British Council East Asia - Annual Five Trends Report

This  report gives a high level view of the five international education trends to track in East Asia of the coming years. The five key trends are:

  1. China Re-opens
  2. From Recruitment to Selection
  3. Rising Competition
  4. Multi-destinations applications becoming common
  5. Economic Slowdown beginning to bite

Taken together, these five trends mean that East Asia will regain its place of prominence in international education in 2023. After nearly three years of little or no growth in outbound mobility, the region is poised to see student flows exceed pre-pandemic baselines this year (led by China’s re-opening). But the biggest story in East Asia in 2023 may not be one of quantity, but rather quality.

The region is home to a heavy concentration of highly qualified and motivated students who have set their sights on attaining a spot at the best HEIs overseas. The principle challenge for UK HEIs in East Asia in 2023 will be competing for these students. Canada and Australia offer attractive immigration pathways and post-study work opportunities. Hong Kong and Singapore boast world-class education systems within the neighborhood. The United States looms as a potential sleeping giant.

Yet in order to succeed in East Asia, UK HEIs cannot focus on making themselves carbon copies of their competitors. Instead, the UK will need to lean into what makes it unique: world-class HEIs, graduate employability, opportunities and strong alumni networks, all at a reasonable cost. The most successful UK HEIs will find a way to link these strengths into one holistic offer for students in East Asia. They will also make more meaningful inroads into local education markets by shifting their strategic approach from finding the most students to finding the best students.