The number of international students studying in China has been mounting by approximately 20% annually since the reform and opening period began. In 2010, the number of international students studying in China reached 260,000 for the first time. Moreover, they came from a more diversified range of countries and regions and studied in a more diversified number of hosting institutions, and more of them receive Chinese government scholarship than in any other year since the founding of the Peoples Republic of China.
According to statistics, in 2010 altogether 265,090 international students from 194 countries and regions were studying in 620 colleges and universities, research institutions and other education institutions in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in China (not including Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao). Among them, 22,390 were granted Chinese government scholarship, up by 22.72% over the previous year.
Students from other Asian countries accounted for 67.84% of the total, ranking No. 1, followed by Europeans, Americans, Africans, and Oceanians. The top ten origin countries were Republic of Korea, the United States, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, Indonesia, India, Kazakhstan and Pakistan. Other countries sending more than 5000 students included France and Mongolia. In terms of student types, 107,432 were studying for academic degrees, accounting for about 40% of the total and 157,658 were pursuing non-degree education, accounting for about 60%.
China Ministry of Education (MOE) will make further efforts to optimize the environment for international students, improve management and to upgrade education quality, by adhering to the National Outline for Medium and Long Term Educational Reform and Development as well as the Study in China Plan, aiming at attracting 500,000 international students by 2020 so as to make China Asias biggest host country for international students.
China has over 1,000 higher educational institutions (HEIs) currently. Some universities, such as Beijing University and Tsinghua University, have already gained international reputations for their outstanding teaching and research facilities. China has signed agreements with almost 40 countries such as France, Great Britain, Australia, Russia, etc., to recognize each others diplomas. More and more Chinese universities now offer courses in English, enabling students with no knowledge of Chinese language to study there.