How to Connect with International Chinese Students?

international Chinese students

For almost all Chinese students and their parents, the reward of studying abroad is defined as the premium over studying in China.

Home to almost one and a half billion people, it is no secret that China is the world’s most populous country and also the biggest market in the world. When it comes to the foreign students market, with over 40 million students enrolled in higher education, it is indeed the market leader.

International Chinese Students Market Insights

According to recent research on ICEF monitor, a record number of Chinese students were studying for a degree abroad in 2021: an astonishing one million! On top of that, over two hundred thousand students are located all over the world in student exchange programs.

Chinese student recruitment abroad

China’s slowing down the growth rate and effects of covid-19

Though growth in China has begun to decelerate, it remains the top study-abroad market globally. Many experts forecast that spending on education will increase throughout the next few decades too.

China, the world’s leading sender of students internationally, has maintained its top spot even though COVID-19 and chaotic changes to international relations.

International Chinese Students

Scholarships and non-English-speaking countries

However, since students studying abroad are not all from extremely wealthy families, non-English speaking countries where the universities charge less in tuition fees are becoming increasingly popular.

While most students from China were self-funded, relying on their parent’s support, the number of students who became scholarship recipients had been increasing over the years.

The United Kingdom or the United States?

The UK and US were, until recently, the most desired locations for Chinese students who wish to study abroad. Together, they accounted for 70 percent of all Chinese students abroad. However, due to more complicated visa requirements in the United States as well as heightened tensions between these two superpower countries, that number has been decreasing.

In contrast, 40 percent of China’s total student population is currently enrolled in or intends to enroll in universities located in the UK by 2022.

Other popular destinations include Australia, Japan, Canada, and Korea.

Chinese student enrollment by countries

Motivations for Chinese students to study abroad

Limited space on best local universities

In China, some of the best universities are public universities that get most of their support from the government. Although the number of institutions for higher education and students enrolled in universities in China has increased significantly in the last few years, the pathways to gaining admission to good universities are still limited.

The national exam “Gaokao”

For most people, the national exam “Gaokao” remains the only way to enter a good public university. Therefore, students are studying abroad to avoid the national exam and to gain admission to a better-ranked university.

For some study programs, overseas institutions are better equipped and can provide a more international academic environment. These qualities attract a lot of Chinese scholars. People who have studied abroad are considered to have global insight and better language skills, which makes them more competitive in China’s recruitment market.

recruit chinese students - why they want to study abroad

International horizons

A survey conducted in 2022 revealed that almost 70% of Chinese students interviewed who were planning to study abroad stated that they wanted to do so because it would expand their international horizons. In contrast, only 24 percent said they were interested in studying overseas due to foreign cultures.

3 Tips on how to reach and recruit international Chinese students

A tailored digital marketing strategy is the key

Developing a digital marketing strategy tailored to Chinese students and their parents is essential for recruiting them. The pandemic has brought the importance of this demographic to light.

WeChat, Weibo, and Baidu are the leading social media platforms in China. If you want to optimize your Chinese student recruitment campaigns, you need to use all available digital platforms. Don’t forget to personalize your content for each user and keep them engaged with fresh material.

Many universities are beginning to utilize social media platforms like WeChat to communicate with potential students from China. New York University, the University of London, and the University of Toronto all have established and verified WeChat accounts.

Utilizing WeChat for communication purposes allows universities to have a direct channel to speak with potential students who may be interested in studying abroad. In addition, WeChat can be used to provide information about scholarships and other opportunities that may be available to Chinese students.

Influencers can help you reach out to a wider range of students

If you want to connect with prospective Chinese international students, then maintain an online presence. Creating organic content and collaborating with an educational KOL would be a great way to attract this group and reach your potential students.

KOLs whose videos or blogs receive millions of views, who have millions of followers, and who are seen as credible voices by young people in China. They are the superpowers of marketing anything. Born in smartphones and applications, younger generations of Chinese people highly trust word-of-mouth promotions rather than some advert they see somewhere.

Other students with positive experiences are a strong lead

Chinese international students take into account their peers’ experiences when it comes to making a decision. In other words, stories from current students are more impactful to recruiting new ones than cool marketing material.

Platforms such as WeChat and Douyin allow prospective students to read about different overseas lives and study experiences which could then motivate them to have a similar experience. 

To most effectively reach your target audience when recruiting Chinese international students, always look for ways to tailor your strategy.

We can help you reach out to Chinese students

Here at GMA, we have a team of specialists who can assist you in launching your desired campaign for Chinese international students with ease.

Our agency has a proven track record in terms of quality and results. We are the initial platform that helps businesses promote their products and services in China, and we will guarantee your campaigns’ success on every channel.

GMA - most visible digital agency

Contact us today to learn how GMA can help you reach your target audience of Chinese international students!

1 comment

  • Do u provide social media marketing in China? I need to target to get China students to learn Cambridge English lessons

    Thank you.

    Best Regards,

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