To better understand the market dynamics, INTO, a global
organisation that engages in transforming internationalisation
strategies for university partners, has recently completed a survey
on Chinese students' decision-making when choosing their higher
education destination. The online survey was conducted in March
2009, in partnership with China Education Association for
International Exchange (CEAIE) and its online affiliate Bonoffer.
Based on the responses of over 1,300 Chinese participants from
various parts of China, it examined how Chinese students perceive
studying abroad, their favourite destinations and factors that
influence their decision-making.
One major finding is the growing sophistication of the market.
Chinese students and their parents have become increasingly
discerning in researching the range of university choices when
planning to study abroad, and in assessing their strengths, as they
can gather information from education organisations and
exhibitions, teachers and overseas alumni. 75% of respondents value
overseas university education for the international experience,
rather than viewing the degree as a mere academic qualification
(25%), with the US and UK remaining their top choices. UK
universities are highly favoured for its quality of teaching.
Daniel Yuen, INTO's Regional director for China, Hong Kong and
Macau, said: "Our marketing team and agents work very closely in
the regional markets to recruit students of potential from all
parts of China. What we understand from these students is that they
or their families are very willing to invest in an overseas
education, insofar as it is able to offer international exposure
that will open doors, combined with a supportive and quality
learning environment. For many, studying abroad is a life-changing
experience, and we cannot take these students for granted."
The recent lowering of value of the British pound against yuan
has also made UK more favourable as a higher education destination.
As at December 2008, the cost of studying in the UK has dropped by
30%, whereas that of studying in the US has dropped by 7%. But
there is no reason to be complacent, given the stronger competition
among higher education players on a global scale, including
competition from a rising number of Chinese universities. The study
findings reinforces INTO's vision that the key to meet market needs
lies in enhancing student exposure alongside the academic strengths
of its university partners.