I'd like to keep going with this thread. First of all, as many others have pointed out on this forum, you've got a wonderful website that is very helpful is all sorts of aspects.
I'm interested in opening an educational consultancy. Actually, the school would be a major department in my company. Now, I've made some great friends in the local government, who are happy to help me accomplish this, but it seems that they know even less about setting up than I. I also have read your articles on opening an English school. Good stuff. What surprised me, then, is that a couple officials from the local Department of Education told me (along with my government friends) that, according to PRC law, a foreigner is not allowed to open an English school in the PRC (didn't get the name of the books they were quoting, but they looked somewhat official). I listened carefully, and simply said that I thought there were already foreign-owned English schools operating in China. They were in turn surprised, responding with a resounding 不会把, only to be finished with an 一定不会. I also asked them how to apply for an SAFEA certificate for employing foreign experts and one for introducing foreign experts to other educational institutions, to which they replied (translated), "Since it's illegal for a foreigner to own a school in China, it's illegal for one to receive an SAFEA certificate for employing foreign experts."
Anyways, to be a bit direct, how did you open your school in Jilin? Was it a JV or WFOE? How did you go about applying and receiving SAFEA licensing/certification? I talked with the SAFEA in Beijing. They told me to talk to the provincial FAO, which I did. The provincial FAO told me to talk to the local FAO, which I did, along with the Foreign Economic and Trade Bureau. They told me to talk to the local AIC, since they had never encountered such a request, which I did. The local AIC told me to go to the local DOE; I did. My friend from the local DOE made literally over 20 phone calls to local and provincial officials, which finally brought me back to the local FETB, where my friend there told me how to get a consultancy license, but that he didn't know how to get a license for a foreigner to open an English school, let alone the SAFEA certificates. That all happened yesterday. This is so much fun I can hardly stand it. Any advice?