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Profile: ATA Inc (ATAI.O)

ATAI.O on Consolidated Issue listed on NASDAQ Global Market

14 Dec 2017
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ATA Inc. (ATA), incorporated in September 2006, is a provider of computer-based testing services in China. The Company offers services for the creation and delivery of computer-based tests utilizing its test delivery platform, testing technologies and testing services in China. Its computer-based testing services are used for licensure and certification tests in various industries, including information technology (IT) services, banking, securities, teaching and insurance. The Company's computer-based testing services clients include professional associations, Chinese Governmental agencies and state-owned enterprises. As of March 31, 2016, the Company's test center network included approximately 3,035 test centers located throughout China. The Company's network allows its clients to administer computer-based and paper-based tests. The Company has delivered approximately 88.1 million tests, including approximately 11.8 million free tests for business development purposes. During the fiscal year ended March 31, 2016, approximately 10.4 million tests were delivered using its computer-based testing technologies and services.

The Company's computer-based testing technologies include its E-testing platform for delivering computer-based tests, its mobile testing platform called the Mobile Testing Service (MTS), its cloud-based online testing platform called EzTest, and its content creation and management technologies. Both MTS and EzTest platforms utilize cloud technology to transmit test data through portable mobile devices. Its computer-based testing technologies, including E-testing platform, MTS and EzTest, provide diversified solutions to test sponsors and clients in various circumstances. The Company's self-developed test content creation and management technologies include its Dynamic Simulation Technology, which is a performance-based testing technology. The Company also developed content creation technologies for the conversion of paper-based tests into computer-based formats. The Company administers a portfolio of test titles in China and also offers other test-focused services.

E-Testing Platform

The Company's E-testing platform integrates various technologies and protocols. It is customized for various types of test content and the specific requirements of the test sponsor. Tests delivered through its E-testing platform may be conducted at its ATA authorized test centers or at other locations at the test sponsor's discretion. The Company's E-testing platform is composed of a set of tools and applications for the computer-based testing process, including a network sub-system for managing and transferring test content, and test taker information and test results data. Its E-testing platform software applications are pre-installed on designated personal computers at the testing site prior to the test date and are designed to handle large-scale testing environments and are capable of transmitting, receiving, processing and storing large amounts of information. It delivers over 1,200,000 tests per day using its approximately 150 servers.

Mobile Testing Service

The Company's MTS obviates the need to pre-install software on designated personal computers at the testing site prior to the test date and allows the Company to monitor the status and process of an entire exam through a public local area network (LAN). Through the MTS, test packets can be downloaded to personal electronic devices prior to the exam, and candidate responses can be synced with the test server during the exam. MTS consists of approximately three components: a small MTS Box that is placed in the testing center and operated by onsite proctors to wirelessly connect between the MTS Cloud Server and the test takers' own electronic device, such as a personal computer or tablet; an MTS Cloud Server that processes the exchange of data, such as the upload or download of test data, between the MTS Box and its servers, and MTS Test Client, which is an application that supports multiple operating systems and enables data transmission between the MTS Box and test takers' personal electronic devices during live exams.

SAAS Mode Online Testing Platform

The Company's EzTest provides functions required by test delivery organizations and individuals, including item banking, test form composition, test delivery, online proctoring and test result analysis. EzTest functions on all computer system browsers and mobile system browsers without the need to install additional software or plug-ins. This enables its users to create their own content and deliver test at any time, any place and on any device.

Testing Development and Delivery Services

The Company's test delivery platform and technologies allows the Company to offer a set of services for the authoring, test delivery and result analysis of computer-based tests, as well as administrative services, such as test registration, scheduling, fee collection and certification fulfillment. The Company assists its clients with creating and delivering a range of computer-based tests, including governmental agencies with licensure tests required for positions within various governmental agencies and industry associations with tests that test the competence of individuals operating in certain industries, such as the National Unified Certified Public Accountants Exam, sponsored and regulated by the Chinese Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CICPA); the CICPA Certification of China Banking Professionals Exam, sponsored and regulated by China Banking Association (CBA) under the supervision of the China Banking Regulatory Commission; the National Tax Adviser Occupational Qualification Exam, sponsored and regulated by Chinese Certified Tax Agents Association (CCTAA); the Fund Practitioners Certification Exam, sponsored and regulated by the Asset Management Association of China (AMAC), under China Securities Regulatory Commission's (CSRC) supervision; the National Security Guard Exam, sponsored and regulated by the Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China, and corporate assessment services for large scale/day-to-day recruitment exercise and internal talent assessment purposes.

The Company assists its clients in developing computer-based tests, including performance-based items. Creation of computer-based tests involves a multi-step process: test design, test item authoring, test form and item bank construction, final user acceptance test, and continuous upgrades through result analysis and user feedback. Its computer-based tests can also be scheduled on an on-demand basis, or as regularly scheduled tests, which are prescheduled and taken by test takers at a designated time. The Company's computer-based testing delivery services include installing its E-testing platform on the computer system of its authorized test centers to enable centralized administrative tasks to be implemented for the test or, in the case of repeated clients, updating the platform as necessary, for new tests; providing technical support throughout the test administration process; updating test session information and performing test rehearsals and final test environment inspection; administering the test sessions and collecting responses from candidates, and processing test scores, summarizing and analyzing test scores and generating results. The Company also offers various logistical support services relating to test administration, which include managing test taker registration and scheduling; managing test fee collection; preparing and conducting pre-test training of personnel at each ATA authorized test center; providing test data management, such as test score publishing and inquiry, and printing and delivering certificates for test takers who have satisfied the test sponsor certification requirements. The Company is a distributor and test administrator of Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) exams in China, which are products of ETS. As of March 31, 2016, the Company has enabled the delivery of 7,507 Cambridge English Junior Exam in 22 countries or regions through its MTS.

HR Select Employee Assessment Solution

The Company's HR Select is an employee assessment solution that enables corporate human resources departments to test and analyze job applicants based on general, industry-specific and job-specific profiles and individual skill-sets, making a tool for campus recruitment, lateral hiring and internal promotions. HR Select offers tools for filtering and categorizing employee candidates, testing candidates and analyzing the test results. Employers using HR Select can choose to adopt various evaluation parameters, including general work skills, including foreign language skills, software application skills, management skills, reading comprehension ability and data processing skills; position-specific skills, including customized tests for IT, finance, management, customer service, administrative and sales positions, and compatibility traits, such as personal values, self-image, motivation and other personality traits. HR Select leverages the Company's computer-based testing technologies to allow employers to evaluate candidates on each of various properties and to analyze and categorize the results. Candidates are tested using the Company's E-testing platform at its authorized test centers or online at a place of their choosing. The Company's HR Select clients include domestic and foreign-invested companies in professional industries, such as insurance and banking.

Online Education Services

The Company offers online education services to test candidates preparing to take professional certification tests, as well as candidates aiming to fulfill their post qualification continuing educational requirement. The Company's online education services integrate its testing and assessment technologies with online education content targeted at professional licensure and certification tests in China. ATA Online's online education Website provides a platform aimed at helping candidates across China to fulfill their Continuous Professional Development (CPD) requirement after passing their professional licensure and certification tests delivered through its testing platform for the China Futures Association. The Company's joint venture provides online and mobile education solutions to professionals in China, with an initial focus on the healthcare, accounting and finance industries.

Data Storage and Security

The Company's test item authoring and test item bank management tools record and track all access and modifications to test items or the test item pool to detect any breaches to the security protocols. Once the test item banks are created, the content is encrypted and stored on its secure central servers or the client's servers. Its servers are located in a central machine room operated by one of the server hosting service providers in China. These servers are protected by firewalls and stored using NetApp equipment, which permits real-time back-up. The Company encrypts all test item banks using its self-developed encryption algorithm, which strive to prevent decryption or reverse engineering through the use of electronic fingerprinting, anti-tracking and trapping technologies.

The Company's software applications automatically compile individual test forms from the test item bank according to the test blueprint and pre-arranged parameters. During this process, no access of the content of individual test items is permitted and all steps in the process are digitally recorded. The encrypted test forms are delivered to the test site's server either on hard disc or through a network. The relevant information on each test taker is separately transferred in encrypted format to the test site through the Internet. A hardware dongle containing an encrypted time stamp is used to ensure that the test begins and ends on time. A hardware dongle is a hardware device that must be inserted into the universal serial bus (USB) port of the test site's central computer to decrypt and operate the test content. The Company designs its own hardware dongles, which integrates ATA-owned integrated circuit technology, and outsources its production to multiple factories in China. A decryption algorithm used along with the hardware dongle to complete decryption of test materials and commence the test.

Test center administrators confirm test takers' identities through photographs, fingerprints and other biometric data. It also issues to each test taker upon registration a password that must be inputted on the test day to start the test. Once the test session has begun, software installed as part of each test tracks all actions and operations taken during the test and records them on the test site central server in real time. The testing software prevents test takers from accessing any network during test time. When a test taker opens up a question, it is decrypted and displayed. To protect against cheating, the Company has invested in surveillance equipment and the order in which test answer choices appear is randomly generated with each answer choice encoded as a unique number and letter chain. Immediately upon the test taker's completion of each test item, the recorded data is re-encoded and re-encrypted. In many instances, tests are scored on the test site server immediately following conclusion of the test and subsequently uploaded to its central servers. All transferred data is encrypted and data code integrity is verified using the technologies, including MD5 and Hash. Following scoring, the Company stores all test content and results on its firewall-protected central servers.

Company Address


1/F East Gate, Building No.2
Jian Wai Soho,No.39 Dng Sn Hn Zh
Chao Yang District
BEIJING   BEJ   100022
P: +8610.65181122
F: +8610.58698106

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