Working with Student Recruitment Agents

At the beginning of 2015, the Ministry of Education (MoE) indicated that there were 452 licensed and registered student recruitment agencies in China. More broadly, there are an estimated 10,000 registered and unregistered agents operating in various cities throughout the country. Over the past decade, the student recruitment industry in China has expanded in line with the marked increase in Chinese students heading overseas to study.

As the agents’ channels mature, they become more expensive. The three largest student recruitment agents in China account for around 30 per cent of the total market. There are also numerous smaller agencies that have developed a decent market penetration in particular cities and regions in China.


Universities around the world have adopted vastly different approaches to using student recruitment agencies in China. These approaches can differ in terms of the number of agencies engaged, the size of the agencies engaged, the agencies’ geographical focus and their licensing status.

For overseas institutions new to the higher education agent market in China, there are a number of commonly-asked questions that this report can help answer:

  • Are there any alternatives to traditional agents?
  • Where can such alternatives be found?
  • How do such alternatives differ to traditional agents?
  • What trends have become visible across the recruitment agent market sector in China?
  • How are agents likely to evolve in the next 5-10 years?
Understanding agents’ motivations and capabilities is crucial for overseas universities to build mutually beneficial and long-term relationships with recruitment agents in China.

This report is available as a Standard and Tailored report.

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