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International students should find increasing levels of investment in tertiary education to be a compelling reason to make China your study destination.In 2012, China reached its target of spending 4% of GDP on education. And it is currently investing US$250 billion a year in “human capital”, as stated by the (New York Times) which includes the subsidy of education for young people moving from rural to urban areas, in an effort to lessen the gap between the educated elite and rural laborers. The number of colleges and universities in China has doubled in the last decade to 2,409.

The country’s current five-year plan, which extends to 2020, focuses on modernizing and strengthening its higher education system to appeal to international students, and many Chinese universities are focusing on developing technologies that increase competitiveness with the West. Key initiatives include Project 211, which aims to bring 100 Chinese universities up to a world-class standard, and Project 985, which aims to create an even more elite group of universities. Project 985 has resulted in the creation of the C9 league, which has ambitions of becoming something like the US Ivy League.

Universities in China

China has 39 institutions ranked in the QS world University Ranking(2018), including six new entries, and substantially more of the country’s universities are included in the QS Asia University Rankings (2018). With the growing global status of China within trade, tourism, and education, a study in China is seeing huge increases in popularity. According to ICEF Monitor, 442,773 international students studied in China in 2016 (an increase of 11% from the previous year), while more than nine million students take the national university entrance examination every year, making China home to one of the largest education systems in the world.

By 2020, the Chinese government aims to have 500,000 international students enrolled in Chinese higher education, and it seems on track to reach its target. To support this goal, a growing number of international scholarships are being offered across the country.

Tsinghua University

Ranked 25th in the world and sixth in Asia in 2018, this is in the Chinese capital of Beijing and is a member of the elite C9 League. Established in 1911, Tsinghua University now has a community of just over 46,000 students, including nearly 2,700 from outside of China. Ranked in 33 out of 46 subjects, in the QS world University rankings 2017, Tsinghua University performs best for architecture, civil engineering and materials sciences. For all three of these subjects, it’s ranked in the top 10 universities in the world.

Peking University

A consistent contender among the top universities in China, this one is a prestigious research university belonging to China’s C9 League. Established in 1898 and located in Beijing, Peking University admits a high number of international students every year and has maintained a partnership with Germany’s Freie University of Berlin since 1981. As well as its leading academic offering, Peking University’s campus grounds are loved for their traditional Chinese architecture.

Peking University is ranked joint 38th in the world and ninth in Asia and also ranks among the world’s best in 37 out of 46 subjects covered by the subject rankings, achieving top 50 positions in 26 of these, including modern languages, linguistics, chemistry, dentistry, mineral and mining engineering and social policy and administration.

Fudan University

China’s third-best university according to the latest rankings (at 40th in the world), It is spread across four campuses in Shanghai, one of the nation’s largest hubs of finance and trade. Another member of the C9 league and also currently ranked seventh in Asia, Fudan University has a current enrollment of just under 32,000 students and is known as one of China’s most selective schools.

Featured among the world’s top universities in 28 Subjects in 2017, Fudan University performs best for modern languages, chemistry, materials sciences and politics, for which it ranks among the top 50 worldwide.