Helping Chinese students come to the US for education is a huge and growing market. There is so much opportunity because Chinese families are willing to pay top dollar to get their children into US schools and private US schools are clamoring to get more Chinese students, who are willing to pay their extremely profitable foreign tuition rates. Both sides want your help and are willing to pay for it. What could be better?
A Growing Market
A degree from a US university is still seen as much more prestigious than an equivalent degree from even the best Chinese universities. It’s not even the highly technical sectors such as engineering and medicine. Chinese students are willing to pay for a variety of degree opportunities in the West. For example, the University of Guangzhou offers students degrees in cooking and restaurant management in partnership with Canadian universities, so be sure to think outside the box when determining what programs to market.
In addition to expanded interest in a variety of university disciplines, more and more Chinese parents are sending their children to the US at a younger age. High school exchange programs are a booming market in China and some families are even starting to send their children as young as middle school age.
As discussed in my post on What Early Education Opportunities Exist for Doing Business in China, Chinese families are looking to get their children out of the overly rigid Chinese education system that they remember non-too-fondly.
However, results still drive decision-making and Chinese parents don’t want to send their children to just any school, they want to send them to the best (and most expensive!) to ensure success. This is where boarding schools or costly private schools in the US can find a ready market of families. Driven to succeed, these students are also often an asset to the schools test scores and ivy league acceptance numbers.
They’re Looking for You
What can be better than a business where customers are trying to find you rather than the other way around? Families in China are constantly seeking companies that can help them achieve their goals and the number of private schools, especially below the university level, have not caught on yet. If you start making partnerships and marketing now, you could lock in a strong share of the market.
In China, it’s all about reputations for excellence and success, something every private school in the US is already focused on. This is a perfect fit for the schools and the families.
Dealing with the Tricksters
Because this is such a booming industry, there are a lot of agents already on the Chinese end of the market. Many of these are very unscrupulous and you’ll quickly come across horror stories of families that were lied to or stolen from.
As a school searching for Chinese students, you have to be extremely careful about partnering with an agent who promises students driven to succeed, only to find they can barely even speak English when they arrive.
By some estimates 50% of private international student tuition is coming from Chinese students. With a reputation for excellence and trustworthiness, you can be assured that Chinese families will pay a higher price for children to attend your school. Chinese business consultants often have many contacts both in China and with US businesses that facilitate such exchanges. If you’re not sure how to go about taking advantage of this opportunity, they are a great place to start.
Casey W. Xiao-Morris is a veteran China Business Consultant at Leverage China, LLC., helping her clients succeed in the Chinese marketplace. Casey can be reached at cxmorris@LeverageChina.com.