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Guide to Chinese Student Recruitment Tools & Services
Interested in reaching Chinese students? eduFair has created a comprehensive list of resources to support your recruitment efforts in China -- including online tools, marketing agencies, social media, agents, tours, and events.
By Alicia Sigmon & eduFair Staff | Last updated: November 10, 2021
With more than 700,000 students abroad in 2019, China is the number-one country of origin for international students globally.
However, with unique cultural differences, language barriers, and internet restrictions, China can be a very be a difficult market to approach.
eduFair has put together a list of tools and services to support your Chinese student recruitment. Whether you are just getting started in China or you have a well-established presence, these resources can help you strengthen your recruitment efforts and accomplish your organization's goals in China.
This list is updated regularly. If you have a resource to add, please reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Online Tools & Student Platforms
Many foreign websites are blocked in China. This includes common platforms used by students to research schools including sites like Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and even Wikipedia.
These restrictions extend to school and university websites. In fact, eduFair found that nearly eight out of 10 universities' admissions pages contained content that was blocked in China.
For these reasons, it may be necessary to broaden your internet strategy to reach students in China. The following platforms can help Chinese students discover your institution.
eduFair is one of China's largest study abroad portals. Our app connects Chinese applicants with information directly from schools and universities. We give schools dozens of tools to simplify and support your existing efforts in China, including features to promote your social media, agent, partnership, and event strategies. eduFair is completely free for students and schools. Create an institution profile and start making direct connections today. (More info for schools: www.myedufair.com | Platform: www.edufair.com)
Applyboard is one of the largest online platforms for international students applying to study abroad programs in North America with over 1,500 collaborating colleges and universities. Their platform also connects with a large network of education recruitment agents. (www.applyboard.cn)
Findingschool is an online platform that connects secondary schools in North America with Chinese students and parents. Schools can create online profiles that help families learn about their programs. (www.findingschool.net)
Now a subsidiary of IDP, Hotcourses helps international students (including a dedicated site for Chinese users) find universities, courses, and scholarships abroad. Students can contact schools and apply directly through the site. (www.hotcourses.cn)
Based in Singapore, Cialfo's platform connects high school students across 100 countries with university representatives. The company also offers online fairs and webinar events for schools. (www.cialfo.co/en-intl/home)
QS helps students find universities, scholarships, and study abroad programs. They also offer Grad School and MBA Tours to help students connect with universities outside of China. (www.qschina.cn)
Marketing agencies can help schools navigate China's unique language, culture, and internet ecosystem by providing China-specific insights and campaigns. We recommend the following marketing agencies due to their dual expertise China and student marketing:
Based in China, Nanjing Marketing Group helps institutions create digital campaigns and social media content to appeal to Chinese students. Their portfolio includes a wide range of education customers. (www.nanjingmarketinggroup.com)
With more than 100 clients and brands around the world, Sinorbis provides tools to help you reach Chinese students and maximize schools' digital presence. The all-in-one software helps institutions build China-accessible websites without using code, set up and manage WeChat accounts, and analyze their reach with an analytics dashboard. (www.sinorbis.com)
With offices in Spain, Switzerland, and China, Tantum Global specializes in helping European institutions reach applications in China. Their experts can help schools optimize search engine results through SEO and SEM, boost recognition through influencers, and open official accounts in key Chinese social media platforms. (tantumglobal.com)
Sunrise specializes in China-focused education marketing services including localization, digital marketing, recruitment, and virtual reality. Sunrise also offers marketing services and hosts VR tours and events like GET (Global Education Technology) Summit and Expo. (www.sunriseinspires.com)
Market Ed China helps western universities in the USA, the UK, and Canada reach their goals in China through Chinese social media marketing, website design, insight into Chinese students, and more. (www.marketedchina.com)
While Chinese students cannot access many admissions pages or Western media, many platforms exist to help Chinese students learn about and contact schools and universities abroad.
The following platforms and student info sites will help Chinese students find and discover your institution.
Webinars4you has helped schools and universities host student recruitment webinars since 2010. Previously branded as Web2Present, the company has helped hundreds of universities and business schools from more than 50 different countries. They offer services in webinar production, webinar moderation, and lead generation. Their platform offers targeted marketing promotions to recruit students that fit specific programs. (www.webinars4you.com)
ICEF hosts webinars to bring together international educators and student recruitment professionals. Recent webinars include topics like “Global higher education after the pandemic” and “Study destinations marketing – important factors to consider.” (www.icef.com/webinars)
CHE organizes webinars for education and recruitment professionals as well as some webinars for students. Recent webinars include topics like “Understanding HR Issues to Support Your China Representation” and “Online Recruiting Events – Training Workshop by Leading Experts in Student Recruitment.” (www.chinahighereducation.org)
Many Western social media platforms are blocked in China, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Twitter. Instead, Chinese students use home-grown equivalents that have their own look and feel that is adapted to Chinese consumer tastes.
Schools looking to reach more applicants in China should absolutely look at Chinese social media platforms as a way to interact and engage with students directly. However, many platforms' interfaces are in Chinese only. Also, schools must undergo an approval process in order to open verified, official accounts.
With more than 1.25 billion active users, WeChat is the largest social media platform in the world and the most popular social media platform in China. Considered a "super app", WeChat is mainly used for messaging and social media but also features payments, gaming, and e-commerce. If you are looking at starting your Chinese social media presence, we recommend beginning with WeChat. Schools can create 'Official Accounts' that allow users to follow your institution and receive updates. The interface and process is in English, which makes it more approachable to schools without Chineses-speaking staff. In the United States, WeChat recently came under fire with the Trump Administration proposing to block the app. (mp.weixin.qq.com/?lang=en_US&token=)
Commonly known as “Weibo,” is another very popular social media platform in China. It is a micro-blogging website similar to Twitter. While some elements are in English, most of the interface is presented in Chinese. (https://e.weibo.com/register/register)
Douyin is the Chinese version of TikTok (owned by the same parent company, ByteDance), used to create and share short videos. It is the most popular short video platform and is extremely popular among young Chinese internet users. Schools should be aware that TikTok content is not accessible in China despite being owned by the same company; therefore, schools using TikTok for video content should also upload videos to Douyin. (www.douyin.com)
Similar to YouTube, Youku is popular for uploading and watching videos. On this site, users can watch longer videos than on Douyin (which are usually just limited to a few minutes). (www.youku.com)
QQ is a large digital platform for messaging, online games, email, music, and more.
Kuaishuo is another video-sharing app that is also similar to TikTok. (im.qq.com/index)
Despite COVID-19, many fair organizers have continued to hold events in Mainland China.
Education Fairs & Events
Fairs and events are a great way to interact directly with potential students. Below is a list of organizations that host the fairs for Chinese student recruitment.
For information about upcoming tours, please visit our article Upcoming Recruitment Fairs in China under the Resources tab.
CHE hosts virtual and face-to-face recruitment fairs as well as tours for undergraduate and post-graduate institutions to meet East and Southeast Asian students. (www.chinahighereducation.org)
CEAIE has hosted the China Education Expo (CEE) every year since 2000. Beginning in 2021, the CEE recruitment fair is available virtually for international institutions. (www.chinaeducationexpo.com/english/index.shtml)
Cialfo hosts annual University Discovery Weeks for students, parents, and counselors in China, South Asia, and around the world. (www.cialfo.co/en-intl/cialfo-ama-university-discovery-week-2021)
AEO Tour offers virtual fairs for university and college representatives to meet students from East and Southeast Asia. (https://aeotour.com/virtual-events/)
Tours & Tour Organizers
While fairs are a great way to interact with potential students, another interactive way to meet students in China is to visit students directly by attending a tour. The following organizations host face-to-face and/or virtual tours every year that introduce school and university representatives to students in various schools throughout China.
WEBA World offers face-to-face tours in China for high school and boarding school representatives as well as tours for universities and business schools. On a WEBA high school or university tour, representatives will meet prospective students at their high schools or universities in various Chinese cities. (http://webaworld.com/agent-workshops-and-student-fair.php)
During the annual USEG-Sunrise Tour, US college and university representatives visit high schools in various Chinese cities, including Qingdao, Xi’an, Ningbo, Shenzhen, and more. (http://usegtours.com)
CHE hosts undergraduate and post-graduate recruitment tours, where university and college representatives can visit students at their schools across China. Each tour includes a visit to six cities. (www.chinahighereducation.org)
AEO Tour has provided top-quality tours for 36 years with over 350 universities and colleges. AEO Tour is now offering virtual tours for East and Southeast Asia. (https://aeotour.com)
Sunrise specializes in China-focused education marketing services including localization, digital marketing, recruitment, and virtual reality. Sunrise organizes school tours and events like the GET (Global Education Technology) Summit and Expo. (www.sunriseinspires.com)
The majority of Chinese students use education agents to apply to overseas institutions. A reliable agent network can be one of the fastest ways to increase the number of Chinese applicants. With so many agents operating in China, many schools are unsure where to start. We recommend following sites have to help you meet high-quality, reliable agents.
For information about upcoming B2B and institution/agent networking events, please visit our page for Upcoming Recruitment Fairs in China.
Established in 2004, the Beijing Overseas Study Service Association & China Alliance (BOSSA and COSSA) are nonprofit organizations supporting Chinese student recruitment agencies. Their memberships are comprised of more than 300 accredited Chinese international education agencies. If you are seeking new agent relationships, we recommend starting here. BOSSA and COSSA members must undergo training and evaluation. Every March and October, they host agent expos in China for institutions to meet agents from all over China. (www.bossa-cossa.org)
CHE offers resources and hosts events and tours for institutions looking to meet agents and partners. (www.chinahighereducation.org)
Offering networking events in China since 1999, ICEF provides agent training and hosts events for international institutions to meet top-quality agents from over 20 provinces in China. (www.icef.com/events/icef-virtual-china)
Every year, WEBA World hosts agent workshops and recruitment tours in China. With events for junior and senior high schools and events for business schools, colleges, universities, and more, WEBA World’s networking events are suited to various institutions to meet high-quality agents in China. (http://webaworld.com/index.php)
ABOUT EDUFAIR CHINA
eduFair China is a free website and app connecting Chinese students with international institutions and first-hand resources about studying abroad. We aim to give students a more empowered approach to international education so that they can succeed during their journey abroad.
Our platform features more than 1,200 organizations and reaches millions of students across China.
Click here to learn more about getting your institution online and how eduFair can help you reach students in China.
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