Around 1,200 agencies are active in the Chinese study abroad market, with new entrants to the market replacing older companies and representation in Tier 2 and 3 cities growing, according to new research released this week.

The findings were presented in a 2019 China Agency Market Annual Update webinar by Igor Skibickij, COO of BONARD (formerly StudentMarketing, yesterday, who said that 1,199 active agencies with a digital footprint were distributed across 119 cities.

The research project was an update of the company’s China agency database that was established in 2012, Igor said. For the exercise, Bonard screened government and non-government sources on agencies in China, scanned social media platforms and websites and found approximately 2,500 agencies with an online footprint. […]

Beijing has the highest concentration of the active agencies with 182, followed by Shanghai (110), Guangzhou (57) and Shenzhen (38). Igor said that most of the growth of new agencies and new market development will come in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, which mostly have less than 10 active agencies.

He added that while the growth of the international education sector has been concentrated along the eastern coast of China, the inland provinces are developing and more agencies are appearing there. […]

He commented that the agency sector deregulation of 2017 could have caused the breakaway of some study travel agencies, while new companies emerged in response to growth and opportunities.

Of the 698 active agencies that have visible information on their year of establishment, 73 per cent were founded before 2010. Igor said younger companies were less likely to display such information as it could imply a lack of experience to customers. […]

The USA is the most represented destination, promoted by 74 per cent of active agencies, followed by the UK (65), Australia (48) and Canada (42). Japan and Korea were the most-promoted non-English-speaking destinations.

Igor highlighted that while Beijing was the most active region for the UK and the USA, this was not the case for Australia and Canada, who were most promoted in Guangdong and Jiangsu. […]

Offering advice to institutions negotiating the Chinese agency market, Igor said that they should plan ahead. Given that 500 new agencies had emerged in the last seven years, institutions should expect new companies to be established in coming years and that they will take market share and volume away from their existing agency partners. […]

Official estimates are that there are around 5,000 agencies in China, but only 2,500 had any visible digital footprint, Igor said. “Our purpose was to identify the more transparent, accessible agencies.” 






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