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App designed to help protect Chinese students abroad

By CAO CHEN | China Daily | Updated: 2018-04-03 07:38

A private Chinese company has released an app dedicated to providing professional security services for overseas Chinese students, whose safety abroad has become a growing public concern thanks to a slew of recent safety scandals.

Designed by ZBHA Group, a Chinese enterprise engaged in modern security services, the app embraces 16 types of overseas security services for Chinese in the United States, Australia, Cambodia, Israel and New Zealand.

The app, which is available for both Apple and Android phones, involves various functions. Students can reserve regular safety training and professional assistance at an airport, such as baggage claim, check in and pick up or drop off services, especially for those going abroad for the first time who are not familiar with foreign environments.

During students study abroad, the app can provide them with travel guidance and emergency assistance, and be equipped with GPS monitoring by the company to guarantee their safety.

Other services, like guidance at hospitals, luggage storage and legal consultations, also are available as needed.

While the app is free, the services provided are not.

"We hope Chinese students and their parents can enjoy their lives when studying or traveling in foreign countries and return safely to home in China," said Kong Xianming, chief executive of ZBHA.

For years, China has been the largest source of international students in English-speaking countries, including the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia.

According to the Ministry of Education, the number of Chinese studying abroad in 2017 was over 608,000, an increase of 11.74 percent year-on-year.

As the number of students grows, safety has become a major concern.

In 2016, Chinese embassies and consulates handled more than 100,000 reports from students abroad who felt their security was threatened, almost triple that of the 36,800 in 2015, according to the 2017 Report on the Development of Chinese Students Studying Abroad.

Grim situations also occur, such as befell Zhang Yingying, 26, a visiting scholar from China at the University of Illinois, who was reported missing in June and is believed to have been abducted.

Such concerns include not only personal safety, but also psychological crisis and property security, said Han Xiaogang, Secretary General of China-US Association for Advanced Cultural Exchange.

"Assistance is vital, considering the sudden changes in their studies and living environments," Han said.

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