Hong Kong - Country Commercial Guide
Education and Training

This is a best prospect industry sector for this country.  Includes a market overview and trade data.

Last published date: 2022-03-31

Capital: Hong Kong

Population:  7.3 million (July 2021 est.)

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity): $420.1 billion (2020 est., in 2017 dollars)

Currency:  Hong Kong dollars (HKD)

Language:  Cantonese, English, Mandarin, or other Chinese dialects

 

UNESCO Student Mobility Number:

Hong Kong has 36,100 students studying abroad according to UNESCO. 
 
CIA World Factbook:  

21.62% of the Hong Kong population is under 25 years of age.

 

OVERVIEW

Hong Kong had a total of 5,878 students studying in the United States during the 2020-2021 academic year, with 58% of these students at the undergraduate level. The slight decrease in the number of Hong Kong students from the previous year is mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about public safety in the United States.

However, Hong Kong parents have a history of sending their children abroad, and this trend is likely to increase in the near term. Interest in overseas education by parents is partly due to better work prospects that come with a U.S. education.  In addition, as the university selection process in Hong Kong is extremely competitive, it has led some students to seek overseas education outside of Hong Kong, and the U.S. is one of the major study destinations and a desirable place for local students to study. Many alumni of U.S. universities and boarding schools come from Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Government has invested many resources to promote STEM education and boost the talent base in technology, especially fintech. Moreover, a government organization, Cyberport, has had past experiences partnering with MIT and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to host Fintech Bootcamps for local university students.  The Hong Kong government and various institutions in Hong Kong are open for future collaboration with U.S. education technology companies and universities.

The U.S. Commercial Service in Hong Kong has established good relationships with local agents and high school counselors. U.S. education institutions can contact the U.S. Commercial Service in Hong Kong to build-out their base of education partners or recruit students in this region.  

 

SUB-SECTORS

Undergraduate: There is high demand among Hong Kong students to study in U.S. four-year undergraduate programs.  58% of the 5,878 Hong Kong students studying in the United States during the 2020-2021 academic year were pursuing undergraduate studies.  Some of the popular majors include business, engineering, and the humanities. An increasing number of students are also pursuing degrees in journalism, media studies, and computer science in the U.S.

Community College: There is an emerging market for two-year community colleges, where admission requirements are comparatively lower.  Hong Kong students tend to be more interested in community colleges with guaranteed transferable credits to universities, particularly those schools with established paths to transfer to top tier four-year colleges in the U.S.

Graduate Education: Compared to undergraduate programs and secondary education, demand by local students for U.S. graduate education is comparatively lower. During the academic year 2020-2021, 22% of Hong Kong students studying in U.S. were graduate students.  Outreach to these prospective students is difficult because many of them do their own independent research for schools online and apply directly, without working with education recruitment agents or attending seminars to learn more about graduate education programs.  

Secondary Education: Demand has been growing tremendously for Hong Kong parents to find opportunities for their children to study in U.S. boarding schools, starting at an earlier age than was historically the case (Grade 7 or 8).     

Online Programs: There is high demand for online programs, especially since the COVID-19 period when social distancing measures were implemented. Hong Kong vocational schools, professional institutions, and extension schools of local universities are very interested in collaborating with U.S. universities to provide online bachelors, graduate, and executive programs to local students and professionals in the industry.  Hybrid programs are also another opportunity for cooperation between local and U.S. schools.

Research and Development: The Hong Kong government has introduced several policies and allocated over one hundred billion Hong Kong dollars to support a series of measures for research and development and innovations in technology. There are also opportunities for collaborations with U.S. universities. In 2019, Hong Kong Science & Technology University joined force with Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Standard Medical School, and University College London to set up the city’s first international research center on dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Professional Training Services: There is strong demand for professional training or short-term executive education programs from the extension schools of local universities, Hong Kong vocational schools, government-funded academies, and organizations, especially in the fields of digital transformation, innovation, financial technology, AI, blockchain and data science.

Education Technology: There is growing demand for education technology from local high schools, as the Hong Kong government has announced that it will deploy U.S. $64 million over the next three years to local high schools to procure education-related technologies, course materials, and trainings programs to promote STEM education.

 

OPPORTUNITIES

There are opportunities for entry into Hong Kong markets at virtually every level of education. There is growing interest in U.S. boarding schools for younger children, as well as demand for higher education in the U.S. Interest in U.S. undergraduate programs remains high, with an additional growing market for U.S. community colleges, especially those with potential for entry into more traditional four-year colleges upon graduation. Interest in graduate programs is comparably lower, due to the difficulty in marketing to students who primarily research such programs independently.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there is additional growing interest in online programs and virtual education technology.

 

DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES

U.S. education institutions can promote their programs to local prospective students through digital marketing.  Some of the most used and popular social media platforms for Hong Kong students include Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Instagram. When students research information or search for job opportunities or overseas study programs, they use Google as a search engine, as well as LinkedIn, Efinancial careers, Indeed.com and Jobsdb.com, which are popular job searching platforms in Hong Kong.
Students and parents usually receive education opportunities via Facebook, email, SMS messages, and e-newsletters. It is recommended that U.S. education institutions partner with local education agents and high school counselors to organize education webinars and promote their program on Facebook and Instagram. U.S. schools can also consider publishing stories that highlight well-known alumni, as their accomplishments and testimonials by Hong Kong alumni will attract local parents and students. Short videos or photos to introduce your school campus and program also gains positive attention.

 

EVENTS

RESOURCES

 

U.S. COMMERCIAL SERVICE CONTACT

For more information about this industry sector, please contact U.S. Commercial Service, Hong Kong at office.hongkong@trade.gov.