Conducted between August 2018 and April 2019 with data collection through desk research, social media screening and mystery shopping, the research tracked 1,199 agencies that fit the criteria and were reachable and open for cooperation.

The research depicted a fast-changing market, with 49% of the agencies reviewed founded since 2012. […]

“More than 70% of the agency market is currently populated by small, one-office agencies. This has been the main change and it’s likely to continue,” Bonard COO Igor Skibickij told The PIE News.

“Since the deregulation in 2017, it is very easy to establish a study abroad agency because no deposit and no specialised ministry of education licence are required.”

Although this means more competition for agents, the situation offers some opportunity for providers, he explained. […]

“Try to go to those 70 Tier 3 cities, or 40 New Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities that we featured in our research, meet and partner with agents and form an extensive network – if you are able to sustain such a pool of agencies you will see a decent number of students,” Skibickij said. […]

In terms of portfolio, the research found that the majority of agents promote higher education provides, but study tours are still aA very popular product, although not many agents specialise in promoting it.

As for the countries, US, UK, Australia and Canada are the destinations promoted by most of the agents, with Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Singapore following.

Asked if this finding meant Canada has the biggest opportunity to grow in China, Skibickij agreed.

“Canada has a sizeable market share to gain and they have been capitalising the most on the recent developments,” he said.

“Other trends have started to affect the student flows, such as how welcoming the country is, how China-friendly they are, how much they assist students with post-study opportunities.

“This is changing the flows of mobility and Canada is gaining at the expense of the US and to some extent the UK.”

The research aims to fill a data gap in the agent market in China. […]

Back to top