The announcement comes less than a month after an IIE survey found that more than 20% of universities and colleges have not made alternative plans for their Chinese international student recruitment and engagement, despite the fact that travel restrictions to and from China are likely to remain in place for the foreseeable future.

“We’re now starting to see a new normal emerge where all student engagement and recruitment happens through digital channels”

China remains the largest source country for international students in the US, UK, Canada and Australia and a lack of engagement plan for this market could lead to major enrolment drops for future intake periods, noted Sinorbis.

“The international education sector has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19,” said Sinorbis CEO, Nicolas Chu.

“Across the globe, we’re now starting to see a new normal emerge where all student engagement and recruitment happens through digital channels.

“This is a tough shift to manage in any market. But with China, you have the additional challenge of having to navigate all this within the constraints of its Internet regulation.”

Chu said that giving universities, schools and colleges free access to the platform is the company’s way of offering a “small contribution to help the industry get through this difficult time”.

Sinorbis’ digital marketing platform was launched in July 2017 and has been designed to help organisations overcome the technical challenges of creating and managing a digital presence in China.

In response to the crisis, the company has enabled integration with Zoom’s webinar solution so that education providers can facilitate virtual face-to-face interactions with current and future students.

“The ability to run webinars has been one of the most frequently requested features by our education clients since the beginning of the spread starting in Wuhan in late January,” added Chu.

“Webinars are a great way to make students feel more connected with your institution and provide clarity and reassurance in these uncertain times.”

With the free access to the Sinorbis platform, education providers will be able to run end-to-end webinar and information campaigns in China.

More details about free access to the platform can be requested here.

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