After surviving China’s rigorous high school graduation process, many students in China aspire toward local universities. But some have their eyes set elsewhere: France—and they’re not necessarily studying literature or philosophy. According to a recent Chinese media report, a growing number of Chinese students are majoring in the booming industries of tourism, luxury, and fashion as global demand for luxury professionals familiar with China is at an all-time high.
In a series discussing the 50th anniversary of Sino-French diplomatic relations, Chinese daily news site fawan.com invited several European division heads of overseas education consultancies to talk about this phenomenon.
According to Jian Siqin, the head of New Oriental (新东方), Chinese students see a French education as a way to gain an edge working in the luxury industry:
“The majors that are more popular in France are: economics and management-related fields, luxury brand management, fashion design, wine management, computing, automation engineering, etc. Of these, there are more and more people choosing luxury brand management as these professions began in France—these professions are just starting to pick up in China, and their prospects look good. France’s fashion design can be considered world-famous, with many renowned designers, and prospects tend to be better for students who manage to graduate with a degree in fashion design from France.”
Luxury and tourism sector professionals across the world are clamoring for experts familiar with Chinese language and culture. With the number of Chinese outbound travelers expected to hit 100 million and the fact that China may now be the world’s largest source of luxury consumption, hotels and retail stores desperately need this expertise. According to Yang Huan from Aoji Education Group (澳际教育集团),
“After graduation, students basically become key investors in the field of luxury goods such as leather, jewelry, watches, wine, cars, yachts, and other high-end products. They also tend to become consultants, service managers, managing editors in fashion or the media, government representatives, or become involved in market research and analysis.”
The tourism and luxury industries are seen as the next big things in China, and more and more Chinese travelers are spending more on luxury goods as they travel. Chinese students going overseas to learn the craft of luxury management from the masters is logical, especially when there’s such a global demand for their language and cultural understanding skills.