For several years we are seeing more and more Chinese students going abroad to study. Indeed, with the development of the Chinese middle class which represents more than 350 million of people we can notice a drastic change in terms of values, tastes, expectations and especially for quality education.
Different purposes for studying abroad
These keen interests for studying abroad is developed for several reasons which diverge from a parents or student point of view. The main students’ reason for going abroad is the personal experience and the open-mindedness (64%) that can offer this travel, following by hiring prospects (46%) and language learning (42%).
However, Chinese parents are seeing these opportunities to study abroad as way to avoid the entrance exam in Chinese universities for 24% of them and a way to prepared students for working abroad (22%).
Usually, the students who were studying abroad are not coming back to China right after graduation, and take time to work in the host country before coming back to get more experience. This evolution allows students to have a more concrete idea of what will be their professional future.
Common concerns to study overseas
It’s still very scary to let a child going study abroad without having any control of him. Moreover, it’s a weighty investment that parents make to send them abroad, that’s why Chinese parents are concerned and worried to let them go abroad.
Three main preoccupations can be noticed concerning the wish to go abroad which are the security of the host country which is especially available for US, the cost of studies and the career prosperity.
These changes of environment may pose specific challenges for Chinese that foreign universities and school must face to attract Chinese students.
How to attract Chinese students?
Another aspect of concern for Chinese parents and student is the reputation of the institution. China is well known to be a country where aspects is important. Having a good and a positive reputation will increase the interest of Chinese for your institution.
In a country which more than 900 million of people is using electronical devise as a source of information and a way to communicate, having an online visibility is a crucial point for any institutions. The traditional channels that in western countries, we used to use for driving information is out dated in China. Student are looking for information especially on social media and vertical website.
However, the chinse online ecosystem is different comparing with one we all know in western country. Because of the censorship China developed its own social medias and browser.
Be present on Chinese digital channels
The presence on the main Chinese social networks is an important step in your students prospecting. Social networks in China are probably the most active in the world, with an average use of 50 minutes per day per person.
Through a social media strategy, universities can market directly to potential Chinese students. You need to create accounts on Chinese social media platforms and take to time to understand how these social networks work, the same social media strategies you would employ in the west cannot simply be transferred. Different social networks mean adopting different, more localized, and specialized marketing strategies.
WeChat is a social media platform and it has more than 860 million of active users monthly. It is a completely integrated platform where most of the Chinese are looking for information and news. The app is generally called the WeChat Times because a multitude of information comes from it.
To gain in visibility you will need to create an official account, an identity that will appeal to your target market and to have A daily interaction with prospective students and parents in order to share content and develop your results.
SEO and Chinese website: A must have for your strategic campaign
Baidu, a browser which can be considerate as the Chinese Google is the browser that Chinese are used to navigate on every day for 70% of their researches. To obtain a good visibility it’s important to be high ranking in the natural SEO to target and reach more potential students.
Moreover, your website needs to be optimized for local search engines, hosted on a Chinese server for speed with a .cn domain. A local website is best for speed rather than a translated bi-lingual version of your original site. The site needs to be optimized for mandarin character searches and should include QR links to your WeChat page.
To conclude, China is a constantly evolving country as are the expectations of these individuals in search of a better standard and quality of life. Going abroad has become a habit for Chinese students looking for employment perspectives and internationalization.
As a foreign institution, it is necessary to understand how to target these potential students to convey the right information but also to improve your image and visibility within the country. Digital taking an important part in the Chinese daily life and a strategy focused on digital channels is necessary to achieve your goals.
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We seek to create long-term partnerships with serious institutions seeking to expand their reach into the Chinese lucrative market. For more information, please contact our team of experts for a more detailed discussion of our offers.