Two major agent workshops in one week enabled English UK members to meet specially-selected agents from one of our priority markets.
This year's China Roadshow, one of English UK's most popular overseas events, was immediately followed by our regional fair in Hong Kong. Some members, agents and service providers attended both events, while English UK members also had the chance to attend a student fair organised by the British Council.
China is the largest source market in the Asia Pacific region and the fifth largest globally: English UK's latest QUIC statistics show that China was second only to Italy in student weeks this summer.
"Our statistics show the Asia Pacific region has held up well as a source market in recent years when others, especially Europe, have been in decline. This is the area where the greatest opportunity lies for UK ELT – globally the Asia Pacific region accounts for a 39% share of the ELT market, yet it only makes up 19 per cent of the UK's students," said Jodie Gray, English UK's head of market development.
More activity is planned for the region next year, including a B2C fair in Beijing, a small agency workshop in Shanghai, digital marketing campaigns, webinars for agents and parents, a summer school Fam Trip, a StudyWorld delegation and a three-city autumn roadshow.
Educator feedback suggests agent quality at both events was particularly high this year. Through running regular events in the region, English UK has developed a strong agency database and excellent working partnerships with agent associations and the local British Council and Department for International Trade, and has also collaborated on online engagement and training.
The Roadshow, which is the only specialist UK-focused ELT B2B networking event in China, supports English UK member centres to meet quality Chinese education consultancies, travel agents and local educational institutions which are actively engaged in the UK summer and winter school sector. For the first time, it took place in a single venue – the China World Hotel Beijing - and was as usual fully booked. Local organising partner the British Council publicised the Roadshow in China, and selected the most suitable agencies from the many which applied. Around 80 attended on one day and 50 on the other, filling the appointment schedules of the 26 attending English UK members.
Service provider UK Visas Immigration (UKVI) was available for pre-scheduled one-to-one meetings: this, and a specialist seminar for the first time, which was very popular with the agencies.
The Roadshow relies on English UK's very close working relationship with the British Council in China and their unparalleled local knowledge and expertise, said Jodie, adding that this creates real benefit for English UK members. "We often see a clear journey for our members when attending the China Roadshow: many come for the first time when they're new to the Chinese market, or looking to grow their summer and winter numbers. They attend for a few years, and see new partnerships and immediate results. They then stop attending, as they focus on consolidating relationships with their now existing partners, and new members take their place."
The Asia Pacific Regional Fair was held at the InterContinental Grand Stanford Hong Kong directly after the Roadshow, attracting 25 English UK members and more than 40 study abroad agencies from China, Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Participants enjoyed 24 pre-scheduled one-to-one meetings over one and a half days, a welcome reception at the British Consulate General and a spectacular private Hong Kong harbour cruise followed by a Cantonese dinner at the world- famous Jumbo Floating Restaurant. As always, there was a strong networking element, with opportunities for delegates to socialise at breaks and lunches as well as the evening events.
Some English UK members then took part in a student fair organised by and hosted at the British Council Hong Kong, for students of its teaching centre to meet accredited UK English language teaching centres.
White House Guardianships and the British Council were service providers at both events, while Bright World Education and Guardianships Ltd and UK Visas & Immigration, China office attended the Roadshow and English UK East the regional fair.