Mar 19, 2018

Are declining Chinese student numbers a casualty of diplomacy or just poor branding?

Data released by Austrade have shown that the number of visas issued to Chinese tertiary students has dropped for the first time in years, amid ongoing claims of interference by the Chinese government.

Michael Sainsbury — Freelance correspondent in Asia and <em>Little Red Blog</em> Editor

Michael Sainsbury

Freelance correspondent in Asia and Little Red Blog Editor

University of Technology Sydney, whose Dr. Chau Chak Wing building is pictured here, is bucking a trend of decreasing student enrollments from China.

For Australia’s tertiary education sector, after years of coasting on the back of ever increasing demand from Asia – most especially, China which now controls a whopping 30% of the $28 billion a year market – it seems that the time may be nigh for paying the piper.

After a string of controversies about Chinese government interference in Australia’s universities, the higher education sector is being hit by unprecedented second punch -- the first decline in Chinese student enrollments since Australia’s pioneering efforts in the international student market exploded two decades ago.

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