Branding China through the internationalization of higher education sector: an international students’ perspective from China

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The purpose of this research is to understand how nation branding initiatives complement education diplomacy for a country such as China and to investigate how country distance shapes perceptions of China across a large international student contingency in China. We use Ghemawat’s [(2001). Distance still matters. Harvard Business Review, 79(8), 137–147] CAGE distance framework, nation branding theory [Anholt, 2007. Competitive identity: The new brand management for nations, cities and regions. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan] and brand equity theory [Aaker, D. A. (1991). Managingbrand equity. New York, NY: The Free Press; Yoo & Donthu (2001). Developing and validating a multidimensional consumer-based brand equity scale. Journal of Business Research, 52(1), 1–14] to provide theoretical support for the answers to our questions. It was found out that country distances are relevant in determining national images. While national image dimensions for China positively influence behavioral intentions related to China and positively contribute to the brand equity of HEIs. A multi-group analysis shows that significant differences exist between international students belonging to different regions in their disposition towards China as a country and China as a destination for higher education. The international strategies of firms in shaping perceptions related to national images.

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Journal of Marketing for Higher Education

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