June 2005 issue

Travel News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Special Report
Market Report
Course Guide
City Focus

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China trials

This year's Agency Survey on China reveals a similar situation to last year, with stagnant market growth across the nine agencies that took part in our survey.

Key points
The total number of students placed by the nine agencies in our survey was 1,788

Individual agencies placed between 50 and 500 students on language courses per year

Average business stayed static in 2004 with no increase or decrease.

The average student spend on tuition and accommodation per week was US$233

The majority of agent business – 69 per cent – was with individuals.

Host family accommodation was the most popular choice for 48 per cent of Chinese students.

The average length of stay for Chinese students was 18.3 weeks

On average, our agent respondents represented 105 schools in 10 countries

Top destinations Most popular courses
1. UK 30%
2. Australia 22%
3. Japan 11%
4. New Zealand 9%
5. Korea 6%
6. Ireland 5%
7. Canada 1%
1. Intensive 29%
2. Uni. foundation 19%
3. Acad. prep. 17%
4. General 11%
5. Summer vac. 7%
6. Exam prep. 6%
7. Junior prog. 4%
7. Other 4%
9. Teacher training 3%

Reasons for language travel Agency business by age group
1. Studies overseas 79%
2. Current work 8%
3. Studies at home 10%
3. Pleasure 2%
5. Other 2%
1. 19-24yrs 55%
2. 25-30yrs 21%
3. 16-18yrs 19%
4. 12-15yrs 2%
4. 8-11yrs 2%

How do agencies recruit students? How do agencies find new schools to represent?
1. Press advertising 32%
2. Word of mouth 24%
3. Seminars 12%
3. Website 12%
5. Adevrt. in TV/Radio 9%
6. Mail shots 6%
7. Other 5%
1. Workshop 34%
2. Fairs and ewpos 21%
3. Internet 16%
4. LTM/ETM 12%
5. Other press 8%
6. Other 9%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 33%
English Australia 100%

Capls 50%
CLC 17%

Souffle 33%
L'Office 0%
Unosel 0%
FLE 0%

MEI~Relsa 67%

Asils 0%

Feltom 33%

New Zealand
Appel 0%
Crels NZ 0%
Education NZ 67%
Fiels/English NZ 17%

Aeple 0%

Fedele 17%

ABLS 33%
English UK 67%
British Council 83%

Eaquals 0%

Accet 17%
CEA 17%

Ialc 17%

Market growth
The outgoing student market in China proved to be somewhat erratic in 2004, with individual business growth ranging from –50 per cent to an increase of 30 per cent. Overall, average business growth was recorded at 0.2 per cent, a marginal improvement on the –0.9 per cent growth recorded in last year's survey (see Language Travel Magazine, April 2004, pages 12-13). Not many agents gave reasons as to why their business had increased or decreased, but some agencies noted that improvements were due to increased marketing efforts and a greater success in obtaining visas, rather than any upturn in student interest. A recent report released by the Chinese government revealed that the number of Chinese students leaving the country to study overseas decreased by 11 per cent in 2004, compared with 2003 (see Education Travel Magazine, May 2005, page 46).

Language and destination trends
English was by far the most popular language to learn overseas and was requested by an average of 78 per cent of agency clients at those agencies in the survey. The next most popular languages were Japanese, French and Korean, requested by seven per cent, six per cent and five per cent of clients respectively. In last year's survey Korea did not feature as a top destination but a growing interest in this language meant that six per cent of students went to Korea on their study abroad trip in 2004. Ireland, Japan and Australia all gained in popularity as study destinations when compared with the results of last year's survey, while Canada declined slightly, attracting only five per cent of students compared with 11 per cent last year. The UK was the preferred destination for the second year in a row.

Student and course trends
The majority of Chinese students were learning a language for future study opportunities and the main student age range for the Chinese market was between 19 and 24 years old. A number of agents also identified this age group as the one showing most promise. Chinese agents identified June and February as the busiest months for travel overseas. After intensive language programmes, university foundation (year long) and academic preparation courses were the next most requested types of course. This may also be because it is easier for Chinese students to get visas for some countries if they are continuing their education after their language course.

Agency business
Students appear to rely heavily on agent advice before choosing where they want to study. On average, 56 per cent of clients knew which country they wanted to study in, 21 per cent knew which city they wanted and 27 knew which school. After seeking agency advice, 36 per cent of agency clients changed their minds about the country.

Looking ahead
One agent pointed out that destinations where students were not required to pay tuition fees before they received their visa, such as Cyprus, Korea and Japan, would become more popular, while another looked forward to an education fair in Beijing to bring new business opportunities for agents.

Economic overview

According to a report by the Asian Develop- ment Bank (ADB), the GDP growth rate in China is set to be 8.5% in 2005, a slight de- crease on 9.5% last year. GDP growth is predicted to rise to 8.7% in 2006.

The export growth rate is expected to fall by 12-to-20 per cent between 2005 and 2007, down from over 30 per cent in 2004, because major trade partners are in- troducing protectionist and anti-dumping policies against goods from the mainland.

Source: China Daily

Chinese agents named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Australia: Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, QLD; Study Group Australia, various; Taylors College, Perth, WA; University of Technology, Sydney, NSW. In Canada: Breamar International College, Toronto, ONT. In Cyprus: Americanos College, Nicosia. In Ireland: Centre of English Studies, Dublin. In Japan: Tokyo International Exchange School, Tokyo. In Korea: Gimcheon College, Seoul; Kyungpook National University, Taegu. In New Zealand: TWOA English Language Academy, Hamilton. In Singapore: Singapore Institute of Management, Singapore; Tourism Management Institute of Singapore, Singapore. In the UK: Aspect, London; Bellerbys College, Brighton & Hove; Boston College, Lincolnshire; ETC International College, Bournemouth; Llandrillo International College, Llandrillo, Wales; Oxford Business College, Oxford; Richard Language College, Bournemouth; University of Wales, Bangor, Wales.

Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in our survey: Beijing Han Gao International School and Consultant, Ciic Overseas Consulting Center, Fujian Jianan Overseas Study Service Centre, Henan Tengda Consulting Service Co., Hunan Yanhui Overseas Education Service Center, Jilin International Talents & Technology Cooperation Co., Jinan Overseas Chinese Study Abroad Service Center, Shanghai International Students' Placement Council for Education and Science, Yanbian Daxin Overseas Exchange Co.

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