China’s Ministry of Education reports that total foreign enrollment in the country reached almost half a million international students in 2018. This figure represents a 0.62% rise in 2017 enrollment data, furthermore points to a collapse in growth when compared to double-digit increases observed in the last decade.
ICEF (International Consultants for Education and Fairs) Monitor, a market intelligence resource for the international education and student travel industry, noted that foreign enrollment in China expanded per annum on average 10% between 2006 and 2015. During 2017 to 2018, y/y growth fell to less than 1%, indicating that international students have begun to shun Chinese schools.
ICEF Monitor shows Beijing had the largest population of international students, with 80,786, or 16.4% of the 2018 total. Other top regions were Shanghai (61,400), Jiangsu (45,778), Zhejiang (38,190), and Liaoning (27,879).
There are 195 countries that feed into China’s current foreign exchange program, but six out of ten come from neighboring countries. South Korea is the top feeder with 50,600 students enrolled in 2018, followed by Thailand (28,600) in the same period.
In the Western Hemisphere, the US sent 21,000 students in 2018.
The Ministry of Education showed that 87% of international students are self-funded, with about 63,000 students receiving government-funded scholarships.
The slowdown in international students feeding into China comes at a time when globalism has peaked. Now protectionism and nationalism are spreading like wildfire throughout the world, destroying complex supply chains – thus reworking international trade.
China’s economic growth plummeted to its slowest annual rate in 30 years as US protectionism through a trade war stymied global growth.
The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has been pumping cash into local markets to reignite bubbles, along with government stimulus to revive the faltering economy.
Given current conditions of a slowing China and faltering globalism, it’s likely that foreign students flocking to China for education could reverse into the early 2020s – destroying a near decade trend.