Starting in Beijing, and moving on to Hangzhou and Guangzhou, the China Roadshow 2016 brought 33 UK institutions and over 300 agents together across three full days of one-to-one business meetings.
In a comprehensive market briefing that opened the event, British Council senior analyst Kevin Prest and marketing manager Su Si revealed the initial findings from the market research on summer programme market in China.
Findings include an estimated overall market size for all short-term study abroad of 300,000 or 350,000 in 2014; and total market value estimated as 8-9 billion RMB (around 1 billion GBP). English UK figures report around 22,000 Chinese students in 2015 (at private-sector member centres).
Jingjing Jiang, Education Liaison at UKVI China gave an overview on the positive growth in visa numbers and advanced services that are available to Chinese visitors. Sarah Cooper, chief executive of English UK, then welcomed members to Beijing, the first of three cities, on Sunday 13 November.
The workshop kicked off the following day at the China Trade Hotel, with over 160 agents in attendance for both meetings and seminars the event. Both Hangzhou and Guangzhou attracted 70 agents.
Event organiser, Sarah Wang said: "Although the number in Guangzhou was slightly down on previous years, the quality of agencies across the three workshops was exceptional. This change shows the variation in regional markets and rapid change of the market landscape in China."
English UK Chief Executive Sarah Cooper joined the roadshow, meeting members in between their busy schedules as well as key players in China, including the senior management team at British Council China, chief editor of English Weekly, president of Genshuixue, the largest online education platform, senior manager of Caissa Travel company and the UK manager of Walkite company.
English UK members were very positive, especially first timers. Nicole Kennedy from Studio Cambridge said: "I am so impressed with the roadshow and with the quality of the agencies I met, particularly in Beijing and Hangzhou. Very focussed agents, who knew what they are looking for and asked sensible questions and had experience working in the UK, who are clearly interested in partnership. The arrangement is perfect, lovely hotels, nice food and very smooth travel arrangement."
Shortly after the event Emma Buckby, International House London, said she had already received group bookings.
This year 16 of the 32 English UK members who joined the roadshow had not been before, and for some it was their first time in China. Many of these delegates enjoyed short excursions to the Temple of Heaven in Beijing and boat ride at the West Lake in Hangzhou. Of course they sampled a great range of cuisine including Peking duck, West Lake fish in vinegar source and duck web in Guangzhou!