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 Benefits amid a great upsurge of Chinese students abroad

For foreign governments, the single-handed action has become outdated in the education export sector. This year, campaigns launched by foreign institutions of higher learning to enroll Chinese students take on one outstanding feature: They come in the form of government representations. Thirteen national administrations appear to organize exhibition delegations in the China Education Expo 2005, which was concluded recently. This ensures that all institutions attending the exposition are regular colleges and universities, and it also gives play to the advantages that the entirety has to offer, and underscores the charm of national exhibition delegations.

The national exhibition delegations signify that the foreign student industry is catching attention from governments thanks to considerable foreign exchange earnings. Meanwhile, the diversity of institutions attending these education exhibitions indicates that this industry is becoming mature in China. In particular, the participation of financial institutions is of major significance to interfacing education with capital.

According to data from UNESCO, China has quickly become the world's largest source of students studying abroad. At present, about 120,000 Chinese students go abroad to pursue studies at their own expenses each year. Foreign countries are making great efforts to attract Chinese students. Chinese students studying abroad spend heavily on foreign schools. These schools have found a source of revenue that seems inexhaustible.

Among Chinese students studying abroad in recent years, self-financed students account for an absolute majority; the percentage has exceeded 90 percent. According to a survey on Chinese students studying abroad, among 75,000 Chinese students and 15,000 visiting scholars in the United States, only about 2,500 are funded by the government, with the rest being self-financed students. Among 80,000 Chinese students in Japan, more than 70,000 are self-financed; 35,000 of 40,000 Chinese students in the U.K. are self-financed. In emerging hotspot countries for foreigner students like New Zealand, among 17,000 Chinese students, government-funded students account for less than one-thousandth.

Whether in terms of the total number or in terms of the figures for specific countries, self-financed students now account for a major percentage among Chinese students abroad. This is a big market that no one affords to neglect.

Therefore, developed countries take education export as a measure to stimulate economy; furthermore they are coveting China's education market. Mr. Ke, who has been dedicated to consulting of studying abroad for nearly three years, describes the entire foreign student industry, which ranges from training, tests, consulting to fairs, until studying and living services, with "highly profitable". "The chain extends from China to other countries. The major links are becoming perfect, with more and more derivative service offerings. The business opportunities brought about by those who pursue studies abroad for this industry are expanding".

It is learned that Australia's Department of Immigration issue 20,000 student visas to people from Mainland China each year, accounting for nearly 16 percent in the total number of student visas it issues. China tops the list of major sources of foreign students in Australia. Chinese students yield a revenue of about AU$2 billion a year for Australia. Currently, education ranks fourth among Australia's top export industries to China, following traditional resources like wool and minerals.

At present, foreign students take up more than 15 percent among college students in the U.K. They generate a revenue of some over US$2 billion a year, more than double the total export value of coal, electricity and natural gas each year. This, coupled with the daily expenditure of foreign students, provides a staggering amount of foreign exchange income for the country.

According to Zhang Zhixin, an expert in this industry who just returned to China after conducting investigation abroad, a large quantity of scholarships are launched because of the increasingly fierce competition in the China market. More and more countries and institutions of higher learning are scrambling for students in the China market. They tend to compete for greater market shares by offering scholarships.

Recently, a host of new scholarships have been launched. This, in experts' opinion, can be explained by the fact that now foreign governments have found out that Chinese wage-earners take up a major percentage in the foreign education market. Scholarships attract these families and help them achieve their goals. Therefore, they offer scholarships and adopt other incentive policies to keep stimulating and tapping this market.

Source:CE.cn :
2005-01-04 09:20

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