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Chinese are attracted to branded British universities

By Elizabeth Gasson | China Daily | Updated: 2012-12-04 09:35

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"Institutions which have been most hit by application numbers are the institutions without a strong brand," Leech says.

Goh highlights other universities, such as Warwick, LSE, Manchester and Imperial, as successful brands in China.

"It is linked to the fact they have strong networks, marketing, and agents to recruit here," she says.

Yet another issue about British universities is that they don't all have a strategy, Goh explains.

"You have to look at the (brand) success based on whether the university has a strategy and whether they are successful in their strategy."

Giana Eckhardt, an expert in global marketing and consumer behavior in China from Suffolk University in the United States, explains that American pop culture is an influential factor of the American university brand image in China, when one compares it with the British one.

Yang Wei, director of the international development section of education consultancy China Education Service Center, says the TV series Beijinger in New York was an important medium in branding New York City.

The story displayed the lives of Wang Qiming and his wife Guo Yan, who worked hard toward their American dream, showing their immigration, employment, their daughter and the eventual success and tragedy of their story.

Chinese students have longed to live the same dream, Yang says.

Equally, Shi Anbin, associate dean and professor of the School of Journalism and Communication at Tsinghua University, highlighted that former Cambridge University student Xu Zhimo's poem Farewell to Cambridge, which is recited by all high school students in China, was influential in promoting the leading British university in China.

Silently I go,

As silently I came.

Silently I wave my hand

And bid farewell to the west clouds.

The golden willows on the river bank

Are brides beneath the setting sun;

Their flaming shadows in the wave's light

Move softly on my heart.

(Excerpt from Xu Zhimo's Farewell To Cambridge)

Which would you prefer to buy next year - a British car, bag or education? The choice is yours. But knowing more about the brand through mediums, such as Xu's poem, might sway you to one side or another.

China Daily

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