Why China-specific digital strategy is so important in marketing your university?

Under globalization, universities are looking to spend an increasing amount of marketing budget to enrol international students, for reasons such as diversity in individual background and experiences, needs of local labor markets, and additional revenue from tuition fees, to name a few.

Among a huge swathe of the globe, China has been one of the largest markets for international universities, provided its massive population and underlying potential. Under the ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative, when cultural connectivity and national interactions to the world is further strengthened and promoted, local students progressively seek to gain international exposure and embrace opportunities in studying abroad.

According to data from China’s Ministry of Education, 662,100 people went overseas for study in 2018, up 8.83% year-on-year. Referring to the same source, nearly 5.86 million Chinese studied overseas from 1978 to the end of 2018. Another data source in 2019 revealed that one-third of the 1.1 million international students in the U.S. are from China, with similar proportions found in major receiving countries, including Australia (38%) and UK (41% of non-European Union students).

So, given the attentiveness and positive prospect from the 1.3 billion-populated country, employing China-specific marketing strategy is of utmost importance if you wish to capture great benefit, both in terms of money and intangible value. One of the most cost-effective ways here is raising digital presence and target accurately.

Of course, digital marketing service hasn’t entirely obscured traditional marketing, but with emerging technologies as a trend to attract a more targeted demographic, and competitors already taking leaps on the strategy, going online is only a matter of sooner or later. To catch attention and conversion as timely as you can, below are tips that you should apply now.

5 Tips you should apply
Build localized content with the right languages

Don’t directly transfer the same western style of branding your university on website and social media, because it may not be applicable to Chinese students. Build localized and informational content on topics such as application assistance, visa attainment, academy introduction and cultural diversity. Also, be sure to create both simplified and traditional Chinese languages for the contents.

Study Chinese search & social platforms

If you’re looking at SEM at the perspective of Chinese users, dig deep into how the robust Chinese social networks work and actively engage in the search engines and social platforms, e.g. Baidu, WeChat, Weibo, Sogou, Shenma. You might also want to increase bidding for mobile devices because it’s identified as the main source of how Chinese do their raw searches. Study the demographics’ needs and accurately match keywords the target group use.

Forum marketing

Create your online reputation and drive traffic to website by interacting with the students and public on forums or even social communities in real-time. You can contribute articles and answer people’s questions regarding international education to present your expertise and credibility.

Market your edges

Consider using your best courses, reputable lecturers or alumni online as your springboard to promote the university. Stories attract eyeballs and prejudice audience in favor.


Target regionally

Given the vast landscape, targeting the whole of China is not the best idea. Therefore, you should narrow down the targeted region and advertise based on research on respective regional preferences and desires of the people to maximize effectiveness.

Again, marketing on digital channels is inevitable for the high education providers. Start experimenting now with social media and paid ads, track and analyze key metrics and refine as you go.

About AsiaPac Net Media

With an extensive digital marketing experience of serving more than 2,500 clients across the region in sectors such as education, travel and hospitality, finance, Government and others, AsiaPac’s expert team is highly recognized for the excellence in providing performance-driven services to customers from Hong Kong, Taiwan and the PRC, and global corporates targeting Asia markets. So far, our company has covered services for more than 20 educational institutions across the regions, including promoting MBA programs of the University Grants Committee (UGC)-funded universities in Hong Kong, boosting conversions for overseas education agents, and bridging international markets to Asia, especially China.

If you’d like to learn more about AsiaPac and the work we’ve done, visit our Work page. For more information on AsiaPac and our services, please contact us at info@asiapac.com.hk.