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How Australian Education businesses can attract Chinese clients

Austalia the Chinese dream for their kids’ education….

China is an opportunity for Australian Education Businesses

In recent years, Australian education businesses have increasingly engaged with Chinese partners, leveraging China’s vast market potential and its increasing demand for high-quality educational resources.

This cross-continental synergy is fuelled by both Australia’s reputation for educational excellence and China’s strategic educational reforms. Here’s a deep dive into this dynamic sector, revealing how Australian education businesses are effectively navigating and capitalizing on these lucrative partnerships.

Key Data Highlighting Sino-Australian Educational Ties

  1. International Student Enrollments: Before the pandemic, Chinese students constituted about 30% of all international student enrollments in Australia, making them the largest group of foreign students in the country.
  2. Financial Contributions: Chinese students contribute significantly to the Australian economy, with an estimated input of over AUD 12 billion annually through tuition fees and living expenses.
  3. Collaborative Academic Programs: There are over 200 active Sino-Australian joint programs and research initiatives, reflecting deep academic cooperation.
  4. Online Education Expansion: The recent years have seen a 50% increase in enrollment for Australia-based online educational programs from Chinese students, driven by travel restrictions and the rise of digital learning platforms.
  5. Language and Vocational Training: Initiatives aimed at language acquisition and vocational training have seen a 40% increase in Chinese participation, highlighting a growing diversification in the types of educational services in demand.

Five Key Trends in Australian Education Businesses with Chinese Partnerships

  1. Blended Learning Models: There’s a growing trend towards blended learning models that combine online digital education with traditional classroom settings. Australian institutions are collaborating with Chinese tech firms to develop platforms that cater to this demand, enhancing accessibility and learning outcomes.
  2. Transnational Educational Programs: More Australian universities are setting up campuses in China or partnering with Chinese universities to offer dual degree programs. This allows students to start their education in China and finish in Australia, providing flexibility and international exposure.
  3. Focus on Vocational Education: As China’s economy matures, there’s a higher demand for skilled labor trained in vocational subjects. Australian vocational training providers are expanding their presence in China, offering courses in hospitality, healthcare, and engineering, which are tailored to meet the local market demands.
  4. Research and Development Collaborations: Joint R&D projects have increased, focusing on areas like biotechnology, environmental science, and engineering. These collaborations are supported by both governments and are seen as crucial for technological advancement and innovation.
  5. Cultural Exchange Programs: There is a significant emphasis on cultural exchange programs that help in building a deeper understanding and relationship between the two nations. These programs are not only about language exchange but also involve sharing best practices in education governance, pedagogy, and student management.

Australian education businesses are strategically positioning themselves to capitalize on these trends, ensuring robust growth and mutual benefits. By fostering these partnerships, Australia not only cements its status as a global educational leader but also contributes significantly to the educational landscape in China, promoting a shared future of innovation and learning excellence.

The most promising Education Tourism Market …

With 523,700 Chinese students who went overseas last year in 2024, China is the biggest outbound education tourism market. 


How to develop your Business with Chinese Students?

1: SEO optimization on Baidu (not google)

The most important thing for any education organisation is to be visible by Chinese parents and students. A very powerful tool to search for information is search engines. Just like any parent or student would look on Google for information about universities, Chinese just do the same. Since Google is forbidden in China, another search engine leads the market: Baidu. Baidu is a Chinese search engine which owns more than 80% of the market. Needless to say ranking in the first pages of Baidu will help you tremendously to be visible to Chinese students/parents/agencies.

As you can see on the following screenshot, when we type “留学 ” (Study abroad) for example we only see international studies specialized website. Don’t hesitate to approach these websites to make your organisation better known.

The main websites:

Therefore, you should make sure that your website is in Chine and SEO optimize. Also, be aware of the fact that Baidu’s SEO requirements differ from those for Google (content for example).baidueducation

2: Chinese Social Media 

China is one of the biggest online communities with more than 660 million internet users. It is estimated that 9 out of 10 netizens use their mobile phone to access the Internet. The main Chinese social media platforms are WeiBo, WeChaT, 

WeChat is an instant messaging mobile app developed by Tencent (Creator of QQ). It has more than 690 million active users worldwide and China is the main market. WeiBo, with more than 222 million active users and a Twitter-like platform is a micro-blogging platform.


If you truly want to get closer to your audience and target market, WeChat and WeiBo are a must. A university can have its own Official WeChat/Weibo page or like MIT, using a KOL (key opinion leader), an MIT professor who has more than 87 000 followers.

3: Do not forget E-branding

Online branding is the use of a set of online strategy tool: search engine (SEO), social media (WeChat/Weibo), a Chinese website, presence on specialized Education websites, etc. Another important fact to take into account is the importance of Mian Zi in China. Mian Zi which refers to “reputation” or “honour” is one of the basics of Chinese culture. Chinese people want to send their Children to study abroad to show that their child is succeeding, can speak a foreign language etc. An education organisation should share a story to really build a connection with the Chinese target customer. Having a page on Baidu encyclopedia is a good start and will enable the school to share the story and values.


4: The Word of mouth is super important in China 

As of today, about half of the Chinese population is connected to the Internet. The traditional way was to go offline by being present in conferences, giving lectures abroad, go sourcing in universities … Well, you can still do so but thanks to the wide availability of the Internet in China you can improve a school brand awareness by using digital tools. Words, experiences, advice, feedback and general information will flow and spread very fast across all social media platforms, websites, forums, and blogs. The school should just make sure that everything said is positive and should monitor the “spread” progress (even though it can be difficult). Having a strong brand, building partnerships with local organizations, understanding the needs of the target market (Chinese parents, students) and providing value will help in the word-of-mouth process.

badreputation harvard

A Chinese student in the US was discriminated against by Harvard University student back in 2015. A Chinese cooperative decided to defend her rights. As you can see this video has been seen more than 90,000 times since it was published !!

5: E-reputation : check what students say about you  

Thus, the importance of taking care of your reputation online. If an Australian university, for example, wants to attract more Chinese students, it should make sure that the image, how Chinese people perceive the organization is positive. As you already know China is a very connected country. Moreover, people believe strongly in what is shared on the Internet. Having strong online testimonials, positive comments, and providing enough relevant information to Chinese parents/students will help Australian schools and universities to attract Chinese students.

6: Video : big impact

Another way to attract more Chinese students is by using Chinese video platforms. In 2014, there were already more than 450 million video viewers which accounted for more than 5 billion hours of videos watched per month. Also, According to Iresearch, in 2015, the Online Video market in China generated a revenue of 11.53 billion Yuan (31.9% increase compared to the previous year). The main platform in China is Youku, Iqiyi, PPS, Sohu, and Tencent. Australian schools/universities could film their current Chinese students, post a video and then let the “word of mouth” happen by sharing the videos on several social media platforms.


As you can see above, it is a great idea to have a video testimonial in Chinese by Chinese students. Actually, this university did a “mistake” by posting their video on Youtube (which is forbidden in China) but well the idea is there. The video should be posted on one of the main Chinese video platforms to give Chinese parents/students the chance to see the video .

Douyin and Education Marketing in China: A Dynamic Duo

Douyin has emerged as a powerful platform for education marketing. Known internationally as TikTok, Douyin’s immense popularity among the youth provides a unique gateway for educational institutions and businesses to engage directly with potential students in a dynamic and interactive manner. By harnessing the power of short, compelling videos, educators can effectively capture the attention of China’s digitally savvy generation, transforming traditional education marketing strategies into something far more engaging.

 tips for leveraging Douyin in education marketing in China:

  1. Create Engaging Content: Develop short, engaging video content that not only informs but entertains. Use visual effects, creative storytelling, and interactive features available on Douyin to make learning fun and memorable. Educational content that challenges, inspires, or evokes curiosity tends to perform better and attract more views.
  2. Leverage Influencers and KOLs: Collaborate with Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) and influencers who already have established followings on Douyin. These influencers can help amplify your message and lend credibility to your educational offerings. Choose influencers who resonate with your target demographic and have a track record of influencing education-related decisions.
  3. Utilize Douyin’s Live Streaming Feature: Engage with potential students in real-time by utilizing Douyin’s live streaming feature. This can be particularly effective for Q&A sessions, virtual open days, and live tutorials, providing a platform for interactive and personalized engagement. Live sessions also offer the opportunity to directly address queries and concerns, fostering a sense of community and accessibility.
  4. Track and Optimize Based on Analytics: Douyin provides robust analytics tools that can help you understand the types of content that resonate most with your audience. Use these insights to refine your strategies, optimize content creation, and tailor your messages to ensure maximum engagement and effectiveness.

7: Customer service

Last but not least, if an Australia school wants to attract even more Chinese student, it should act like a business and ensure that Chinese customers are satisfied at every touchpoint. The first touchpoint with the Chinese customer is when they are looking for more information about for example the school programme or accommodation. Having someone who can speak Chinese and respond to parents queries, for example, is a great way to make them feel at “home”.

To learn more:

6 strategies to generate education leads in China!

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