China and the UK enjoy a long history of educational exchange and cooperation. Over the past 5 years, China-UK education cooperation has made significant progress. Between 2015-2019, the number of Chinese students coming to the UK for degree study increased from 89,500 to 120,300, an increase of 34%. The number of UK students in China studying and undertaking internships prior to Covid-19 had also increased from 6,200 to nearly 10,000, an increase of 61%.  

Recent research shows that the number of Chinese applicants to study in the UK has increased by 30% for the second year in a row, and for the first time, the UK has overtaken the US as the preferred overseas study destination for Chinese students. In 2019, international students in the UK contributed £22 billion to the UK economy, of which Chinese students contributed 30%. 

The types of collaboration available in China’s sector are becoming more diverse as the market for education evolves and the UK's reputation for delivering education services is well-known in China. The UK is therefore strongly position to respond to this diversity and significant opportunities for UK education organisations existing throughout the areas of student recruitment, educational content, curriculum and IP exporting, programme development and delivery, partnership development, market entry and expansion operations, collaboration in research and innovation, and direct investment. 


CBBC’s Education sector team works extensively across Higher Education, Professional and Vocational Education, Training, Early years education and School-age education, Edtech and education services.  

Explore our Map of Scotland-China Educational Partnerships


Explore the map here

Through CBBC, you can: 

  • Develop your understanding of the latest education policies and market landscape through our Education market research service which offers the right intelligence and tips to inform your market entry/expansion strategy and our cultural training will ensure you are able to take the right approach to doing business in China and navigating the education industry.  

  • Particulate in tailored missions, commercial roadshows and networking activities that will enable you to put your plan in to action.  

  • Follow in the footsteps of several of the UK’s leading academic institutions in using our Launchpad or China Navigator to build long-term and sustainable business growth in the education industry – building close institutional partnerships and academic ties, successful joint programmes and growing student recruitment.  

  • Utilise our unique platform for cross-sectoral engagement and cross-regional links by reaching out through our regional network and capitalising on our ability to open doors to enable you to seize national and regional opportunities. 


An Overview of China’s Education Sector Opportunities 

The UK education sector has all the necessary capabilities to support development of a new generation of Chinese graduates and provide them with the type of entrepreneurial, creative, and innovative skills for which the UK is well-regarded in China.

Higher Education

  • UK universities attract large numbers of Chinese students to study bachelor’s degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral programmes in the UK.  

  • Increasingly they are also delivering programmes in China through innovative collaboration with Chinese partners, joint-research programmes, and two-way staff and student exchanges, including those linked with industry.

Professional and Vocational Education and Training

  • China offers opportunities for UK companies engaged in the accreditation. of professional qualifications and practical training. For further education institutions, this extends to the design of curriculums and services for vocational courses and teacher training

Early years education and school-age education  

  • The UK continues to lead the way in the development of international early years and school-age education, providing English language training and A-level courses to thousands of students in China. 

Edtech and Education Services 

  • The UK is in a unique position for trade deals with China, providing services that target a Chinese audience. China is enhancing its strategy of developing education innovation, hence there are increasing opportunities for UK Edtech companies and education organisations. 

Joint Programmes & Courses

  • Demand for joint courses in specialist areas continues to grow in China: more high school graduates are applying to universities, and universities in turn are responding by increasing the number of programmes they offer and establishing international partnerships that can complement their existing courses.


  • The transition from the concept of "made in China" to one of "created in China" is also expected to increase the demand for the types of skills that the UK education sector is well-positioned to supply. 

  • This transition is built on a foundation of a Chinese economy that is entrepreneurial and innovation-led, in which research and development is valued, and which encourages links between universities and businesses.

Transnational Education

  • Entrants progressing to study in the UK from transnational education pathways plays a particularly important role. More than half of entrants who enter via pathways such as this come from mainland China alone, and more than a third join their course in Year 2 or later.  

  • Currently there are 139 British higher education institutions and 232 Chinese universities engaged in various forms of cooperation. In addition, British independent schools are also flourishing in China, with 100 institutional partnerships and more than 300 course-based collaborations. 


Policy Update
Policy Environment – 14th Five Year Plan
  • The 14th 5-year-plan (2021-2026) promises to improve the living standards of the Chinese people.  

  • In general, for the education sector, it emphasises the support for and standardises the development of private education and off-campus training institutions; the integration of online and offline education; the promotion of equal access to education in rural areas; the enhancement for adaptability of vocational and technical education; the expansion of youth physical and mental health education; and the promotion of inclusive preschool education and special education.  

  • There is great potential for both sides to explore opportunities for large-scale co-operation in areas such as pre-school education, vocational education, degree apprenticeships and special education. 

The Future Outlook 

Collaborations with China in the education sector are becoming more diverse due to a two-way exchange of knowledge, students, and specialists. Entrepreneurship and employability are also increasingly important in China, along with the commercialisation of research and development. 

china chat
CBBC Education and Training 2023 Events Calendar

Get your diary in order for 2023 with our Education and Training Calendar for the year ahead.

Packed full of industry-leading events, we are sure that you will find something of value and interest to your company. 

Browse the Calendar here