4 Ways To Market Your School to Chinese Parents [Tips & Insights]

Last Updated on June 19, 2024

Chinese families are traditionally invested in their children’s education. In fact, many of them consider international schools as the ideal option for their children to expand their horizons and gain better career opportunities.

Data from a 2021 study by the British Council shows that more than 10% of Chinese parents want to send their children abroad. With the average middle-class monthly household income gradually increasing, more families are likely to follow this trend.

In this post, we’ll discuss different digital marketing efforts brands should consider if they want to gain the trust and patronage of Chinese parents.


How is education valued by Chinese parents?

In China, many parents see education as a gateway to obtaining better social and economic status for their families. Even the Chinese government implements stringent laws obliging every citizen in the country to go through nine years of school.

The pursuit of education in the country came from Confucian principles, which are still deeply rooted in China’s culture. These values highly emphasize the importance of learning and self-improvement, especially when it comes to the nation’s youth.

The influence of this belief is evident in the current Chinese education system, where students are exposed to rigorous examinations from elementary school to university admissions.


A Chinese student with his parent (Source: China Daily)


The system pushes students to a more academic route. So, more often than not, it’s very rare for them to participate in extracurricular activities or sports. Because of this, many parents desire to send their kids abroad to gain more experience beyond traditional education.


4 Strategies to Market an International School to Chinese Parents

1.   Localize your school’s website for Chinese audiences

Understanding cultural differences is important if you want your institution to be viewed as a good school in the eyes of Chinese parents. Before proceeding with any digital marketing strategy, you must remember that China has a distinct digital ecosystem.

Due to the Great Firewall policy, local parents and students cannot access web content that does not comply with the country’s internet regulations. With Google restricted in China, marketers must optimize content based on the ranking factors of local platforms like Baidu, Bing, and Sogou.

Localizing your website for Chinese audiences goes beyond typical translation. Most Chinese search engines prioritize web pages operating with domestic hosting services and domain names.

SDG’s work with IFA Paris: Baidu Search Engine Optimization


If you don’t understand or speak Chinese, we recommend working with expert translators or agencies. This way, your marketing messages, school programs, and admission processes won’t be mistranslated or misrepresented.

Localizing also meant producing content that aligns with the current education trends that Chinese parents and students care about. This process includes rigorous market and keyword research to make your content more visible and relatable to your target audience.


2.   Establish brand visibility on local social media channels

Many Chinese parents are savvy internet users. And with over 74.2% of China’s population engaged in local social media platforms, it’s a no-brainer that your marketing strategy should include these channels.

Platforms like WeChat, Weibo, and Xiaohongshu are pivotal in creating brand visibility. By establishing a presence on these channels, you can share engaging content, such as school achievements, student testimonials, and educational philosophies, in a format that resonates with Chinese audiences.



Local social media platforms in China also offer schools different digital marketing tools to attract Chinese students and parents. Regular updates and interactive posts can help build trust and familiarity, especially for universities that are not widely known in the market.

For example, marketers can leverage the power of live-streaming to launch virtual campus tours or share academic knowledge from their in-house teachers to impress their target audience online.

Around 23% of the live commerce market is made up of people under the age of 18 to 25, which means many users of these platforms are in the process of preparing for college.


3.   Launch paid advertising content to reach target audiences

Sometimes, it’s a struggle to stand out from other overseas schools that already have an established presence within the Chinese market. Fortunately, you can expand your audience reach and focus on a specific demographic with paid advertising campaigns.

You can customize promotional content based on specific audience characteristics and behaviors. For instance, it can be set to target Chinese parents in a certain age bracket or region.

Marketers can also choose audiences already searching for and clicking on content related to overseas education.


SDG’s work with UNSW Global: Baidu Paid Advertising


When creating local advertisements, strive to create engaging and culturally relevant content. Use visuals and messages that resonate with Chinese parents’ values and expectations.

Highlight aspects of your school that are likely to appeal to them, such as high academic standards, international faculty, and opportunities for global exposure.

A good example of paid promotions is SDG’s work with UNSW Global. Our team launched a multi-pronged Baidu advertising campaign for the brand, allowing it to garner over 46,000 clicks and more registrations to its school program.


4.   Build a community around your brand

Creating a strong community around your international school is crucial for engaging Chinese parents and building long-term relationships. Here are two effective strategies to achieve this:


●     Participate in education-related forums

Active participation in education-related forums is a great way to connect with Chinese parents. Professional forums like Zhihu are where parents discuss various education topics, share experiences, and seek advice.

On these platforms, foreign schools and colleges can start writing helpful tips about the advantages of international education. They can also engage with parents by answering their questions and addressing their concerns.


Popular topics on Zhihu related to international education

Popular topics on Zhihu related to international education


Beyond engaging, these forums are also a good channel to inform parents about upcoming events, open houses, and special programs at your school. This direct communication increases your institution’s credibility in the education community.


●     Align your marketing calendar with local events

Another way to build a community around your brand is to align your school’s marketing efforts with local events that would stir the interest of Chinese parents and students.

Brands can join local education fairs and exhibitions, which are popular among people seeking information about international schools. These events provide an excellent opportunity to showcase your school’s offerings and interact with potential students and their families.


Higher Education  Expo China (HEEC)

Higher Education Expo China (HEEC)


For more community engagement, these schools must also add cultural festivals to their marketing calendars. Commemorating events like the Chinese New Year or Mid-Autumn Festival shows respect for the culture and helps build a positive image.


Why do Chinese parents want their children to study at foreign universities?

According to UNESCO, over 1 million international students from China are studying in universities around the world. With this large market, you may wonder why Chinese parents are sending their children to study abroad. Here are a few reasons:


●     Gain cultural experience from other countries

Chinese parents often prioritize international education for their children to give them a broader cultural perspective. Studying abroad exposes students to diverse traditions, values, and ways of thinking that can significantly enrich their personal development and global outlook.

This cultural immersion fosters adaptability and cross-cultural communication skills, which are increasingly important in today’s modern world. Another aspect of this reason is mastering a second language, especially English.

Studying in an English-speaking environment accelerates language acquisition, providing students with a competitive edge in both their academic and professional lives.


●     Increase chances of better employment in the future

A degree from a prestigious foreign university is often seen as a ticket to better job prospects. Chinese employers tend to view international graduates favorably, associating them with high academic standards and valuable global experiences.



A study by the Institute of International Education (IIE) revealed that students with overseas education experience have a higher employment rate and often secure higher-paying jobs than their peers who graduated domestically.

This economic incentive is a powerful motivator for Chinese parents to invest in their children’s education abroad.


●     The Freedom to choose what course to take

As previously stated, the education system in China is very academic and exam-centric. Because of this, the classes a student could attend are limited to specific curriculums and course offerings.

In contrast, foreign universities often provide more flexible and interdisciplinary study options, allowing students to tailor their education to their personal interests and career aspirations.

With the new generation of Chinese parents more open to expanding their children’s learning experiences beyond basic academic curriculums, foreign schools appear viable options.


Where do most Chinese students study abroad?

Chinese families seem to favor the United States when choosing the best country for their children’s education. This result can be attributed to the country’s high number of prestigious universities and broad educational programs.

Meanwhile, the second most popular destination is the United Kingdom. It’s known for its historic and reputable institutions, such as Oxford and Cambridge, and its shorter duration for degree programs compared to the U.S.


Overseas Education Destinations Preferred by Chinese Parents & Students

Overseas Education Destinations Preferred by Chinese Parents & Students (Source: Statista)


Other top countries, like Australia and Canada, are obviously on the list for their high-quality education systems, multicultural environment, and favorable visa policies.

Meanwhile, destinations like Hong Kong remain a popular choice due to its proximity to mainland China, cultural similarities, and high-ranking universities.


Quick Q&A

How much money do Chinese parents spend on their children?

According to a report by the YuWa Population Research Institute, the average cost of raising a child in China until the age of 18 is approximately 538,000 yuan. This estimation includes different expenses like childcare fees, basic educational costs, and other activities children may engage in throughout their school years.


Ready to Dominate the Chinese Education Market? Get In Touch With Us Today!

The success of your education marketing campaigns in China highly depends on how well you can connect with the preferences of Chinese parents. These consumers are willing to spend more to achieve quality education for their kids, so it’s only natural for them to place high expectations on foreign schools.


You may also want to read:

Recruiting Chinese Students


At Sekkei Digital Group, we understand the ever-changing education trends brought about by the evolution of consumer behaviors and a fast-paced market environment. Our team has extensive experience helping academic institutions and schools gain local visibility and credibility within the industry.


Sekkei Digital Group Services


Whether you intend to localize your school’s website or establish a presence on the local social media landscape, we have all the digital solutions you need. Contact us today, and let’s start working on your market entry in China.


contact us SDG



China still the leading source of foreign students
Will Chinese students continue to want to study abroad?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get our latest news

Scroll to Top