Insider advice on Taiwan’s 'stable and growing' ELT market
2 July 2019

Taiwan is a top 20 source market for the English language teaching sector in the UK. English UK members can meet local agents in Taiwan and Japan at our Asia Pacific Roadshow this autumn.

How can you make the most of these contacts? What do you need to know about the Taiwanese ELT market? We asked Debby Hsieh, business development manager for Asia at International House London, for her tips on working with Taiwanese agents. 

Debby says Taiwan has been performing well for her centre this year, with 70% of their annual target bookings reached by June. While other traditionally strong markets in Asia like Korea have performed less well recently, she describes Taiwan as "stable and growing" with plenty of potential. Through the Taiwanese Youth Mobilty Scheme, in some cases students do not need to apply for a visa before traveling to the UK.

What ELT courses are Taiwanese students looking for?

General English makes up the majority of bookings for Taiwanese students at International House London, says Debby, with increasing numbers interested in executive courses.

Statistics from QUIC also show a rise in interest for academic courses, with English for academic purposes as the second most popular course type for students in the first quarter of 2019.

Debby added that higher education is growing similarly to Korea, Thailand and other Asian countries, with pathway and foundation demand rising according to agents.

Interest in boarding schools is growing as well, with parents wanting their children to take GCSE and A-Level exams in the UK before going to university here or in other English-speaking countries. "They are coming here younger than before. Maybe before they'd have thought about foundation or even just postgraduate, but now they are starting earlier with boarding schools," she says.

Which markets are the UK competing against?

"The UK and the USA are the main destinations for Taiwanese students if their budgets allow. Otherwise, they may head for the Philippines or Canada."

Where do Taiwanese students like to study in the UK?

Debby said: "More and more students are interested in cities outside London according to the feedback we get from agents. London is still the top choice, but these days students know more cities in the UK and tend to choose cheaper options. They tend to move students to Brighton and Bournemouth, for instance, and Cambridge and Oxford are probably losing students to those cities as well."

How price-sensitive is the Taiwanese market?

"It is a very price-sensitive market - I think the majority of agents promote schools which have regular promotions and discounts."

What is happening with study travel agencies in Taiwan?

Debby says it is important not to underestimate the potential of smaller agencies, which are currently growing in number. "Our key partners are still the big agencies, but the ones which produce most are the smaller ones.

"Always try to maintain relationships with different types of agent. It's important to have a broad range of agents in Taiwan, as there are so many now."

Where can you meet agents in the Asia Pacific region?

The Asia Pacific Roadshow will give you the opportunity to build valuable partnerships with a variety of high quality agents in Taipei and Tokyo. You can also extend your trip to Asia by visiting China, the undisputed top market for the state sector and second largest overall, at our China Roadshow. You can also meet agents from across the world for three days of networking and development at StudyWorld.

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