Mainland China universities favoured over Hong Kong institutions, survey finds

Survey of parents in 15 countries and regions shows US and Britain remain top choices

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 August, 2016, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 August, 2016, 12:00am

More parents around the world are considering sending their child to the mainland for university education than Hong Kong, a recently released survey has found.

The poll, commissioned by HSBC and conducted by leading market research company Ipsos MORI, asked 6,241 parents who had at least one child aged 23 or younger – from 15 countries and territories, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Britain and the US – whether they would consider enrolling their child in a university overseas.

The 1,383 parents who were thinking of sending their child abroad were asked to pick three countries out of the top 50 on the QS and The Times Higher Education university rankings last year. A total of 75 parents picked mainland China as one of their choices, making it the ninth most popular destination, three places ahead of Hong Kong, with 58 picks.

Hong Kong’s higher education sector has long been highly regarded, boasting of a selection of world-class universities. Mainland universities’ rise in ranking and reputation came much later.

But in The Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings 2016, published in May, Tsinghua University rose to the world’s top 20 for the first time, while Shanghai’s Fudan University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University both debuted on the top 100 list.

Lo Yat-wai, an academic from the Education University’s department of international education and lifelong learning, said that while he had not noticed much of a difference in the reputation of Hong Kong universities in recent years, the mainland’s higher education sector was getting a leg up because of the country’s attractive job prospects.

Parents were concerned about their children’s education as well as long-term development, he said. “Studying in a university on the mainland can help these students understand Chinese culture better, which would benefit a future career there.”