Almost two fifths (39%) of a survey of Chinese citizens considering the country as a study destination in the next two years said being able to travel around the country was a key factor in deciding to potentially study in the UK.
“The UK education system is world renowned, and Chinese students are a key and growing market”
This was closely followed by 36% of respondents who said interest in the UK was because the country has a strong reputation for higher education.
Less important factors, according to the survey, was the recent fall in Sterling and because the destination had been recommended to them.
The survey, commissioned by mobile payment platform JGOO, showed that 15% said the recent fall in Sterling has also been a factor, while 9% plan to study in the UK because it has been recommended.
A positive side-effect of the fall in the Sterling has meant that visiting the UK and buying British goods becomes cheaper for Chinese students, according to Richard Morecroft director and co-founder of JGOO.
“The UK education system is world-renowned, and Chinese students are a key and growing market for universities. However, it is surprising that many universities are not geared up to commercially engage with them properly,” Morecroft said.
“In many campuses up and down the country, the necessary payment systems are not in place to allow Chinese students to make payments in the way they are used to, through for example WeChat Pay and Alipay.”
JGOO has partnerships with both WeChat Pay and Alipay, which the company says can help UK and European brands connect to Chinese shoppers and tourists.
Earlier in 2019, UCAS statistics revealed that the number of UK university applicants from China increased by 30% for the 2019/2020 academic year to 19,760.