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Education New Zealand: Market Brief - Japan

Education New Zealand: Market Brief


June/July 2003

Japan is one of New Zealand’s most important international education markets. During 2002, 12, 895 Japanese students chose New Zealand as their preferred education destination, making Japan 3rd behind China and South Korea in terms of numbers.

The Japanese market has been a very reliable performer for New Zealand, with slow but steady growth over the last few years. Many students come here for English language, but participation in tertiary study has grown quite strongly over time. Japanese students are also well represented in secondary schools.

Interest in New Zealand remains strong in Japan. Traditional factors in our favour have included the Japanese perception of our relaxed lifestyle and expansive ‘clean green’ environment, along with the consistent quality of our providers and the recognition that New Zealand offers excellent value for money.

The increasing strength of the New Zealand dollar has an impact on the market, but New Zealand’s reputation as a safe place far from the world’s troubles offsets that to some extent. However, the Japanese economy remains stagnant, and this coupled with rising unemployment means that Japanese students are thinking very carefully about the education investments they make.

As in all markets, New Zealand faces strong competition from Australia, the USA, Canada and the UK. The Japanese market is very dependent on education agents, and New Zealand institutions maintain excellent agent relationships to ensure that they remain ‘top of mind’. However, no amount of marketing can compensate for a poor quality or inappropriate product, and in this respect the performance and flexibility across the board of our institutions is of enormous benefit.

An encouraging feature of the Japanese market is that many students are starting to look beyond business and IT and consider other study disciplines. This opens up considerable opportunities for all sectors of the market, and allows New Zealand to take advantage of the in depth quality of courses in everything from health care to adventure tourism.

New Zealand is certainly not complacent about its position in this market. The joint Education New Zealand and Trade New Zealand ‘Five Steps Forward’ marketing strategy has a range of activities in place to help our institutions in the Japanese market this year. Currently, two groups of Japanese agents are in the country, and later this year agent seminars in Osaka and Tokyo will bring the Japanese agents up to date with the advantages that New Zealand offers.

Interest by institutions in Japan remains strong. The Japanese education market is currently worth around $150million to the New Zealand economy, and makes a vital contribution to the overall success of international education in our country.


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