placing schools in houses or even rukos (cheap shop-houses) in low-profile neighborhoods, keeping costs way down, but it has nonetheless claimed to be WSI’s competitor. The claim is laughable: WSI are in another league.
It can now safely be said that WSI are emerging as the market leader for adults and top-end adult courses. Well-heeled Indonesians see them as the “premium” option, with TBI’s CD-players-in-rukos model looking very dated indeed. With the opening of WSI Bintaro in the coming months, and branches in Surabaya and Semarang being slated, WSI looks certain to leave TBI further and further behind.