A Chinese investment company, Global Education Technologies, has acquired a majority stake in two sizable education agency businesses – iae China and the Global Education Alliance, both international student recruitment companies with significant presences in China.
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Catherine Allison Morris is a freelance journalist and trade communications specialist who has worked with IIE, and previously for higher ed trade publication, Diverse: Issues In Higher Education.
At the time of the merger, both companies were sending approximately 6,000 students
iae China was previously part of iae Holdings, Inc. is a global student recruitment and marketing consultancy consulting students from China, India, Korea and other countries around the world on education provision overseas.
“The two companies are currently operating separate businesses, but later on will be merging the missions”
Hong Kong-based GEA likewise provides overseas study counselling to students, placement and visa services, among other benefits to students.
According to Mark Lucas, director of group administration and business development at iae Holdings, at the time of the merger, both companies were sending approximately 6,000 students overseas.
Global Education Technologies will now be combining the business of GEA – focused in the south – and iae China – focused in the north – although both overlap in terms of operations in central China.
“Under the new holding company, the two companies are currently operating separate businesses, but later on will be merging the missions, marketing support and training,” Lucas told The PIE News.
“We are now full partners in [a] Taiwan and Toronto office,” he added, “and have added Mongolia and Hong Kong to our active offices via GET.”
He explained that GEA CEO, Freeman Yeung, has been involved with iae Global since 2008. He operated iae Hong Kong for several years before setting up GEA.
“GET will be heard more of over the next year or two,” Lucas added, explaining that GET plans to target student markets in China, Taiwan, Mongolia and Hong Kong.
Lucas said that currently, iae China sends about 40% of its students to Australia and another 25-30% to the UK. The US, Canada and other European nations make up the rest.
“Our numbers to Australia are still very strong… directly from GET and via our Sydney, Melbourne and Auckland offices,” Lucas noted.
“UK was very good from China in 2019. [There were] 3,000 [students] from GET out of a combined 15,000 from iae China and GEA. We are focusing more on Canada higher education this year as well.”
Though the number of Chinese students choosing to study in the US has more or less stagnated, according to the most recent Open Doors report, Lucas said he sees the greatest potential for growth in the US and Canada.
Lucas also brushed off qualms about the cost of higher education in the US, saying that while universities in Australia might be cheaper, the cost of living in cities like Sydney can make that difference negligible overall.
“The lesser-known schools [in the US] are also more likely to offer scholarships and discounts,” he added.