In 2017, 489,200 internationals students furthered their studies in China, marking an increase of over 10% for the second consecutive year. The number of degree students reached 241,500 (49.38% of the total), up 15.04% year on year. According to the MOE, a growing number of foreign students are choosing to study in China for a master’s or Ph.D. degree across a widening range of disciplines, and scholarships granted by the Chinese government are playing an increasingly important role in attracting international students.
Statistics show that students from 204 countries and territories studied in 935 Chinese higher education institutions located in 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities in 2017. They included 75,800 graduate and doctoral students, an increase of 18.62% compared to 2016. As of the end of 2017, China was the most popular destination for international students in Asia. The top 10 source countries were South Korea, Thailand, Pakistan, the United States, India, Russia, Japan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and Laos, respectively. The number of students from ‘Belt and Road’ countries, which accounted for 64.85% of all international students in China, was 317,200, an increase of 11.58%. 341,900 international students (69.88% of the total) studied in 11 eastern municipalities and provinces such as Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu, and Zhejiang.
Statistics also show that scholarships offered by the Chinese government have allowed an increasing number of international students to further their professional studies and pursue higher degrees in more specialized fields. In 2017, 58,600 foreign students from 180 countries were awarded Chinese government scholarships, accounting for 11.97% of the total. 88.02% of the recipients were degree students (51,600); 69.57% (40,800) were graduates or doctoral students, marking an increase of 20.06% compared to 2016. The number of self-funded students was 430,600, accounting for 88.03% of all overseas students.
48.45% of these foreign students were enrolled for liberal arts degrees, while the number of students majoring in engineering, management, science, art and agronomy increased by 20% year on year.