Historically China is one of the largest exporters of foreign students. But the recent economic development has played a vital role to introduce itself as a hub for international students as well.
How many foreigners study in China?
Whereas foreign students historically only traveled to China for language courses, students from around the world are increasingly drawn to China to enroll in technical courses and obtainprofessional degrees. China’s economic boom has also created new opportunities for middle-class families mainly from Asia and Africa, to send their children to study abroad.
According to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), over 440,000 foreigners studied in China in 2016 – marking a 35 percent increase from 2012. China attracts more international students than any other Asian power and ranks third globally, behind the United States and the United Kingdom.
Graph: This interactive explores the flow of international students in China by their country of origin. Students are divided by their term length. Short-term students remain in China for six months or less. Long-term students are enrolled in programs lasting longer than six months. (Source: chinapower.csis.org)
The total share of international students seeking higher-education degrees in China grew by 13 percent over the past 10 years, jumping from almost 55,000 students in 2006 to nearly 210,000 students in 2016.
As a share of all foreign students in China in 2016, 33 percent pursued undergraduate degrees, while 14 percent pursued either Master or Doctorate degrees. Approximately 30 percent of students were enrolled in primary or secondary schools.
Over 50 percent of China’s inbound international students come from neighboring countries, such asSouth Korea, Thailand, and Russia. Students from South Korea alone account for almost 16 percent of all foreign students studying in China in 2016. By comparison, the United States draws nearly 80 percent of its foreign students from Asia and the Middle East.