U News (大學問), an online platform providing information about college entrance procedures, yesterday said that its Web site’s overseas traffic had grown nearly 150 percent annually so far this year, signaling foreign interest in higher education in Taiwan.
The Web site has been in operation for many years and contains information in traditional Chinese about local universities and colleges, and how to be admitted, U News chief executive officer Wei Chia-hui (魏佳卉) said.
While the Web site initially targeted Taiwanese students, it found in the past two years that most of the growth in its traffic was originating from overseas Internet addresses, she said.
From Jan. 1 to Tuesday last week, the rise in overseas traffic was 146.58 percent from the same period a year earlier, higher than the domestic traffic growth rate of 21.03 percent, she said.
The trend might be due to the stabilization of domestic traffic or increasing interest in Taiwanese higher education from overseas students or parents, she said.
The highest increase in overseas traffic over the period was from China at 2,116.17 percent, followed by Hong Kong at 160.8 percent and Macau at 57.28 percent, U News data showed.
Wei said that although China has banned Chinese students from traveling to Taiwan, and it was initially thought that the Web site was being attacked by Chinese hackers, further analysis of the Chinese IP addresses found that they were spread across major cities, indicating that the visits were likely from interested parties.
Although overseas site visits still primarily came from Canada, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, the US and the UK, this year the site has seen a jump in visits by Indian users, U News data showed.
The US ranked first in overseas visits from 2017 to 2019, but was this year replaced by Hong Kong, the data showed.
Vietnam has been the largest source of Mandarin students in the nation for two consecutive years, with as many as 5,000 to 7,000 Vietnamese traveling to Taiwan to learn the language each year, U News data showed.
Taiwan should seize the opportunity and, as capacity permits, continue to relax overseas restrictions, speed up the visa process for various countries and assist universities with admissions, so that it can build a higher education brand, she said.
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