2. Literature Review
2.1.1. The trend of Chinese students study aboard
The leading study destinations for Chinese students according to the Chinese Ministry of Education is the U.K., U.S., and Australia. In addition, as per the latest report by the Chinese Ministry of Education, approximately 523,700 students of Chinese origin study abroad in 2015, which is an upsurge of 13.9% from 2014, but the number was up sharply in 2013. Ning (2011) noted that the trend of the number of Chinese students who were studying abroad since 2000 increased by an average of 20%, and the number by 2014 was expected to hit between 550,000 and 600,000. Besides, Statista (2005) noted that there was an overall trend of increasing number of Chinese students seeking higher education since 2005, as revealed in Figure 1 below.
Figure 1 Chinese students study abroad, 2005-2015 (in thousands)
Source: Statista (2017),
From Figure 1, it can be revealed that there is a general trend of an upsurge in the number of Chinese students studying abroad between 2005 and 2015. Therefore, it is vital to point out that there is a tendency by Chinese students to seek higher education abroad, which highlights a popular trend since 2005.
2.1.2. Chinese students motivations for studying abroad
Motivation is defined as inherent drive a person possesses to obtain a specified class of stimuli, and thus, it allows people to articulate the needs concretely by ensuring that they achieve their desires. According to Sanchez, Fornerino, and Zhang (2006) and Jolibert and Baumgartner (1997), motivation allows individuals to meet their needs by enabling them to focus on stimuli, for example, prestige, money, achievement, curiosity, and power among other things. Chinese students are motivated to acquire a better education, which can be instrumental to earn a better life in China. As Griner and Sobol (2014, p1) articulates, education is a necessary mean to advance in the career market and earn a better life for oneself in China. It is becoming more apparent to some Chinese students that an overseas education will not only provide a vast amount of personal development but also be a large advantage when looking for careers post-graduation. Besides, Cubillo et al. (2006) and Cant (2004) posit that for students to become successful in the current global environment, they need to develop cultural skills, which Chinese students can acquire abroad. Since various competencies can be acquired from studying abroad, there is an increased need for international students to search for higher education abroad (Enders, 2004; Teichler, 2004). According to Griner and Sobol (2014), motivational factors can be divided into four parts, which include parental influence, personal dynamic, outlying factors, as well as globalization persuasion.
Personal dynamic motivational factors, when it comes to attaining education, entails a cause that relates to an individuals desire to study abroad, for example, social status, career path, and education. Parental influence also plays a critical role encapsulates desire, demographics influence, and international experience that is associated with studying abroad. On the other hand, globalization persuasion recognizes the worlds effect on student interest and includes Chinas recent Westernization stance, as well as interacting with the international market. Lastly, outlying factors that motivate students are such as arbitrary causes for student motivation in one way or another, relationship status, as well as the knowledge of opportunities connected to studying abroad.
2.1.3. Competition for attracting international students
Since the education systems in the world have been globalized, institutions of higher learning move with these trends, thereby diminishing borders while also capitalizing on global partnerships. According to Marginson (2006), the sector is currently characterized by a combination of three levels. Firstly, there is the global flows and networks of knowledge, ideas and words, inter-institution dealings, as well as finance dealings. Secondly, there are the national education systems, which are shaped by law, history, funding, and policy. Lastly, the individual institutions that operate in the local, national, and global spheres. The changes in have had an effect on the practical processes within the universities, and especially in the way, these institutions market their programs.
Furthermore, as Cubillo et al. (2006) and Ivy (2001) articulate, the global trends in the higher education field have brought new competitors. The institutions of higher learning have been involved in a struggle to attract new students (Nicholls et al., 1995; Soutar and Turner, 2002). As Ivy (2002) notes, following the increase in competition, higher educational institutions should maintain their competitive advantage by developing a unique image. Cubillo et al. (2006) also highlight the need for positioning. For this reason, marketers must know the behavior of consumers from a cross-national and global perspective, as well as the factors that influence the purchase intention of prospective and potential students and understanding the nature of the relationships between the factors. Policy makers must also b aware of the underlying consumer factors when evaluating education services (Ahmed et al., 2002), for them to survive the competitive environment (Vaira, 2004).
Therefore, as Cubillo et al. (2006) notes, it is paramount to gain insight on what factors influence Chinese students to go abroad to deduce factors that will prevent them partaking education overseas. Essentially, the factors that affect the choice of international students of a host nation and institution have been expounded in the internationalization domain (Davis, 1997), and the marketing domain (Binsardi & Ekwulugo, 2003; Mazzarol & Soutar, 2002; Soutar & Turner, 2002; Waters, 1992; Zikopoulos & Barber, 1986). Even so, after a close examination, influential factors that relate to marketing endeavors are in some instances as a result of internationalization, for example, research collaborations, faculty, and student exchange programs, as well as twinning programs. Besides, the discussion of the various factors that influence the choice of international students under the internationalization domain literature often reflects similarity in technology in the marketing criteria used, for example, location/place, program, cost/price, and program. Therefore, it can be derived that when examining the choice of international students of a given country and institution and their decision-making process, and thus, it is vital to review the literature in an integrative manner.
2.2. Marketing Concept in Higher Education
2.2.1. Why marketing in higher education
According to Kotler and Fox (1985) marketing is defined as the analyzing, planning, implementing, and controlling carefully formulated programs that are mainly designed to bring about voluntary exchanges of values with specific target markets to achieve objectives set by the institution. Further, the authors stipulate that marketing entail designing the offerings provided by an institution to meet the needs and desires of the target market, as well as utilizing an effective mix of communication, pricing, and distribution to motivate, inform, and service the markets. As Brooker and Noble (1985) point out, the earlier applications of marketing higher education programs were intended mainly to address the reducing number of prospective students.
Marketing the programs requires a marketing model, which applies various marketing principles, including marketing mix, positioning, segmentation, as well as research to the higher education institutions (Shah, 2009). By capitalizing on these strategies, the institutions can adequately respond the needs of potential students, interests, and wants. However, it should be noted that in the marketing model, the choices made in choosing a college is regarded as a continuous interactive process between the colleges and the students. As Shah (2009) notes, the ultimate students choice is dependent on settling on a match between the student characteristics, including preferences, perceptions, and needs, and the institutional characteristics, which include the price/tuition, products/programs, place/distribution, location/urban or rural, communications, and financial aid, and the information that is subsequently exchanged between the two parties. According to Shah (2009), market research carried out by universities allows it to discover the preferences if a particular market, but if it does not have the ability and desire to modify or mold the services and products to subsequently satisfy the preferences, then the efforts taken incur losses or wastage of resources.
Researchers, such as Ivy (2001) and Cubillo et al. (2006) have recognized the need for marketing to attract students. If the higher education programs offer qualifications that satisfy the needs of students, and distribution tuition using methods that can match expectations of the students, as well as provide data on which they can make cognizant decisions pertaining to the qualification choices and pricing at a levels that the students can see value, then students are more likely to enroll in such courses (Shah, 2009). Therefore, as the author points out, the tools that are needed here are the basic marketing mix elements of place, product, promotion, and price, which institutions use to increase the number of inquiries for programs it offers, applications, and enrollment.
As Sanchez, Fornerino, and Zhang (2006) highlight, business schools are strategizing on how to capitalize on globalization, as in recent times, they have identified study abroad programs as a means of increasing revenues, diversifying the student body, and adding value to academic programs. Essentially, this is usually achieved by offering various benefits of the international student population, as well as providing experiences in the international teaching faculty. For the uni...
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