Asia is a very exciting part of the world. Just fifty years ago the region was plagued with political upheaval and economic issues. Today Asia is the most populous region in the world with the second highest GDP. This rapid rise of Asia is hugely important to New Zealand due to our close proximity. As the region continues to grow and expand there are going to be a number of challenges and opportunities for New Zealand and with this in mind it is critical our businesses, leaders and us as individuals become Asia Ready.

It is important to be aware that East Asia is very diverse. Cultural, linguistic and socio-economic differences mean it isn’t possible to connect with ‘Asia’ as if it is one single unit. It is important to gain an understanding of the various parts of the region. Likewise, due to the diversity when going into Asia the most obvious target market may not be the best one. Before planning to go into Asia understand the different countries and make an informed decision on which markets best suite your needs.

The Diversity of East Asia

East Asia is diverse. In North East Asia you have China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. In South East Asia you have the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). New Zealand has Free Trade Agreements with China, Hong Kong Taiwan, South Korea and ASEAN, giving us important formal links across the region. 

Rank Country GDP (nominal, 2014) USD-mill

CountryWorld RankingValue (nominal GDP)
China 2 $11,391.619 ( US bil)
Japan 3 $4,730.300 (US bil)
(South) Korea 11 $1,404.383 (US bil)
(Province of) Taiwan 22 $519.149 (US bil)
Hong Kong SAR 34 $316.070 (US bil)
Malaysia 38 $302.748 (US bil)
Singapore 40 $296.642 (US bil)
New Zealand 53 $179.359 (US bil)

CLIck on icons below to learn more about each individual market

An economy on the move

The Asia-Pacific region accounted for roughly one quarter of global GDP in 2005. A decade later it was already almost one third. In 2020 it is expected to make up more than 35 percent of the world economy. Most prominently, the share of China tripled from 5 percent in 2005 to 15 percent in 2015, while Japan lost in relative importance. The region has become more prosperous. In Asean the per-capita GDP has doubled, in China it rose fivefold; in South Korean and Australia it has increased by more than 40 percent.


The region is also increasingly becoming a global foreign direct investment (FDI) hub. In terms of both incoming and outgoing FDI, the Asia-Pacific region now accounts for almost one quarter of global FDI stock. Hong Kong and Singapore enjoy special roles as hubs of foreign investment in Asia. Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Australia together accounted for 72 percent of total inward FDI stock in the Asia-Pacific region from 2005 to 2015. Almost three quarters of Asia-Pacific region outward FDI is accounted for by Hong Kong, Japan, China and Singapore. Over a 10-year period, China saw a seventeenfold increase in its investment stock in foreign countries, followed by Japan with a fourteenfold increase. This suggests an even more important international investment role for these countries in the coming years.


Eastern Asian countries have also been proactive in promoting trade, both inter-regionally and internationally. Asia is an important destination for New Zealand products, as well as being the leading source of tourists and international students. New Zealand has Free Trade Agreements with almost every country the East Asian region, with the obvious exception of Japan. Asian countries have, likewise, been eager to further develop the network of agreements. Examples include initiatives undertaken by the Asean community, the negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (which Trump is not going to further pursue), and activities by China, Japan, Vietnam, South Korea and the Philippines.





11.8% of New Zealanders are from Asia

Our ethnic communities are an important part of New Zealand. 11.8% of New Zealanders now identify themselves as Asian. Asian migrants bring many benefits to New Zealand. Culturally, migrants add to community's diversity and vibrancy, giving their adopted cities a more international feel. From an economic perspective they provide a valuable conduit between New Zealand communities and their home country. Skilled migrants contribute new experience and knowledge into local businesses allowing businesses to grow.  Migrants are also more likely to start a new business than a local which in turn adds employment opportunities. They are also likely to encourage further immigration and help make their cities more attractive to tourists and international students.

The largest Asian community is in Auckland, however over 2015-2016 increasing numbers of Asians are choosing to settle in the regions. Recent Asian migrants to the regions have come not only from China and India but also from Korea, Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam and many other countries. Immigrants have helped counteract static growth (and in some cases have reversed population decline).

Ethnic GroupPop. in NZ% of NZ Pop.
Chinese 89,121 (by birth, 2013) 171,000 (by ancestry) 4%
(South) Korean 30,171 (2013) 0.75%
Malaysian 14,547 (2006) 0.41%
Japanese 13,435 (2012) 0.26

Local government and international relations

Local governments play an important role in building strategic international partnerships with one another, with a view to stimulating economic growth and cultural connections. These international relationships promote economic outcome though developing access to markets, promoting commercial opportunities and international investments as well as attracting skilled migrants, international students and tourists.

There are a number of New Zealand towns and regions which are already connected internationally with a range of relationships. The map on the left identifies a number of the existing relationships between New Zealand towns and East Asia. These existing relationships can be important drivers to developing meaningful community and economic outcomes. For local governments which want to commercialise their existing partnerships or are investigating developing a new relationship, Eastern Bridge can assist through strategic planning, research and by providing other support through its International Relationship Management Service.


For our regions to benefit from New Zealand's increasing ethnic diversity and leverage opportunities from Asia it is important for the local government to have a strategy. Councils need to identify what are the focus points for their communities, these could include:


107 million Chinese traveled abroad in 2014, 215,040 visited New Zealand, they spent over $1billion while here and $102.9billion (USD) globally. 93,600 Japanese and 74,224 Koreans also visited New Zealand.

There are a range of tourism segments (i.e. domestic, group, free independent travellers, working holiday, student, retiree and medical) however, increasingly Asian people prefer traveling alone, with their friends or family. Asian visitors want activities, fulfilling experiences and new adventures. There is increasing interest in the culture, history and local cuisine.


Chinese students spent $19.9 billion (USD) on overseas education, 4% (or 30,179) of them choose to study in New Zealand. 35% of Chinese students studied in high schools. 9,742 Japanese and 7,910 Korean students also studied here in 2014. Primary school study was the fastest growing sector.

70% of international students stay in Auckland. There are a range of study options (primary, intermediate and high schools, private training institutes, universities, language institutes and specialist programmes). Student spend a lot (tuition fees, accommodation and home-stay, shopping and traveling), they also bring new connections and diversfy our classrooms.


New Zealand earned $61.7 billion (NZD) in 2015 from exports, China is our biggest exporting partner worth $6.8billion, Japan and Korea are our 4th and 5th largest export markets. East Asian countries have a generally high opinion of New Zealand products which are seen as safe and of a high quality.

Regionally based businesses are often disadvantaged as it is more difficult for their sales reps to network with Asian importers who usually confine themselves to Auckland. Councils can be a powerful facilitator connecting local businesses with international contacts.



The Chinese invested $1.9 billion (NZD) in NZ during 2015, 14% of all inward foreign direct investment. Contrary to public belief the Chinese are not the biggest foreign purchasers of land, instead they invested in energy, agribusiness and construction. Japanese companies have $8.5billion of investments in New Zealand.

Chinese companies are aggressively investing internationally and the New Zealand and South Korean government are cooperating to promote two way investment. Many Asian corporate investors are looking for raw materials (logs etc), food security, utilities and property. Individuals are also investing with the goal of immigration through the $10 million and $1.5 million category visas. Many Chinese also want to ‘park’ their money outside of China.

Work with Eastern Bridge to avoid issues

Engaging in business and economic development activities across the linguistic and cultural divides can be challenging. Eastern Bridge specalises in assisting Councils to develop and manage their international relationships. Starting from $500 per month, our tailored and comprehensive International Relationship Service provides councils with an experienced  multilingual and multifaceted team.

Click HERE for more information.





Asia is our biggest exporting region

Asia is New Zealand's most important exporting region in turns of current value and potential for future growth. China, Korea and Japan are the first, fourth and fifth largest markets. With the exception of Japan, New Zealand has Free Trade Agreements with all of the East Asian countries.

New Zealand has a high reliance on primary sector and commodity exports. The export sector is dominated by dairy including milk powder, cheese, butter and ice cream. New Zealand is also a big exporter of fruit, meats and logs much of these are exported in their primary form. 

Export services are dominated by tourism and export education. Other export services include transport, telecommunications, education and financial and business services.

New Zealand is at risk of getting stuck as a commodity exporter, it is important for business to raise the value of their export products and choose markets which are suitable for them. 

Think about your market

When identifying your target markets, consider including smaller markets because often they are buying centres for other markets (for example Macau for China). The smaller markets may also be easier to trade with as major exporters and competitors tend to concentrate on larger, more complex markets. 

Most importantly, don’t tackle too many markets at once, do not go to China, you can choose one city or province to focus on. Beware of diluting your focus and resources by tackling too many markets at once (unless you’re selling worldwide through the internet.) Most exporters aim to achieve success in one overseas market at a time before expanding their horizons.

Focus on low risk, high potential return markets. If you have a competitive advantage in New Zealand, look for markets where this can be sustained.

Online sales and marketing

East Asia is a digitally connected region which social media and online information greatly shape people's lives. There are thousands of online shopping centers in East Asia which are built around geographic markets or specific products, for example clothing specific sites. Six of the larges sites from East Asia include: Taobao (China), Alibaba (China), Rakuten (Japan), Coupang (Sough Korea), Lazada (South East Asia) and Meituan (China). 


Social media also plays and important role in marketing. Major social media platforms in Asia include WeChat (China), Weibo (China), Kakao (Korea), Line (Japan and Taiwan), Facbook, Twitter and Whatsapp. For more information on social media please view the country specific pages. 

CountryValueMain Exports
China New Zealand's exports to China amounted to
$6.8 billion
1. Dairy, eggs, honey: $1.9 billion
2. Wood: $1.3 billion
3. Meat: $1 billion
4. Wool: $349.1 million
5. Fish: $339.5 million
6. Fruits, nuts: $266.2 million
Japan New Zealand's exports to Japan amounted to
$2.3 billion
1. Aluminum: $439.5 million
2. Dairy, eggs, honey: $324.7 million
3. Wood: $242.3 million
4. Fruits, nuts: $226 million
5. Meat: $198.2 million
(South) Korean New Zealand's exports to South Korea amounted to $1.3 billion 1. Wood: $378.6 million
2. Meat: $110.9 million
3. Dairy, eggs, honey: $90.4 million
4. Woodpulp: $54.4 million
5. Other food preparations: $50.3 million
Singapore New Zealand's exports to Singapore amounted to
$829.2 million
1. Dairy, eggs, honey: $263 million
2. Ships, boats: $154 million
3. Oil: $80.2 million
4. Meat: $39.6 million
5. Machinery: $39.5 million
Taiwan New Zealand's exports to Taiwan amounted to
$827.6 million
1. Dairy, eggs, honey: $231.5 million
2. Meat: $200.2 million
3. Fruits, nuts: $158.9 million
4. Wood: $49.7 million
5. Cereal, milk preparations: $30.3 million
Malaysia New Zealand's exports to Malaysia amounted to
$695 million
1. Dairy, eggs, honey: $399.2 million
2. Meat: $63.5 million
3. Cereal, milk preparations: $29.9 million
4. Fruits, nuts: $26.4 million

market considerations

There are many options for entering an overseas market - choosing the right one for you depends on a number of factors. Your choices will involve the amount of control you want, and the resources you are able to commit. Before choosing a market entry strategy, take the time to evaluate your business and its strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • how is business conducted in your industry sector and in the target market?
  • how much after sales support or service is needed?
  • what export experience does your company have?
  • what degree of control are you happy with?
  • how much time can you spend travelling to the market?
  • what level of resource commitment are you prepared to make?
  • what is your current level of ability to increase capacity?
  • how much finance do you have available?
  • what entry option is best suited to your product or service?

For more information about market entry strategies you can visit the NZTE website. 


This is a 'passive' export strategy, which doesn’t require a physical presence in your target country and has the minimum commitment. Online sales have the befits of low cost and commitment, easy to exit, its a quick and easy way to achieve in-market presence and you can maintain direct control over your marketing. However the downside is a lack of control over who buys your product and what it is used for, customer may not feel comfortable buying from a company without a local presence, it is difficult to provide good customer service and after sales support and it can mean higher freight costs if you are posting individual items direct to customers.


In this option, you sell goods directly to your distributor and they are responsible for selling on to an end-user or another intermediary. An overseas distributor can take care of shipping and customs, buy your goods in bulk, warehouse your goods, and market your product. This is another quick way to target a market, but it carries more risk.


For a company looking to export, franchising and licensing can be successful strategies. Both models require that the franchisee / licensee make payments to the original business that owns the brand or intellectual property. Royalties are typically a percentage of sales derived from use of the licensed IP. The advantages are you will have total control over how and where your product is marketed, you will enjoy greater levels of profit with no 'middle man' to pay and your intellectual property is safer with only trusted company employees accessing the core of your business. However, setting up in-market means you are vulnerable to local political and economic fluctuations, this option is costly and time consuming - you need to commit significant resource to market research and validation and exit costs here are high, which is why it is so important to reduce the risks through research.


Using an in-market representative to find customers and negotiate sales in your target country is a more 'active' approach. Many well-established agents have their own customer base and some wholesalers may only buy through a certain agent. They act on your behalf, but you retain ownership of the goods, control of your product (eg final price and brand image) and are responsible for shipping, Customs paperwork, tax and the costs incurred. An export agent is usually a third party and represents other companies, while a sales representative may be an employee. You pay them a sales commission, salary, retainer or a combination of all three.


Forming a strategic alliance or joint venture with a company that already has the infrastructure in place to manufacture and / or sell your product in your chosen market can work well, but it can hold you back if you don’t choose wisely. Successful partnerships require greater commitment of time and resources to develop effective working relationships and trust with the local company. The pros are your partner may have a strong presence already, you can use their existing relationships and infrastructure to your advantage and you can maintain a relatively high level of control over your business. However, conflicts of interest may mean your partner deliberately holds your business back to further their own, their true commitment may be towards their own products and services, which can sometimes lead to slower sales and your partner may be in the relationship for a 'quick fix' upgrade to their own skills and knowledge, not to grow your business.

Do your Due diligence


Speak to professionals who know what they are doing. Good advice doesn't come free, so be prepared to pay for legal, market research and language support services. Organisations like the Chamber of Commerce have support staff who can introduce you to credible professionals. 


Basic market research can be done relatively easily by viewing your competitors online profiles. You can use online sales platforms to identify who are your main competitors get descriptions of their products and their pricing. If you anomalously contact your competitors for more information. 


Ensure your partners and customers are genuine. Search for online reviews, make cold calls, or get someone who is in the market to visit their shop or office. If you suspect the person is not genuine you need to take additional measures to protect your self from being cheated. In 2015 Eastern Bridge did 200 Due-diligence Checks on Chinese companies with a 95% failure rate. 


Ensure that your products meet local compliance regulations. If you product does not meet local regulation then it is likely it will be stuck on the warf unable to enter the country, the cost of the storage and he discarded product will be the exporters responsibility. 


It is important that exporters get insurance to cover unexpected eventualities. There are a range of insurance policies on offer so it is important to choose one which suites your requirements. 


Have a clear understanding of the local tax regulations as well as how you are going to get your money out of the country. There are a number of non-bank international transfer solutions some of which may be ideal for your business. 

Let Eastern Bridge help

Going into a new market where no one speaks your language can be daunting.  Eastern Bridge has worked with a number of exporters to help them navigate the complexities of exporting. Starting from $500 per month, our tailored and comprehensive International Relationship Service provides exporters with an experienced  multilingual and multifaceted team.

Click HERE for more information.





International students

In 2015 more than 125,000 international students were enrolled to study in New Zealand, their student fees contributed over $1 billion to our education system. The billion dollars is only half the story, as these students also contributed at least the same amount again on living costs in their host communities.

The benefits of international education extend beyond the economic contribution to New Zealand. Young New Zealanders live and learn alongside people from other countries, increasing their understanding of other cultures and boosting our links with the world. These international connections are vital for us to prosper in an increasingly Asia-Pacific world.

Auckland continues to enrol the majority of international students in New Zealand, representing 63%. The next largest host regions include Canterbury (8%), Wellington (6%), Waikato (5%) and Otago (4%). The ITP and PTE (including ELS) sectors were key drivers of regional growth in 2015.


New Zealand sees more primary schools entering the industry (often in partnership with local secondary schools). Younger students and their guardians represent high economic value, with opportunities to pathway through the system. In 2015,there were 1,830 international student enrollments in primary schools. Three markets – Korea, China and Japan – made up 79% of all international students.


There were 689 intermediate schools enrollments in 2015.  Korea and China alone made up 87% of the international students.


In 2015 international students contributed $120 million in fees to the secondary school sector. Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Brazilians made up the biggest group of students.


The ITP sector was the second-fastest growing sector in 2015, up 23% (+3,311) on 2014. China and India combined accounted for 71% of international student enrollments. Based on all international student enrollments at ITPs during 2015, the most popular fields of study were management and commerce (34%), society and culture (17%) and information technology (11%). 


There were 26,024 international students enrolled at New Zealand universities in 2015. Most university international students choose to study in Auckland. All of New Zealand's universities have at least one campus in Auckland.


The English Language Sector experienced a steady result in 2015, with 21,005 student enrollments, up 2% compared to 2014 (+457).

International student markets

Origin of Country / No. of Studnets Mean Income from feesMean Living costs (spend in the community)est Total (million)
11574 31462 $1,397,895,352
6877 36646 $321,112,694
5139 25330 $29,2441,462
15298 24327 $71,443,875


China is an increasingly competitive market for student recruitment and partnership development. China is the world’s largest source of international students, but the rate of growth in outbound students is slowing, as more students are taking advantage of options to gain a foreign qualification in China. Concerns among graduates around rising unemployment has led the government to investigate which subjects have the highest unemployment rates after graduation. A list of 15 subjects including marketing, tourism management and animation, has been developed, and Chinese universities have been encouraged to scale down offerings in these areas. China is fast becoming an education destination in its own right, aiming to attract 500,000 international students by 2020 and is well on the way to achieving that goal. As its education system develops, China is seeking greater reciprocity and more in-country provision in its foreign partnerships. Providers have a window of opportunity to develop relationships with local institutions to deliver New Zealand qualifications in-market. It is important to note that China is very much an agent-driven market.


Education is highly valued in Korea, with Korean families parents spending US$20 billion annually on private education. However, Korean students are increasingly becoming cost conscious, and are seeking more affordable, value-for-money options. New Zealand is seen as a safe, English-speaking education destination, and is especially popular with families looking for an international education for their school-age children. The challenge in Korea is to raise awareness of the New Zealand education offering in the face of increasing competition from domestic and foreign providers, greater English-proficiency of students, and consumers wanting a bigger return on their investment. Korea is the world’s third-largest source of international tertiary students, the majority of whom study in the United States, China, and Japan.


Japan is New Zealand’s third-largest source of international students and there are long-standing ties with New Zealand institutions. Relationships are at the heart of doing business in Japan and it can take many visits and several years to develop fruitful connections.  With a declining population and desire to re-ignite Japan’s economy, there is renewed focus on international education in Japan. The Japanese government has set strong goals around internationalisation and the development of globally capable talent to support Japan’s economic growth and competitiveness. There is also increasing interest from students in products outside the traditional English + Homestay. Students are looking for opportunities that will enable them to develop their language skills along with other skills that will give them an advantage in their future careers. Japan’s internationalisation goals include both doubling the number of outbound students, from 60,000 a year now to 120,000 by 2020, and doubling the number of inbound students to 300,000 by 2020. Japan has initiatives in place, such as various scholarships, to support these aspirations. Japan is an agent-led market with a high proportion of students using agents to assist their preparations for study overseas. Since 2004, the number of Japanese students choosing to study overseas has declined significantly. New Zealand levels have generally followed this trend but we have seen positive growth in the last couple of years. The Japanese are more price-conscious than previously, due in part to the weakening Japanese yen and the strengthening New Zealand dollar, and the sluggish Japanese economy. However, there are many scholarships available for students considering study overseas.

The top reasons why students want to study in New Zealand

1) Safe yet modern: - This country of just over 4 million people is an easy going and one of the safest places on this earth with high quality living conditions and a modern lifestyle. New Zealand has never seen war on its own shores and crime here is extremely low compared to America and Europe. The New Zealand government is also very stable and the New Zealanders are very outward looking and welcoming of new cultures.

2) British based education system: - The New Zealand education programs and degrees are based on the worlds most recognized and accredited education system- The British System- without the same expense.

3) International recognition of courses and degrees: - New Zealand qualifications are of a high quality and have a reputation around the world for being practical, modern and desired. All courses, programs and qualifications offered by New Zealand institutions are quality assured by the New Zealand government. Major employers around the world recognize New Zealand qualifications and employ New Zealand graduates.

4) Competitive Costs: - New Zealand offers very affordable tuition fee compared with many other countries around the world. Competitive tuition fees coupled with a low cost of living represents a good value for your money.

5) Multiculturalism: - New Zealand has a dynamic and harmonious multicultural society. Kiwis are friendly and pleasant and are opening their doors to offer you warm and welcoming environments. International students are highly respected in New Zealand and you will feel most welcome here.

6) Support Services: - New Zealand has a long history of teaching international students and New Zealand institutions are sensitive to the needs of international students. The “International Office” in tertiary institutions provides a high quality support service to help you adjust to your new environment and successfully complete your studies.

7) Recreational wonderland: - From the rugged mountains to the sandy beaches New Zealand is a land of great variety. This is also true of educational and cultural programs on offer to international students. Although New Zealand has a population of only 4.3 million and is similar in geographical size to the U.K. and Japan, its breathtaking scenery sets it apart from the rest of the world. New Zealand offers exciting landscape and recreational opportunities as well as great outdoors to treasure.

8) Work while you study: - All students on a student visa can work up to 20 hours per week during semester and full time during vacations i.e. 40 hours. Many New Zealand institutions offer a student employment service called ‘Student Job Search’ to help you find work.

9) Opportunity to settle permanently in New Zealand: - If you complete your course successfully, you automatically get a 12 months 'Work Permit' under the student visa policy. In most instances this permit will be done at your institution itself. This allows you to work full time in any job of your choice. However if you want to get a New Zealand Permanent Residency (PR), then you have to find a job that is relevant to the course that you have completed. Eg: If you have completed a course in IT, then you have to find a job as a programmer, analyst, etc. This will immediately give you a 2 years work permit with all rights like free medical, etc. Upon receiving this 2 years work permit then you can apply for PR and normally will get it within 5-6 months. If you do not find a job that is relevant to your course, you can continue to work in any job for 12 months and try and recover some of the investment you have made towards your study in NZ. You will that way end up by recovering a bulk of the fees you have paid and also end up with an international experience which will come in handy if you have to return to India. There are plenty of jobs in NZ, and while it may not be easy to get one, if you are good enough, you will easily get one. For more information please visit

10) No personal visa interview and NO outright visa rejection: - The Immigration Department of New Zealand NEVER rejects a visa application outright without giving you a chance to explain. Compare this with other countries who do not give you an opportunity to mention your side of the story. As long as you are able to explain clearly why you have chosen a particular course, there is no danger of not getting the visa. We will help you with the course selection that will enable you to create a good 'Statement of Purpose' (SOP) that will help the visa officer understand clearly and give a favorable decision.

11) Further education after acquiring Permanent Residency: -Once you acquire your Permanent Residency and if you want to study further, then you become eligible for study loans from the Government of New Zealand. You can avail of these loans and pay after you complete the course. Your dependence o your parents can stop after you get your PR. You can also continue to work as much as you like while pursuing your further studies after PR. The 20 hours per week restriction goes away.

Decission making factors

International students and what they are looking for in a school and beyond differ greatly. It is important to know your market before you start promoting your school. Working with recruitment agents are an easy way to get your message out there but it is difficult to find reputable agents and schools end up paying huge commissions. It is important the schools know the basics of the market and how to reach to perspective students. 


Marketing is key, particularity is you want to avoid loosing a big chunk of your fess to offshore recruitment agents. There are a range of websites dedicated to student recruitment in North East Asia. You will need to ensure the material is written in the correct language and you tailor your message for the target market.


Schools which show an awareness of the target students culture often do well in recruiting. Schools can provide Chinese language classes which also prepare their own students for an influx of international classmates. Providing the students a forum to showcase their culture isn't just good for local students but also play a strong marketing role


It is important to identify what makes your schools or education district special. Does the school provide unique courses, or is there support for the students to find part time jobs, or are their pathway opportunities to further study or work? The school's story and what makes it special needs to be packages and marketing to your target market. 


There is a perception that the regions are less developed and safe than Auckland. Many internationals student parents would consider sending their students into the regions if they knew that the smaller communities were safer than central Auckland.Schools need to address safety in their marketing material. 


Accommodation is a big part of the international students life. Many Asian parents would prefer to host their children with people from their country as they feel they will understand their child better and be able to provide 'local' food. Boarding schools and dormitories are a good way to attract Asian students. 


Most parents care a lot about their child's academic record. Many schools cannot claim that they are a decile 10, so it is recommended they identify other measures of their academic ability, for example exam results, or past a students who have achieved in various fields. 

Marketing to Asia


70% of prospective Chinese students use a smart phone as their primary tool for researching study abroad options. Korea and Japan have an even higher social media presence. The top search or research activities among these users include:

  • Overall, nearly 90% of prospective Chinese students indicate they will use social media when deciding on an institution or school.
  • 85% checked school information online (e.g., ranking, programmes available, costs);
  • 38% watched a video from an institution or school;
  • 28% posted a question to a school representative on social media;
  • 27% participated in a live chat.


There are also ecommerce websites which specalise in internationals student recruitment, the sites on the right are an example of such sites.


Ensure that your public image is suitable, make sure your website is translated (professionally) into the target language. Highlight the school's academic superiority and the extra activities open to your students. Regulary update the school news to grow your ereputation.

Eastern Bridge can help

Eastern Bridge can help your school to recruit more international students. Our social media service is ideal to promote your school in Asia, while our International Relations management service can provide you with a low cost and low risk market entry solution. Click HERE for more information on how we can help.






East Asia Outbound Tourists

While Australia is still New Zealand's largest tourism market (40%), China is the second (14%) with Japan and Korea also playing an important role. China is also the fastest growing market in terms of numbers and value.



CountryNumberest. value
China 405,504 $1,749 mill
Japan 79,854 $263 mill
Korea 96,608 $259 mill


Last year Chinese visitors spent almost $1.7 billion dollars in the New Zealand economy. Provided the New Zealand tourism industry can continue to deliver a great visitor experience for this market and economic conditions in China continue to hold, we can expect strong growth to persist.There is an increasing proportion of free and independent travellers (FITs) from the China market - these visitors tend to stay much longer than visitors on group shopping tours. This, in turn, has helped lift spend from this market.With more FITs from China, the travel pasterns of this market are changing, with Chinese visitors spreading further across New Zealand’s regions. Chinese visitors are also engaging in a wider range of activities. The changes in travel pasterns for the Chinese market are having a positive impact on length of stay and spend for this market.


The outlook for Japan is positive. Visitor growth maintained its momentum in 2015, up 7.6 per cent on a year earlier, exceeding expectations in last year’s forecasts. Visitor spending also increased by 17.3 per cent over the same period. Although Japanese visitor arrivals were up 7.6 per cent in 2015, the Japanese economy has been weak, so other factors must be at play to sustain this growth. The age distribution of Japanese visitors has shifted towards the younger brackets, and these visitors spend less than their older counterparts. Encouraging repeat visits provides an opportunity to grow the number of visitors.


Korean visitor arrivals increased 17.1 per cent in 2015, to 65,000 visitors. Korean household consumption has improved in 2015 and is expected to continue. The South Korean won has also been stronger than many other currencies, boosting spend from this market. Moderate growth from the Korean market in the short to medium term is expected. South Korea’s economy improved in 2015. Most analysts expect this growth to continue in 2016 and 2017. Interest rates have been low, stimulating consumption and investment in the economy. This contributes to economic growth, which helps to support outbound tourism. Unlike many other markets, the won has been appreciating against the New Zealand dollar, lifting spending from this market.


Outside of Mainland China are large Chinese speaking communities. In New Zealand alone there are over 300,000 Chinese speakers. Chinese is the official language of Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and Singapore.  There are also significant (over 5 million) numbers of Chinese speakers in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. In the past 12 months there were 54,480 Singaporean, 42,496 Malaysian and 25,824 Thai visitors to New Zealand. When tourism operators are thinking of the Chinese (speaking) market they need to be aware that it is a very diverse group and cannot be categorised by one nationality. 

There are many types of Asian tourist


Younger Chinese travelers (age 25-44) are a great demographic for tour and activity operators to target.

  • Not only are they more inclined to spend on leisure activities, but they’re very interested in experiencing culture first-hand.
  • They tend to be from affluent families, so they aren’t as limited by budget than other segments.
  • On holiday, they enjoy engaging in adventurous activities, seeking in-depth experiences with the local culture, or an area of special interest.

They have better foreign language skills than their older counterparts, thanks to being more exposed to them while growing up. One of the reasons they travel is to practice their language skills.

As they use the internet extensively, much of their planning is done online, and they’re very active on social media. They either travel independently or join partial tours. Tour operators should design adventure and culture oriented activities to add to their product catalog.


Older Chinese travelers (45 and over) should not be neglected.

  • They love packaged tours because they are less experienced travelers compared to their younger counterparts. This is because foreign travel was severely limited.
  • On holiday, they want to see as many iconic attractions as possible, not spending too much time in one spot.
  • Shopping is an important element. They feel obliged to bring back gifts.

Their language skills are not as good as the younger generation due to lack of exposure. Because of this, they typically opt for packaged tours, planned by travel agents.

When spending, they want the best value for money. However, they are also motivated by prestige, so brand is very important. Tour operators should design private and group tours that allow them to see a lot of iconic attractions in a day.


Independent travelers are a rapidly growing segment that you absolutely must consider.

  • They tend to be younger, with a large portion having lived, worked and studied abroad.
  • They tend to be more wealthy, being experienced travelers who spend more on it.
  • Absorbing the local culture is a priority, so they tend to move beyond city centers for more interactive and authentic experiences, and stay longer in one destination.

Independent Chinese travelers take control of their itineraries. You definitely won’t find them booking packaged tours, which they see as boring. They travel to interact with the local culture, seeking new, novel experiences that make them stand out in their social circles. While planning their trip they rely on the internet for opinions from other travelers. Travel agents are still often used to make the actual booking. It takes a while for them to get visas in order, so they book way in advance.Tour operators should focus on allowing these travelers to authentically experience the local culture, in areas outside of the city center. 


Chinese travelers that travel in groups and packaged tours are convenient they will only need one group booking. 

  • They tend to be first time or inexperienced travelers, so they prefer the convenience, comfort and safety of traveling in a group.
  • On their travels, they want to travel to as many places and experience as many activities as possible.
  • Most of their trip involves sightseeing and shopping. Their time is heavily scheduled, so a limited time is spent at each location.

In terms of their preferences, they like to have Chinese language and food options, and are not interested in high-end accommodations or transport.

They tend to be heavily influenced by traditional marketing, and book their itineraries through a tour agency. Tour operators should have Chinese-speaking tour guides, add Chinese food options to their meals, and make sure sightseeing to a bunch of stops is a part of their tour itinerary.


In the past this group have mainly focused on Europe and America however there is increasing interest in New Zealand. 

  • Their average age is 36, and they love to travel. In fact, it is one of their most preferred leisure activities, and they travel a more than 2 times per year. They like to plan their own schedule, with around half of them booking online.
  • They value privacy and high quality service. They are interested in adventure tourism and more experiential travel.
  • Exposure to new cultures is the main motivation for travel.

In addition to experiencing new cultures, affluent Chinese travelers visit their children studying abroad, or visit destinations to research schools to send their children to. In this case, tours and activities are done in their extra leisure time. Tour operators should have a high-end private tour option which focuses on VIP service.

Map: Chinese travelers are visiting more regions than before, with strong growth in spend especially in the South Island regions. 
Graph: Participation rates for popular activities undertaken by Chinese holidaymakers, and how rates compare with all international holidaymakers.

Decision making factors

East Asian tourists vary significantly from market to market. Traditionally the vast majority of these travelers have visited New Zealand as part of tour groups and have only been directed to the main tourism centers of Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington and Queenstown. Thanks to online marketing and a younger generation of travelers more visitors want to explore outside of the main tourism track. 


North East Asia is highly connected and travelers place a great deal of importance on web based marketing as well as online reviews. Websites should be professionally translated, and emails responded to in the visitors own language. Blogs, online posts and reviews should be encouraged and social media needs to play an important role in reaching out to Asian customers. 


While it is important to not compromise the integrity of a tourism activity to chase the 元 (RMB) it is important to be mindful and respectful of other cultures. It is important that the travelers are aware of the local customs and cultural norms, for example the protocols to going onto a marae. 


Asian travelers want a unique experience which they cannot otherwise have in their own country. It is important for tourism operators to identify what makes their service special and tell their story. If the visitors finds the activity unique they will share their experience online creating free promotion for the business. 


Safety plays an important role for Asian travelers. It is important that tourism operators are able to provide safety instructions and briefings in the travelers own language. 


For tourism operators who want to grow their Asian visitor numbers it is important they produce marketing material, briefing information and are able to deal with correspondence in the correct language. 


Many Chinese travelers do not use VISA, instead use their own local payment solutions like China UnionPay or WeChat Wallet. For tourism operators who are dealing with language numbers of Chinese travelers it maybe worth while offering these payment solutions. 

Eastern Bridge can help

Eastern Bridge can help promote your business or region. Our social media service is ideal to reach out to the East Asian markets, while our International Relations management service can provide your business with a low cost and low risk Asia friendly face. Click here for more information on how Eastern Bridge can assist you.

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